Public Release: 21-Nov-2016
Nature New, detailed snapshots capture photosynthesis at room temperature
New X-ray methods at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have captured the highest resolution room-temperature images of the protein complex photosystem II, which allows scientists to closely watch how water is split during photosynthesis at the temperature at which it occurs naturally.
Public Release: 31-Aug-2016
Physical Review Letters SLAC's high-speed 'electron camera' films atomic nuclei in vibrating molecules
An ultrafast 'electron camera' at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has made the first direct snapshots of atomic nuclei in molecules that are vibrating within millionths of a billionth of a second after being hit by a laser pulse. The method, called ultrafast electron diffraction, could help scientists better understand the role of nuclear motions in light-driven processes that naturally occur on extremely fast timescales.
Public Release: 15-Aug-2016
Nature Nanotechnology SLAC, Stanford gadget grabs more solar energy to disinfect water faster
Researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have created a nanostructured device, about half the size of a postage stamp, that disinfects water much faster than the UV method by also making use of the visible part of the solar spectrum, which contains 50 percent of the sun's energy.
Public Release: 5-May-2016
Science Scientists watch bacterial sensor respond to light in real time
Researchers have made a giant leap forward in taking snapshots of ultrafast reactions in a bacterial light sensor. Using the world's most powerful X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, they were able to see atomic motions as fast as 100 quadrillionths of a second -- 1,000 times faster than ever before.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Helmholtz Association, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Academy of Finland, European Union
Public Release: 4-Apr-2016 Major upgrade will boost power of world's brightest X-ray laser
Construction begins today on a major upgrade to a unique X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The project will add a second X-ray laser beam that's 10,000 times brighter, on average, than the first one and fires 8,000 times faster, up to a million pulses per second.
Public Release: 1-Apr-2016
Nature Communications X-rays reveal how a solar cell gets its silver stripes
The silver electrical contacts that carry electricity out of about 90 percent of the solar modules on the market are also one of their most expensive parts. Now scientists from two Department of Energy national laboratories have used X-rays to observe exactly how those contacts form during manufacturing.
Public Release: 10-Feb-2016
Nature SLAC X-ray laser turns crystal imperfections into better images of important biomolecules
Often the most difficult step in taking atomic-resolution images of biological molecules is getting them to form high-quality crystals needed for X-ray studies of their structure. Now researchers have shown they can get sharp images even with imperfect crystals using the world's brightest X-ray source at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
Helmholtz Association, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, European Research Council, Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany, University of Hamburg, BioXFEL Science Technology Center, and others
Public Release: 28-Jan-2016
Nature Energy Putting silicon 'sawdust' in a graphene cage boosts battery performance
Scientists have been trying for years to make a practical lithium-ion battery anode out of silicon, which could store 10 times more energy per charge than today's commercial anodes and make high-performance batteries a lot smaller and lighter. But two major problems have stood in the way: Silicon particles swell, crack and shatter during battery charging, and they react with the battery electrolyte to form a coating that saps their performance.
Battery Materials Research program of the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office
Public Release: 11-Jan-2016
Nature Energy A simple way to make lithium-ion battery electrodes that protect themselves
Scientists at three Department of Energy national laboratories have discovered how to keep a promising new type of lithium ion battery cathode from developing a crusty coating that degrades its performance. The solution: Use a simple manufacturing technique to form the cathode material into tiny, layered particles that store a lot of energy while protecting themselves from damage.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.