As 21st century technology strains to become ever faster, cleaner and cheaper, an invention from more than 200 years ago keeps holding it back. It's why electric cars aren't clogging the roads and why Boeing's new ultra-efficient 787 Dreamliners aren't flying high. And chances are you have this little invention next to you right now and probably have cursed it recently: the infernal battery.
A team of scientists have improved the performance of one of the most potent possible...
Lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundant organic material on Earth and could...
Cell interact with their surroundings using proteins called integrin, which reside in...
In the wake of the sobering news that atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least three million years, an important advance in the race to develop carbon-neutral renewable energy sources has been achieved. Scientists with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported the first fully integrated nanosystem for artificial photosynthesis.
The production of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass would benefit on several levels if carried out at temperatures between 65 and 70 C. Researchers with the Energy Biosciences Institute have employed a promising technique for improving the ability of enzymes that break cellulose down into fermentable sugars to operate in this temperature range.
Bubble baths and soapy dishwater and the refreshing head on a beer: These are foams, beautiful yet ephemeral as the bubbles pop one by one. Now, a team of researchers has described mathematically the successive stages in the complex evolution and disappearance of foamy bubbles, a feat that could help in modeling industrial processes in which liquids mix or in the formation of solid foams such as those used to cushion bicycle helmets.
U.S. Department of Energy Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers have developed an enzyme-free ionic liquid pretreatment of cellulosic biomass that makes it easier to recover fermentable sugars for biofuels and to recycle the ionic liquid.
A X-ray analytical technique that enables researchers at a glance to identify structural similarities and differences between multiple proteins under a variety of conditions has been developed by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. As a demonstration, the researchers used this technique to gain valuable new insight into a protein that is a prime target for cancer chemotherapy.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s sound-restoration experts have done it again. They’ve helped to digitally recover a 128-year-old recording of Alexander Graham Bell’s voice, enabling people to hear the famed inventor speak for the first time. The recording ends with Bell saying “in witness whereof, hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell.”
A dramatic leap forward in the ability of scientists to study the structural states of macromolecules such as proteins and nanoparticles in solution has been achieved by a pair of researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The researchers have developed a new set of metrics for analyzing data acquired through small angle scattering experiments with X-rays or neutrons.
In some parts of the developing world, people may live in homes without electricity or running water, but yet they own cell phones. To charge those phones, they may have to walk for miles to reach a town charging station. Now a startup company has created a simple, inexpensive way to provide electricity to the 2.5 billion people in the world who don’t get it reliably.
A unique atomic-scale engineering technique for turning low-efficiency photocatalytic “white” nanoparticles of titanium dioxide into high-efficiency “black” nanoparticles could be the key to clean energy technologies based on hydrogen. Samuel Mao leads the development of a technique for engineering disorder into the nanocrystalline structure of the semiconductor titanium dioxide.
For decades, no one worried much about the air quality inside people’s homes. Then scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory made the discovery that the aggregate health consequences of poor indoor air quality are as significant as those from all traffic accidents or infectious diseases in the United States. They are now working on turning those research findings into science-based solutions.
Chemists at California Institute of Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory believe they can now explain one of the remaining mysteries of photosynthesis, the chemical process by which plants convert sunlight into usable energy and generate the oxygen that we breathe. The finding suggests a new way of approaching the design of catalysts that drive the water-splitting reactions of artificial photosynthesis.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently hosted an international workshop that brought together top climatologists, computer scientists, and engineers from Japan and the United States to exchange ideas for the next generation of climate models as well as the hyper-performance computing environments that will be needed to process the data from those models. It was the 15th in a series of such workshops that have been taking place around the world since 1999.
Predictability is often used synonymously with “boring,” as in that story or that outcome was so predictable. For practitioners of synthetic biology seeking to engineer valuable new microbes, however, predictability is the brass ring that must be captured. Researchers with the multi-institutional partnership known as BIOFAB have become the first to grab at least a portion of this ring by unveiling a package of public domain DNA sequences and statistical models that greatly increase the reliability and precision by which biological systems can be engineered.
Atomic collapse, a phenomenon first predicted in the 1930s based on quantum mechanics and relativistic physics but never before observed, has now been seen for the first time in an “artificial nucleus” simulated on a sheet of graphene. The observation not only provides confirmation of long-held theoretical predictions, but could also pave the way for new kinds of graphene-based electronic devices, and for further research on basic physics.
Clouds can both cool the planet, by acting as a shield against the sun, and warm the planet, by trapping heat. But why do clouds behave the way they do? And how will a warming planet affect the cloud cover? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist David Romps has made it his mission to answer these questions.
Electrons flowing swiftly across the surface of topological insulators are "spin polarized," their spin and momentum locked. This new way to control electron distribution in spintronic devices makes TIs a hot topic in materials science. Now scientists have discovered more surprises: contrary to assumptions, the spin polarization of photoemitted electrons from a topological insulator is wholly determined in three dimensions by the polarization of the incident light beam.
Working with microscopic artificial atomic nuclei fabricated on graphene, a collaboration of researchers have imaged the “atomic collapse” states theorized to occur around super-large atomic nuclei. This is the first experimental observation of a quantum mechanical phenomenon that was predicted nearly 70 years ago and holds important implications for the future of graphene-based electronic devices.
Just like electronics, living cells use electrons for energy and information transfer. But cell membranes have thus far prevented us from “plugging” in cells to our computers. To get around this barrier that tightly controls charge balance, a research group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry has engineered <em>E. coli</em> as a testbed for cellular-electrode communication. They have now demonstrated that these bacterial strains can generate measurable current at an anode.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have achieved a major advance in understanding how genetic information is transcribed from DNA to RNA by providing the first step-by-step look at the biomolecular machinery that reads the human genome.
From providing living cells with energy, to nitrogen fixation, to the splitting of water molecules, the catalytic activities of metalloenzymes—proteins that contain a metal ion—are vital to life on Earth. Using ultrafast, intensely bright pulses of X-rays from SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source researchers were able to simultaneously image at room temperature the atomic and electronic structures of photosystem II, a metalloenzyme critical to photosynthesis.
A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team is working to improve lithium-ion battery performance, lifetime, and safety. Working with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the scientists are developing a new methodology for performing first-principles quantum molecular dynamics simulations at an unprecedented scale to understand key aspects of the chemistry and dynamics in lithium-ion batteries, particularly at interfaces.
A collaboration by researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has shown that blending different feedstocks and milling the mixture into flour or pellets has significant potential for helping to make biofuels a cost-competitive transportation fuel technology.
What if we could assess technologies for hidden environmental dangers before they hit the marketplace? And even better, what if the technology's positive impacts could be maximized and negative ones minimized before the technology is even deployed, as part of the development process? The Emerging Technology Assessment Team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is working to do just that, using energy and environmental analysis techniques to estimate potential impacts of early-stage technologies.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley researchers have discovered that the transcription factor protein TFIID co-exists in two distinct structural states, a key to genetic expression and TFIID’s ability to initiate the process by which DNA is copied into RNA.
Ever since he was a kid growing up in Germany, Holger Müller has been asking himself a fundamental question: What is time? That question has now led Müller, today an assistant professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley to a fundamentally new way of measuring time. Taking advantage of the fact that, in nature, matter can be both a particle and a wave, he has discovered a way to tell time by counting the oscillations of a matter wave.