Tag Archives: doe

Bright Future for Protein Nanoprobes

Berkeley Lab Researchers Discover New Rules for Single-Particle Imaging with Light-Emitting Nanocrystals

The term a “brighter future” might be a cliché, but in the case of ultra-small probes for lighting up individual proteins, it is now most appropriate. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have discovered surprising new rules for creating ultra-bright light-emitting crystals that are less than 10 nanometers in diameter. These ultra-tiny but ultra-bright nanoprobes should be a big asset for biological imaging, especially deep-tissue optical imaging of neurons in the brain.

Working at the Molecular Foundry, a DOE national nanoscience center hosted at Berkeley Lab, a multidisciplinary team of researchers led by James Schuck and Bruce Cohen, both with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, used advanced single-particle characterization and theoretical modeling to study what are known as “upconverting nanoparticles” or UCNPs. Upconversion is the process by which a molecule absorbs two or more photons at a lower energy and emits them at higher energies. The research team determined that the rules governing the design of UCNP probes for ensembles of molecules do not apply to UCNP probes designed for single-molecules. (more…)

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UMass Amherst Nuclear Physicist, with Hundreds Worldwide, Tracks Huge Magnetic Ring across Country for Muon Experiments

Massive device to travel by barge and truck this summer

AMHERST, Mass. – Nuclear physicist David Kawall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is among scientists from 26 institutions worldwide who are waiting patiently for an electromagnet 50 feet in diameter to be transported from New York to Illinois, where they plan to launch an experiment in 2016 that could open new realms of particle physics.

Kawall’s responsibility will be to measure very precisely the magnetic field inside the ring-shaped magnet when it arrives at its new home sometime in late July. “It’s definitely new territory,” he says, “because we need to measure the field accurately to 70 parts per billion in this huge magnet. The payoff is enormous, however, because we expect the new experiment to yield results four times more precise than the previous effort was able to attain.” (more…)

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Berkeley Lab Researchers Use Metamaterials to Observe Giant Photonic Spin Hall Effect

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have once again demonstrated the incredible capabilities of metamaterials – artificial nanoconstructs whose optical properties arise from their physical structure rather than their chemical composition. Engineering a unique two-dimensional sheet of gold nanoantennas, the researchers were able to obtain the strongest signal yet of the photonic spin Hall effect, an optical phenomenon of quantum mechanics that could play a prominent role in the future of computing.

“With metamaterial, we were able to greatly enhance a naturally weak effect to the point where it was directly observable with simple detection techniques,” said Xiang Zhang,  a faculty scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division who led this research. “We also demonstrated that metamaterials not only allow us to control the propagation of light but also allows control of circular polarization. This could have profound consequences for information encoding and processing.” (more…)

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New Opportunities for Crystal Growth

Berkeley Lab Facility Provides Unique Capabilities for the Synthesis of New Crystals and Materials

Talk with material scientist Edith Bourret-Courchesne about what it takes to grow and develop useful crystals and a word you will hear repeated often is “patience.” As the leader of a unique crystal growth facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) dedicated to the synthesis of crystals and new materials, patience is more than a virtue, it’s a necessity.

“The growth of every crystal is unique, like the formation of a snowflake, and since we work with compounds that have never before been crystallized the processes by which we grow our crystals are also unique,” she says. “As a result, a lot of our research is aimed at understanding why something didn’t work.” (more…)

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Speeding the Search for Better Carbon Capture

Berkeley Lab Researchers Help Develop a Computer Model That Identifies the Best Molecular Candidates

A computer model that can identify the best molecular candidates for removing carbon dioxide, molecular nitrogen and other greenhouse gases from power plant flues has been developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the University of California (UC) Berkeley and the University of Minnesota. The model is the first computational method to provide accurate simulations of the interactions between flue gases and a special variety of the gas-capturing molecular systems known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). It should greatly accelerate the search for new low-cost and efficient ways to burn coal without exacerbating global climate change.

Berend Smit, an international authority on molecular simulations who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and UC Berkeley where he directs Berkeley’s Energy Frontier Research Center, co-led the development of this computational model with Laura Gagliardi, a chemistry professor at the University of Minnesota. (more…)

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IBM Smarter Cities Technology Helps NYC Envision Solar Energy Leadership through CUNY Ventures

Innovative Model Aims to Export Solar Market Analysis Tools to the World

New York – 07 Jun 2012: IBM is helping New York City (NYC) become a global leader in urban solar energy market analysis and sustainability through an innovative agreement with CUNY Ventures, a City University of New York (CUNY) Economic Development Corporation entity.

The goal of this effort is to nourish solar adoption by developing the capability to analyze and understand key solar market indicators that can make solar system development more cost competitive. Using IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Smarter Cities as the backbone, this analytics-based approach will help New York City monitor and analyze solar production and capacity through a virtual control room that will provide a dashboard view of key indicators.

The collaboration is part of ‘Solar Market Analytics, Roadmapping, and Tracking NY’ (SMART NY), a groundbreaking project supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) ‘Rooftop Solar Challenge’, part of the DOE SunShot Initiative which is striving to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. (more…)

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Better Organic Electronics

*Berkeley Lab Researchers Show the Way Forward for Improving Organic and Molecular Electronic Devices*

Future prospects for superior new organic electronic devices are brighter now thanks to a new study by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Working at the Lab’s Molecular Foundry, a DOE nanoscience center, the team has provided the first experimental determination of the pathways by which electrical charge is transported from molecule-to-molecule in an organic thin film. Their results also show how such organic films can be chemically modified to improve conductance.

“We have shown that when the molecules in organic thin films are aligned in particular directions, there is much better conductance,” says Miquel Salmeron, a leading authority on nanoscale surface imaging who directs Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and who led this study. “Chemists already know how to fabricate organic thin films in a way that can achieve such an alignment, which means they should be able to use the information provided by our methodology to determine the molecular alignment and its role on charge transport across and along the molecules. This will help improve the performances of future organic electronic devices.” (more…)

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Berkeley Lab Researchers Create First of Its Kind Gene Map of Sulfate-reducing Bacterium: Work Holds Implications for Future Bioremediation Efforts

Critical genetic secrets of a bacterium that holds potential for removing toxic and radioactive waste from the environment have been revealed in a study by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The researchers have provided the first ever map of the genes that determine how these bacteria interact with their surrounding environment.

“Knowing how bacteria respond to environmental changes is crucial to our understanding of how their physiology tracks with consequences that are both good, such as bioremediation, and bad, such as biofouling,” says Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, who led this research. “We have reported the first systematic mapping of the genes in a sulfate-reducing bacterium – Desulfovibrio vulgaris – that regulate the mechanisms by which the bacteria perceive and respond to environmental signals.” (more…)

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