Latest Berkeley Lab Stories

2010-07-20 09:15:00

Can light-colored rooftops and roads really curb carbon emissions and combat global climate change? The idea has been around for years, but now, a new study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that is the first to use a global model to study the question has found that implementing cool roofs and cool pavements in cities around the world can not only help cities stay cooler, they can also cool the world, with the potential of canceling the heating effect of up to two years...

2010-07-15 13:11:00

Conventional wisdom holds that optical microscopy can't be used to "see" something as small as an individual molecule. But science has once again overturned conventional wisdom. Secretary of Energy, Nobel laureate and former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Steven Chu led the development of a technique that enables the use of optical microscopy to image objects or the distance between them with resolutions as small as 0.5 nanometers "“ one-half of one...

2010-07-07 07:21:23

Powerful new microscopes able to resolve DNA molecules with visible light, superfast computers that use light rather than electronic signals to process information, and Harry Potteresque invisibility cloaks are just some of the many thrilling promises of transformation optics. In this burgeoning field of science, light waves can be controlled at all lengths of scale through the unique structuring of metamaterials, composites typically made from metals and dielectrics "“ insulators that...

2010-06-29 07:41:15

When it comes to metal catalysts, the platinum standard is, well, platinum! However, at about $2,000 an ounce, platinum is more expensive than gold. The high cost of the raw material presents major challenges for the future wide scale use of platinum in fuel cells. Research at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) suggests that one possible way to meet these challenges is to think small "“ really small. A study led by Gabor Somorjai...

2010-05-31 07:32:46

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC), Berkeley, have successfully attached imaging probes to glycans "“ the sugar molecules that are abundant on the surfaces of living cells "“ in the embryos of zebrafish less than seven hours after fertilization. Glycans are key regulators of the processes that guide cell development, and zebrafish are a top vertebrate model organism of...

2010-05-28 08:40:00

Jeffrey Long's lab will soon host a round-the-clock, robotically choreographed hunt for carbon-hungry materials. The Berkeley Lab chemist leads a diverse team of scientists whose goal is to quickly discover materials that can efficiently strip carbon dioxide from a power plant's exhaust, before it leaves the smokestack and contributes to climate change. They're betting on a recently discovered class of materials called metal-organic frameworks that boast a record-shattering internal surface...

2010-05-11 07:40:45

The future of clean green solar power may well hinge on scientists being able to unravel the mysteries of photosynthesis, the process by which green plants convert sunlight into electrochemical energy. To this end, researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC), Berkeley have recorded  the first observation and characterization of a critical physical phenomenon behind photosynthesis known...

2010-05-01 09:01:50

Hydrogen would command a key role in future renewable energy technologies, experts agree, if a relatively cheap, efficient and carbon-neutral means of producing it can be developed. An important step towards this elusive goal has been taken by a team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley. The team has discovered an inexpensive metal catalyst that can effectively generate...

2010-04-21 08:35:06

Atomic force microscopy, a tactile-based probe technique, provides a three-dimensional nanoscale image of a material by gliding a needle-like arm across the material's surface. The core of AFM imaging workhorse is a cantilever with a sharp tip that deflects as it encounters undulations across a surface.  Due to a minimum force required for imaging, conventional AFM cantilevers can  deform or even tear apart living cells and other biological materials. While scientists have made...

2010-04-15 08:10:00

Two-dimensional, "sheet-like" nanostructures are commonly employed in biological systems such as cell membranes, and their unique properties have inspired interest in materials such as graphene. Now, Berkeley Lab scientists have made the largest two-dimensional polymer crystal self-assembled in water to date. This entirely new material mirrors the structural complexity of biological systems with the durable architecture needed for membranes or integration into functional devices. These...

Word of the Day
  • A blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.