Transitioning to a hydrogen economy will require massive production of cheap, clean hydrogen gas for fuel and chemical feedstocks. New tools allow scientists to zoom in on a catalytic reaction that’s been a bottleneck in efforts to generate hydrogen from water more efficiently.
When light hits certain molecules, it dislodges electrons and creates areas of positive and negative charge. An X-ray free-electron laser study has directly observed how this charge transfer affects a molecule's structure for the first time.
Although many organisms capture and respond to sunlight, enzymes – proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions – are rarely driven by light. A new study captures the full cycle of complex structural changes in an light-driven enzyme called FAP as it transforms a fatty acid into alkanes or alkenes.
High-temperature superconductors conduct electricity with no loss, but no one knows how they do it. SLAC scientists observed the signature of an exotic state of matter called “pair density waves” in a cuprate superconductor and confirmed that it intertwines with another exotic state.
Bright semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots give QLED TV screens their vibrant colors. But attempts to increase the intensity of that light generate heat instead, reducing the dots’ light-producing efficiency. A new study explains why, and the results have broad implications for developing future quantum and photonics technologies where light replaces electrons in computers and fluids in refrigerators, for example.
For the past few years, researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have been developing “virtual diagnostics” that use machine learning to obtain crucial information about electron beam quality in an efficient, non-invasive way. Now, a new virtual diagnostic approach incorporates additional information about the beam that allows the method to work in situations where conventional diagnostics have failed.
They discovered that the nature of the battery electrolyte, which carries charge between the electrodes, has a big impact on aging – a factor that needs to be taken into account when developing electrolytes that maximize a battery’s performance.
Researchers combined machine learning with knowledge gained from experiments and equations guided by physics to discover and explain a process that shortens the lifetimes of fast-charging lithium-ion batteries.
Topological insulators are electron are superhighways on their edges and insulators everywhere else. Researchers used a process called high harmonic generation to separately probe electron behavior in both of those domains.
A promising lead halide perovskite is great at converting sunlight to electricity, but it breaks down at room temperature. Now scientists have discovered how to stabilize it with pressure from a diamond anvil cell. The required pressure is well within the reach of today's manufacturing processes.
When an LNO catalyst with a nickel-rich surface carries out a water-splitting reaction, its surface atoms rearrange from a cubic to a hexagonal pattern and its efficiency doubles. Deliberately engineering the surface to take advantage of this phenomenon offers a way to design better catalysts.
Polarons affect a material’s behavior, and may even be the reason that solar cells made with lead hybrid perovskites achieve extraordinarily high efficiencies in the lab. Now scientists have directly seen and measured their formation for the first time.
The first detailed images of coronavirus spikes in their natural state, while still attached to the virus and without using chemical fixatives that might distort their shape, provide quicker, more realistic snapshots of the infection apparatus.
The NIH is establishing a national service center at the SLAC and Stanford where biomedical researchers can learn how to prepare extremely thin specimens that are frozen into a glassy state for cryogenic electron tomography (cryo-ET), a powerful tool for directly visualizing cellular components in 3D.
When it comes to fully understanding the hidden secrets of quantum materials, it takes one to know one, scientists say: Only tools that also operate on quantum principles can get us there. A new Department of Energy research center will focus on developing those tools.
This new technology addresses two major goals of battery research: extending the driving range of electric vehicles and reducing the danger that laptops, cell phones and other devices will burst into flames.
All cells with nuclei, from yeast to humans, use molecular machines called protons to regulate the acidity of compartments called organelles where various types of work are done. A new study reveals a key step in how these Ferris wheel-like pumps operate.
Xijie Wang, an accelerator physicist at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, will receive the 2021 Nuclear and Plasma Science Society’s Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award. Bestowed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the prestigious award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of particle accelerator science and technology.
A team led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has invented a new type of accelerator structure that could make accelerators used for a given application 10 times shorter.
Cracks and chemical reactions on a battery particle’s surface can sap its ability to store and release energy. Scientists probed a single charged particle the size of a red blood cell to see how interior and surface damage influence each other.
Crews at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have taken the first 3,200-megapixel digital photos – the largest ever taken in a single shot – with an extraordinary array of imaging sensors that will become the heart and soul of the future camera of Vera C. Rubin Observatory.
Theory suggests that quantum critical points may be analogous to black holes as places where all sorts of strange phenomena can exist in a quantum material. Now scientists say that they have found strong evidence that QCPs and their associated fluctuations exist in a cuprate superconductor.
Q-NEXT will bring together nearly 100 world-class researchers from three national laboratories, 10 universities and 10 leading U.S. technology companies with the single goal of developing the science and technology to control and distribute quantum information. These activities, along with a focus on rapid commercialization of new technologies, will support the emerging “quantum economy” and ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront in this rapidly advancing field.
A new generation of X-ray detectors developed at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, called ePix10k, can take up to 1,000 of these snapshots per second – almost 10 times more than previous generations – to make more efficient use of light sources that fire thousands of X-ray flashes per second.
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have invented an emergency ventilator that could help save the lives of patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
The LCLS-II upgrade project will increase the X-ray laser's power by thousands of times, producing a million pulses per second compared to 120 per second today. Now, the first phase of the upgrade has come into operation, producing an X-ray beam for the first time using newly installed undulators. The full upgrade is due to be completed within the next two years.
A study identified which pairs of atoms in a catalyst nanoparticle are most active in a reaction that breaks down a harmful exhaust gas in catalytic converters. The results are a step toward engineering cheaper, more efficient catalysts.
For the first time, scientists have revealed the steps needed to turn on a receptor that helps regulate neuron firing. The findings might help researchers understand and someday treat addiction, psychosis and other neuropsychological diseases.
Developed in the lab of Stanford University Nobelist W.E. Moerner, the technique combines cryoelectron tomography and low temperature single-molecule microscopy. It has potential to answer fundamental questions about the molecular machinery of viruses, parasites, and processes like photosynthesis.
Using SLAC's high-speed “electron camera," scientists simultaneously captured the movements of electrons and nuclei in a light-excited molecule. This marks the first time this has been done with ultrafast electron diffraction, which scatters a powerful beam of electrons off materials to pick up tiny molecular motions.
Researchers zeroed in on a key step in photosynthesis in which a water molecule moves in to bridge manganese and calcium atoms in the catalytic complex that splits water to produce breathable oxygen. What they learned brings them one step closer to obtaining a complete picture of this natural process, which could inform the next generation of artificial photosynthetic systems that produce clean and renewable energy from sunlight and water. Their results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today.
Scientists have developed a way to study liquid silicates at the extreme conditions found in the core-mantle boundary. This could lead to a better understanding of the Earth’s early molten days, which could even extend to other rocky planets.
Until now, electron spins and orbitals were thought to go hand in hand in a class of materials that’s the cornerstone of modern information technology; you couldn’t quickly change one without changing the other. This study raises the possibility of controlling them separately.
The first step in many light-driven chemical reactions, like the ones that power photosynthesis and human vision, is a shift in the arrangement of a molecule’s electrons as they absorb the light’s energy. Now scientists have directly observed this first step.
Just like we orbit the sun and the moon orbits us, the Milky Way has satellite galaxies with their own satellites. Drawing from data on those galactic neighbors, a new model suggests the Milky Way should have an additional 100 or so very faint satellite galaxies awaiting discovery.
Turning a brittle oxide into a flexible membrane and stretching it on a tiny apparatus flipped it from a conducting to an insulating state and changed its magnetic properties. The technique can be used to study and design a broad range of materials for use in things like sensors and detectors.
Researchers were looking into a protein that tuberculosis bacteria need to thrive, but when they finally solved its structure, they discovered a gigantic cavity that could help shuttle a variety of molecules into TB bacteria.