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  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Influential electrons? Physicists uncover a quantum relationship", How electron energies vary from region to region in a particular quantum state, LBNL, , , , Quantum hybridization in the relationships between moving electrons, , Spectromicroscopy   

    From New York University, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Rutgers University, and MIT via phys.org: “Influential electrons? Physicists uncover a quantum relationship” 

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    phys.org

    A team of physicists has mapped how electron energies vary from region to region in a particular quantum state with unprecedented clarity. This understanding reveals an underlying mechanism by which electrons influence one another, termed quantum “hybridization,” that had been invisible in previous experiments.

    1
    Credit: CC0 Public Domain

    The findings, the work of scientists at New York University, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Rutgers University, and MIT, are reported in the journal Nature Physics.

    “This sort of relationship is essential to understanding a quantum electron system—and the foundation of all movement—but had often been studied from a theoretical standpoint and not thought of as observable through experiments,” explains Andrew Wray, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Physics and one of the paper’s co-authors. “Remarkably, this work reveals a diversity of energetic environments inside the same material, allowing for comparisons that let us spot how electrons shift between states.”

    The scientists focused their work on bismuth selenide, or Bi2Se3, a material that has been under intense investigation for the last decade as the basis of advanced information and quantum computing technologies. Research in 2008 and 2009 identified bismuth selenide to host a rare “topological insulator” quantum state that changes the way electrons at its surface interact with and store information.

    Studies since then have confirmed a number of theoretically inspired ideas about topological insulator surface electrons. However, because these particles are on a material’s surface, they are exposed to environmental factors not present in the bulk of the material, causing them to manifest and move in different ways from region to region.

    The resulting knowledge gap, together with similar challenges for other material classes, has motivated scientists to develop techniques for measuring electrons with micron- or nanometer- scale spatial resolution, allowing researchers to examine electron interaction without external interference.

    The Nature Physics research is one of the first studies to use this new generation of experimental tools, termed “”—and the first spectromicroscopy investigation of Bi2Se3. This procedure can track how the motion of surface electrons differs from region to region within a material. Rather than focusing on average electron activity over a single large region on a sample surface, the scientists collected data from nearly 1,000 smaller regions.

    By broadening the terrain through this approach, they could observe signatures of quantum hybridization in the relationships between moving electrons, such as a repulsion between electronic states that come close to one another in energy. Measurements from this method illuminated the variation of electronic quasiparticles across the material surface.

    “Looking at how the electronic states vary in tandem with one another across the sample surface reveals conditional relationships between different kinds of electrons, and it’s really a new way of studying a material,” explains Erica Kotta, an NYU graduate student and first author on the paper. “The results provide new insight into the physics of topological insulators by providing the first direct measurement of quantum hybridization between electrons near the surface.”

    See the full article here .

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    About Science X in 100 words

    Science X™ is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004 (Physorg.com), Science X’s readership has grown steadily to include 5 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Science X publishes approximately 200 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Science X community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.
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  • richardmitnick 2:03 pm on December 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Quantum Information Edge Launches to Accelerate Quantum Computing R&D for Breakthrough Science", LBNL   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “The Quantum Information Edge Launches to Accelerate Quantum Computing R&D for Breakthrough Science” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    December 20, 2019
    Laurel Kellner
    lkellner@lbl.gov
    510-486-5375

    A nationwide alliance of national labs, universities, and industry launched today to advance the frontiers of quantum computing systems designed to solve urgent scientific challenges and maintain U.S. leadership in next-generation information technology.

    The Quantum Information Edge strategic alliance is led by two of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Sandia National Laboratories. The alliance also includes experts from the University of Maryland, Duke University, Harvard University, University of Colorado Boulder, UC Berkeley, Caltech, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of New Mexico.

    1
    (Credit: sakkmesterke/Shutterstock)

    This partnership brings together an unprecedented breadth of world-leading expertise and capabilities in computer science, materials science, physics, mathematics, and engineering to pioneer practical advances in quantum systems.

    The alliance will identify the most impactful scientific applications that stand to benefit from quantum computing and engineer the hardware and software systems to run these applications. Using advanced hardware including superconducting circuits and naturally occurring atomic systems, the alliance will explore ways to achieve practical quantum advantage – meaning the systems can outperform state-of-the-art classical methods for important scientific and engineering problems.

    The team will also help grow the workforce needed to keep the nation at the forefront of quantum information science for years to come, share its advances with the broader scientific community to drive the innovation ecosystem, and work with industry to translate promising technologies into real-world applications.

    “We are at the threshold of significant advances in quantum information science. To break new ground, The Quantum Information Edge will accelerate quantum R&D by simultaneously pursuing solutions across a broad range of science and technology areas, and integrating these efforts to build working quantum computing systems that benefit the nation and science,” said Irfan Siddiqi, director of Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Quantum Testbed and a faculty scientist in the Lab’s Computational Research and Materials Sciences divisions.

    “Through collaboration and innovation focused on tangible technology demonstrations, The Quantum Information Edge will amplify the return-on-investment of quantum research within the U.S. by accelerating progress toward achieving practical quantum computing systems,” said Scott Collis, director of Computing Research at Sandia.

    The alliance’s work on programmable quantum systems has the potential to solve scientific problems that are far beyond the reach of today’s machines, in areas such as information processing, simulations, and metrology. It could transform the design of solar cells, new materials, pharmaceuticals, agricultural fertilizers, and probe the mysteries of physics and the universe, among many applications.

    To make this a reality, the alliance will advance quantum information systems using several hardware approaches, including superconducting, trapped ion, and trapped atom quantum bits (or qubits). The alliance will explore how to suppress noise and errors in multi-qubit quantum processors, which severely degrade system performance, develop new computing algorithms to control qubits, and engineer new techniques to fabricate, control, and interconnect qubits. Theoretical computer scientists, physicists, engineers, and chemists will help understand how best to apply these systems to important scientific problems.

    “The quantum processors developed by The Quantum Information Edge will explore the mysterious properties of complex quantum systems in ways never before possible, opening unprecedented opportunities for scientific discovery while also posing new challenges. Our world-class theory team, working closely with the hardware builders, will exploit this powerful technology to advance the frontiers of the physical and computational sciences,” said John Preskill, the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology.

    “We will continually build and use full quantum systems, not just the components, to forge new scientific opportunities in information processing that are not possible in conventional research programs,” said Christopher Monroe, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland.

    “By developing and applying programmable quantum information systems, we hope to define a new frontier at the cutting edge of science and engineering. These efforts have a great potential for scientific discoveries and for identifying the first useful applications of quantum machines,” said Mikhail Lukin, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard and a co-Director of Harvard Quantum Initiative.

    “The broad scope of quantum information science and technology demands responses from a diverse set of research groups who will coordinate their scientific visions and technologies to identify and solve practical problems, bring unforeseen benefits, and uncover scientific secrets,” said Jun Ye, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and a fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

    See the full article here .

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    LBNL campus

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    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 1:42 pm on December 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Tiny Quantum Sensors Watch Materials Transform Under Pressure", , “Noise spectroscopy”-measuring the magnetic “noise” emanating from the gadolinium electrons’ motion., , Diamond anvil cells, LBNL,   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Tiny Quantum Sensors Watch Materials Transform Under Pressure” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    December 12, 2019
    Theresa Duque
    tnduque@lbl.gov
    (510) 495-2418

    1
    At left, natural diamonds glow under ultraviolet light owing to their various nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers. At right, a schematic depicting the diamond anvils in action, with NV centers in the bottom anvil. The NV sensors glow a brilliant shade of red when excited with laser light. By probing the brightness of this fluorescence, the researchers were able to see how the sensors responded to small changes in their environment. (Credits: Norman Yao/Berkeley Lab; Ella Marushchenko)

    Since their invention more than 60 years ago, diamond anvil cells have made it possible for scientists to recreate extreme phenomena – such as the crushing pressures deep inside the Earth’s mantle – or to enable chemical reactions that can only be triggered by intense pressure, all within the confines of a laboratory apparatus that you can safely hold in the palm of your hand.

    To develop new, high-performance materials, scientists need to understand how useful properties, such as magnetism and strength, change under such harsh conditions. But often, measuring these properties with enough sensitivity requires a sensor that can withstand the crushing forces inside a diamond anvil cell.

    Since 2018, scientists at the Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials (NPQC), an Energy Frontier Research Center led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), have sought to understand how the properties of electronic and optical materials can be harnessed to develop ultrasensitive sensors capable of measuring electric and magnetic fields.

    Now, a team of scientists led by Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, with support from the NPQC, have come up with a clever solution: By turning natural atomic flaws inside the diamond anvils into tiny quantum sensors, the scientists have developed a tool that opens the door to a wide range of experiments inaccessible to conventional sensors. Their findings, which were reported today in the journal Science, have implications for a new generation of smart, designer materials, as well as the synthesis of new chemical compounds, atomically fine-tuned by pressure.

    2
    Co-lead authors Satcher Hsieh (left) and Chong Zu tune the laser of their imaging system. When excited by laser light, NV centers emit photons whose brightness informs researchers about the local environment that they are sensing. (Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

    Turning atomic flaws into sensors

    At the atomic level, diamonds owe their sturdiness to carbon atoms bound together in a tetrahedral crystal structure. But when diamonds form, some carbon atoms can get bumped out of their “lattice site,” a space in the crystal structure that is like their assigned parking spot. When a nitrogen atom impurity trapped in the crystal sits adjacent to an empty site, a special atomic defect forms: a nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center.

    Over the last decade, scientists have used NV centers as tiny sensors to measure the magnetism of a single protein, the electric field from a single electron, and the temperature inside a living cell, explained Norman Yao, faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and assistant professor of physics at UC Berkeley.

    To take advantage of the NV centers’ intrinsic sensing properties, Yao and colleagues engineered a thin layer of them directly inside the diamond anvil in order to take a snapshot of the physics within the high-pressure chamber.

    Imaging stress inside the diamond anvil cell

    After generating a layer of NV center sensors a few hundred atoms in thickness inside one-tenth-carat diamonds, the researchers tested the NV sensors’ ability to measure the diamond anvil cell’s high-pressure chamber.

    The sensors glow a brilliant shade of red when excited with laser light; by probing the brightness of this fluorescence, the researchers were able to see how the sensors responded to small changes in their environment.

    What they found surprised them: The NV sensors suggested that the once-flat surface of the diamond anvil began to curve in the center under pressure.

    Co-author Raymond Jeanloz, professor of earth and planetary science at UC Berkeley, and his team identified the phenomenon as “cupping” – a concentration of the pressure toward the center of the anvil tips.

    4

    “They had known about this effect for decades but were accustomed to seeing it at 20 times the pressure, where you can see the curvature by eye,” Yao said. “Remarkably, our diamond anvil sensor was able to detect this tiny curvature at even the lowest pressures.”

    There were other surprises, too. When a methanol/ethanol mixture they squeezed underwent a glass transition from a liquid to a solid, the diamond surface turned from a smooth bowl to a jagged, textured surface. Mechanical simulations performed by co-author Valery Levitas of Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory confirmed the result.

    “This is a fundamentally new way to measure phase transitions in materials at high pressure, and we hope this can complement conventional methods that utilize powerful X-ray radiation from a synchrotron source,” said lead author Satcher Hsieh, a doctoral researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and in the Yao Group at UC Berkeley.

    Co-lead authors with Hsieh are graduate student researcher Prabudhya Bhattacharyya and postdoctoral researcher Chong Zu of the Yao Group at UC Berkeley.

    Magnetism under pressure

    In another experiment, the researchers used their array of NV sensors to capture a magnetic “snapshot” of iron and gadolinium.

    Iron and gadolinium are magnetic metals. Scientists have long known that compressing iron and gadolinium can alter them from a magnetic phase to a nonmagnetic phase, an outcome of what scientists call a “pressure-induced phase transition.” In the case of iron, the researchers directly imaged this transition by measuring the depletion of the magnetic field generated by a micron-size (or one millionth of a meter) bead of iron inside the high-pressure chamber.

    4
    Co-lead author Satcher Hsieh preparing a sample to be compressed in the diamond anvil cell. (Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

    In the case of gadolinium, the researchers took a different approach. In particular, the electrons inside gadolinium “happily whiz around in random directions,” and this chaotic “mosh pit” of electrons generates a fluctuating magnetic field that the NV sensor can measure, Hsieh said.

    The researchers noted that the NV center sensors can flip into different magnetic quantum states in the presence of magnetic fluctuations, much like how a compass needle spins in different directions when you wave a bar magnet near it.

    So they postulated that by timing how long it took for the NV centers to flip from one magnetic state to another, they could characterize the gadolinium’s magnetic phase by measuring the magnetic “noise” emanating from the gadolinium electrons’ motion.

    They found that when gadolinium is in a non-magnetic phase, its electrons are subdued, and its magnetic field fluctuations hence are weak. Subsequently, the NV sensors stay in a single magnetic quantum state for a long while – nearly a hundred microseconds.

    Conversely, when the gadolinium sample changed to a magnetic phase, the electrons moved around rapidly, causing the nearby NV sensor to swiftly flip to another magnetic quantum state.

    This sudden change provided clear evidence that gadolinium had entered a different magnetic phase, Hsieh said, adding that their technique allowed them to pinpoint magnetic properties across the sample with submicron precision as opposed to averaging over the entire high-pressure chamber as in previous studies.

    The researchers hope that this “noise spectroscopy” technique will provide scientists with a new tool for exploring phases of magnetic matter that can be used as the foundation for smaller, faster, and cheaper ways of storing and processing data through next-generation ultrafast spintronic devices.

    Next steps

    Now that they’ve demonstrated how to engineer NV centers into diamond anvil cells, the researchers plan to use their device to explore the magnetic behavior of superconducting hydrides – materials that conduct electricity without loss near room temperature at high pressure, which could revolutionize how energy is stored and transferred.

    And they would also like to explore science outside of physics. “What’s most exciting to me is that this tool can help so many different scientific communities,” says Hsieh. “It’s sprung up collaborations with groups ranging from high-pressure chemists to Martian paleomagnetists to quantum materials scientists.”

    Researchers from Berkeley Lab; UC Berkeley; Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Germany; Iowa State University; Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C.; and Ames Laboratory participated in the work.

    This work was supported by the Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science. Additional funding was provided by the Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation.

    Additional Information: The December 13 issue of Science features two complementary studies about NV-based magnetic sensing at high pressures as well as a Perspective article:

    Magnetic Measurements on Micrometer-Sized Samples Under High Pressure Using Designed NV Centers
    Measuring Magnetic Field Texture in Correlated Electron Systems Under Extreme Conditions
    Extreme Diamond-Based Quantum Sensors

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    LBNL campus

    LBNL Molecular Foundry

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 4:08 pm on December 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Peek into the Battery Technology Pipeline, , LBNL   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “A Peek into the Battery Technology Pipeline” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    December 11, 2019
    Jessica Scully

    1
    Berkeley Lab battery researcher Gerbrand Ceder (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

    Lithium ion is probably the most advanced technology available for the packs of rechargeable batteries you’ll buy this holiday season. The batteries also power the vast majority of consumer devices, electric vehicles, and grid storage systems.

    Despite their ubiquity, lithium-ion batteries have disadvantages. Metals used in the batteries are becoming expensive and one crucial metal, cobalt, is relatively rare and has had recent media focus on questionable mining practices in some regions. Plus, the batteries can overheat and, when damaged, occasionally catch fire.

    With its deep expertise in materials research, materials design, and energy storage technologies, Berkeley Lab is working on better battery alternatives. Gerbrand Ceder, a battery researcher in the Materials Science Division, details four battery technologies being studied by Berkeley Lab scientists that could make a big difference in the future.

    Cobalt- and Nickel-Free Batteries

    The reservoirs of a lithium-ion battery, the anode and the cathode, store lithium. When the battery is in use, lithium ions move to the cathode from the anode with the aid of a liquid electrolyte, typically an organic solvent, generating an electric current. When the battery charges, the reverse occurs.

    Materials used to store lithium in lithium-ion batteries typically contain cobalt and nickel. Cobalt is scarce and expensive and has been linked with questionable practices in regions where it is mined.

    The technology would solve these problems by eliminating cobalt and reducing or eliminating nickel. Iron or manganese, both of which are inexpensive, would ideally be used instead, Ceder said.

    Possible uses: In consumer electronics and vehicles.

    When available: Five to six years.

    Multi-Valent Batteries

    Instead of using lithium ions, which are “single valent,” this technology would use materials with ions that carry more charge, like magnesium, calcium, or possibly aluminum. These so-called “multi-valent batteries” could therefore be much smaller and more powerful than lithium-ion batteries.

    Possible uses: In portable electronics and electric vehicles “if we can make it work,” Ceder said.

    When available: This technology is “the most ambitious but therefore probably also the most difficult,” Ceder said. It’s at least 10 years away.

    Sodium-Ion Batteries

    These batteries would replace the lithium in lithium-ion batteries with sodium. A sodium-ion battery would operate exactly the same as a lithium one, except instead of moving lithium ions, it would move sodium ions. Sodium is much cheaper than lithium, and the materials that would be used to store sodium could also be cheaper than those to store lithium, which are primarily cobalt and nickel-based oxides. Eventually, these batteries could cost less than half of lithium-ion batteries, Ceder said.

    Possible uses: For electrical power grids to store excess power, often from solar and wind, for later use.

    When available: The technology is “almost to the point where it can work,” Ceder said, “but the question is whether it will get market traction.” With market traction, the technology might be three to four years away, he said.

    Solid-State Batteries

    This technology would replace the highly flammable liquid electrolytes of some lithium-ion batteries with an inflammable solid material. The primary benefit would be improved safety, but it might be possible to use other storage materials and increase the energy content, Ceder said. In addition to being safer, such batteries could reduce costs and weight by eliminating the need for cooling and other safety devices.

    Possible uses: In both electric vehicles to reduce costs and increase range and in consumer devices.

    When available: At least four or five years away.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    LBNL Molecular Foundry

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 4:40 pm on December 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , LBNL, , Rare diseases are not as rare as you might think., They may be undiagnosed, To diagnose and treat a disease we need to know how to define and characterize the disease.   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “News Center Rare Disease Q&A: What Rare Diseases Are and Why That Matters” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    December 3, 2019
    Aliyah Kovner
    akovner@lbl.gov
    510-486-6376

    1

    Rare diseases are … rare, right? Not as rare as you might think. As much as 10% of the population is thought to have a “rare disease.” Unfortunately, due to a lack of understanding, many rare diseases remain very difficult to diagnose and treat.

    Inspired by the enormous unmet needs of people with rare diseases, a group of scientists from across the globe has teamed up to develop open-access tools and resources for sharing disease characteristics and treatment information. The research is centered around an artificial intelligence-enabled catalog of disease descriptions called Mondo, which, like a Wikipedia for rare diseases, can be added to and improved by the scientific and medical community.

    In a recent commentary in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, the group explained how agreeing on precise definitions of each rare disease can lead to more accurate diagnoses and better treatments. They also shared results from a preliminary analysis that suggests that the number of different rare diseases may be higher than previously estimated.

    The project team, led by Melissa Haendel of Oregon Health & Science University, and Tudor Oprea of the University of New Mexico, includes Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers Chris Mungall, Nomi Harris, Deepak Unni, and Marcin Joachimiak. We spoke with Chris and Nomi about the project and why they are participating in it.

    How do we decide what qualifies as a rare disease?

    Nomi: There’s no single definition of “rare disease” because it depends on which region or group you’re talking about. In the U.S., a rare disease is legally defined as one that affects fewer than 200,000 people; in the EU, a rare disease is one that affects fewer than 1 in 2,000 people. Some diseases are rare in some groups but common in others – for example, Tay-Sachs disease is rare in the general population, but much more common in Ashkenazi Jews, and tuberculosis is rare in the U.S. but is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

    All of us almost certainly know someone who has a rare disease, though they may be undiagnosed.

    How are the current systems or protocols for classifying rare diseases translating into problems in patient care?

    Nomi: To diagnose and treat a disease, we need to know how to define and characterize the disease. For common diseases, there are many cases to observe, so we have a pretty good idea of what that disease looks like – what the symptoms are, how to test for it, how to treat it. For rare diseases, there may be only scattered information – maybe one physician in South America has seen a case, and one researcher in China, but they aren’t sharing their information, so we don’t have a complete picture of what that disease looks like. And if we can’t precisely define a disease, then it’s hard to reliably diagnose it, and even harder to treat it optimally.

    Our preliminary analysis, included in the commentary, suggests that the number of rare diseases may be higher than we thought – maybe around 10,000 different diseases, rather than the 5,000-7,000 that has previously been estimated. That means that distinct rare diseases (for example, different varieties of thyroid cancer) have probably been lumped together, when there might be different subtypes that benefit from different treatments.

    What needs to be done to improve and expedite rare disease research, diagnosis, and treatment?

    Chris: As Nomi mentioned, it’s hard to come up with the best treatment for a disease if you’re not even sure what exactly that disease looks like, or if it is confused with a similar disease. To address this, our team is working to catalog the whole landscape of rare diseases. We’re bringing together separate efforts in rare disease research, and developing computational tools to help experts come up with a precise definition for each rare disease. We developed a new artificial intelligence algorithm that helps disambiguate and unify the disease definitions from different databases and reference sources. We call this unified set of disease definitions “Mondo,” from the Italian word for “world,” because it brings together information from all over the world.

    To accelerate this important work, we hope that funding and regulatory agencies, patient advocacy groups, and biomedical researchers will join together to support a coordinated effort to build a complete catalog of rare diseases.

    How can Berkeley Lab play a role in this effort?

    Chris: Berkeley Lab has been at the forefront of efforts to establish standards for representing and sharing biomedical data. My specialty is ontologies, which are like specialized vocabularies for precisely describing a class of things, such as symptoms, diseases, biochemical processes, or even entire ecological systems. One of the most widely used ontologies in biological science, the Gene Ontology, was launched by a team that included several Berkeley Lab researchers. My group has helped to build many other important biomedical ontologies, including Mondo, and we write computational tools to help others build, use, and expand ontologies.

    There are many advantages to engaging in this type of work at Berkeley Lab, including the presence of leading researchers in computer science, biology, and other relevant fields, and also a commitment to open science – meaning that anyone in the world is free to not only use the resources we develop, but also to contribute to them. When we’re attacking a big problem like accurately defining all rare diseases, we can use all the help we can get!

    Berkeley Lab is a great place to engage in this research, but I also want to recognize the key contributions of our talented Mondo collaborators at Oregon State University, the Jackson Laboratory, the European Bioinformatics Institute, and many others.

    What motivated you both, personally, to join this project?

    Chris: One of my main areas of research is characterizing and interpreting regions of the genome using ontologies. Many rare diseases are Mendelian, which means the cause of the disease can be traced back to changes within or affecting parts of the genome. Other rare diseases may be environmental, or a mixture of environmental and genetic, and I’m very interested in how the environment influences the health of complex organisms like humans. This led to the creation of Mondo as a way to annotate genomes and environments. My role was developing the algorithms that used different kinds of reasoning to bring together multiple sources of information and organize it coherently.

    Nomi: My master’s thesis involved applying artificial intelligence techniques to predict the risk of inheriting genetic disorders. After that, I worked for years on bioinformatics projects that didn’t directly relate to human health. I was excited to have a chance to get back into the medical realm and contribute to a project that we hope will ultimately help to improve the prospects of those with rare diseases.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    LBNL Molecular Foundry

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 12:19 pm on December 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Freeze Frame: Scientists Capture Atomic-Scale Snapshots of Artificial Proteins", , , cryo-EM-Cryogenic electron microscopy, LBNL   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Freeze Frame: Scientists Capture Atomic-Scale Snapshots of Artificial Proteins” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    December 4, 2019
    Theresa Duque
    tnduque@lbl.gov
    (510) 495-2418

    Berkeley Lab scientists adapt microscopy technique to build and image peptoid nanosheets with unprecedented atomic precision.

    1
    Berkeley Lab scientists employed cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to reveal the atomic structure of peptoid nanosheets. Their use of cryo-EM allowed them to visualize distinct bromine atoms (magenta) in the peptoid’s side chains. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    Protein-like molecules called “polypeptoids” (or “peptoids,” for short) have great promise as precision building blocks for creating a variety of designer nanomaterials, like flexible nanosheets – ultrathin, atomic-scale 2D materials. They could advance a number of applications – such as synthetic, disease-specific antibodies and self-repairing membranes or tissue – at a low cost.

    To understand how to make these applications a reality, however, scientists need a way to zoom in on a peptoid’s atomic structure. In the field of materials science, researchers typically use electron microscopes to reach atomic resolution, but soft materials like peptoids would disintegrate under the harsh glare of an electron beam.

    Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have adapted a technique that enlists the power of electrons to visualize a soft material’s atomic structure while keeping it intact.

    3
    Nitash Balsara (clockwise from left), Nan Li, David Prendergast, Xi Jiang, Ronald Zuckermann, and Sunting Xuan used cryogenic electron microscopy to atomically engineer and image a peptoid crystal. (Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

    Their study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates for the first time how cryo-EM (cryogenic electron microscopy), a Nobel Prize-winning technique originally designed to image proteins in solution, can be used to image atomic changes in a synthetic soft material. Their findings have implications for the synthesis of 2D materials for a wide variety of applications.

    “All materials we touch function because of the way atoms are arranged in the material. But we don’t have that knowledge for peptoids because unlike proteins, the atomic structure of many soft synthetic materials is messy and hard to predict,” said Nitash Balsara, a senior faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, and professor of chemical engineering at UC Berkeley, who co-led the study. “And if you don’t know where the atoms are, you’re flying blind. Our use of cryo-EM for the imaging of peptoids will set a clear path for the design and synthesis of soft materials at the atomic scale.”

    Taking a close look at soft materials

    For the last 13 years, Balsara has been leading an effort to image soft materials at the atomic scale through Berkeley Lab’s Soft Matter Electron Microscopy Program. For the current study, he joined forces with Ronald Zuckermann, a senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry who first discovered peptoids almost 30 years ago in his search for new polymers –materials made of long, repeating chains of small molecular units called “monomers” – for targeted drug therapies.

    “This study comes out of many years of research here at Berkeley Lab. To make a material and see the atoms – it’s the dream of my career,” said Zuckermann, who co-led the study with Balsara.

    3
    Ronald Zuckermann holding a 3D model of a peptoid structure imaged with cryo-EM at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry. (Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

    Unlike most synthetic polymers, peptoids can be made to have a precise sequence of monomer units, a common trait in biological polymers, such as proteins and DNA.

    And like natural proteins, peptoids can grow or self-assemble into distinct shapes for specific functions – such as helices, fibers, nanotubes, or thin and flat nanosheets.

    But unlike proteins, the molecular structure of peptoids is typically amorphous and unpredictable – like a pile of wet noodles. And untangling such an unpredictable structure has long been an obstacle for materials scientists.

    Pinning down peptoids with cryo-EM

    So the researchers turned to cryo-EM, which flash-freezes the peptoids at a temperature of around 80 kelvins (or minus 316 degrees Fahrenheit) in microseconds. The ultracold temperature of cryo-EM locks in the structure of the sheet and also prevents the electrons from destroying the sample.

    To protect soft materials, cryo-EM uses fewer electrons than conventional electron microscopy, resulting in ghostly black-and-white images. To better document what’s going on at the atomic level, hundreds of these images are taken. Sophisticated mathematical tools combine these images to make more detailed atomic-scale pictures.

    4
    Short peptoid polymer chains (green) stacked in a nanosheet crystal lattice are overlaid on a cryo-EM image (grayscale image). Bromine atoms on the peptoid side chains are shown in magenta. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    For the study, the researchers fabricated nanosheets in solution from short peptoid polymers made of a chain of six hydrophobic monomers known as “aromatics,” connected to four hydrophilic polyether monomers. The hydrophilic or “water-loving” monomers are attracted to the water in the solution, while the hydrophobic or “water-hating” monomers avoid the water, orienting the molecules to form crystalline nanosheets that are only one-molecule thick (around 3 nanometers, or 3 billionths of a meter).

    Lead author Sunting Xuan, a postdoctoral researcher in the Materials Sciences Division, synthesized the peptoid nanosheets and used X-ray scattering techniques at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) to characterize their molecular structure.

    LBNL ALS

    The ALS produces light in a variety of wavelengths to enable studies of samples’ nanoscale structure and chemistry, among other properties.

    Xi Jiang, a project scientist in the Materials Sciences Division, captured the high-quality images and developed the algorithms necessary to achieve atomic resolution in the peptoid imaging.

    5
    Xi Jiang shown with the cryogenic transmission electron microscope at UC Berkeley’s Donner Lab. (Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

    David Prendergast, senior staff scientist and interim director of the Molecular Foundry, modeled atomic substitutions in the peptoids, and Nan Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Molecular Foundry, performed molecular dynamics simulations to establish an atomic-scale model of the nanosheet.

    At the heart of the team’s discovery was their ability to rapidly iterate between materials synthesis and atomic imaging. The precision of peptoid synthesis, coupled with the researchers’ ability to directly image the placement of atoms using cryo-EM, allowed them to engineer the peptoid at the atomic level. To their surprise, when they created several new variations of the peptoid monomer sequence, the atomic structure of the nanosheet changed in a very orderly way.

    For example, when one additional bromine atom was added to each aromatic ring, the shape of each peptoid molecule remained unchanged yet the space between rows increased by just enough to accommodate the additional bromine atoms.

    Furthermore, when four additional variants of the peptoid nanosheet structure were imaged, the researchers noticed a remarkable uniformity across their atomic structure, and that the nanosheets shared the same shape of peptoid molecules. This allowed them to predictably engineer the nanosheet structure, Zuckermann said.

    “To have so much control at the atomic scale in soft materials was completely unexpected,” said Balsara, because it was assumed that only proteins could form defined shapes when you have a specific sequence of monomers – in their case, amino acids.

    A team approach to new materials

    For close to four decades, Berkeley Lab has pushed the boundaries of electron microscopy into fields of science once considered impossible to explore with an electron beam. Pioneering work by scientists at Berkeley Lab also played a key role in the 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry, which honored the development of cryo-EM.

    “Most people would say it’s not possible to develop a technique that can position and see individual atoms in a soft material,” said Balsara. “The only way to solve hard problems like this is to team up with experts across scientific disciplines. At Berkeley Lab, we work as a team.”

    Zuckermann added that the current study proves that the cryo-EM technique could be applied to a wide range of common polymers and other industrial soft materials, and could lead to a new class of soft nanomaterials that fold into protein-like structures with protein-like functions.

    “This work sets the stage for materials scientists to tackle the challenge of making artificial proteins a reality,” he said, adding that their study also positions the team to work on solving a diversity of exciting problems, and to “raise people’s awareness that they, too, can begin to look at the atomic structure of their soft materials using these cryo-EM techniques.”

    Researchers from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, and UC Irvine participated in the work.

    This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science through the Soft Matter Electron Microscopy Program.

    The Molecular Foundry, which specializes in nanoscale science, and the Advanced Light Source are DOE Office of Science user facilities.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    LBNL Molecular Foundry

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 2:07 pm on November 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "For This Metal, , But Not the Heat", Electricity Flows, , LBNL, , Wiedemann-Franz Law. Simply put the law states that good conductors of electricity are also good conductors of heat.   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “For This Metal, Electricity Flows, But Not the Heat” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    January 26, 2017 [Missed the first time around]

    Sarah Yang
    (510) 486-4575
    scyang@lbl.gov

    There’s a known rule-breaker among materials, and a new discovery by an international team of scientists adds more evidence to back up the metal’s nonconformist reputation. According to a new study led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and at the University of California, Berkeley, electrons in vanadium dioxide can conduct electricity without conducting heat.

    1
    Berkeley Lab scientists Junqiao Wu, Changhyun Ko, and Fan Yang (l-r) are working at the nano-Auger electron spectroscopy instrument at the Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. They used the instrument to determine the amount of tungsten in the tungsten-vanadium dioxide (WVO2) nanobeams. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    The findings, to be published in the Jan. 27 issue of the journal Science, could lead to a wide range of applications, such as thermoelectric systems that convert waste heat from engines and appliances into electricity.

    For most metals, the relationship between electrical and thermal conductivity is governed by the Wiedemann-Franz Law. Simply put, the law states that good conductors of electricity are also good conductors of heat. That is not the case for metallic vanadium dioxide, a material already noted for its unusual ability to switch from an insulator to a metal when it reaches a balmy 67 degrees Celsius, or 152 degrees Fahrenheit.

    “This was a totally unexpected finding,” said study principal investigator Junqiao Wu, a physicist at Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and a UC Berkeley professor of materials science and engineering. “It shows a drastic breakdown of a textbook law that has been known to be robust for conventional conductors. This discovery is of fundamental importance for understanding the basic electronic behavior of novel conductors.”

    In the course of studying vanadium dioxide’s properties, Wu and his research team partnered with Olivier Delaire at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and an associate professor at Duke University. Using results from simulations and X-ray scattering experiments, the researchers were able to tease out the proportion of thermal conductivity attributable to the vibration of the material’s crystal lattice, called phonons, and to the movement of electrons.

    2
    Vanadium dioxide (VO2) nanobeams synthesized by Berkeley researchers show exotic electrical and thermal properties. In this false-color scanning electron microscopy image, thermal conductivity was measured by transporting heat from the suspended heat source pad (red) to the sensing pad (blue). The pads are bridged by a VO2 nanobeam. (Credit: Junqiao Wu/Berkeley Lab)

    To their surprise, they found that the thermal conductivity attributed to the electrons is ten times smaller than what would be expected from the Wiedemann-Franz Law.

    “The electrons were moving in unison with each other, much like a fluid, instead of as individual particles like in normal metals,” said Wu. “For electrons, heat is a random motion. Normal metals transport heat efficiently because there are so many different possible microscopic configurations that the individual electrons can jump between. In contrast, the coordinated, marching-band-like motion of electrons in vanadium dioxide is detrimental to heat transfer as there are fewer configurations available for the electrons to hop randomly between.”

    Notably, the amount of electricity and heat that vanadium dioxide can conduct is tunable by mixing it with other materials. When the researchers doped single crystal vanadium dioxide samples with the metal tungsten, they lowered the phase transition temperature at which vanadium dioxide becomes metallic. At the same time, the electrons in the metallic phase became better heat conductors. This enabled the researchers to control the amount of heat that vanadium dioxide can dissipate by switching its phase from insulator to metal and vice versa, at tunable temperatures.

    Such materials can be used to help scavenge or dissipate the heat in engines, or be developed into a window coating that improves the efficient use of energy in buildings, the researchers said.

    “This material could be used to help stabilize temperature,” said study co-lead author Fan Yang, a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility where some of the research was done. “By tuning its thermal conductivity, the material can efficiently and automatically dissipate heat in the hot summer because it will have high thermal conductivity, but prevent heat loss in the cold winter because of its low thermal conductivity at lower temperatures.”

    Vanadium dioxide has the added benefit of being transparent below about 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), and absorptive of infrared light above 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Yang noted that there are more questions that need to be answered before vanadium dioxide can be commercialized, but said that this study highlights the potential of a material with “exotic electrical and thermal properties.”

    While there are a handful of other materials besides vanadium dioxide that can conduct electricity better than heat, those occur at temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero, making it challenging to develop into real-world applications, the scientists said.

    Other co-lead authors of the study include Sangwook Lee at Kyungpook National University in South Korea, Kedar Hippalgaonkar at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore, and Jiawang Hong at the Beijing Institute of Technology in China. Lee and Hippalgaonkar started work on this paper as postdoctoral researchers at UC Berkeley. Hong began his work as a postdoctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The full list of authors is available online.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    LBNL Molecular Foundry

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 9:23 am on November 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , LBNL, , Oxygen like sulfur and selenium is part of the oxygen or “chalcogen” family of elements., ,   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “The Beauty of Imperfections: Linking Atomic Defects to 2D Materials’ Electronic Properties” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    November 20, 2019
    Theresa Duque
    tnduque@lbl.gov
    (510) 495-2418

    Scientists at Berkeley Lab reveal oxygen’s hidden talent for filling in atomic gaps in TMDs; and the surprising role of electron spin in conductivity.

    1
    Scanning tunneling microscopy image of an oxygen substituting sulfur (left), and a sulfur vacancy (right) in tungsten disulfide. In comparison, a strand of human DNA is 2.5 nanometers (nm) in diameter, and a strand of human hair is about 100,000 nm wide. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    Like any material, atomically thin, 2D semiconductors known as TMDs or transition metal dichalcogenides are not perfect, but their imperfections can actually be a good thing.

    Understanding how defects are structured at the atomic scale, how they are created, and how they interact with electrons are the first steps to designing new advanced materials. However, no one has been able to link useful properties like optical absorption and emission, conductivity, or catalytic function to specific defects in TMDs.

    Now, two studies led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have revealed surprising details on how some atomic defects emerge in TMDs, and how those defects shape the 2D material’s electronic properties. Their findings could provide a more versatile yet targeted platform for designing 2D materials for quantum information science and smaller, more powerful next-generation light-based electronics (optoelectronics).

    A quantum tip for 2D materials

    In the world of materials science, many researchers assumed that the most abundant defects in TMDs were the result of missing atoms or “vacancies” of sulfur in tungsten disulfide (WS2), or selenium vacancies in molybdenum diselenide (MoSe2).

    But as reported in Nature Communications, the researchers found that the defects previously observed with other methods were actually created by oxygen atoms replacing sulfur or selenium atoms, said D. Frank Ogletree, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry and a co-author of the two studies.

    Oxygen, like sulfur and selenium, is part of the oxygen or “chalcogen” family of elements. And since chalcogens share similar properties, there isn’t much change in conductivity when an oxygen atom takes the place of a sulfur or selenium atom in a TMD crystal structure, he said.

    2
    Atomic force microscopy image of sulfur vacancy in tungsten disulfide. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    “In other words, it’s like exchanging one kind of apple for another,” explained co-lead author Bruno Schuler, a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry. “So when an oxygen atom fills in for a missing sulfur or selenium atom, it effectively restores the TMD’s electronic properties.”

    Co-lead author with Schuler is Sara Barja, who was a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division at the time of the Nature Communications study.

    Key to their finding was the use of the Molecular Foundry’s atomic force microscope (AFM), with a single carbon monoxide (CO) molecule acting as an ultrasharp “tip” or probe, and scanning tunneling microscope (STM). They also benefited from state-of-the-art calculations carried out by scientists from Berkeley Lab’s Center for Computational Study of Excited State Phenomena in Energy Materials (C2SEPEM).

    When used with AFM, the CO-tip images the surface atoms at a very high resolution that’s not possible with conventional techniques, and precisely pinpoints the defect’s atomic site; STM provides the defect’s unique electronic fingerprint.

    The combined insights from both of these methods, combined with detailed calculations performed at Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), ultimately helped us understand what these defects are and why they behave the way they do,” said author Alexander Weber-Bargioni, who led the studies. Weber-Bargioni is the facility director for Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry.

    NERSC at LBNL

    NERSC Cray Cori II supercomputer, named after Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science

    NERSC Hopper Cray XE6 supercomputer, named after Grace Hopper, One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer

    NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer

    NERSC GPFS for Life Sciences


    The Genepool system is a cluster dedicated to the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s computing needs. Denovo is a smaller test system for Genepool that is primarily used by NERSC staff to test new system configurations and software.

    NERSC PDSF computer cluster in 2003.

    PDSF is a networked distributed computing cluster designed primarily to meet the detector simulation and data analysis requirements of physics, astrophysics and nuclear science collaborations.

    Future:

    Cray Shasta Perlmutter SC18 AMD Epyc Nvidia pre-exascale supeercomputer

    NERSC is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    The unexpected power of an orbiting electron’s spin.

    In the researchers’ second study, published in Physical Review Letters, they demonstrated how to deliberately create chalcogen vacancies by heating a sample of WS2 in vacuum up to 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit), resulting in a thermal energy that causes the atoms to vibrate. “The vibrations kick out one of the sulfur atoms, creating an atomic hole in the material’s crystalline structure,” explained lead author Schuler.

    The scientists also discovered that “spin-orbit interaction” – which relates to the properties of electrons orbiting around an atom’s nucleus and in their own inherent directional spin – plays a significant role in the electronic structure of chalcogen vacancies.

    “In many cases the electron orbital and spin are autonomous and do not care about each other,” he said. “But in some cases, as we discovered in our study, they interact and form hybrid states of electronic structure.”

    Schuler noted that the impact of spin-orbit interaction on the electronic structure of defect sites in TMDs wasn’t clearly understood before this study.

    “It wasn’t even on anyone’s radar. We’re the first to prove it not only by quantitatively determining the magnitude of spin-orbit coupling but also by directly imaging the defect’s electronic orbitals,” he said.

    Now that the researchers have successfully demonstrated how to create chalcogen vacancies in TMDs, Schuler said that they plan to explore the engineering of atomic defects in other types of 2D materials, such as the creation of distinct spin-polarized states, which would be useful for realizing atomic quantum light emitters and other such devices.

    Co-corresponding author Jeff Neaton, a senior faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and professor of physics at UC Berkeley, said that Berkeley Lab offers a unique venue for carrying out multidisciplinary studies.

    “By combining novel experiments at the Molecular Foundry with leading-edge theory, and computing defects’ properties at NERSC with computational methods developed at C2SEPEM, we are steps closer to understanding how common defects can be used to tune optoelectronic properties in 2D materials,” he said.

    Participants in the Nature Communications study involved researchers from Berkeley Lab; UC Berkeley; the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU-CSIC, Basque Foundation for Science, and Donostia International Physics Center, Spain; Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; the Korea Institute of Science and Technology; Pusan National University, Korea; and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.

    Participants in the Physical Review Letters study involved researchers from Berkeley Lab; UC Berkeley; Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel; Technical University of Munich; University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU-CSIC, Basque Foundation for Science, and Donostia International Physics Center, Spain.

    Postdoctoral researchers Christoph Kastl and Christopher Chen of the Molecular Foundry grew the tungsten disulfide samples for the Nature Communications and Physical Review Letters studies; and Hyejin Ryu, a doctoral researcher at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), grew samples of molybdenum diselenide for the Nature Communications study.

    LBNL ALS

    The work for both studies was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, including the Computational Materials Sciences Center for Computational Study of Excited State Phenomena in Energy Materials (C2SEPEM); research at the Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science user facility that specializes in nanoscale science; and resources at Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). Resources at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) were used for the Nature Communications study.

    The U.S. National Science Foundation provided additional funding for the Nature Communications study, and the DOE Early Career Research Program provided additional funding for the Physical Review Letters study.

    NERSC and the ALS are also DOE Office of Science user facilities.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    LBNL Molecular Foundry

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 12:14 pm on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "World-Leading Microscopes Take Candid Snapshots of Atoms in Their ‘Neighborhoods’", 4D-STEM electron microscopy, , LBNL   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “World-Leading Microscopes Take Candid Snapshots of Atoms in Their ‘Neighborhoods’” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    November 5, 2019
    Theresa Duque
    tnduque@lbl.gov
    (510) 495-2418

    Scientists use powerful 4D-STEM electron microscopy technique to map out the best atomic ‘hangouts’ in high-performance materials.

    1
    (Top figure) Selected electron beam diffraction patterns that were used to form the molecular structure shown at the bottom. (Bottom figure) 4D-STEM map traces the molecular structure of a small-molecule thin film. (Credit: Colin Ophus/Berkeley Lab)

    We can directly see the hidden world of atoms thanks to electron microscopes, first developed in the 1930s. Today, electron microscopes, which use beams of electrons to illuminate and magnify a sample, have become even more sophisticated, allowing scientists to take real-world snapshots of materials with a resolution of less than half the diameter of a hydrogen atom.

    Now, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are pushing the boundaries of electron microscopy even further through a powerful technique called 4D-STEM, a term that stands for “2D raster of 2D diffraction patterns using scanning transmission electron microscopy.”

    Their findings, reported in Nature Communications and Nature Materials, show for the first time how 4D-STEM can provide direct insight into the performance of any material – from strong metallic glass to flexible semiconducting films – by pinpointing specific atomic “neighborhoods” that could compromise a material’s performance, or perhaps have the potential to improve it.

    “Historically, electron microscopes have been most useful at high resolution for imaging hard materials,” said author Andew Minor, who led the studies. Minor is the facility director for the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry; a member of the Materials Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab; and a professor of materials science and engineering at UC Berkeley.

    “Now, in these studies, we’ve shown that when 4D-STEM is deployed with our high-speed detectors, customizable algorithms, and powerful electron microscopes, the technique can help scientists map out atomic or molecular regions in any material – even beam-sensitive, soft materials – that weren’t possible to see with previous techniques,” he said.

    Mapping out atomic neighborhoods in soft materials

    In the field of flexible electronics and organic photovoltaics, scientists typically use X-rays to characterize a material’s molecular structure because the electron beam in an electron microscope would destroy the material.

    “But X-rays can’t be focused to the size of single atoms,” said Minor. “When it comes to reaching atomic resolution, nothing beats electrons. You can focus electrons to a very small point, and the electrons react very strongly with materials. That’s good if you want a lot of signal, but it’s bad if you have a beam-sensitive material.”

    4
    4D-STEM scan of small-molecule organic semiconductor before DIO is added. The diffraction patterns show the orientation of the molecular arrangements in the film. (Credit: Colin Ophus/Berkeley Lab)

    5
    4D-STEM scan of small-molecule organic semiconductor after DIO is added. (Credit: Colin Ophus/Berkeley Lab)

    In their Nature Materials study, Minor and co-authors demonstrated how high-speed detectors that capture atoms in action at up to 1,600 frames per second with 4D-STEM allowed unprecedented molecular movies of a small-molecule organic semiconductor. The movie showed how the molecular ordering in the semiconductor, often used in organic solar cells, changed in response to a common processing additive (called DIO or 1,8-diiodooctane) that is known to enhance solar cell efficiency.

    In conducting the Nature Materials study as part of DOE’s Soft Matter Electron Microscopy and Scattering program, the 4D-STEM experiments allowed Minor and his co-authors to map out the orientation of the grains of ordered molecules within the material, which look like intersecting, overlapping roads connecting adjacent neighborhoods.

    Such details, which are not possible to observe with conventional STEM, are significant because low-angle boundaries – like long, straight tunnels through which a car can accelerate unimpeded at high speed – are necessary for electrons to couple and generate a charge in a functional semiconductor.

    Using this powerful new technique, the researchers clearly demonstrated that the DIO additive dramatically alters the material’s nanostructure, and that this overlapping grain structure is key to the enhanced efficiency observed in solar cells made from these materials, explained Colin Ophus, a research scientist at NCEM.

    “The reason why it’s important to see orientation distribution of a material is because these boundaries strongly mediate the material’s electrical conductivity,” he said. “If an electron hits a wall or a grain boundary it has a high chance of bouncing off, which compromises its performance.”

    Building better materials, atom by atom

    In their Nature Communications study, carried out as part of DOE’s Mechanical Behavior of Materials program, Minor, Ophus, and co-authors used 4D-STEM to pinpoint atomic-scale “weak links” in bulk metallic glass that ultimately lead to fractures under stress.

    6
    Berkeley Lab researchers used 4D-STEM to directly measure the nanostructural changes in bulk metallic glass as it breaks. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    Regular metals are crystalline materials, which means that their atoms are arranged in a perfect, repeating pattern – like tennis balls perfectly stacked inside a cube so that they fill up the space. When an atom is missing such a defect is obvious under an electron microscope, making it easier to predict where a material might be compromised.

    But bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are amorphous, meaning that their atoms form a disordered pattern – like a randomly assembled, unstable pile of tennis balls, golf balls, and baseballs tossed inside a box. And this unpredictable structure is what makes it hard for materials scientists to figure out where those atomic defects might be hiding as they compromise a material’s toughness.

    By using 4D-STEM with high-speed electron detectors, the researchers measured the average spacing between atoms within certain regions of the BMG material, and recorded the “strain” or change in this spacing as the material is pulled until it breaks.

    They showed that 4D-STEM, when combined with high-speed electron detectors and fast algorithms to analyze hundreds of thousands of diffraction patterns throughout a sample, can identify the precursors in the material’s atomic structure that cause it to fail, Ophus said.

    Focusing on the future of 4D-STEM

    At the heart of this marriage between high-speed detectors and 4D-STEM microscopes are finespun algorithms, which Ophus customizes for every user running 4D-STEM experiments at the Foundry’s NCEM facility.

    “We run some of the fastest 4D-STEM simulation codes in the world, and each user project at the Foundry brings unique challenges, requiring measurements of different materials’ properties from many different samples,” said Ophus. “But we know that not everyone can write code, so we help our users by developing custom-written, user-friendly software that allows them to simulate and model real-world materials at these unprecedented scales.”

    Ophus added that users can benefit from their customized scripts even without coming to Berkeley Lab. He and Minor, in collaboration with researchers from Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division and the Toyota Research Institute, are developing an open-source, Python-based software so that the power of 4D-STEM is available to hundreds of institutions instead of just a handful.

    Once completed, their open source software, coupled with Berkeley Lab’s new ultrafast 4D Camera, will pave the way for the imaging of materials at the atomic or molecular level as they morph in response to stress at an even higher resolution and faster speed, said Minor. This camera is currently the fastest electron detector in the world, capturing atomic snapshots at 87,000 frames per second: about 50 times faster than the current state of the art.

    For the Nature Communications study:

    Researchers from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, and the Erich Schmid Institute of Materials Science in Austria participated in the study.

    This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science’s Mechanical Behavior of Materials program. The electron microscopy work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by DOE Office of Science. Molecular dynamics simulations were performed using resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility.

    For the Nature Materials study:

    Researchers from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory participated in the study.

    This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science’s Electron Microscopy of Soft Matter Program. Work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by the DOE Office of Science. Additional funding was provided by the National Science Foundation.

    The Molecular Foundry, which specializes in nanoscale science, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) are DOE Office of Science user facilities.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 10:40 am on October 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "DESI Opens Its 5000 Eyes to Capture the Colors of the Cosmos", , , , , , LBNL   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “DESI Opens Its 5,000 Eyes to Capture the Colors of the Cosmos” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    October 28, 2019
    Glenn Roberts Jr.
    geroberts@lbl.gov
    (510) 520-0843

    With installation near completion, new sky-surveying instrument begins final testing.

    This video highlights the components and statistics that make DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, unique. Installed on the Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, DESI brings high-speed automation to its galaxy-mapping mission. In five years DESI will capture the light from 35 million galaxies and 2.4 million quasars to produce the largest 3D map of the universe. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    A new instrument mounted atop a telescope in Arizona has aimed its robotic array of 5,000 fiber-optic “eyes” at the night sky to capture the first images showing its unique view of galaxy light.

    It was the first test of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, known as DESI, with its nearly complete complement of components. The long-awaited instrument is designed to explore the mystery of dark energy, which makes up about 68 percent of the universe and is speeding up its expansion.

    LBNL/DESI Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument for the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Ariz, USA


    NOAO/Mayall 4 m telescope at Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA, Altitude 2,120 m (6,960 ft)

    DESI’s components are designed to automatically point at preselected sets of galaxies, gather their light, and then split that light into narrow bands of color to precisely map their distance from Earth and gauge how much the universe expanded as this light traveled to Earth. In ideal conditions DESI can cycle through a new set of 5,000 galaxies every 20 minutes.

    The latest milestone, achieved Oct. 22, marks the opening of DESI’s final testing toward the formal start of observations in early 2020.


    DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, will mobilize 5,000 swiveling robots – each one pointing a thin strand of fiber-optic cable – to gather the light from about 35 million galaxies. The little robots are designed to fix on a series of preselected sky objects that are as distant as 12 billion light-years away.

    By studying how these galaxies are drifting away from us, DESI will provide precise measurements of the accelerating rate at which the universe is expanding. This expansion rate is caused by an invisible force known as dark energy, which is one of the biggest mysteries in astrophysics and accounts for about 68 percent of all mass and energy in the universe.

    In this video, DESI project participants share their insight and excitement about the project and its potential for new and unexpected discoveries.

    Dark Energy Instrument’s Lenses See the Night Sky for the First Time http://bit.ly/DESIlight

    The Making of the Largest 3D Map of the Universe http://bit.ly/3Duniverse

    1
    DESI’s 5000 spectroscopic “eyes” can cover an area of sky about 38 times larger than that of the full moon, as seen in this overlay of DESI’s focal plane on the night sky (top). Each one of these robotically controlled eyes can fix a fiber-optic cable on a single object to gather its light. The gathered light collected from a small region in the Triangulum galaxy (bottom) by a single fiber-optic cable (red dot) is split into a spectrum (bottom) that reveals the fingerprints of the elements present in the galaxy and aid in gauging the distance to the galaxy. The test spectrum shown here was collected by DESI on Oct. 22. (Credit: DESI Collaboration; Legacy Surveys; NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

    Like a powerful time machine, DESI will peer deeply into the universe’s infancy and early development – up to about 11 billion years ago – to create the most detailed 3D map of the universe.

    By repeatedly mapping the distance to 35 million galaxies and 2.4 million quasars across one-third of the area of the sky over its five-year run, DESI will teach us more about dark energy. Quasars, among the brightest objects in the universe, allow DESI to look deeply into the universe’s past.

    DESI will provide very precise measurements of the universe’s expansion rate. Gravity had slowed this rate of expansion in the early universe, though dark energy has since been responsible for speeding up its expansion.

    “After a decade in planning and R&D, installation and assembly, we are delighted that DESI can soon begin its quest to unravel the mystery of dark energy,” said DESI Director Michael Levi of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the lead institution for DESI’s construction and operations.

    “Most of the universe’s matter and energy are dark and unknown, and next-generation experiments like DESI are our best bet for unraveling these mysteries,” Levi added. “I am thrilled to see this new experiment come to life.”

    The DESI collaboration has participation from nearly 500 researchers at 75 institutions in 13 countries.

    Installation of DESI began in February 2018 at the Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.

    Kitt Peak National Observatory of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    “With DESI we are combining a modern instrument with a venerable old telescope to make a state-of-the-art survey machine.” said Lori Allen, director of Kitt Peak National Observatory at the National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory.

    2
    A machine positions a focal plane “petal” in preparation for its installation. Ten wedge-shaped petals make up DESI’s focal plane. (Credit: DESI Collaboration)

    Over the past 18 months, a bevy of DESI components were shipped to the site from institutions around the globe and installed on the telescope.

    Among the early arrivals was an assembly of lenses packaged in a large steel barrel, together weighing in at three tons. This corrector barrel sits over the 4-meter primary mirror of the Mayall Telescope and provides an expansive field of view. The lenses, each measuring about a meter across, were successfully tested in April.

    DESI’s focal plane, which carries 5,000 robotic positioners that swivel in a choreographed “dance” to individually focus on galaxies, is at the top of the telescope.


    5,000 Robots Merge to Map the Universe in 3-D
    (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    3
    A view of DESI’s fully installed focal plane, which features 5,000 automated robotic positioners, each carrying a fiber-optic cable to gather galaxies’ light. (Credit: DESI Collaboration)

    These little robots – which each hold a light-gathering fiber-optic cable that is about the average width of a human hair – serve as DESI’s eyes. It takes about 10 seconds for the positioners to swivel to a new sequence of targeted galaxies. With its unprecedented surveying speed, DESI will map over 20 times more objects than any predecessor experiment.

    The focal plane, which is comprised of a half-million individual parts, is arranged in a series of 10 wedge-shaped petals that each contain 500 positioners and a little camera to help the telescope point and focus.

    4
    This illustration of DESI in the Mayall Telescope dome shows the focal plane and corrector barrel (dark gray) at the top of the telescope and the spectrographs (shown in yellow) below the telescope. (Credit: DESI Collaboration)

    The focal plane, corrector barrel, and other DESI components weigh 11 tons, and the Mayall telescope’s movable arm that DESI is installed on weighs 250 tons and rises 90 feet above the floor in the Mayall’s 14-story dome.

    Among the more recent arrivals at Kitt Peak is the collection of spectrographs that are designed to split up the gathered light into three separate color bands to allow precise distance measurements of the observed galaxies across a broad range of colors.

    These spectrographs, which allow DESI’s robotic eyes to “see” even faint, distant galaxies, are designed to measure redshift, which is a shift in the color of objects to longer, redder wavelengths due to the objects’ movement away from us. Redshift is analogous to how the sound of a fire engine’s siren shifts to lower tones as it moves away from us.

    There are now eight spectrographs installed, with the final two arriving before year-end. To connect the focal plane with the spectrographs, which are located beneath the telescope, DESI is equipped with about 150 miles of fiber-optic cabling.

    5
    Workers install DESI’s spectrographs, which are used to split the light collected from DESI’s focal plane into separate color bands. (Credit: DESI Collaboration)

    “This is a very exciting moment,” said Nathalie Palanque-Delabrouille, a DESI spokesperson and an astrophysics researcher at France’s Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) who has participated in the selection process to determine which galaxies and other objects DESI will observe.

    “The instrument is all there. It has been very exciting to be a part of this from the start,” she said. “This is a very significant advance compared to previous experiments. By looking at objects very far away from us, we can actually map the history of the universe and see what the universe is composed of by looking at very different objects from different eras.”

    Palanque-Delabrouille’s institution, CEA, contributed a specialized cooling system to optimize the performance of the light sensors (known as CCDs or charge-coupled devices) that enable DESI’s broad color-sampling range.

    Gregory Tarlé, a physics professor at the University of Michigan (UM) who led the student teams that assembled the robotic positioners for DESI and related components, said it’s gratifying to reach a stage in the project where all of DESI’s complex components are functioning together.

    UM delivered a total of 7,300 robotic positioners, including spares. During the production peak, the teams were churning out about 50 positioners a day.

    “It was quite a process,” Tarlé said. “We were at the limits of precision for these production parts.”

    The positioners were installed in the focal plane petals at Berkeley Lab, and after assembly and testing the completed petals were shipped to Kitt Peak and installed one at a time on the Mayall Telescope.

    Now that the hard work of building DESI is largely done, Tarlé said he looks forward to DESI discoveries.

    “I want to find out what the nature of dark energy is,” he said. “We finally have a shot at really trying to understand the nature of this stuff that dominates the universe.”

    6
    In this time-lapse video, crews use a special machine to install an individual wedge-shaped petal in DESI’s focal plane, which is installed atop the Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. The roundish focal plane is made up of 10 petals, and each petal holds 500 robotic positioners that individually target galaxies to collect their light via thin fiber-optic cables. (Credit: Christian Soto, National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/AURA/NSF)

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

     
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