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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2020-10-09 08:00:59
    • Article ID: 739547

    What’s Nanotechnology? Kristin Persson Explains at 4 Different Levels

    Nanoscience expert makes big impact on students in video celebrating National Nanotechnology Day

    • Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab

      Molecular Foundry Director Kristin Persson describing an atomic model to a kindergartner.

    --By Clarissa Bhargava

    Happy National Nanotechnology Day!

    Nanotechnology is any technology that’s engineered at the nanoscale, referring to 100 nanometers or less. That’s more than 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair! From the intricate components of our electronic devices to the targeted delivery of anti-cancer drugs, nanotechnology provides a powerful toolbox that is already changing the world.

    Every year, National Nanotechnology Day is celebrated by scientists and educators on Oct. 9. That’s because a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, or 10-9 meters. And here at Berkeley Lab’s nanoscience center, the Molecular Foundry, every Oct. 9 (10-9) is an extra opportunity to celebrate all things “nano.”

    As a fun experiment for this year’s festivities, Molecular Foundry Director Kristin Persson accepted a challenge to explain nanoscale engineering at four different levels. She virtually met with four science enthusiasts – a kindergartener, a middle schooler, a high school senior, and a graduate student – to talk about nanoscience.

    Persson used her experience as a professor of materials science and engineering, a mentor to dozens of Ph.D. students, a recognized expert in quantum and nanoscale science, and a parent of three kids to tailor the discussion of atomic-scale engineering to each person’s background. Watch the video to see how she did!

    The video was produced by Marilyn Sargent, multimedia producer in Berkeley Lab’s Strategic Communications department. 

    The Molecular Foundry is a DOE Office of Science user facility located at Berkeley Lab.

    # # #

    Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 14 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

    DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.

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    A first-of-its-kind catalyst mimics natural processes to break down plastic and produce valuable new products

    A first-of-its-kind catalyst mimics natural processes to break down plastic and produce valuable new products

    A team of scientists led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory has developed a first-of-its-kind catalyst that is able to process polyolefin plastics, types of polymers widely used in things like plastic grocery bags, milk jugs, shampoo bottles, toys, and food containers.

    A new approach boosts lithium-ion battery efficiency and puts out fires, too

    A new approach boosts lithium-ion battery efficiency and puts out fires, too

    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.

    Berkeley Lab Scientists Contribute to New Exploration of Higgs Boson Interactions

    Berkeley Lab Scientists Contribute to New Exploration of Higgs Boson Interactions

    A new analysis, featuring important contributions by Berkeley Lab scientists, strongly supports the hypothesis that the Higgs boson interacts with muons, which are heavier siblings of electrons and the lightest particles yet to reveal evidence for these interactions.

    New Algorithm Sharpens Focus of World's Most Powerful Microscopes

    New Algorithm Sharpens Focus of World's Most Powerful Microscopes

    Scientists have shown that an algorithm added to image processing software can improve the resolution and accuracy of cryo-electron microscopes, which are one of the most crucial tools in microbiology and medical research.

    An Electrical Trigger Fires Single, Identical Photons

    An Electrical Trigger Fires Single, Identical Photons

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    First detailed look at how molecular Ferris wheel delivers protons to cellular factories

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    Argonne develops unprecedented long-term wildfire prediction model

    Argonne develops unprecedented long-term wildfire prediction model

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    Study Finds 'Missing Link' in the Evolutionary History of Carbon-Fixing Protein Rubisco

    Study Finds 'Missing Link' in the Evolutionary History of Carbon-Fixing Protein Rubisco

    The discovery of a primitive form of rubisco, a photosynthetic enzyme, will help scientists understand how carbon-fixing organisms led to the planet's oxygenation and how modern

    Story Tips: Remote population counting, slowing corrosion and turning down the heat

    Story Tips: Remote population counting, slowing corrosion and turning down the heat

    ORNL story tips: Remote population counting, slowing corrosion and turning down the heat

    Shattering Expectations: Novel Seed Dispersal Gene Found in Green Millet

    Shattering Expectations: Novel Seed Dispersal Gene Found in Green Millet

    Researchers generated genome sequences for nearly 600 green millet plants and released a very high-quality reference S. viridis genome sequence Analysis of these plant genome sequences also led them to identify for the first time in wild populations a gene related to seed dispersal.


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    Who Will Get the Prize for Better Hurricane Monitoring?

    Who Will Get the Prize for Better Hurricane Monitoring?

    The Ocean Observing Prize seeks competitors for an incentive prize program to help inventors advance new concepts for marine energy technologies that can power ocean observing systems. This phase focuses on observing platforms that host instruments that can provide better data regarding hurricane formation.

    Berkeley Lab Names Noel Bakhtian to Lead New Energy Storage Center

    Berkeley Lab Names Noel Bakhtian to Lead New Energy Storage Center

    Berkeley Lab has appointed Noel Bakhtian, previously a senior policy adviser in the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) and currently director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) at Idaho National Laboratory, as its inaugural director of the Berkeley Lab Energy Storage Center.

    CERN Senior Fellow Dorota Grabowska Receives Leona Woods Lectureship Award

    CERN Senior Fellow Dorota Grabowska Receives Leona Woods Lectureship Award

    Dorota Grabowska, a senior fellow in the department of theoretical physics at CERN, Europe's particle physics laboratory, has been named a recipient of the Leona Woods Distinguished Postdoctoral Lectureship Award. The award was established by the physics department at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory in honor of renowned physicist Leona Woods to celebrate the scientific accomplishments of outstanding female physicists and physicists from other under-represented minority groups, including the LGBTQ community--and to promote diversity and inclusion in the department.

    Process to recover metals from batteries licensed by Momentum Technologies

    Process to recover metals from batteries licensed by Momentum Technologies

    Momentum Technologies Inc., a Dallas, Texas-based materials science company that is focused on extracting critical metals from electronic waste, has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory process for recovering cobalt and other metals from spent lithium-ion batteries.

    PPPL physicist wins third place at Innovation Forum for advanced liquid centrifuge invention

    PPPL physicist wins third place at Innovation Forum for advanced liquid centrifuge invention

    Physicist Erik Gilson won third place at the Princeton University Keller Center's 15th Annual Innovation Forum for his invention with a team of PPPL researchers of an advanced liquid centrifuge.

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UT's Tony Schmitz elected to ASPE College of Fellows

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UT's Tony Schmitz elected to ASPE College of Fellows

    Tony Schmitz, joint faculty researcher in machining and machine tools at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Society for Precision Engineering.

    Coming Down the Pike: Long-Haul Trucks Powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cells

    Coming Down the Pike: Long-Haul Trucks Powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cells

    The Department of Energy has announced several major investments to take hydrogen fuel cells to the next level, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is set to play a leading role in providing the scientific expertise to help realize DOE's ambitious goals.

    Media Advisory: Epic Arctic Science Mission End Briefing

    Journalists are invited to join an October 12 Zoom media briefing with U.S. scientists and agency experts involved in the yearlong international research expedition MOSAiC: Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate.

    Jennifer Doudna Wins 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    Jennifer Doudna Wins 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    Biochemist Jennifer Doudna, a professor at UC Berkeley and faculty scientist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), is co-winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "the development of a method for genome editing."

    Path-setting theoretical physicist Elena Belova elected an APS Fellow

    Path-setting theoretical physicist Elena Belova elected an APS Fellow

    Profile of PPPL physicist Elena Belova, a pioneer in developing hybrid simulation codes in fusion and space plasmas, who has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.


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    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Scientists designed and connected two different artificial cells to each other to produce molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Bone and mollusk shells are composite systems that combine living cells and inorganic components. This allows them to regenerate and change structure while also being very strong and durable. Borrowing from this amazing complexity, researchers have been exploring a new class of materials called engineered living materials (ELMs).

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Researchers developed two new methods to assess and remove error in how scientists measure quantum systems. By reducing quantum "noise" - uncertainty inherent to quantum processes - these new methods improve accuracy and precision.

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    Lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO) is a widely applicable material, from magnetic tunnel junctions to solid oxide fuel cells. However, when it gets thin, its behavior changes for the worse. The reason why was not known. Now, using two theoretical methods, a team determined what happens.

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    How an ion behaves when isolated within an analytical instrument can differ from how it behaves in the environment. Now, Xue-Bin Wang at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory devised a way to bring ions and molecules together in clusters to better discover their properties and predict their behavior.

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Shape affects how the particles fit together and, in turn, the resulting material. For the first time, a team observed the self-assembly of nanoparticles with tetrahedral shapes.

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    This study is the first to confirm dust particles pre-dating the formation of our solar system. Further study of these materials will enable a deeper understanding of the processes that formed and have since altered them.

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Future fusion reactors will require materials that can withstand extreme operating conditions, including being bombarded by high-energy neutrons at high temperatures. Scientists recently irradiated titanium diboride (TiB2) in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to better understand the effects of fusion neutrons on performance.

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    In breast cancer screening, an imaging technique based on nuclear medicine is currently being used as a successful secondary screening tool alongside mammography to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. Now, a team is hoping to improve this imaging technique.

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Scientists can use genetic information to measure if microbes in the environment can perform specific ecological roles. Researchers recently analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 microbial species.


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