Latest Materials Sciences Division Stories

2011-09-15 12:22:34

Berkeley Lab scientists uncover the secret of remarkable photovoltages in ferroelectrics If solar cells could generate higher voltages when sunlight falls on them, they'd produce more electrical power more efficiently. For over half a century scientists have known that ferroelectrics, materials whose atomic structure allows them to have an overall electrical polarization, can develop very high photovoltages under illumination. Until now, no one has figured out exactly how this photovoltaic...

2011-08-08 14:27:16

Scientists at Berkeley Lab find nanoparticle size is readily controlled to make stronger aluminum alloys Long before they knew they were doing it "“ as long ago as the Wright Brother's first airplane engine "“ metallurgists were incorporating nanoparticles in aluminum to make a strong, hard, heat-resistant alloy. The process is called solid-state precipitation, in which, after the melt has been quickly cooled, atoms of alloying metals migrate through a solid matrix and gather...

2011-07-15 14:44:20

With the Advanced Light Source Berkeley Lab scientists explore the electronic structure of graphene in regions never before tested by experiment Graphene, a sheet of carbon only a single atom thick, was an object of theoretical speculation long before it was actually made. Theory predicts extraordinary properties for graphene, but testing the predictions against experimental results is often challenging. Now researchers using the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at the U.S. Department of Energy's...

2011-01-26 10:01:59

Paul Preuss, Berkeley Lab Solar cells are made from semiconductors whose ability to respond to light is determined by their band gaps (energy gaps). Different colors have different energies, and no single semiconductor has a band gap that can respond to sunlight's full range, from low-energy infrared through visible light to high-energy ultraviolet. Although full-spectrum solar cells have been made, none yet have been suitable for manufacture at a consumer-friendly price. Now Wladek...

2009-06-10 14:10:00

Graphene is the two-dimensional crystalline form of carbon, whose extraordinary electron mobility and other unique features hold great promise for nanoscale electronics and photonics. But there's a catch: graphene has no bandgap."Having no bandgap greatly limits graphene's uses in electronics," says Feng Wang of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he is a member of the Materials Sciences Division. "For one thing, you can build field-effect transistors...

2008-10-20 14:00:00

Because they are riddled with defects, bulk crystalline materials never achieve their ideal strength; nanocrystals, on the other hand, are so small there's no room for defects. ("Nano" is short for nanometer, a billionth of a meter.) Yet while nanocrystalline materials may approach ideal strength in their resistance to stress, most nanostructures have shown only a limited ability to withstand large internal strains before they fail. Overcoming this limitation could lead to great advances in...

Word of the Day
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'