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Bacteria for blastoff: Using microbes to make supercharged new rocket fuel

Scientists have developed a new class of energy-dense biofuels based on one of nature’s most unique molecules

04-Jul-2022

Converting petroleum into fuels involves crude chemistry first invented by humans in the 1800s. Meanwhile, bacteria have been producing carbon-based energy molecules for billions of years. Which do you think is better at the job? Well aware of the advantages biology has to offer, a group of ...

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Crystallography for the misfit crystals

Advanced algorithms plus an exceptional X-ray laser can reveal the structures of not-so-neat-and-tidy materials unattainable by other techniques

24-Jan-2022

Francis Crick, who famously co-discovered the shape of DNA, once said: “If you want to understand function, study structure.” Many decades later, this remains a tenet of biology, chemistry, and materials science. A key breakthrough in the quest for DNA’s structure came from X-ray crystallography, ...

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New technique paves the way for perfect perovskites

22-Oct-2021

An exciting new solar material called organic-inorganic halide perovskites could one day help the U.S. achieve its solar ambitions and decarbonize the power grid. One thousand times thinner than silicon, perovskite solar materials can be tuned to respond to different colors of the solar spectrum ...

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How to make lithium-ion batteries invincible

Researchers are developing a family of cathode materials that have all of the advantages of conventional lithium batteries but without the supply constraints

29-Jun-2021

In our future electrified world, the demand for battery storage is projected to be enormous, reaching to upwards of 2 to 10 terawatt-hours (TWh) of annual battery production by 2030, from less than 0.5 TWh today. However, concerns are growing as to whether key raw materials will be adequate to ...

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From smoky skies to a green horizon: Scientists convert fire-risk wood waste into biofuel

A simplified new process transforms wood waste from agriculture and forest management into ethanol

20-Apr-2021

Reliance on petroleum fuels and raging wildfires: Two separate, large-scale challenges that could be addressed by one scientific breakthrough. Teams from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Sandia National Laboratories have collaborated to develop a streamlined and efficient ...

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On the line: Watching nanoparticles get in shape

New method could advance next-generation applications in medicine, cosmetics, and petroleum recovery

26-Feb-2021

Liquid structures - liquid droplets that maintain a specific shape - are useful for a variety of applications, from food processing to cosmetics, medicine, and even petroleum extraction, but researchers have yet to tap into these exciting new materials' full potential because not much is known ...

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Battery breakthrough gives boost to electric flight and long-range electric cars

Researchers have designed new solid electrolytes that light the path to wider electrification of transportation

22-Jul-2020

In the pursuit of a rechargeable battery that can power electric vehicles (EVs) for hundreds of miles on a single charge, scientists have endeavored to replace the graphite anodes currently used in EV batteries with lithium metal anodes. But while lithium metal extends an EV's driving range by ...

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Showtime for photosynthesis

One of nature's most important chemical reactions is now being captured in a breakthrough 'molecular movie'

08-Jun-2020

Using a unique combination of nanoscale imaging and chemical analysis, an international team of researchers has revealed a key step in the molecular mechanism behind the water splitting reaction of photosynthesis, a finding that could help inform the design of renewable energy technology. "Life ...

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When plasmons reach atomic flatland

Potential implications for novel imaging techniques and photochemical reactions at the nanoscale

27-Feb-2020

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in the United States have discovered a significant new fundamental kind of quantum electronic oscillations, or plasmons, in atomically thin ...

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Go with the flow: Scientists design new grid batteries for renewable energy

12-Nov-2019

How do you store renewable energy so it's there when you need it, even when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing? Giant batteries designed for the electrical grid - called flow batteries, which store electricity in tanks of liquid electrolyte - could be the answer, but so far utilities ...

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