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  • richardmitnick 1:52 pm on November 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From FNAL: “Multilaboratory collaboration brings new X-ray detector to light” 


    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Friday, Nov. 7, 2014
    Troy Rummler

    A collaboration blending research in DOE’s offices of High-Energy Physics (HEP) with Basic Energy Sciences (BES) will yield a one-of-a-kind X-ray detector. The device boasts Brookhaven Lab sensors mounted on Fermilab integrated circuits linked to Argonne Lab data acquisition systems. It will be used at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II and Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source. Lead scientists Peter Siddons, Grzegorz Deptuch and Robert Bradford represent the three laboratories.

    BNL NSLS II PhotoBNL NSLS-II Interior
    BNL NSLS II

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    ANL APS

    “This partnership between HEP and BES has been a fruitful collaboration, advancing detector technology for both fields,” said Brookhaven’s Peter Siddons.

    team
    These researchers work on the VIPIC prototype. Peter Siddons of Brookhaven National Laboratory (fifth from the left), Grzegroz Deptuch of Fermilab (third from the right) and Robert Bradford of Argonne National Laboratory (far right) lead the effort. Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory

    This detector is filling a need in the X-ray correlation spectroscopy (XCS) community, which has been longing for a detector that can capture dynamic processes in samples with microsecond timing and nanoscale sensitivity. Available detectors have been designed largely for X-ray diffraction crystallography and are incapable of performing on this time scale.

    det
    The 64-by-64 pixel VIPIC prototype, pictured with a sensor on the bottom and solder bump-bonding bump on top, ready to be received on the printed circuit board. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    In 2006, Fermilab’s Ray Yarema began investigating 3-D integrated chip technology, which increases circuit density, performance and functionality by vertically stacking rather than laterally arranging silicon wafers. Then in 2008 Deptuch, a member of Yarema’s group and Fermilab ASIC [Application Specific Integrated Circuit] Group leader since 2011, met with Siddons, a scientist at Brookhaven, at a medical imaging conference. They discussed applying 3-D technology to a new, custom detector project, which was later given the name VIPIC (vertically integrated photon imaging chip). Siddons was intrigued by the 3-D opportunities and has since taken the lead on leveraging Fermilab expertise toward the longstanding XCS problem. As a result, the development of the device at Fermilab — where 97 percent of research funds come through HEP — receives BES funding.

    A 64-by-64-pixel VIPIC prototype tested at Argonne this summer flaunted three essential properties: timing resolution within one microsecond; continuous new-data acquisition with simultaneous old-data read-out; and selective transmission of only pixels containing data.

    The results achieved with the prototype have attracted attention from the scientific community.

    Deptuch noted that this partnership between BES and HEP reflects the collaborative nature of such efforts at the national labs.

    “It truly is a cooperative effort, combining the expertise from three national laboratories toward one specific goal,” he said.

    The team will grow their first VIPIC prototype tiled, seamless array of chips on a sensor to form a 1-megapixel detector. The collaboration is targeting a completion date of 2017 for the basic functionality detector. Ideas for expanded capabilities are being discussed for the future.

    See the full article here.

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    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics.

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  • richardmitnick 4:19 pm on June 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Berkeley Lab: “Berkeley Lab Researchers Create Nanoparticle Thin Films That Self-Assemble in One Minute” 

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    Berkeley Lab

    June 9, 2014
    Lynn Yarris

    The days of self-assembling nanoparticles taking hours to form a film over a microscopic-sized wafer are over. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have devised a technique whereby self-assembling nanoparticle arrays can form a highly ordered thin film over macroscopic distances in one minute.

    three
    Upon solvent annealing, supramolecules made from gold nanoparticles and block copolymers will self-assemble into highly ordered thin films in one minute.

    Ting Xu, a polymer scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, led a study in which supramolecules based on block copolymers were combined with gold nanoparticles to create nanocomposites that under solvent annealing quickly self-assembled into hierarchically-structured thin films spanning an area of several square centimeters. The technique is compatible with current nanomanufacturing processes and has the potential to generate new families of optical coatings for applications in a wide number of areas including solar energy, nanoelectronics and computer memory storage. This technique could even open new avenues to the fabrication of metamaterials, artificial nanoconstructs that possess remarkable optical properties.

    TX
    Ting Xu holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and UC Berkeley’s Departments of Materials Sciences and Engineering, and Chemistry. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

    “Our technique can rapidly generate amazing nanoparticle assemblies over areas as large as a silicon wafer,” says Xu, who also holds a joint appointment with the University of California (UC) Berkeley’s Departments of Materials Sciences and Engineering, and Chemistry. “You can think of it as pancake batter that you can spread over a griddle, wait one minute and you have a pancake ready to eat.”

    Xu is the corresponding author of a paper describing this research in Nature Communications titled Rapid fabrication of hierarchically structured supramolecular nanocomposite thin films in one minute. Co-authors are Joseph Kao, Kari Thorkelsson, Peter Bai, Zhen Zhang and Cheng Sun.

    Nanoparticles function as artificial atoms with unique optical, electrical and mechanical properties. If nanoparticles can be induced to self-assemble into complex structures and hierarchical patterns, similar to what nature does with proteins, it would enable mass-production of devices a thousand times smaller those used in today’s microtechnology.

    Xu and her research group have been steadily advancing towards this ultimate goal. Most recently their focus has been on the use of block copolymer-based supramolecular solutions to direct the self-assembly of nanoparticle arrays. A supramolecule is a group of molecules that act as a single molecule able to perform a specific set of functions. Block copolymers are long sequences or “blocks” of one type of monomer bound to blocks of another type of monomer that have an innate ability to self-assemble into well-defined arrays of nano-sized structures over macroscopic distances.

    “Block copolymer-based supramolecules self-assemble and form a wide range of morphologies that feature microdomains typically a few to tens of nanometers in size,” Xu says. “As their size is comparable to that of nanoparticles, the microdomains of supramolecules provide an ideal structural framework for the self-assembly of nanoparticle arrays.”

    afm
    AFM phase image shows a 50-nm nanocomposite thin film in lithographically patterned trenches that formed unidirectional nanoparticle arrays over macroscopic distances in just over a minute. The bright circular dots represent the 5 nm gold nanoparticles as illustrated by the schematic.

    In the supramolecular technique devised by Xu and her colleagues, arrays of gold nanoparticles were incorporated into solutions of supramolecules to form films that were about 200 nanometers thick. Through solvent annealing, using chloroform as the solvent, the nanoparticle arrays organized into three-dimensional cylindrical microdomains that were packed into distorted hexagonal lattices in parallel orientation with the surface. This display of hierarchical structural control in nanoparticle self-assembly was impressive but was only half the game.

    “To be compatible with nanomanufacturing processes, the self-assembly fabrication process must also be completed within a few minutes to minimize any degradation of nanoparticle properties caused by exposure to the processing environment,” Xu says.

    She and her group systematically analyzed the thermodynamics and kinetics of self-assembly in their supramolecular nanocomposite thin films upon exposure to solvent vapor. They found that by optimizing a single parameter, the amount of solvent, assembly kinetics could be precisely tailored to produce hierarchically structured thin films in a single minute.

    “By constructing our block copolymer-based supramolecules from small molecules non-covalently attached to polymer side chains, we changed the energy landscape so that solvent content became the most important factor,” Xu says. “This enabled us to achieve fast-ordering of the nanoparticle arrays with the addition of only a very small amount of solvent, about 30-percent of the fraction of a 200 nanometer thick film.”

    two
    Joseph Kao and Kari Thorkelsson helped devise a technique whereby self-assembling nanoparticle arrays can form a highly ordered thin film over macroscopic distances in one minute. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

    The optical properties of nanocomposite thin films depend on the properties of individual nanoparticles and on well-defined inter-particle distances along different directions. Given that the dimensions of the gold nanoparticle arrays are at least one order of magnitude smaller than the wavelengths of visible light, the supramolecular technique of Xu and her colleagues has strong potential to be used for making metamaterials. These artificial materials have garnered a lot of attention in recent years because their electromagnetic properties are unattainable in natural materials. For example, a metamaterial can have a negative index of refraction, the ability to bend light backwards, unlike all materials found in nature, which bend light forward.

    “Our gold nanocomposite thin films exhibit strong wavelength- dependent optical anisotropy that can be tailored simply by varying the solvent treatment,” Xu says. “This presents a viable alternative to lithography for making metamaterials.”

    While Xu and her colleagues used gold nanoparticles in their films, the supramolecular approach is compatible with nanoparticles of other chemical compositions as well.

    “We should be able to create a library of nanoparticle assemblies engineered for light manipulation and other properties,” Xu says, “using a technique that is compatible with today’s most widely used nanomanufacturing processes, including blade coating, ink-jet printing and dynamic zone annealing.”

    This research was funded by the DOE Office of Science and made use of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science user facility.

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    APS at Argonne Lab

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 4:16 pm on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Argonne APS: “A Layered Nanostructure Held Together By DNA” 

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    March 18, 2014
    David Lindley

    Dreaming up nanostructures that have desirable optical, electronic, or magnetic properties is one thing. Figuring out how to make them is another. A new strategy uses the binding properties of complementary strands of DNA to attach nanoparticles to each other and builds up a layered thin-film nanostructure through a series of controlled steps. Investigation at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source has revealed the precise form that the structures adopted, and points to ways of exercising still greater control over the final arrangement.

    dna
    DNA

    The idea of using DNA to hold nanoparticles was devised more than 15 years ago by Chad Mirkin and his research team at Northwestern University. They attached short lengths of single-stranded DNA with a given sequence to some nanoparticles, and then attached DNA with the complementary sequence to others. When the particles were allowed to mix, the “sticky ends” of the DNA hooked up with each other, allowing for reversible aggregation and disaggregation depending on the hybridization properties of the DNA linkers.

    sticky
    Nanoparticles linked by complementary DNA strands form a bcc superlattice when added layer-by-layer to a DNA coated substrate. When the substrate DNA is all one type, the superlattice forms at a different orientation (top row) than if the substrate has both DNA linkers (bottom row). GISAXS scattering patterns (right) and scanning electron micrographs (inset) reveal the superlattice structure. No image credit.

    Recently, this DNA “smart glue” has been utilized to assemble nanoparticles into ordered arrangements resembling atomic crystal lattices, but on a larger scale. To date, nanoparticle superlattices have been synthesized in well over 100 crystal forms, including some that have never been observed in nature.

    However, these superlattices are typically polycrystalline, and the size, number, and orientation of the crystals within them is generally unpredictable. To be useful as metamaterials, photonic crystals, and the like, single superlattices with consistent size and fixed orientation are needed.

    Northwestern researchers and a colleague at Argonne National Laboratory have devised a variation on the DNA-linking procedure that allows a greater degree of control.

    The basic elements of the superlattice were gold nanoparticles, each 10 nanometers across. These particles were made in two distinct varieties, one adorned with approximately 60 DNA strands of a certain sequence, while the other carried the complementary sequence.

    The researchers built up thin-film superlattices on a silicon substrate that was also coated with DNA strands. In one set of experiments, the substrate DNA was all of one sequence – call it the “B” sequence – and it was first dipped into a suspension of nanoparticles with the complementary “A” sequence.

    When the A and B ends connected, the nanoparticles formed a single layer on the substrate. Then the process was repeated with a suspension of the B-type nanoparticles, to form a second layer. The whole cycle was repeated, as many as four more times, to create a multilayer nanoparticle superlattice in the form of a thin film.

    Grazing incidence small-angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS) studies carried out at the X-ray Science Division 12-ID-B beamline at the Argonne Advanced Photon Source revealed the symmetry and orientation of the superlattices as they formed. Even after just three half-cycles, the team found that the nanoparticles had arranged themselves into a well-defined, body-centered cubic (bcc) structure, which was maintained as more layers were added.

    In a second series of experiments, the researchers seeded the substrate with a mix of both the A and B types of DNA strand. Successive exposure to the two nanoparticle types produced the same bcc superlattice, but with a different vertical orientation. That is, in the first case, the substrate lay on a plane through the lattice containing only one type of nanoparticle, while in the second case, the plane contained an alternating pattern of both types (see the figure).

    To get orderly superlattice growth, the researchers had to conduct the process at the right temperature. Too cold, and the nanoparticles would stick to the substrate in an irregular fashion, and remain stuck. Too hot, and the DNA linkages would not hold together.

    But in a temperature range of a couple of degrees on either side of about 40° C (just below the temperature at which the DNA sticky ends detach from each other), the nanoparticles were able to continuously link and unlink from each other. Over a period of about an hour per half-cycle, they settled into the bcc superlattice, the most thermodynamically stable arrangement.

    GISAXS also revealed that although the substrate forced superlattices into specific vertical alignments, it allowed the nanoparticle crystals to form in any horizontal orientation. The researchers are now exploring the possibility that by patterning the substrate in a suitable way, they can control the orientation of the crystals in both dimensions, increasing the practical value of the technique.

    See the full article here.

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.

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  • richardmitnick 5:24 pm on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ARGONNE APS: “Squeezing Out the Hidden Lives of Electrons” 

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    FEBRUARY 26, 2014
    Jenny Morber

    In our daily lives we tend to think of electrical conductivity as largely static: Copper is a good choice for conduction; clay is not. But heat up that copper wire, and electron conduction slows. Give a flake of that ceramic a good squeeze, and conduction may perk up. Conductivity is determined by much more than simple chemistry. Metal-to-insulator transitions have excited and perplexed researchers for over a century, and they continue to provide fodder for research today. The key to understanding what causes changes in material conductivity lies in teasing out contributions from structural atomic arrangements and electron interactions. Researchers using high-energy x-rays from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) have managed to disentangle these components in vanadium sesquioxide (V2O3), an extensively studied model solid. By decoupling the effects of spin, charge, and lattice variables in V2O3, the team is uncovering a mechanism that has eluded researchers for six decades.

    graph
    Electrical resistance as a function of pressure in V2O3. As pressure increases from 5 GPa, resistance decreases as expected. At 12.5 GPa the sharp increase in resistance is an unexpected result of electron-lattice interactions. At ~33 GPa, the material’s corundum hexagonal structure changes to monoclinic, and resistance rises more sharply due to electron-electron interactions. Here the material is on the cusp of a metal-to-insulator transition.

    With measurements performed at the LERIX instrument at X-ray Science Division (XSD) beamline 20-ID and the High Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HP-CAT) beamline 16-ID, both at the APS, and calculations from the XSD Theory Group, the researchers have identified a structural phase change in V2O3 that occurs under great pressure, but without the usual metal-to-insulator transition. The interplay between crystal structure and electronic properties underlies almost every modern device, from pressure sensors to superconducting high speed trains.

    Under normal conditions, V2O3 is a black metallic solid with a corundum crystal structure, like that of rubies and sapphires. With changes in temperature it undergoes spectacular metal-to-insulator transitions, often with changes in magnetic behavior as well. These unusual properties make V2O3 a material of choice in devices that include temperature sensors and current regulators.

    Researchers had previously reported interesting behavior in V2O3 as temperature changed and pressure remained constant. Here the team tested the opposite condition, monitoring the material’s resistance while increasing the pressure at a constant temperature.

    At first everything seemed normal—as the pressure increased the material’s resistance also decreased. But around 12.5 GPa the resistance began to rise. This result was unexpected. Even more unusual, at greater pressures near 33 GPa, the material’s structure changed from corundum to a more compact monoclinic arrangement of atoms, but this change was not accompanied by a corresponding spike in resistance (see the figure). The material remained metallic. Previously, all corundum to monoclinic changes in structure had been accompanied by a simultaneous transition from metallic to insulating behavior.

    To understand what was happening, the researchers performed inelastic x-ray scattering measurements and compared the results with theoretical simulations. Because inelastic x-ray spectroscopy measures the unoccupied vanadium electron valence states, these measurements provide a more detailed picture of electron screening interactions.

    While the resistivity measurements clearly showed changes at 12.5 GPa, the inelastic x-ray spectra showed no differences up to the phase change pressure of 33 GPa. This means that the early changes in resistance were due not to changes in electron correlations, but to interactions between electrons and the lattice (or phonons).

    At high pressure the electronic structure changed drastically in the inelastic x-ray spectra, suggesting an increase in electron correlations, but not quite enough to tip the material into the category of an insulator. At such high pressure, V2O3 is on the verge of becoming an insulator, but can’t quite make the change due to competing effects from the lattice.

    This work adds another clue to our understanding of how long-range atomic arrangement and local electron interactions work competitively to manifest metal-to-insulator transitions in solids.

    The next step will be to explore electron correlations in V2O3 by using more advanced techniques, such as the resonant x-ray inelastic scattering method with temperature, as another parameter to extend the unique phase diagram of V2O3.

    See the full article here.

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.

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  • richardmitnick 8:17 am on November 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From APS at Argonne Lab: “The Most Detailed Picture Yet of a Key AIDS Protein” 

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    November 14, 2013
    No Writer Credit

    The first atomic-level structure of the tripartite HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) envelope protein—long considered one of the most difficult targets in structural biology and of great value for medical science—has been determined by scientists using data obtained at three synchrotron x-ray light sources including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source.

    hiv
    The structure of the human immunodeficiency virus envelope protein, shown here bound by broadly neutralizing antibodies against two distinct sites of vulnerability. (Courtesy of The Scripps Research Institute)

    The new findings provide the most detailed picture yet of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-causing virus’s complex envelope, including sites that future vaccines will try to mimic to elicit a protective immune response.

    “Most of the prior structural studies of this envelope complex focused on individual subunits; but we’ve needed the structure of the full complex to properly define the sites of vulnerability that could be targeted, for example with a vaccine,” said Ian A. Wilson of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and a senior author of the new research that included colleagues from TSRI; Weill Cornell Medical College; the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard; and the Academic Medical Center (The Netherlands). The findings were published in two papers in Science Express, the early online edition of the journal Science, on October 31, 2013.

    See the full article here.

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.

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  • richardmitnick 12:54 pm on June 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Argonne Lab APS: “Organic Polymers Show Sunny Potential” 

    Argonne National Laboratory

    JUNE 25, 2013
    No Writer Credit

    “A new version of solar cells created by laboratories at the Rice and Pennsylvania State universities, with an assist from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory and Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, could open the door to research on a new class of solar energy devices.

    grid
    Researchers at Rice and Pennsylvania State universities have created solar cells based on block copolymers, self-assembling organic materials that arrange themselves into distinct layers. Image courtesy of the Gomez Laboratory

    The photovoltaic devices created in a project led by Rice chemical engineer Rafael Verduzco and Penn State chemical engineer Enrique Gomez are based on block copolymers, self-assembling organic materials that arrange themselves into distinct layers. They easily outperform other cells with polymer compounds as active elements.

    The discovery is detailed online in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.”

    See the full article here.

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.

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  • richardmitnick 11:03 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Argonne Lab: “A Further Understanding of Superconductivity” 

    Argonne National Laboratory

    JUNE 10, 2013
    No Writer Credit

    “A crucial ingredient of high-temperature superconductivity can be found in a class of materials that is entirely different than conventional superconductors. That discovery is the result of research by an international team of scientists working at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS).

    ‘There have been more than 60,000 papers published on high-temperature superconductive material since its discovery in 1986, said Jak Chakhalian, professor of physics at the University of Arkansas (UA) and a co-author of a new paper published on May 13, 2013, in Scientific Reports. ‘Unfortunately, as of today we have zero theoretical understanding of the mechanism behind this enigmatic phenomenon. In my mind, high-temperature superconductivity is the most important unsolved mystery of condensed matter physics.’

    Superconductivity is a phenomenon that occurs in certain materials when cooled to extremely low temperatures such as -435° F. High temperature superconductivity occurs above -396 F, and has been seen up to -218 F in HgBa2Ca2Cu3O8. In both cases, electrical resistance drops to zero and complete expulsion of magnetic fields occurs.

    sc
    The entire crystal structure of the chemical compound CaCu3Cr4O12, an A-site ordered perovskite.No image credit.

    Because superconductors have the ability to transport large electrical currents and produce high magnetic fields, they have long held great potential for electronic devices and power transmission.”

    See the full article here.

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.

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  • richardmitnick 5:25 pm on April 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Argonne APS: "Protein Structure Could Lead to Better Treatments for HIV, Early Aging" 

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    APRIL 9, 2013
    No Writer Credit

    “Researchers have determined the molecular structure of a protein whose mutations have been linked to several early aging diseases, and side effects for common human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) medications. This breakthrough could eventually help researchers develop new treatments for these early-aging diseases and redesign AIDS medications to avoid side effects such as diabetes. The research was carried out at the Southeastern Regional Collaborative Access Team(SER-CAT) facility at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory.

    ribbon
    Ribbon diagram of the Ste24p protease.

    The researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry determined the molecular structure of the enzyme Ste24p. Their Membrane Protein Structural Biology Consortium is funded by the National Institutes of Health Protein Structure Initiative, which supports the determination of molecular structures of biomedically important target proteins. Their findings were published March 29 in the journal Science.

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.

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  • richardmitnick 6:49 pm on April 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Argonne APS: “Antibody evolution could guide HIV vaccine development” 

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    “Observing the evolution of a particular type of antibody in an infected HIV-1 patient has provided insights that will enable vaccination strategies that mimic the actual antibody development within the body. Spearheaded by Duke University, the multi-institution study included analysis from Los Alamos National Laboratory and used high-energy X-rays from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.

    weeks
    The evolution of the viral protein (green) from 14 weeks through 100 weeks post-transmission is compared with the maturation of the human antibody.

    The kind of antibody studied is called a broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibody, and details of its generation could provide a blueprint for effective vaccination, according to the study’s authors. In a paper published online in Nature this week titled Co-evolution of a broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibody and founder virus, the team reported on the isolation, evolution and structure of a broadly neutralizing antibody from an African donor followed from the time of infection.

    The observations trace the co-evolution of the virus and antibodies, ultimately leading to the development of a strain of the potent antibodies in this subject, and they could provide insights into strategies to elicit similar antibodies by vaccination.

    Patients early in HIV-1 infection have primarily a single “founder” form of the virus that has been strong enough to infect the patient, even though the population in the originating patient is usually far more diverse and contains a wide variety of HIV mutations. Once the founder virus is involved in the new patient’s system, the surrounding environment stimulates the HIV to mutate and form a unique, tailored population of virus that is specific to the individual.

    ‘Our hope is that a vaccine based on the series of HIV variants that evolved within this subject, that were together capable of stimulating this potent broad antibody response in his natural infection, may enable triggering similar protective antibody responses in vaccines,’ said [Bette] Korber, leader of the Los Alamos team.”

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.

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  • richardmitnick 9:28 am on March 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Argonne APS: "Shedding Light on Chemistry with a Biological Twist" 

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    MARCH 14, 2013
    David Bradley

    “Many of life’s processes rely on light to trigger a chemical change. Photosynthesis, vision, the movement of light-seeking or light-avoiding bacteria, for instance, all exploit photochemistry. Discovering exactly how living things absorb and convert light energy into a form that can change the molecules involved in such processes would not only help scientists understand them but could lead to ways to mimic such processes for more efficient solar energy conversion, for instance. A clearer understanding of how light can drive biological processes has emerged from x-ray diffraction studies carried out on beamlines at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). This work will help science shed a brighter light on some of life’s most critical processes.”

    pic
    The isomerization of a small molecule caged inside a photoactive protein recorded by time-resolved x-ray crystallography reveals a detailed sequence of events (represented by dominos) composed of a short-lived intermediate (red) whose reaction trajectory bifurcates along bicycle-pedal (left) and hula-twist (right) pathways. No image credit.

    See the full article here.

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.

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