Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory News

“Perfect Fluid” Reveals Clues about the Young Universe Microseconds after the Big Bang

October 3, 2014

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Researchers Develop a Way to Probe the Kind of Matter that Dominated the Universe Immediately After the Big Bang

Nuclear scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have made the most precise extraction to date of a key property of the quark-gluon plasma, which reveals the microscopic structure of this almost perfect liquid. By combining data from two high-energy accelerators, nuclear scientists have refined the measurement of a remarkable property […]

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Supercomputer Simulations Reveal an Unusual Death for Ancient Supermassive Stars

September 29, 2014

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Astrophysicists Reveal An Unusual Death for Ancient Stars

New supercomputer simulations show that non-rotating supermassive primordial stars can die as highly energetic thermonuclear supernovae powered by explosive helium burning, releasing about 10,000 times the energy of a Type Ia supernova and leaving no compact remnant. Certain primordial stars—those between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our Sun, or solar masses—may have died […]

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Researchers Develop “Bionic Liquids,” Pave the Way for Closed Loop Biofuel Refineries

August 18, 2014

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New Results Pave the Way for Closed Loop Biofuel Refineries

Researchers have developed “bionic liquids” from lignin and hemicellulose, two by-products of biofuel production from biorefineries, paving the way closed loop biofuel refineries. While the powerful solvents known as ionic liquids show great promise for liberating fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and improving the economics of advanced biofuels, an even more promising candidate is on the […]

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Nanoparticle Thin Films That Self-Assemble in One Minute

June 10, 2014

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Researchers Create Nanoparticle Thin Films That Self Assemble in One Minute

By combining supramolecules based on block copolymers with gold nanoparticles, Berkeley Lab researchers have created self-assembling nanoparticle arrays that can form a highly ordered thin film in one minute. The days of self-assembling nanoparticles taking hours to form a film over a microscopic-sized wafer are over. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence […]

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New Study Measures the Strength of Magnetic Fields Near Black Holes

June 5, 2014

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Study Systematically Measures the Strength of Magnetic Fields Near Black Holes

New research from the Berkeley Lab systematically measures the strength of magnetic fields near black holes for the first time, revealing that the measured magnetic fields can be as strong as a black hole’s gravity. A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role […]

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A Path Toward a New Breed of Miniature Particle Accelerators

May 30, 2014

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A Path Toward More Powerful Tabletop Accelerators

Berkley Lab researchers show how beams of various colors and phases affect plasma, finding that laser light needn’t be as precise as previously thought to drive miniature particle accelerators. Making a tabletop particle accelerator just got easier. A new study shows that certain requirements for the lasers used in an emerging type of small-area particle […]

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First Direct Confirmation of a Wolf-Rayet Star Self-Destructing in a Type IIb Supernova

May 22, 2014

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Direct Confirmation That a Wolf-Rayet Star Died in a Type IIb Supernova

Using an innovative sky survey called the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory, scientists have the first direct confirmation that a Wolf-Rayet star died in a violent explosion known as a Type IIb supernova. Our Sun may seem pretty impressive: 330,000 times as massive as Earth, it accounts for 99.86 percent of the Solar System’s total mass; […]

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Astronomers Make the Most Precise Measurement Yet of the Expanding Universe

April 8, 2014

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Astronomers Trace the Expansion of the Universe

Using 140,000 distant quasars, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have made the most precise measurement to date of the expanding Universe. The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), pioneered the use of quasars to map density variations in intergalactic gas at high redshifts, […]

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Scientists Use ‘Smart Window’ to Observe Lithium-Ion Battery Operation

April 3, 2014

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Smart Window Material May Make Better Batteries

By using ultrathin sheets of smart-window material, nickel oxide, as the anode in a lithium-ion battery, researchers were able to see for first time exactly what happens when the battery’s lithium ions make contact with the nickel-oxide layer and how the resulting reaction spreads out from several different points. High-tech “smart windows,” which darken to […]

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Researchers Discover Natural 3D Counterpart to Graphene

January 17, 2014

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Researchers Discover Natural 3D Counterpart to Graphene

A team of researchers has discovered that sodium bismuthate can exist as a form of quantum matter called a three-dimensional topological Dirac semi-metal (3DTDS), a natural three-dimensional counterpart to graphene with similar or even better electron mobility and velocity. The discovery of what is essentially a 3D version of graphene – the 2D sheets of […]

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BOSS Measures the Scale of the Universe to an Accuracy of One Percent

January 13, 2014

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BOSS Measures the Universe with One Percent Accuracy

Using data from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, researchers announced that they have measured the scale of the universe to an accuracy of one percent. The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) Collaboration announced that BOSS has measured the scale of the universe to an accuracy of one percent. This and future measures at this precision […]

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Scientists Create New Electronic Material with Potential for Flexible Light-Based Electronics

January 10, 2014

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Scientists Create New Electronic Material

By heating molybdenum and selenium in a vacuum chamber until they evaporated, a team of scientists was able to create an exotic thin film with potential for flexible light-based electronics. Scientists from SLAC, Stanford and Berkeley Lab grew sheets of an exotic material in a single atomic layer and measured its electronic structure for the […]

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Researchers Develop Powerful New Microscale Torsional Muscles

December 23, 2013

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Berkeley Lab Researchers Make a Powerful New Microscale Torsional Muscle

Using a simple design and inorganic materials, Berkley Lab researchers have developed a micro-sized robotic torsional muscle made from vanadium dioxide that for its size is a thousand times more powerful than a human muscle. Vanadium dioxide is poised to join the pantheon of superstars in the materials world. Already prized for its extraordinary ability […]

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Berkeley Researchers Create First Soluble 2D Supramolecular Organic Frameworks

December 17, 2013

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Researchers Create First Soluble 2D Supramolecular Organic Frameworks

Berkeley Lab researchers have demonstrated the first soluble single-layer 2D honeycomb supramolecular organic framework that combines the ordering and porous features of metal-organic frameworks with the solubility of supramolecular polymers. Supramolecular chemistry, aka chemistry beyond the molecule, in which molecules and molecular complexes are held together by non-covalent bonds, is just beginning to come into […]

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