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August 15, 2019
Combined X-ray diffraction and tomographic image of a crack deflection event at the boundary between two metal grains (labeled G1 and G2). The crack deflects toward the vertical.
Atomically Packed Boundaries Resist Cracking
Penetrating X-ray mapping technique measures atomic character of crack propagation, which could lead to tougher metals.
August 6, 2019
The reorganization of nearby water molecules caused a pore in a material built from proteins to open (left) and close (right). Pore closing leads to expulsion of ordered water molecules close to the protein surface.
Cultivating the Assembly Landscape
Knowing how to assemble a porous architecture from proteins able to morph from one shape to another could benefit filtration, other applications.
August 6, 2019
Time series of a machine-learning–based coarse-grained simulation, ML-BOPdih, provides snapshots spanning ~1 microsecond (t=time) showing evolution of grain boundaries (green) between regions of hexagonal (blue) and cubic (orange) ice.
Machine Learning Helps Create Detailed, Efficient Models of Water
Models use a fraction of the computational cost of today’s best atom-based water models.
June 19, 2019
Hybrids expand and contract. Light micrographs (top) show the expansion and contraction of a crystal-gel hybrid. In the top, i-vi correspond to the red circles (time points) in the bottom. The separation between the ruler’s major ticks is 100 micrometers.
Highly Elastic and Self-Healing Protein Crystals
Infusion of a specialized gel throughout a protein structure produces highly expandable crystals that could find use in energy conversion & filtration
June 19, 2019
Scientists demonstrate the polymer healing process and recovery of extreme stretchability.
Super-stretchy, Self-healing, Tunable Polymers
Discovery of novel polymers with extreme stretching, vibration suppression, and self-healing.
June 19, 2019
Schematic illustration of the selenium (Se) impregnation process (top images), photograph of the resulting Se-impregnated carbon cathode material (bottom left), and scanning electron microscope analysis cross-section showing uniform distribution of Se.
Novel Electrodes Enhance Battery Capacity
New self-supporting composite metal material doubles the volumetric energy and achieves fast charging rates in batteries.
June 13, 2019
Topologically directed design of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for separating mixtures. By using linker molecules with different aspect ratios (thanks to structures bptc and abtc), scientists obtained two robust MOFs with different structures.
Designer Frameworks for Refining Higher Octane Fuels
Metal-organic frameworks designed with a topology-guided approach show higher efficiency than commercial benchmarks.
June 11, 2019
A team identified RE3Bi7 (RE = neodymium or samarium), which has a framework of bismuth–bismuth bonds (purple). The fragment of the differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) heating curve (red) shows an anomaly that may have inhibited discovery.
Found: New Bismuth Compounds in Well-Known Systems of Two Elements
Scientists discover an unexpected source of new materials, with potential for energy applications.
June 11, 2019
Shifting the magnetic field relative to the textured surface (left) reconfigures the fluid surface (graded orange indicates relative height; darkest areas are macroscale features).
Flowing for Function
A flowing magnetically responsive liquid seamlessly regulates the shape and properties of solids, letting them perform an array of jobs.
May 30, 2019
A boron-containing phase (borophene) (dark blue) is shown on a copper substrate. The inset (top right) illustrates a diffraction pattern (of the area marked by the white square inside the borophene domain) that confirms it’s a new phase.
Raised on Copper: A New Material for Tougher Devices
Discovery of new boron-containing phase opens the door for resilient flexible electronics.
May 30, 2019
This image shows a rendering (gray and pink) of the molecular structure of a peptoid polymer that was studied by a team led by Berkeley Lab and University of California, Berkeley.
Bringing Plastic’s Building Blocks into Atomic-Scale Focus
Researchers capture detailed images of polymers, using electron-based imaging and computer simulations.
May 30, 2019
Neutron diffuse scattering of relaxor ferroelectrics helped scientists see that the well-known “butterfly” diffuse scattering isn’t symmetrical; the scattering intensity doesn’t correlate with the material’s ability to return to its equilibrium state.
New Insights into a Long-Standing Debate About Materials that Turn Motion into Electricity
Detailed view of atoms opens doors for new designs to convert atomic displacements to electrical energy.
May 30, 2019
Optical images of sodium deposited from an electrolyte as electrical current of 1 mA/cm2 (seeded with blue particles for visualizing the associated flow of electrolyte).
Weighty Polymers Impact Battery Stability and Safety
Materials prevent battery failure by inhibiting tree-like growths.
May 30, 2019
Radiochemical technicians David Denton and Karen Murphy use hot cell manipulators at Oak Ridge National Laboratory during the production of actinium-227.
Improving Isotope Supply for a Cancer-Fighting Drug
Production of actinium-227 ramps up for use in a drug to fight prostate cancer that has spread to bone.
May 30, 2019
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory researchers suggest taking advantage of the random spikes inherent in X-ray free electron laser pulses to study the pulses’ interactions with matter. The method is called pump-probe ghost imaging.
Ghostly Images Could Ease Tracking of Fleeting Reactions
New method could enable studying the fastest interactions of ultrabright X-rays with matter, a vital way of learning about chemical reactions.
May 30, 2019
Scientists discovered supersonic phasons that could remove harmful heat in electronics and send signals faster. Phasons were observed in a mineral containing titanium (gray) and silicate (orange) polyhedrons. (Oxygen is red, barium is blue.)
Beyond the “Sound Barrier” to Get the Heat Out
Neutron scattering reveals supersonic particles that carry heat and may improve electronics and sensors.
May 30, 2019
Color changes in this experimental snapshot track velocities of magnetic rollers comprising an emergent vortex. The fastest particles are located toward the center. Velocity scale is in centimeter/second. Scale bar is 2 μm.
Tiny Vortices Could One Day Haul Microscopic Cargo
The behavior of active magnetic liquids suggests new pathways to transport particles across surfaces and build materials that self-heal.
May 30, 2019
An artistic rendition of the synergistic catalyst showing core-shell active sites (blue) in platinum-cobalt nanoparticles (spheres) on a platinum group metal-free catalytic support.
Improved Fuel Cell Catalysts with Less Platinum
A new catalyst design meets cost, activity, and durability goals by leveraging ultralow loadings of platinum with platinum-free supports.
May 30, 2019
Single pulses of laser light can switch tantalum disulfide from one state to another and back again. This image illustrates how the material switches between its alpha and beta states. Switches like this could lead to new forms of data storage.
Bursts of Light Shape Walls Between Waves of Charge
New method provides ultrafast switching of electronic structure and illuminates fundamentals of charge ordering.
April 19, 2019
Visible-pump / X-ray probe photoelectron spectroscopy monitors exciton migration and charge generation in a molecular heterojunction between a copper-phthalocyanine (CuPc) donor and a fullerene-based (C60) acceptor.
Slow Charge Generation Plays Big Role in Model Material for Solar Cells
Insight about energy flow in copper-based material could aid in creating efficient molecular electronics.
April 19, 2019
The cartoon represents the functions of the catalyst components and chemical drawings of the key reaction steps in oxidizing water (H2O) into oxygen (O2), electrons (e-), and protons (H ).
Splitting Water Fast! Catalyst Works Faster than Mother Nature
Design principles lead to a catalyst that splits water in a low pH environment, vital for generating solar fuels.
April 18, 2019
Top: A short burst of light interacts w/ a compartment containing a catalyst (blue). Bottom: A short time later, a similar bust of light interacts w/ a second container containing the reactant (red), remotely catalyzing product molecules to form (yellow).
Driving Chemical Reactions by Remote Control
Theorists show how a new quantum device could control a chemical reaction remotely, changing our understanding of how reactions can work.
April 15, 2019
For batteries to generate electricity, charged atoms, called ions (pink and green), travel between a negative node (anode) and a positive node (cathode) with the help of a liquid electrolyte solution.
Team Takes Fluoride from Taps and Toothpaste to Batteries
With user facilities, researchers devise novel battery chemistries to help make fluoride batteries a reality.
April 9, 2019
Researchers created a precise model of the atoms (shown as spheres) and the proteins (colored areas) in a protein complex that’s key to using sunlight and carbon dioxide efficiently to make sugar, starches, and oil in blue-green algae.
New Molecular Blueprint Aids Study of Photosynthesis
Insights into how nature converts carbon dioxide into sugar could help scientists develop crops that produce fuels and other products.
April 9, 2019
Scientists use three ultrafast pulses of extreme ultraviolet light and near infrared light to control the evolution of excited nitrogen molecules (blue) to reveal information about normally inaccessible states.
Catching Fast Changes in Excited Molecules
Scientists observe and control molecular and atomic dynamics at the fastest timescales to date.