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The Lead

Rolls-Royce, collaborators study ways to strengthen titanium aircraft parts

April 23, 2014 8:01 am | by Glenn Roberts Jr., SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

Rolls-Royce researchers came to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory earlier this month as part of a team testing titanium and titanium alloys such as those used in engine parts, landing gear and other aircraft components. While the Rolls-Royce brand is also associated with luxury cars, this separate company, Rolls-Royce PLC, is a major global manufacturer of aircraft engines that power over 30 types of commercial aircraft.

Scientists capture ultrafast snapshots of light-driven superconductivity

April 16, 2014 2:34 pm | News | Comments

Carefully timed pairs of laser pulses at the Linac...

Science with “bling”

March 28, 2014 8:49 am | by Manuel Gnida, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

A research team led by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory scientists has uncovered a potential...

Scientists discover potential way to make graphene superconducting

March 20, 2014 8:02 am | News | Comments

Researchers in California have used a beam of...

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Data-mining for crystal “gold” at SLAC’s x-ray laser

March 17, 2014 9:21 am | by Glenn Roberts Jr., SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

A new tool for analyzing mountains of data from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s Linac Coherent Lightsource x-ray laser can produce high-quality images of important proteins using fewer samples. Scientists hope to use it to reveal the structures and functions of proteins that have proven elusive, as well as mine data from past experiments for new information.

A new way to tune x-ray laser pulses

March 11, 2014 8:09 am | by Glenn Roberts Jr., SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

A new system at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's x-ray laser narrows a rainbow spectrum of x-ray colors to a more intense band of light, creating a much more powerful way to view fine details in samples at the scale of atoms and molecules. Designed and installed at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source, it's the world’s first self-seeding system for enhancing lower-energy or soft x-rays.

X-ray laser shed new light on quest for faster data storage

March 7, 2014 8:27 am | by Glenn Roberts Jr., SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

An experiment at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s x-ray laser has revealed the first atomic-scale details of a new technique that could point the way to faster data storage in smartphones, laptops and other devices. Researchers used pulses of specially tuned light to change the magnetic properties of a material with potential for data storage.

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Pomegranate-inspired design solves problems for lithium-ion batteries

February 18, 2014 8:46 am | News | Comments

An electrode designed like a pomegranate—with silicon nanoparticles clustered like seeds in a tough carbon rind—overcomes several remaining obstacles to using silicon for a new generation of lithium-ion batteries, say its inventors at Stanford Univ. and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Scientists cook up new electronic material

January 10, 2014 8:23 am | News | Comments

Scientists have grown sheets of an exotic material in a single atomic layer and measured its electronic structure for the first time. They discovered it’s a natural fit for making thin, flexible light-based electronics. In the study, the researchers give a recipe for making the thinnest possible sheets of the material, called molybdenum diselenide, in a precisely controlled way, using a technique that’s common in electronics manufacturing.

Scientists line up unruly gas molecules for x-rays

December 19, 2013 8:25 pm | by Glenn Roberts Jr., SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) | News | Comments

It's hard to study individual molecules in a gas because they tumble around chaotically and never sit still. Researchers in California overcame this challenge by using a laser to point them in the same general direction, like compass needles responding to a magnet, so they could be more easily studied with an x-ray laser. It’s a key step toward producing movies that show how a single molecule changes during a chemical reaction.

LCLS powers chain reaction of light: A new tool for x-ray studies

December 12, 2013 7:46 am | News | Comments

Researchers have found a new way to probe molecules and atoms with an x-ray laser, setting off cascading bursts of light that reveal precise details of what is going on inside. The technique may allow scientists to see details of chemical reactions and home in on the properties of specific elements within complex molecules in a way not possible before.

Scientists prove x-ray laser can solve protein structures from scratch

November 25, 2013 7:54 am | News | Comments

A study shows, for the first time, that x-ray lasers can be used to generate a complete 3-D model of a protein without any prior knowledge of its structure. An international team of researchers working at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory produced from scratch an accurate model of lysozyme, a well-studied enzyme found in egg whites, using the Linac Coherent Light Source x-ray laser and sophisticated computer analysis tools.

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Will 2-D tin be the next super material?

November 22, 2013 8:09 am | News | Comments

A single layer of tin atoms could be the world’s first material to conduct electricity with 100% efficiency at the temperatures that computer chips operate, according to a team of theoretical physicists led by researchers from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford Univ.

Scientists invent self-healing battery electrode

November 18, 2013 7:47 am | Videos | Comments

Researchers have made the first battery electrode that heals itself, opening a new and potentially commercially viable path for making the next generation of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, cell phones and other devices. The secret is a stretchy polymer that coats the electrode, binds it together and spontaneously heals tiny cracks that develop during battery operation.

Completing the circuit

November 14, 2013 8:34 am | News | Comments

It may sound like chasing rainbows: Detecting flashes of light and energy that are invisible to the human eye and last only for a trillionth of an eye-blink. These flashes hold clues to the nature of exotic subatomic particles, important biological proteins and massive space objects alike.To reveal new details about science at these extremes, a team of scientists is designing intricate signal-processing chips known as ASICs.

Topological insulator breaks symmetry

November 5, 2013 8:19 am | News | Comments

An international team of scientists have discovered a new type of quantum material whose lopsided behavior may lend itself to creating novel electronics. The material is called bismuth tellurochloride, or BiTeCl. It belongs to a class of materials called topological insulators that conduct electrical current with perfect efficiency on their surfaces, but not through their middles.

Iron tells a cosmic story

October 31, 2013 8:02 am | News | Comments

New evidence of heavy elements spread evenly between the galaxies of the giant Perseus cluster supports the theory that the universe underwent a turbulent and violent youth more than 10 billion years ago. That explosive period was responsible for seeding the cosmos with the heavy elements central to life itself.

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Copper shock: An atomic-scale stress test

October 22, 2013 10:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists have used the powerful x-ray laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to create movies detailing trillionths-of-a-second changes in the arrangement of copper atoms after an extreme shock. The study pinpointed the precise breaking point when the extreme pressures began to permanently deform the copper structure, or lattice, so it could no longer bounce back to its original shape.

Iron melt network helped grow Earth’s core

October 8, 2013 10:23 am | News | Comments

The same process that allows water to trickle through coffee grinds to create your morning espresso may have played a key role in the formation of the early Earth and influenced its internal organization, according to a new study by scientists at Stanford Univ.'s School of Earth Sciences.

Researchers demonstrate “accelerator on a chip”

September 30, 2013 8:45 am | News | Comments

In an advance that could dramatically shrink particle accelerators for science and medicine, researchers used a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional technology in a nanostructured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice.

Hijacked protein may lead to new therapeutic interventions

September 27, 2013 8:17 am | News | Comments

Researchers hope to hijack a natural process called RNA interference to block the production of proteins linked to disease and treat medical conditions for which conventional drugs do not work, including cancer, heart disease, HIV and Parkinson’s disease. Scientists working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory took a significant step in that direction: They used x-rays to shed light on a key component of RNA interference in cells. 

Scientists create twisted light

September 19, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have found a new method to create coherent beams of twisted light—light that spirals around a central axis as it travels. It has the potential to generate twisted light in shorter pulses, higher intensities and a much wider range of wavelengths, including x-rays, than is currently possible.

Scientists make detailed map of current between insulators

September 13, 2013 7:58 am | News | Comments

When scientists found electrical current flowing where it shouldn't be—at the place where two insulating materials meet—it set off a frenzy of research that turned up more weird properties and the hope of creating a new class of electronics. Now scientists have mapped those currents in microscopic detail and found another surprise: Rather than flowing uniformly, the currents are stronger in some places than others.

Designer glue improves lithium-ion battery life

August 20, 2013 8:11 am | News | Comments

When it comes to improving the performance of lithium-ion batteries, no part should be overlooked; not even the glue that binds materials together in the cathode, researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford Univ. have found. Tweaking that material, which binds lithium sulfide and carbon particles together, created a cathode that lasted five times longer than earlier designs.

New analysis shows how proteins shift into working mode

August 8, 2013 11:01 am | News | Comments

In an advance that will help scientists design and engineer proteins, a team including researchers from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford Univ. has found a way to identify how protein molecules flex into specific atomic arrangements required to catalyze chemical reactions essential for life.

Picosecond photodetectors push timing envelope

August 6, 2013 12:15 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers within the Large Area Picosecond Photodetectors collaboration developed an advanced facility for testing large area photodetectors. The new facility, situated at Argonne National Laboratory, offers a level of spatial precision measured in micrometers and time resolutions at or below a picosecond.

Speed limit set for ultrafast electrical switch

July 29, 2013 9:35 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have clocked the fastest-possible electrical switching in magnetite, a naturally magnetic mineral. Their results could drive innovations in the tiny transistors that control the flow of electricity across silicon chips, enabling faster, more powerful computing devices.

Successful test of U.S. magnet puts LHC on track for major upgrade

July 12, 2013 7:17 am | News | Comments

The U.S. LHC Accelerator Program (LARP) has successfully tested a powerful superconducting quadrupole magnet that will play a key role in developing a new beam focusing system for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This advanced system, together with other major upgrades to be implemented over the next decade, will allow the LHC to produce 10 times more high-energy collisions than it was originally designed for.

A new high-energy record for LCLS

June 18, 2013 11:25 am | News | Comments

John Hill, a Brookhaven National Laboratory scientist, and his team watched with eager anticipation as controllers ramped up the power systems driving SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's x-ray laser in an attempt to achieve the record high energies needed to make his experiment a runaway success. To reach the high x-ray energies they were aiming for, all of the 80 klystrons associated with LCLS would need to operate at near-peak levels.

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