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  • richardmitnick 1:23 pm on July 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Making the Invisible Visible: New Sensor Network Reveals Telltale Patterns in Neighborhood Air Quality", “This research is an example of how a national laboratory can have a meaningful impact by working with communities” said Kirchstetter., “We generated a technology that didn’t exist to make this invisible problem visible” said Thomas Kirchstetter., Black carbon- commonly known as soot- is a significant contributor to global warming and is strongly linked to adverse health outcomes., LBNL, LBNL collaborating with UC Berkeley have developed a new type of sensor network that is much more affordable yet capable of tracking this particulate matter., Sensors available on the market today are expensive making black carbon difficult to track., The Aerosol Black Carbon Detector (ABCD)., The fleet of sensors was deployed throughout West Oakland   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Making the Invisible Visible: New Sensor Network Reveals Telltale Patterns in Neighborhood Air Quality” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 22, 2019
    Laurel Kellner
    LKellner@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-5375

    Berkeley Lab deploys custom-built sensors for 100 days and nights to track black carbon pollution.

    1
    A truck pulls out of Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland. (Credit: iStockphoto)

    Black carbon, commonly known as soot, is a significant contributor to global warming and is strongly linked to adverse health outcomes. Produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels – emitted from large trucks, trains, and marine vessels – it is an air pollutant of particular concern to residents in urban areas. Sensors available on the market today are expensive, making black carbon difficult to track.

    Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), collaborating with UC Berkeley, have developed a new type of sensor network that is much more affordable yet capable of tracking this particulate matter. With more than 100 custom-built sensors installed across West Oakland for 100 days, the team created the largest black carbon monitoring network to be deployed in a single city.

    A full description of the 100×100 air quality network was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.


    In this video, Berkeley Lab researchers show how they created a technology that did not exist to monitor local air pollution across time and space. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Generating a new technology to monitor air pollution

    The project was launched to address a persistent concern in the community: the need for better tools to monitor black carbon across time and space. Expanding on prior research at Berkeley Lab, the team addressed this challenge by building the Aerosol Black Carbon Detector (ABCD). “We generated a technology that didn’t exist to make this invisible problem visible,” said Thomas Kirchstetter, who leads the Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division at Berkeley Lab, and is an Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley.

    Small and inexpensive, the ABCD is a compact air quality monitor that can measure the concentration of black carbon in an air sample. “We had to create a sensor that was as accurate as high-grade, expensive instrumentation, but low enough in cost that we could distribute 100 of them throughout the community,” said Kirchstetter. Thanks to design innovations that coauthor Julien Caubel developed during his PhD research, which help the sensors withstand changes in temperature and humidity, the ABCD can produce reliable data when left outside for extended periods of time. The materials for each ABCD cost less than $500. In comparison, commercially available instruments that measure black carbon cost many thousands of dollars.

    2
    Two sensors in the largest black carbon air quality monitoring network ever deployed in a single city, with a spatial density approximately 100 times greater than traditional regulatory networks. The lowest black carbon levels were consistently recorded at sites like the one pictured, upwind of freeways and most industrial activity. (Credit: Chelsea Preble/Berkeley Lab)

    A well distributed network

    The fleet of sensors was deployed throughout West Oakland, a fifteen-square-kilometer mixed-use residential/industrial neighborhood surrounded by freeways and impacted by emissions from the Port of Oakland and other industrial activities. Six land-use categories were designated for sensor placement: upwind, residential, industrial, near highway, truck route, and port locations. “It was important to build a well-distributed network across the neighborhood in order to capture pollution patterns,” said coauthor Chelsea Preble, a Berkeley Lab affiliate and postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley. Through a collaboration with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), Environmental Defense Fund, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and Port of Oakland, the scientists recruited community members willing to host the black carbon sensors outside of their homes and businesses. “Our partnership with WOEIP, in particular working with Ms. Margaret Gordon and Brian Beveridge, was essential to the success of the study,” said Preble.

    To track the individual sensors in real time, including their operating status, and collect measurements, coauthor Troy Cados built a custom website and database. Every hour, the devices sent black carbon concentrations to the database using 2G, the mobile wireless network. The study produced approximately 22 million lines of data, yielding insights about the nature of air pollution on a local scale. Now available for download, the data is also being used by collaborators from UC Berkeley, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and other institutions to improve air pollution modeling tools.

    3
    A partnership effort, the project team included members from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), pictured here, as well as contributors from Environmental Defense Fund, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Port of Oakland. (Credit: Chelsea Preble/Berkeley Lab)

    Turning invisible pollutants into data

    How did these devices work? The ABCD pulled air through a white filter, where black carbon particles were deposited. Optical components in the sensor periodically measured the amount of light transmitted through the darkening filter. Black carbon concentration in the air was based on how much the filter had darkened over time. This technique, developed several decades ago by Berkeley Lab and now commercially available, served as a foundation for the innovations in this study.

    5
    Sensors built for this project were deployed outside of homes and businesses throughout West Oakland to record how black carbon concentrations varied in space and time. (Credit: Chelsea Preble/Berkeley Lab)

    In West Oakland, the researchers found that black carbon varied sharply over distances as short as 100 meters and time spans as short as one hour. The highest and most variable levels were associated with truck activity along Maritime Street, typically low in the pre-dawn hours when the Port of Oakland was closed and peaking at the start of business, around eight in the morning. The lowest black carbon concentrations in the study area were recorded on Sundays, when truck activity is typically lowest, and at upwind sites near the bay, west of the freeways and the city’s industrial activity. Most of the sensors were able to collect data sufficient to establish pollution patterns during the first 30 days of the study, suggesting that similar – and shorter – studies could provide other communities with valuable information about their air quality.

    6
    For the first time, a dense monitoring network recorded black carbon levels across West Oakland, producing hourly averages (a) and daily averages (b). The highest concentrations, shown in red, typically occurred where truck traffic is heaviest, for instance along Maritime Street (west of the freeways, where the sensors above form an ‘L’ shape). (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    Partnering with communities to advance the science of monitoring

    “This research is an example of how a national laboratory can have a meaningful impact by working with communities,” said Kirchstetter. “We worked to address a concern that they’ve long had and provided data describing how pollution varies throughout the neighborhood, which can be used to advocate for cleaner air,” he said. The team is currently working to advance this technology, making it more robust and easier to use so that it can be deployed for longer periods of time at other locations.

    “We’ve long been involved in the generation of air pollution sensing technologies,” said Kirchstetter, whose mentor, Tica Novakov, started the field of black carbon research and was an inspiration for this work. “Berkeley Lab has experts in air quality and materials sciences, and can further the science of sensors to continue this path forward,” he said. Since the completion of the project, Cados and Caubel have founded a start-up to develop these techniques and make them more readily available.

    The authors on this paper were Julian Caubel, Troy Cados, Chelsea Preble, and Thomas Kirchstetter. The study was funded by Environmental Defense Fund, with in-kind support provided by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 7:13 am on July 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , LBNL, Magnetometry, "New Laws of Attraction: Scientists Print Magnetic Liquid Droplets", A revolutionary class of printable liquid devices for a variety of applications, Ferrofluids- solutions of iron-oxide particles that become strongly magnetic in the presence of another magnet.   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab- “New Laws of Attraction: Scientists Print Magnetic Liquid Droplets” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 18, 2019
    Theresa Duque
    tnduque@lbl.gov
    510-495-2418

    Revolutionary material could lead to 3D-printable magnetic liquid devices for the fabrication of flexible electronics, or artificial cells that deliver targeted drug therapies to diseased cells.


    Scientists at Berkeley Lab have made a new material that is both liquid and magnetic, opening the door to a new area of science in magnetic soft matter. Their findings could lead to a revolutionary class of printable liquid devices for a variety of applications from artificial cells that deliver targeted cancer therapies to flexible liquid robots that can change their shape to adapt to their surroundings. (Video credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab; footage of droplets courtesy of Xubo Liu and Tom Russell/Berkeley Lab)

    Inventors of centuries past and scientists of today have found ingenious ways to make our lives better with magnets – from the magnetic needle on a compass to magnetic data storage devices and even MRI body scan machines.

    All of these technologies rely on magnets made from solid materials. But what if you could make a magnetic device out of liquids? Using a modified 3D printer, a team of scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have done just that. Their findings, to be published July 19 in the journal Science, could lead to a revolutionary class of printable liquid devices for a variety of applications – from artificial cells that deliver targeted cancer therapies to flexible liquid robots that can change their shape to adapt to their surroundings.

    “We’ve made a new material that is both liquid and magnetic. No one has ever observed this before,” said Tom Russell, a visiting faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab and professor of polymer science and engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who led the study. “This opens the door to a new area of science in magnetic soft matter.”

    For the past seven years, Russell, who leads a program called Adaptive Interfacial Assemblies Towards Structuring Liquids in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and also led the current study, has focused on developing a new class of materials – 3D-printable all-liquid structures.

    1
    Array of 1 millimeter magnetic droplets: Fluorescent green droplets are paramagnetic without any jammed nanoparticles at the liquid interface; red are paramagnetic with nonmagnetic nanoparticles jammed at the interface; brown droplets are ferromagnetic with magnetic nanoparticles jammed at the interface. (Credit: Xubo Liu et al./Berkeley Lab)

    Russell and Xubo Liu, the study’s lead author, came up with the idea of forming liquid structures from ferrofluids, which are solutions of iron-oxide particles that become strongly magnetic in the presence of another magnet. “We wondered, ‘If a ferrofluid can become temporarily magnetic, what could we do to make it permanently magnetic, and behave like a solid magnet but still look and feel like a liquid?’” said Russell.

    Jam sessions: making magnets out of liquids

    To find out, Russell and Liu used a 3D-printing technique they had developed with former postdoctoral researcher Joe Forth in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division to print 1 millimeter droplets from a ferrofluid solution containing iron-oxide nanoparticles just 20 nanometers in diameter (the average size of an antibody protein).

    Using surface chemistry and sophisticated atomic force microscopy techniques, staff scientists Paul Ashby and Brett Helms of Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry revealed that the nanoparticles formed a solid-like shell at the interface between the two liquids through a phenomenon called “interfacial jamming.” This causes the nanoparticles to crowd at the droplet’s surface, “like the walls coming together in a small room jampacked with people,” said Russell.

    To make them magnetic, the scientists placed the droplets by a magnetic coil in solution. As expected, the magnetic coil pulled the iron-oxide nanoparticles toward it.

    But when they removed the magnetic coil, something quite unexpected happened.

    3
    Permanently magnetized iron-oxide nanoparticles gravitate toward each other in perfect unison. (Credit: Xubo Liu et al./Berkeley Lab)

    Like synchronized swimmers, the droplets gravitated toward each other in perfect unison, forming an elegant swirl “like little dancing droplets,” said Liu, who is a graduate student researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and a doctoral student at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology.

    Somehow, these droplets had become permanently magnetic. “We almost couldn’t believe it,” said Russell. “Before our study, people always assumed that permanent magnets could only be made from solids.”

    Measure by measure, it’s still a magnet

    All magnets, no matter how big or small, have a north pole and a south pole. Opposite poles are attracted to each other, while the same poles repel each other.

    Through magnetometry measurements, the scientists found that when they placed a magnetic field by a droplet, all of the nanoparticles’ north-south poles, from the 70 billion iron-oxide nanoparticles floating around in the droplet to the 1 billion nanoparticles on the droplet’s surface, responded in unison, just like a solid magnet.

    Key to this finding were the iron-oxide nanoparticles jamming tightly together at the droplet’s surface. With just 8 nanometers between each of the billion nanoparticles, together they created a solid surface around each liquid droplet.

    Somehow, when the jammed nanoparticles on the surface are magnetized, they transfer this magnetic orientation to the particles swimming around in the core, and the entire droplet becomes permanently magnetic – just like a solid, Russell and Liu explained.

    The researchers also found that the droplet’s magnetic properties were preserved even if they divided a droplet into smaller, thinner droplets about the size of a human hair, added Russell.

    3
    To make the iron-oxide nanoparticles permanently magnetic, the scientists placed the droplets by a magnetic coil in solution. As expected, the magnetic coil pulled the iron-oxide nanoparticles toward it. (Credit: Xubo Liu et al./Berkeley Lab

    Among the magnetic droplets’ many amazing qualities, what stands out even more, Russell noted, is that they change shape to adapt to their surroundings. They morph from a sphere to a cylinder to a pancake, or a tube as thin as a strand of hair, or even to the shape of an octopus – all without losing their magnetic properties.

    The droplets can also be tuned to switch between a magnetic mode and a nonmagnetic mode. And when their magnetic mode is switched on, their movements can be remotely controlled as directed by an external magnet, Russell added.

    Liu and Russell plan to continue research at Berkeley Lab and other national labs to develop even more complex 3D-printed magnetic liquid structures, such as a liquid-printed artificial cell, or miniature robotics that move like a tiny propeller for noninvasive yet targeted delivery of drug therapies to diseased cells.

    “What began as a curious observation ended up opening a new area of science,” said Liu. “It’s something all young researchers dream of, and I was lucky to have the chance to work with a great group of scientists supported by Berkeley Lab’s world-class user facilities to make it a reality,” said Liu.

    Also contributing to the study were researchers from UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, the WPI–Advanced Institute for Materials Research (WPI-AIMR) at Tohoku University, and Beijing University of Chemical Technology.

    The magnetometry measurements were taken with assistance from Berkeley Lab Materials Sciences Division co-authors Peter Fischer, senior staff scientist; Frances Hellman, senior faculty scientist and professor of physics at UC Berkeley; Robert Streubel, postdoctoral fellow; Noah Kent, graduate student researcher and doctoral student at UC Santa Cruz; and Alejandro Ceballos, Berkeley Lab graduate student researcher and doctoral student at UC Berkeley.

    Other co-authors are staff scientists Paul Ashby and Brett Helms, and postdoctoral researchers Yu Chai and Paul Kim, with Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry; Yufeng Jiang, graduate student researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division; and Shaowei Shi and Dong Wang of Beijing University of Chemical Technology.

    This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science and included research at the Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility that specializes in nanoscale science.

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 9:24 am on July 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Graphene Superconductor That Plays More Than One Tune", , , LBNL, Moiré superlattice, , , Superconductor/insulator, Trilayer graphene/boron nitride heterostructure device   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “A Graphene Superconductor That Plays More Than One Tune” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 17, 2019
    Theresa Duque
    tnduque@lbl.gov
    510-495-2418

    1
    Schematic of graphene/boron nitride moire’ superlattice superconductor/insulator device: The heterostructure material is composed of three atomically thin (2D) layers of graphene (gray) sandwiched between 2D layers of boron nitride (red and blue) to form a repeating pattern called a moiré superlattice. Superconductivity is indicated by the light-green circles, which represent the hole (positive charge) sitting on each unit cell of the moiré superlattice. (Credit: Guorui Chen/Berkeley Lab)

    What’s thinner than a human hair but has a depth of special traits? A multitasking graphene device developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The superthin material easily switches from a superconductor that conducts electricity without losing any energy, to an insulator that resists the flow of electric current, and back again to a superconductor – all with a simple flip of a switch. Their findings were reported today in the journal Nature.

    “Usually, when someone wants to study how electrons interact with each other in a superconducting quantum phase versus an insulating phase, they would need to look at different materials. With our system, you can study both the superconductivity phase and the insulating phase in one place,” said Guorui Chen, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Feng Wang, who led the study. Wang, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, is also a UC Berkeley physics professor.

    The graphene device is composed of three atomically thin (2D) layers of graphene sandwiched between 2D layers of boron nitride to form a repeating pattern called a moiré superlattice. The material could help other scientists understand the complicated mechanics behind a phenomenon known as high-temperature superconductivity, where a material can conduct electricity without resistance at temperatures higher than expected, though still hundreds of degrees below freezing.

    In a previous study [Nature], the researchers reported observing the properties of a Mott insulator in a device made of trilayer graphene. A Mott insulator is a class of material that somehow stops conducting electricity at hundreds of degrees below freezing despite classical theory predicting electrical conductivity. But it has long been believed that a Mott insulator can become superconductive by adding more electrons or positive charges to make it superconductive, Chen explained.

    For the past 10 years, scientists have been studying ways to combine different 2D materials, often starting with graphene – a material known for its ability to efficiently conduct heat and electricity. Out of this body of work, it was discovered that moiré superlattices formed with graphene exhibit exotic physics such as superconductivity when the layers are aligned at just the right angle.

    “So for this study we asked ourselves, ‘If our trilayer graphene system is a Mott insulator, could it also be a superconductor?’” said Chen.

    Opening the gate to a new world of physics

    2
    Two views of the trilayer graphene/boron nitride heterostructure device as seen through an optical microscope. The gold, nanofabricated electric contacts are shown in yellow; the silicon dioxide/silicon substrate is shown in brown; and the boron nitride flakes are shown in green. The trilayer graphene device is encapsulated between two boron nitride flakes. (Credit: Guorui Chen/Berkeley Lab)

    Working with David Goldhaber-Gordon of Stanford University and the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and Yuanbo Zhang of Fudan University, the researchers used a dilution refrigerator, which can reach intensely cold temperatures of 40 millikelvins – or nearly minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit – to cool the graphene/boron nitride device down to a temperature at which the researchers expected superconductivity to appear near the Mott insulator phase, said Chen. (Goldhaber-Gordon is also

    Once the device reached a temperature of 4 kelvins (minus 452 degrees Fahrenheit), the researchers applied a range of electrical voltages to the tiny top and bottom gates of the device. As they expected, when they applied a high vertical electrical field to both the top and bottom gates, an electron filled each cell of the graphene/boron nitride device. This caused the electrons to stabilize and stay in place, and this “localization” of electrons turned the device into a Mott insulator.

    Then, they applied an even higher electrical voltage to the gates. To their delight, a second reading indicated that the electrons were no longer stable. Instead, they were shuttling about, moving from cell to cell, and conducting electricity without loss or resistance. In other words, the device had switched from the Mott insulator phase to the superconductor phase.

    Chen explained that the boron nitride moiré superlattice somehow increases the electron-electron interactions that take place when an electrical voltage is applied to the device, an effect that switches on its superconducting phase. It’s also reversible – when a lower electrical voltage is applied to the gates, the device switches back to an insulating state.

    The multitasking device offers scientists a tiny, versatile playground for studying the exquisite interplay between atoms and electrons in exotic new superconducting materials with potential use in quantum computers – computers that store and manipulate information in qubits, which are typically subatomic particles such as electrons or photons – as well as new Mott insulator materials that could one day make tiny 2D Mott transistors for microelectronics a reality.

    “This result was very exciting for us. We never imagined that the graphene/boron nitride device would do so well,” Chen said. “You can study almost everything with it, from single particles to superconductivity. It’s the best system I know of for studying new kinds of physics,” Chen said.

    This study was supported by the Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials (NPQC), an Energy Frontier Research Center led by Berkeley Lab and funded by the DOE Office of Science. NPQC brings together researchers at Berkeley Lab, Argonne National Laboratory, Columbia University, and UC Santa Barbara to study how quantum coherence underlies unexpected phenomena in new materials such as trilayer graphene, with an eye toward future uses in quantum information science and technology.

    Also contributing to the study were researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Nanjing University, China; the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan; and the University of Seoul, Korea.

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 12:21 pm on July 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , being replaced by LBNL Lux Zeplin project, , ending, LBNL, Lead, , , SD, , U Washington LUX Dark matter Experiment at SURF, ,   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Some Assembly Required: Scientists Piece Together the Largest U.S.-Based Dark Matter Experiment” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 16, 2019

    Glenn Roberts Jr.
    geroberts@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-5582

    Major deliveries in June set the stage for the next phase of work on LUX-ZEPLIN project.

    1
    Lower (left) and upper photomultiplier tube arrays are prepared for LZ at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    Most of the remaining components needed to fully assemble an underground dark matter-search experiment called LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) arrived at the project’s South Dakota home during a rush of deliveries in June.

    When complete, LZ will be the largest, most sensitive U.S.-based experiment yet that is designed to directly detect dark matter particles. Scientists around the world have been trying for decades to solve the mystery of dark matter, which makes up about 85 percent of all matter in the universe though we have so far only detected it indirectly through observed gravitational effects.

    The bulk of the digital components for LZ’s electronics system, which is designed to transmit and record signals from ever-slight particle interactions in LZ’s core detector vessel, were among the new arrivals at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). SURF, the site of a former gold mine now dedicated to a broad spectrum of scientific research, was also home to a predecessor search experiment called LUX.

    U Washington LUX Dark matter Experiment at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    A final set of snugly fitting acrylic vessels, which will be filled with a special liquid designed to identify false dark matter signals in LZ’s inner detector, also arrived at SURF in June.

    3
    An intricately thin wire grid is visible (click image to view larger size) atop an array of photomultiplier tube. The components are part of the LZ inner detector. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    Also, the last two of four intricately woven wire grids that are essential to maintain a constant electric field and extract signals from the experiment’s inner detector, also called the time projection chamber, arrived in June (see related article).

    LZ achieved major milestones in June. It was the busiest single month for delivering things to SURF — it was the peak,” said LZ Project Director Murdock Gilchriese of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Berkeley Lab is the lead institution for the LZ project, which is supported by an international collaboration that has about 37 participating institutions and about 250 researchers and technical support crew members.

    “A few months from now all of the action on LZ is going to be at SURF — we are already getting close to having everything there,” Gilchriese said.

    Mike Headley, executive director at SURF, said, “We’ve been collectively preparing for these deliveries for some time and everything has gone very well. It’s been exciting to see the experiment assembly work progress and we look forward to lowering the assembled detector a mile underground for installation.”

    4
    Components for the LUX-ZEPLIN project are stored inside a water tank nearly a mile below ground. The inner detector will be installed on the central mount pictured here, and acrylic vessels (wrapped in white) will fit snugly around this inner detector. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    All of these components will be transported down a shaft and installed in a nearly mile-deep research cavern. The rock above provides a natural shield against much of the constant bombardment of particles raining down on the planet’s surface that produce unwanted “noise.”

    LZ components have also been painstakingly tested and selected to ensure that the materials they are made of do not themselves interfere with particle signals that researchers are trying to tease out.

    LZ is particularly focused on finding a type of theoretical particle called a weakly interacting massive particle or WIMP by triggering a unique sequence of light and electrical signals in a tank filled with 10 metric tons of highly purified liquid xenon, which is among Earth’s rarest elements. The properties of xenon atoms allow them to produce light in certain particle interactions.

    Proof of dark matter particles would fundamentally change our understanding of the makeup of the universe, as our current Standard Model of Physics does not account for their existence.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics (LATHAM BOYLE AND MARDUS OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

    Assembly of the liquid xenon time projection chamber for LZ is now about 80 percent complete, Gilchriese said. When fully assembled later this month this inner detector will contain about 500 photomultiplier tubes. The tubes are designed to amplify and transmit signals produced within the chamber.

    5
    An array of photomultiplier tubes that are designed to detect signals occurring within LZ’s liquid xenon tank. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    Once assembled, the time projection chamber will be lowered carefully into a custom titanium vessel already at SURF. Before it is filled with xenon, this chamber will be lowered to a depth of about 4,850 feet. It will be carried in a frame that is specially designed to minimize vibrations, and then floated into the experimental cavern across a temporarily assembled metal runway on air-pumped pucks known as air skates.

    Finally, it will be lowered into a larger outer titanium vessel, already underground, to form the final vacuum-insulated cryostat needed to house the liquid xenon.

    That daylong journey, planned in September, will be a nail-biting experience for the entire project team, noted Berkeley Lab’s Simon Fiorucci, LZ deputy project manager.

    “It will certainly be the most stressful — this is the thing that really cannot fail. Once we’re done with this, a lot of our risk disappears and a lot of our planning becomes easier,” he said, adding, “This will be the biggest milestone that’s left besides having liquid xenon in the detector.”

    Project crews will soon begin testing the xenon circulation system, already installed underground, that will continually circulate xenon through the inner detector, further purify it, and reliquify it. Fiorucci said researchers will use about 250 pounds of xenon for these early tests.

    Work is also nearing completion on LZ’s cryogenic cooling system that is required to convert xenon gas to its liquid form.

    6
    Researchers from the University of Rochester in June installed six racks of electronics hardware that will be used to process signals from the LZ experiment. (Credit: University of Rochester)

    LZ digital electronics, which will ultimately connect to the arrays of photomultiplier tubes and enable the readout of signals from particle interactions, were designed, developed, delivered, and installed by University of Rochester researchers and technical staff at SURF in June.

    “All of our electronics have been designed specifically for LZ with the goal of maximizing our sensitivity for the smallest possible signals,” said Frank Wolfs, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester who is overseeing the university’s efforts.

    He noted that more than 28 miles of coaxial cable will connect the photomultiplier tubes and their amplifying electronics – which are undergoing tests at UC Davis – to the digitizing electronics. “The successful installation of the digital electronics and the online network and computing infrastructure in June makes us eager to see the first signals emerge from LZ,” Wolfs added.

    Also in June, LZ participants exercised high-speed data connections from the site of the experiment to the surface level at SURF and then to Berkeley Lab. Data captured by the detectors’ electronics will ultimately be transferred to LZ’s primary data center, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Berkeley Lab via the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), a high-speed nationwide data network based at Berkeley Lab.

    NERSC

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

    NERSC Hopper Cray XE6 supercomputer


    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer


    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


    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 production of the custom acrylic tanks (see related article), which will contain a fluid known as a liquid scintillator, was overseen by LZ participants at University of California,Santa Barbara.

    5
    The top three acrylic tanks for the LUX-ZEPLIN outer detector during testing at the fabrication vendor. These tanks are now at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota. (Credit: LZ Collaboration)

    “The partnership between LZ and SURF is tremendous, as evidenced by the success of the assembly work to date,” Headley said. “We’re proud to be a part of the LZ team and host this world-leading experiment in South Dakota.”

    NERSC and ESnet are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

    Major support for LZ comes from the DOE Office of Science, the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, the U.K.’s Science & Technology Facilities Council, and by collaboration members in the U.S., U.K., South Korea, and Portugal.

    More:

    For information about LZ and the LZ collaboration, visit: http://lz.lbl.gov/

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 12:15 pm on July 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: “Until now there’s been no way to accurately and directly measure drift between building stories” said David McCallen, DDPS leverages a promising new alternative for directly measuring building interstory drift that combines laser beams with optical sensors., Discrete Diode Position Sensor (DDPS) will be deployed for the first time this summer in a multi-story building at Berkeley Lab, , LBNL, Scientists and engineers at Berkeley Lab; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and the University of Nevada-Reno designed an optical method of measuring interstory drift within buildings., This building sits adjacent to the Hayward Fault considered one of the most dangerous faults in the United States.   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 11, 2019
    Christina Procopiou

    Berkeley Lab technology could reduce time needed to declare buildings affected by earthquakes safe and sound.

    1
    (Credit: iStockphoto)

    Last week’s massive southern California earthquakes shut down Ridgecrest Regional Hospital throughout the July 4 holiday weekend while the tiny town of Ridgecrest assessed the damages. A new optical sensor developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) could speed up the time it takes to evaluate whether critical buildings like these are safe to occupy shortly after a major earthquake.

    The technology – which autonomously captures and transmits data depicting the relative displacement between two adjacent stories of a shaking building – is able to provide reliable information about building damage immediately following an earthquake, and could expedite efforts to safely assess, repair, and reoccupy buildings post-quake.

    Scientists and engineers at Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the University of Nevada-Reno began working to design an optical method of measuring interstory drift within buildings in 2015. After four years of extensive peer-reviewed research and simulative testing at the University of Nevada’s Earthquake Engineering Laboratory, the Discrete Diode Position Sensor (DDPS) will be deployed for the first time this summer in a multi-story building at Berkeley Lab – which sits adjacent to the Hayward Fault, considered one of the most dangerous faults in the United States.

    “Until now, there’s been no way to accurately and directly measure drift between building stories, which is a key parameter forassessing earthquake demand in a building,” said David McCallen, a senior scientist in the Energy Geosciences Division at Berkeley Lab and faculty member at the University of Nevada, who leads the research collaboration.

    The debut of DDPS comes as governments at every level make post-earthquake building inspection and reoccupation a central focus of response planning, and as the highly anticipated next generation of remote connectivity – 5G – becomes reality for rapid data transmission. “We are excited that this sensor technology is now ready for field trials, at a time when post-earthquake response strategies have evolved to prioritize safe, continued building functionality and re-occupancy in addition to ‘life safety,’” McCallen said.

    2
    DDPS is a small device that will be positioned between building stories to detect interstory drift and transmit data about building damages to response planners. Its debut comes as governments at every level make post-earthquake building inspection and reoccupation a central focus of response planning, and as the highly anticipated next generation of remote connectivity–5G–becomes reality. (Credit Diana Swantek/Berkeley Lab)

    Optics makes a difference in monitoring seismic structural health

    Measuring building interstory drift has been a factor in assessing buildings for post-earthquake damage for some time, yet finding a reliable method to do so has been fraught with challenges. Traditionally, engineers mounted strong motion earthquake accelerometers at select elevations to secure data on the back-and-forth and side-to-side force imposed on a shaking building. But processing the acceleration data from these instruments to obtain building drift displacements is very challenging due to the frequency limitations of the sensors, especially when buildings have sustained permanent displacements associated with damage. Even more difficult is receiving data quickly enough to inform decision-making on continuity of operations and occupant safety. In addition, because typical building accelerometer-based instrumentation can be quite costly, systems tend to be very sparse with accelerometers on relatively few buildings.

    DDPS leverages a promising new alternative for directly measuring building interstory drift that combines laser beams with optical sensors. This technique centers around projecting laser light across a story height to sense the position at which the light strikes a detector located on the adjacent building floor to directly measure structural drift. The tool developed at Berkeley Lab relies on utilizing a laser source and position sensitive detector. Making use of a geometric array of small, inexpensive light-sensitive photodiodes, the sensor is able to instantly track the position of an impinging laser beam.

    2
    A new sensor developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory combines laser beams with a position sensitive detector to directly measure drift between building stories, an essential part of assessing earthquake damages in a building and deeming them safe to reoccupy. (Credit Diana Swantek/Berkeley Lab)

    “Previous generations of DDPS were quite a bit larger than the system we are now able to deploy,” says McCallen. “Based on design advancements and lessons learned, the sensor is a quarter of the size of our original sensor design, but features 92 diodes staggered in a rectangular array so that the laser beam is always on one or more diodes.”

    So far, DDPS has held up to three rounds of rigorous experimental shake table testing.

    “The rigorous testing the DDPS has undergone indicates how the drift displacements measured on the three testbeds compared to representative drifts that could be achieved on an actual full-scale building undergoing strong shaking from an earthquake,” McCallen said.

    Why DDPS is smart for cities

    The most populous town affected by the earthquakes in southern California earlier this month was Ridgecrest itself, a city of 29,000 which sits at the epicenter of a magnitude 7.1 earthquake which took place on July 5. Even though this is a small population center, the building damage estimates are still in the $100-million range.

    If an earthquake of that magnitude were to hit Los Angeles 150 miles to the south of tiny Ridgecrest, or San Francisco, nearly 400 miles north, literally hundreds to thousands of buildings would be at stake for damage. In that scenario, the ability to measure and display key interstory drift information immediately after an earthquake would provide critical new data for making informed decisions on building occupancy – giving first responders information to help guide their efforts to evacuate a building, and municipalities the potential to maintain functional use of important facilities such as hospitals.

    In addition, understanding a building’s drift profile would allow a quick determination of building damage potential, letting building inspectors know where to look for potential damage. This will be an important capability in moving beyond time-consuming and challenging manual inspections of hundreds of buildings after the next major urban earthquake.

    McCallen noted, “The major earthquakes that struck in southern California this past week serve as a reminder of the risks associated with seismic activity across many regions of the United States. These events put an exclamation point on the need for continued societal focus on earthquake readiness and resilience, including an ability to provide the sensors and data analysis that can rapidly measure infrastructure health and inform the most effective response after the next major quake.”

    This research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nuclear Safety Research and Development (NSR&D) Program managed by the Office of Nuclear Safety within the DOE Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security. An objective of the NSR&D program is to establish an enduring Departmental commitment and capability to utilize NSR&D in preventing and/or reducing high consequence-low probability hazards and risks posed by DOE and NNSA nuclear facilities, operations, nuclear explosives, and environmental restoration activities.

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 11:17 am on July 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , LBNL,   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “3 Sky Surveys Completed in Preparation for Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 8, 2019

    Glenn Roberts Jr.
    geroberts@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-5582

    Researchers will pick 35 million galaxies and quasars to target during DESI’s 5-year mission

    It took three sky surveys – conducted at telescopes in two continents, covering one-third of the visible sky, and requiring almost 1,000 observing nights – to prepare for a new project that will create the largest 3D map of the universe’s galaxies and glean new insights about the universe’s accelerating expansion.

    This Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) project will explore this expansion, driven by a mysterious property known as dark energy, in great detail. It could also make unexpected discoveries during its five-year mission.

    LBNL/DESI spectroscopic instrument on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory starting in 2018

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

    The surveys, which wrapped up in March, have amassed images of more than 1 billion galaxies and are essential in selecting celestial objects to target with DESI, now under construction in Arizona.

    The latest batch of imaging data from these surveys, known as DR8, was publicly released July 8, and an online Sky Viewer tool provides a virtual tour of this data. A final data release from the DESI imaging surveys is planned later this year.

    It took three sky surveys – conducted at telescopes in two continents, covering one-third of the visible sky, and requiring almost 1,000 observing nights – to prepare for a new project that will create the largest 3D map of the universe’s galaxies and glean new insights about the universe’s accelerating expansion.

    This Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) project will explore this expansion, driven by a mysterious property known as dark energy, in great detail. It could also make unexpected discoveries during its five-year mission.

    The surveys, which wrapped up in March, have amassed images of more than 1 billion galaxies and are essential in selecting celestial objects to target with DESI, now under construction in Arizona.

    The latest batch of imaging data from these surveys, known as DR8, was publicly released July 8, and an online Sky Viewer tool provides a virtual tour of this data. A final data release from the DESI imaging surveys is planned later this year.

    Scientists will select about 33 million galaxies and 2.4 million quasars from the larger set of objects imaged in the three surveys. Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe and are believed to contain supermassive black holes. DESI will target these selected objects for several measurements after its start, which is expected in February 2020.

    DESI will measure each target across a range of different wavelengths of light, known as spectrum, from the selected set of galaxies repeatedly over the course of its mission. These measurements will provide details about their distance and acceleration away from Earth.

    A collection of 5,000 swiveling robots, each carrying a fiber-optic cable, will point at sets of pre-selected sky objects to gather their light (see a related video [below]) so it can be split into different colors and analyzed using a series of devices called spectrographs.

    Three surveys, 980 nights

    “Typically, when you apply for time on a telescope you get up to five nights,” said David Schlegel, a DESI project scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), which is the lead institution in the DESI collaboration. “These three imaging surveys totaled 980 nights, which is a pretty big number.”

    The three imaging surveys for DESI include:

    The Mayall z-band Legacy Survey (MzLS), carried out at the Mayall Telescope at the National Science Foundation’s Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, over 401 nights. DESI is now under installation at the Mayall Telescope.

    The Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey (DECaLS) at the Victor Blanco Telescope at NSF’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, which lasted 204 nights.

    Dark Energy Survey


    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL


    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet

    Timeline of the Inflationary Universe WMAP

    The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is an international, collaborative effort to map hundreds of millions of galaxies, detect thousands of supernovae, and find patterns of cosmic structure that will reveal the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of our Universe. DES began searching the Southern skies on August 31, 2013.

    According to Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, gravity should lead to a slowing of the cosmic expansion. Yet, in 1998, two teams of astronomers studying distant supernovae made the remarkable discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up. To explain cosmic acceleration, cosmologists are faced with two possibilities: either 70% of the universe exists in an exotic form, now called dark energy, that exhibits a gravitational force opposite to the attractive gravity of ordinary matter, or General Relativity must be replaced by a new theory of gravity on cosmic scales.

    DES is designed to probe the origin of the accelerating universe and help uncover the nature of dark energy by measuring the 14-billion-year history of cosmic expansion with high precision. More than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions in the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia are working on the project. The collaboration built and is using an extremely sensitive 570-Megapixel digital camera, DECam, mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, high in the Chilean Andes, to carry out the project.

    Over six years (2013-2019), the DES collaboration used 758 nights of observation to carry out a deep, wide-area survey to record information from 300 million galaxies that are billions of light-years from Earth. The survey imaged 5000 square degrees of the southern sky in five optical filters to obtain detailed information about each galaxy. A fraction of the survey time is used to observe smaller patches of sky roughly once a week to discover and study thousands of supernovae and other astrophysical transients.

    The Beijing-Arizona Sky Survey (BASS), which used the Steward Observatory’s Bok telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory and lasted 375 nights.

    2.3-metre Bok Telescope at the Steward Observatory at Kitt Peak in Arizona, USA, altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    4
    This map shows the sky areas covered (blue) by three surveys conducted in preparation for DESI. (Credit: University of Arizona)

    On-site survey crews – typically two DESI project researchers per observing night for each of the surveys – served in a sort of “lifeguard” role, Schlegel said. “When something went wrong they were there to fix it – to keep eyes on the sky,” and researchers working remotely also aided in troubleshooting.

    On the final night of the final survey …

    In early March, Eva-Maria Mueller, a postdoctoral researcher at the U.K.’s University of Portsmouth, and Robert Blum, former deputy director at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) that manages the survey sites, were on duty with a small team in the control room of the NSF’s Victor Blanco Telescope on a mile-high Chilean mountain for the final night of DECaLS survey imaging.

    Seated several stories beneath the telescope, Mueller and Blum viewed images in real time to verify the telescope’s position and focus. Mueller, who was participating in a five-night shift that was her first observing stint for the DESI surveys, said, “This was always kind of a childhood dream.”

    Blum, who had logged many evenings at the Blanco telescope for DECaLS, said, “It’s really exciting to think about finishing this phase.” He noted that this final night was focused on “cleaning up little holes” in the previous imaging. Blum is now serving in a new role as acting operations director for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope under installation in Chile.

    New software designed for the DESI surveys, and precise positioning equipment on the telescopes, has helped to automate the image-taking process, setting the exposure time and filters and compensating for atmospheric distortions and other factors that can affect the imaging quality, Blum noted. During a productive evening, it was common to produce about 150 to 200 images for the DECaLS survey.

    Cool cosmic cartography experiment

    The data from the surveys was routed to supercomputers at Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), which will be the major storehouse for DESI data.

    NERSC

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

    NERSC Hopper Cray XE6 supercomputer


    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer


    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


    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.

    More than 100 researchers participated in night shifts to conduct the surveys, said Arjun Dey, the NOAO project scientist for DESI. Dey served as a lead scientist for the MzLS survey and a co-lead scientist on the DECaLS survey with Schlegel.

    “We are building a detailed map of the universe and measuring its expansion history over the last 10 to 12 billion years,” Dey said. “The DESI experiment represents the most detailed – and definitely the coolest – cosmic cartography experiment undertaken to date. Although the imaging was carried out for the DESI project, the data are publicly available so everyone can enjoy the sky and explore the cosmos.”

    BASS survey supported by global team

    Xiaohui Fan, a University of Arizona astronomy professor who was a co-lead on the BASS survey conducted at Kitt Peak’s Bok Telescope, coordinated viewing time by an international group that included co-leads Professor Zhou Xu and Associate Professor Zou Hu, other scientists from the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC), and researchers from the University of Arizona and from across the DESI collaboration.

    4
    The Bok (left) and Mayall telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. DESI is currently under installation at the Mayall telescope. (Credit: Michael A. Stecker)

    BASS produced about 100,000 images during its four-year run. It scanned a section of sky about 13 times larger than the Big Dipper, part of the Ursa Major constellation.

    “This is a good example of how a collaboration is done,” Fan said. “Through this international partnership we were bringing in people from around the world. This is a nice preview of what observing with DESI will be like.”

    Fan noted the DESI team’s swift response in updating the telescope’s hardware and software during the course of the survey.

    “It improved a lot in terms of automated controls and focusing and data reduction,” he said. Most of the BASS survey imaging concluded in February, with some final images taken in March.

    Next steps toward DESI’s completion

    All of the images gathered will be processed by a mathematical code, called Tractor, that helps to identify all of the galaxies surveyed and measure their brightness.

    With the initial testing of the massive corrector barrel, which houses DESI’s package of six large mirrors, in early April, the next major milestone for the project will be the delivery, installation, and testing of its focal plane, which caps the telescope and houses the robotic positioners.

    Dey, who participated in formative discussions about the need for an experiment like DESI almost 20 years ago, said, “It’s pretty amazing that our small and dedicated team was able to pull off such a large survey in such a short time. We are excited to be turning to the next phase of this project!”

    NERSC is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    More:

    Explore Galaxies Far, Far Away at Internet Speeds

    Scientists have released an “expansion pack” for a virtual tour of the universe that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own computer. The latest version of the publicly accessible images of the sky roughly doubles the size of the searchable universe from the project’s original release in May.

    News Center


    In this video, Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) project participants share their insight and excitement about the project and its potential for new and unexpected discoveries.

    DESI is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science; the U.S. National Science Foundation, Division of Astronomical Sciences under contract to the National Optical Astronomy Observatory; the Science and Technologies Facilities Council of the United Kingdom; the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; the Heising-Simons Foundation; the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico; the Ministry of Economy of Spain; the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA); and DESI member institutions. The DESI scientists are honored to be permitted to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak), a mountain with particular significance to the Tohono O’odham Nation. View the full list of DESI collaborating institutions, and learn more about DESI here: desi.lbl.gov.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 2:14 pm on July 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "With Little Training, An algorithm called Word2vec, LBNL, , Machine-Learning Algorithms Can Uncover Hidden Scientific Knowledge", The project was motivated by the difficulty making sense of the overwhelming amount of published studies, The team collected the 3.3 million abstracts from papers published in more than 1000 journals between 1922 and 2018.   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “With Little Training, Machine-Learning Algorithms Can Uncover Hidden Scientific Knowledge” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 3, 2019
    Julie Chao
    jhchao@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-6491

    Berkeley Lab study finds that text mining of scientific literature can lead to new discoveries.

    1
    (From left) Berkeley Lab researchers Vahe Tshitoyan, Anubhav Jain, Leigh Weston, and John Dagdelen used machine learning to analyze 3.3 million abstracts from materials science papers. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Sure, computers can be used to play grandmaster-level chess, but can they make scientific discoveries? Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown that an algorithm with no training in materials science can scan the text of millions of papers and uncover new scientific knowledge.

    A team led by Anubhav Jain, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Energy Storage & Distributed Resources Division, collected 3.3 million abstracts of published materials science papers and fed them into an algorithm called Word2vec. By analyzing relationships between words the algorithm was able to predict discoveries of new thermoelectric materials years in advance and suggest as-yet unknown materials as candidates for thermoelectric materials.

    2
    Berkeley Lab researchers found that text mining of materials science abstracts could turn up novel thermoelectric materials. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    “Without telling it anything about materials science, it learned concepts like the periodic table and the crystal structure of metals,” said Jain. “That hinted at the potential of the technique. But probably the most interesting thing we figured out is, you can use this algorithm to address gaps in materials research, things that people should study but haven’t studied so far.”

    The findings were published July 3 in the journal Nature. The lead author of the study, “Unsupervised Word Embeddings Capture Latent Knowledge from Materials Science Literature,” is Vahe Tshitoyan, a Berkeley Lab postdoctoral fellow now working at Google. Along with Jain, Berkeley Lab scientists Kristin Persson and Gerbrand Ceder helped lead the study.

    “The paper establishes that text mining of scientific literature can uncover hidden knowledge, and that pure text-based extraction can establish basic scientific knowledge,” said Ceder, who also has an appointment at UC Berkeley’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

    Tshitoyan said the project was motivated by the difficulty making sense of the overwhelming amount of published studies. “In every research field there’s 100 years of past research literature, and every week dozens more studies come out,” he said. “A researcher can access only fraction of that. We thought, can machine learning do something to make use of all this collective knowledge in an unsupervised manner – without needing guidance from human researchers?”

    ‘King – queen + man = ?’

    The team collected the 3.3 million abstracts from papers published in more than 1,000 journals between 1922 and 2018. Word2vec took each of the approximately 500,000 distinct words in those abstracts and turned each into a 200-dimensional vector, or an array of 200 numbers.

    “What’s important is not each number, but using the numbers to see how words are related to one another,” said Jain, who leads a group working on discovery and design of new materials for energy applications using a mix of theory, computation, and data mining. “For example you can subtract vectors using standard vector math. Other researchers have shown that if you train the algorithm on nonscientific text sources and take the vector that results from ‘king minus queen,’ you get the same result as ‘man minus woman.’ It figures out the relationship without you telling it anything.”

    Similarly, when trained on materials science text, the algorithm was able to learn the meaning of scientific terms and concepts such as the crystal structure of metals based simply on the positions of the words in the abstracts and their co-occurrence with other words. For example, just as it could solve the equation “king – queen + man,” it could figure out that for the equation “ferromagnetic – NiFe + IrMn” the answer would be “antiferromagnetic.”

    Word2vec was even able to learn the relationships between elements on the periodic table when the vector for each chemical element was projected onto two dimensions.

    3
    Mendeleev’s periodic table is on the right. Word2vec’s representation of the elements, projected onto two dimensions, is on the left. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    Predicting discoveries years in advance

    So if Word2vec is so smart, could it predict novel thermoelectric materials? A good thermoelectric material can efficiently convert heat to electricity and is made of materials that are safe, abundant and easy to produce.

    The Berkeley Lab team took the top thermoelectric candidates suggested by the algorithm, which ranked each compound by the similarity of its word vector to that of the word “thermoelectric.” Then they ran calculations to verify the algorithm’s predictions.

    Of the top 10 predictions, they found all had computed power factors slightly higher than the average of known thermoelectrics; the top three candidates had power factors at above the 95th percentile of known thermoelectrics.

    Next they tested if the algorithm could perform experiments “in the past” by giving it abstracts only up to, say, the year 2000. Again, of the top predictions, a significant number turned up in later studies – four times more than if materials had just been chosen at random. For example, three of the top five predictions trained using data up to the year 2008 have since been discovered and the remaining two contain rare or toxic elements.

    The results were surprising. “I honestly didn’t expect the algorithm to be so predictive of future results,” Jain said. “I had thought maybe the algorithm could be descriptive of what people had done before but not come up with these different connections. I was pretty surprised when I saw not only the predictions but also the reasoning behind the predictions, things like the half-Heusler structure, which is a really hot crystal structure for thermoelectrics these days.”

    He added: “This study shows that if this algorithm were in place earlier, some materials could have conceivably been discovered years in advance.” Along with the study the researchers are releasing the top 50 thermoelectric materials predicted by the algorithm. They’ll also be releasing the word embeddings needed for people to make their own applications if they want to search on, say, a better topological insulator material.

    Up next, Jain said the team is working on a smarter, more powerful search engine, allowing researchers to search abstracts in a more useful way.

    The study was funded by Toyota Research Institute. Other study co-authors are Berkeley Lab researchers John Dagdelen, Leigh Weston, Alexander Dunn, and Ziqin Rong, and UC Berkeley researcher Olga Kononova.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 10:42 am on July 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Berkeley Lab Receives DOE Support for Building to Study Microbe-Ecosystem Interactions for Energy and Environmental Research", , BioEPIC, , , LBNL   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Berkeley Lab Receives DOE Support for Building to Study Microbe-Ecosystem Interactions for Energy and Environmental Research” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 3, 2019

    1
    Research related to the Microbial Community Analysis and Functional Evaluation in Soils (mCAFES) project. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    2
    Members of the Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies (ENIGMA) research consortium at work. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    3
    Soil sampling work conducted as part of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Science Scientific Focus Area (TES). (Credit: Roy Kaldschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) recently received federal approval to proceed with preliminary design work for a state-of-the-art building that would revolutionize investigations into how interactions among microbes, water, soil, and plants shape entire ecosystems. Research performed in the building could help address many of today’s energy, water, and food challenges.

    BioEPIC (for Biological and Environmental Program Integration Center) would integrate pioneering research in the prediction of biological and environmental processes – from microbes to watersheds – now underway in the Lab’s Biosciences Area and Earth and Environmental Sciences Area. This includes the Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies (ENIGMA) Scientific Focus Area, the Watershed Function Scientific Focus Area, the Terrestrial Ecosystems Science Scientific Focus Area (TES), and the Microbial Community Analysis and Functional Evaluation in Soils (m-CAFEs) project. These projects leverage innovative research at field sites around the country (ENIGMA, Watershed, TES) and in controlled, fabricated laboratory ecosystems (m-CAFEs). The projects are supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) within DOE’s Office of Science.

    BioEPIC is envisioned to enhance this existing research through a suite of next-generation research tools now being developed that would dramatically improve scientists’ ability to conduct carefully controlled experiments on soil-microbe-plant interactions. These tools would include instruments and computing infrastructure to virtually connect BioEPIC to relevant field sites, enabling the rapid transfer of insights discovered under laboratory conditions to the sites’ dynamic environments.

    One new research tool planned for BioEPIC would be an EcoPOD. About the size of a phone booth, EcoPODs are envisioned to allow scientists to study plants, microbes, soil, and air in a fully instrumented and contained miniature ecosystem.

    Another component proposed for BioEPIC would be a SMART (Sensors at Mesoscale for Autonomous Remote Telemetry) soils testbed, which would enable the exploration of soil-microbe-plant interactions under controlled yet “realistic” conditions that include soil and plant variability and hydrogeochemical gradients.

    At the other end of the environmental biology scale range, a new BER-funded cryo-electron microscopy resource in BioEPIC would enable researchers to interrogate microbial interactions at the atomic level.

    Co-locating these capabilities in one building would enable researchers to quantify how microbes influence the environment and how the environment influences microbial processes, across scales – from molecules to ecosystems, and from seconds to years. In addition to scientific discoveries, these new capabilities could lead to entirely new ways to harness microbes for game-changing solutions. Examples include more efficient methods for improving soil and water quality, enhanced terrestrial carbon storage, better drought-tolerance in crops, and higher-yield plant precursors for biofuels.

    “We are pleased that the Office of Biological and Environmental Research is entrusting us to develop the new capabilities needed to advance our understanding of these complex ecosystems, which will further our predictive understanding of biological-environmental processes across scales,” says Berkeley Lab Director Mike Witherell.

    The recent DOE approval, called Critical Decision 1, or CD-1, authorizes Berkeley Lab to begin preliminary architectural and engineering design work for BioEPIC, a proposed four-story, 72,000-square-foot laboratory and office building capable of housing approximately 200 scientists and visitors. BioEPIC is proposed to be located on a cleared lot that formerly held Berkeley Lab’s famed Bevatron particle accelerator. The building would be funded by the Office of Science’s Science Laboratories Infrastructure (SLI) Program.

    BioEPIC research would benefit from the five DOE Office of Science User Facilities now located at Berkeley Lab: the Advanced Light Source (ALS), Molecular Foundry, National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), and Joint Genome Institute (JGI).

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 9:37 am on June 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists Hit Pay Dirt with New Microbial Research Technique", (BONCAT+FACS-BONCAT Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorting, , BONCAT- short for Bioorthogonal Non-Canonical Amino Acid Tagging, DOE Office of Science' Joint Genome Institute (JGI), ENIGMA- Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies, LBNL, , Most soil microbes won’t grow in cultures in a laboratory, Soils are probably the most diverse microbial communities on the planet   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Scientists Hit Pay Dirt with New Microbial Research Technique” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    June 24, 2019
    Aliyah Kovner
    akovner@lbl.gov
    510-486-6376

    A better method for studying microbes in the soil will help scientists understand large-scale environmental cycles.

    1
    Credit: Susan Brand and Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

    Long ago, during the European Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci wrote that we humans “know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” Five hundred years and innumerable technological and scientific advances later, his sentiment still holds true.

    But that could soon change.

    In a report published in Nature Communications, a team of scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) detailed the first-ever successful use of a technique called BONCAT to isolate active microbes present in a sample of soil – an achievement that could enable a tidal wave of new research.

    “Soils are probably the most diverse microbial communities on the planet,” said Estelle Couradeau, first author of the study. “In every gram of soil, there are billions of cells from tens of thousands of species that, all together, perform important Earth nutrient cycles. They are the backbone of terrestrial ecosystems, and healthy soil microbiomes are key to sustainable agriculture. We now have the tools to see who these species are, but we don’t yet know how they do what they do. This proof-of-concept study shows that BONCAT is an effective tool that we could use to link active microbes to environmental processes.”

    A close look at soil microbiomes

    For the past two years, Couradeau, her co-authors, and many other researchers from around the U.S. have been collaborating in a Berkeley Lab-led scientific focus area called ENIGMA (for Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies) in order to dig deeper into the inner-workings of soil microbiomes. ENIGMA’s projects are a high priority for biologists and energy and Earth scientists not only because they help fill gaps in our knowledge of how the environment functions, but also because these fundamental insights could help applied scientists more effectively harness microbiomes to improve drought-resistance in crops, remove contaminants from the environment, and sustainably produce fuels and other bioproducts.

    2
    Charles Paradis, now a post-doctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, holds a soil core sample taken from the Oak Ridge Field Research Site in Tennessee. The BONCAT+FACS optimization testing reported in the current study used samples such as this one. (Credit: Lance E. King/Y-12 National Security Complex)

    However, because most soil microbes won’t grow in cultures in a laboratory, and because of their truly mind-boggling abundance in their natural habitats, investigating which microbial species do what is incredibly difficult. “There are many barriers to measuring microbial activities and interactions,” said Trent Northen, lead author and director of biotechnology for ENIGMA. “For example, soil microbiomes that remove waste from underground water reservoirs are found hundreds of feet below the surface. And in some ecosystems, up to 95% of the microbes are inactive at any given time.”

    Because direct observation is off the table, microbiologists typically collect environmental samples and rely on indirect approaches such as DNA sequencing to characterize the communities. However, most of the commonly used techniques fail to differentiate active microbes from those that are dormant or from the plethora of free-floating bits of DNA found in soil and sediment.

    Expanding the toolkit

    BONCAT, short for Bioorthogonal Non-Canonical Amino Acid Tagging, was invented by Caltech geneticists in 2006 as a way to isolate newly made proteins in cells. In 2014, Rex Malmstrom, Danielle Goudeau, and others at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI), a DOE Office of Science user facility managed by Berkeley Lab, collaborated with Victoria Orphan’s lab at Caltech to adapt BONCAT into a tool that could identify active, symbiotic clusters of dozens to hundreds of marine microbes within ocean sediment. After further refining their approach, called BONCAT Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorting (BONCAT+FACS), they were able to detect individual active microbes.

    3
    A graph representing how the addition of fluorescent tags allows scientists to sort microbial cells. (Estelle Couradeau/Berkeley Lab)

    As the name suggests, BONCAT+FACS allows scientists to sort single-cell organisms based on the presence or absence of fluorescent tagging molecules, which bind to a modified version of the amino acid methionine. When fluid containing the modified methionine is introduced to a sample of microbes, only those that are creating new proteins – the hallmark of activity – will incorporate the modified methionine into cells.

    In addition to being far more streamlined and reliable than previous methods of microbial identification, the entire process takes just a few hours – meaning it can tag active cells even if they are not replicating.

    Given that some soil microbes are notoriously slow-growing, many scientists were immediately interested in applying BONCAT+FACS to terrestrial soils. After three months of experimentation and optimization, the team of ENIGMA and JGI researchers devised a protocol that works smoothly and, most importantly, gives very reproducible results.

    “BONCAT+FACS is a powerful tool that provides a more refined method to determine which microbes are active in a community at any particular time,” said Malmstrom, who is also an author of the current study. “It also opens the door for us to experiment, to assess which cells are active under condition A and which cells become active or inactive when switched to condition B.”

    The next steps

    Moving forward, BONCAT+FACS will be a capability available to researchers who wish to collaborate through the JGI’s user programs. Northen and Malmstrom have already received several proposals from research groups eager to start working with the tool, including groups from Berkeley Lab who hope to use BONCAT to assess how environmental changes stimulate groups of microbes. “With BONCAT, we will be able to get immediate snapshots of how microbiomes react to both normal habitat fluctuations and extreme climate events – such as drought and flood – that are becoming more and more frequent,” said Northen.

    According to Couradeau, the team expects the approach will catalyze a variety of other important and intriguing lines of study, such as improving agricultural land practices, assessing antibiotic susceptibility in unculturable microbes, and investigating the completely unknown roles of Candidatus Dormibacteraeota – a phylum of soil bacteria, found across the world, that appear to remain dormant most of the time.

    Reflecting on how he and his colleagues achieved a goal that many have been pursuing, Malmstrom cited the diversity of scientists within ENIGMA and JGI. “This a true example of team science, because no single person had or will ever have the expertise to do it all.”

    The other researchers involved in this work were Joelle Sasse, Danielle Goudeau, Nandita Nath, Terry Hazen, Ben Bowen, and Romy Chakraborty. The study was funded by a discovery proposal grant awarded to Trent Northen as part of the ENIGMA Science Focus Area. Both ENIGMA and JGI are supported by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 1:48 pm on June 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Blue Pigment from Engineered Fungi Could Help Turn the Textile Industry Green", A blue pigment called indigoidine, , , LBNL, Most indigo used today is synthesized, Opens the door for next-generation bioproduction., Rhodosporidium toruloides, The scientists examined Rhodosporidium toruloide'sNRPS expression capability by inserting a bacterial NRPS into its genome   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Blue Pigment from Engineered Fungi Could Help Turn the Textile Industry Green” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    June 21, 2019
    Aliyah Kovner
    akovner@lbl.gov
    510-486-6376

    A new platform for producing blue pigment could provide a sustainable alternative to conventional synthetic dyes and open the door for next-generation bioproduction.

    1
    Lead researcher Aindrila Mukhopadhyay holds a vial of purified indigoidine crystals. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Often, the findings of fundamental scientific research are many steps away from a product that can be immediately brought to the public. But every once in a while, opportunity makes an early appearance.

    Such was the case for a team from the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), whose outside-the-box thinking when investigating microbe-based biomanufacturing led straight to an eco-friendly production platform for a blue pigment called indigoidine. With a similar vividly saturated hue as synthetic indigo, a dye used around the world to color denim and many other items, the team’s fungi-produced indigoidine could provide an alternative to a largely environmentally unfriendly process.

    “Originally extracted from plants, most indigo used today is synthesized,” said lead researcher Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, who directs the Host Engineering team at JBEI. “These processes are efficient and inexpensive, but they often require toxic chemicals and generate a lot of dangerous waste. With our work we now have a way to efficiently produce a blue pigment that uses inexpensive, sustainable carbon sources instead of harsh precursors. And so far, the platform checks many of the boxes in its promise to be scaled-up for commercial markets.”

    2
    Droplets of purified indigoidine, produced by bioengineered fungi, are added to water to showcase the pigment’s rich, saturated hue. (Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Importantly, these commercial markets already have considerable demand for what the scientists hope to supply. After meeting with many key stakeholders in the textile industry, the team found that many companies are eager for more sustainably sourced pigments because customers are increasingly aware of the impacts of conventional dyes. “There seems to be a shift in society toward wanting better processes for creating everyday products,” said Maren Wehrs, a graduate student at JBEI and first author of the paper describing the discovery, now published in Green Chemistry. “That’s exactly what JBEI is trying to do, using tools derived from biological systems – it just so happens that our engineered biological platform worked very well.”

    The story began when the team set out to test how well a hardy fungi species called Rhodosporidium toruloides could express nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) – large enzymes that bacteria and fungi use to assemble important compounds. The scientists examined this fungi’s NRPS expression capability by inserting a bacterial NRPS into its genome. They chose an NRPS that converts two amino acid molecules into indigoidine – a blue pigment – to make it easy to tell if the strain engineering had worked. Quite simply, when it did, the culture would turn blue.

    Going into this experiment, indigoidine itself was not the main interest for the team. Instead, they were focused on the larger picture: exploring how the assembly line functionality of these enzymes could be harnessed to create biosynthetic manufacturing pathways for valuable organic compounds, such as biofuels, and assessing whether or not the fungi represented a good host species for the production of these compounds. But when they cultivated their engineered strain, and saw just how blue the culture was, they knew something incredible had happened.

    3
    Aindrila Mukhopadhyay and Maren Wehrs inspect a bioreactor full of their Bluebelle strain at JBEI. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    With an average titer of 86 grams of indigoidine per liter of bioreactor culture, the yield of the strain – which they named Bluebelle – is by far the highest that has ever been reported. (Other research groups, including the JBEI team, have synthesized indigoidine using different host microbes.) Adding to the weight of the achievement, the record-breaking yield was obtained from a culture process that uses nutrient and precursor inputs sourced from sustainable plant material. Previous pathways required considerably more expensive inputs yet made about one-tenth the amount of indigoidine.

    Beyond the potential applications of indigoidine, the study succeeded in its original goal of providing a potential production pathway for other NRPSs – something that is much more valuable than any single product. These complex enzymes have multiple subunits that each perform a distinct and predictable action in assembling a compound out of smaller molecules. Scientists at JBEI and beyond are keen to engineer enzymes that use NRPSs’ Lego block-like features to produce advanced bioproducts that are currently hard to make.

    “A big challenge is to get a microbe to efficiently express such enzymes. This host has huge potential to fulfill that need,” said Mukhopadhyay.

    The team’s next steps will be to characterize how indigoidine could be used as a dye and to dig deeper into the capabilities of R. toruloides.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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

    DOE Seal

     
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