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Research Highlights


Terahertz Pulses Reveal Ultrafast Lattice Dynamics of Stripes

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has demonstrated a thermochromic solar cell for smart photovoltaic windows utilizing structural phase transitions in inorganic halide perovskites CsPbI3−xBrx. more»


Terahertz Pulses Reveal Ultrafast Lattice Dynamics of Stripes

The Ultrafast Materials Science program at MSD has used ultrashort terahertz pulses to track the crystal distortions during melting of stripes in a correlated oxide, exposing time-delayed interactions underlying atomic-scale patterns. more»

Ligand Mediated Transformation of Cesium Lead Bromide Perovskite Nanocrystals to Lead Depleted Cs4PbBr6 Nanocrystals

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has discovered a ligand mediated transformation of pre-synthesized CsPbBr3 nanocrystals (NCs) to a new type of lead−halide depleted perovskite derivative NC, namely Cs4PbBr6. more»

Highly Stable Nanorod Suprastructures of a Graphene Oxide–Polymer–CsPbX3 Perovskite Nanocrystal Composite

The Inorganic-Organic Nanocomposites program at MSD has achieved Nanorod composites with remarkably stable photonic properties are assembled from CsPbX3 perovskite nanocrystals (PNCs) and polymer-grafted graphene oxide (g-GO). more»

Molecular Arrangement and Charge Transfer in C60/Graphene Heterostructures

The Novel sp2-Bonded Materials program at MSD has discovered that the charge transfer between C60 and graphene is sensitive to the nature of the underlying supporting substrate and to the crystallinity and local orientation of the C60. more»

Diversifying Nanoparticle Assemblies in Supramolecule Nanocomposites Via Cylindrical Confinement

The Inorganic/Organic Nanocomposites program at MSD has demonstrated fabrication of complex 3-D nanoparticle assemblies enabled a Au helical ribbon-like assembly with chiral plasmonic response several orders of magnitude higher than that of natural chiral materials. more»

Temperature dependent charge transfer from QDs: Evidence for a trap-mediated mechanism

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has demonstrated the importance of reversible surface traps in mediating charge transfer in QD systems. more»

Generation of Anisotropic Massless Dirac Fermions and Asymmetric Klein Tunneling in Few-Layer Black Phosphorus Superlattices

The Theory of Materials program at MSD has predicted the generation of novel anisotropic massless Dirac fermions and the phenomenon of asymmetric Klein tunneling by applying inversely designed superlattice potential onto few-layer black phosphorus. more»

Essentially Trap-Free CsPbBr3 Colloidal Nanocrystals by Postsynthetic Thiocyanate Surface Treatments

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has achieved near-unity photoluminescence quantum yields (PLQYs) for both freshly synthesized and aged CsPbBr3 nanoparticles by postsynthetic thiocyanate salt surface treatments. more»

Nanoparticle Surfactants for Structured Liquid Processing

The Adaptive Interfacial Assemblies Towards Structuring Liquids program at MSD has produced the first sub-micron, shape-persistent, all-liquid bicontinuous structures using interfacial formation, assembly and jamming of nanoparticles surfactants (NPSs). more»

Strain-Engineered Growth of Two-Dimensional Materials

The Electronic Materials program at MSD has developed a new method to achieve built-in and tunable strain in two-dimensional materials directly via growth. more»

Probing the Pseudogap by Change in Chemical Potential

The Ultrafast Materials Science program at MSD has used picosecond perturbation of chemical potential to show how the pseudogap (PG) state of cuprate superconductors inverts the density of states. more»

Preventing Thin Film Dewetting via 2D Capping

The Inorganic/Organic Nanocomposites program at MSD has demonstrated that a monolayer 2D capping layer with high Young’s modulus effectively suppresses dewetting of underlying polymer, metal, and organic semiconductor thin films. more»

High-Throughput Screening of Inorganic Compounds for the Discovery of Novel Dielectric and Optical Materials

The Materials Project For Functional Electronic Materials Design program at MSD has created the largest data set of calculated complete dielectric properties using high throughput first principles-modeling. more»

Ultra-low Thermal Conductivity In All-Inorganic Halide Perovskites

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has discovered ultralow thermal conductivity (~0.4 W/m∙K), comparable to their amorphous limit in single-crystalline all-inorganic halide perovskite nanowires and attributed it to a cluster rattling mechanism. more»

Ultralong Valley Lifetime in WSe2/MoS2 Heterostructure

The Van der Waals Heterostructures program at MSD has achieved both near-unity generation efficiency and microseconds-long valley lifetime of valley-polarized holes in WSe2/MoS2 Heterostructure. more»

The Fractal Packing Structure in Metallic Glasses

The Mechanical Behavior of Materials program at MSD has clarified the long-standing debate over the packing structure of metallic glasses (MGs) from the perspective of fractal models. more»

Single Shot Ultrafast All Optical Magnetization Switching of Ferromagnetic Co/Pt Multilayers

The Nonequilibrium Magnetic Materials program at MSD has demonstrated magnetization switching of ferromagnetic films, within 7 picoseconds, via single laser shots. more»

Photoexcited Electrons in Hematite Trap Themselves by Polaron Formation

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has elucidated the role of electron self-trapping in the photoexcited state of hematite. more»

Tuning and Characterizing the Electronic Properties of a Single Molecule on a Graphene Device

The Characterization of Functional Nanomachines program at MSD has demonstrated reversible tuning and characterization of the charge state of an individual molecule at the surface of a graphene field effect transistor (FET). more»

Spatially Resolved Multi-Color CsPbX3 Nanowire Heterojunctions via Anion Exchange

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has developed a method to fabricate spatially resolved multi-color CsPbX3 (X = Cl, Br, I) semiconductor nanowire heterojunctions with high resolution. more»

Discovery of Intrinsic Ferromagnetism in Two-Dimensional van der Waals Crystals

The Van der Waals Heterostructures program at MSD has discovered experimentally intrinsic ferromagnetism in a two-dimensional van der Waals crystals. more»

Nanoparticle Surfactants for Structured Liquid Processing

The Adaptive Interfacial Assemblies Towards Structuring Liquids program at MSD has developed a revolutionary materials platform for the continuous production of discrete, responsive, and reconfigurable all-liquid systems. more»

Effect of fluctuations on the radiative rate in core/shell quantum dots

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has determined the impact of lattice fluctuations on the radiative rate in core/shell quantum dots. more»

Phase Transition in Cesium Lead Iodide Nanowires

The Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program at MSD has completed a systematic study of the phase transition of one-dimensional CsPbI3 nanowires and corresponding structural, optical and electrical properties. more»

Giant second-harmonic generation in Weyl semimetals

The Quantum Materials program at MSD has discovered that the Weyl semimetals TaAs, NbAs, and TaP have the largest nonlinear optical response of any known crystal. more»


Universal Structural Parameter to Quantitatively Predict Metallic Glass Properties

MSD’s Mechanical Behavior of Materials project has developed a structural parameter, termed the “flexibility volume”, as a universal indicator to bridge the structural state of metallic glass with its properties, at both atomic and macroscopic levels. more»

The Thermodynamic Scale of Inorganic Crystalline Metastability

Research within MSD’s Materials Project For Functional Electronic Materials Design revealed the thermodynamic landscape of inorganic crystalline metastability by data-mining the stability of 29,902 observed phases from the Materials Project. more»

Atomic Resolution Imaging of Halide Perovskites

Research within MSD’s Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program has developed a low-dose method to enable atomic resolution imaging of halide perovskites without introducing structural damages. more»

Lasing and Anti-Lasing in a Single Cavity

Research within MSD’s Sub-wavelength Metamaterial Design, Physics & Application program has demonstrated lasing and anti-lasing at the same frequency in a single device. more»

Interlayer Electron-Phonon Coupling in WSe2/hBN Heterostructures

Research within MSD’s Van der Waals Heterostructures program has observed extraordinary interlayer electron-phonon interaction in WSe2/hBN heterostructures, where hBN phonons couples strongly with WSe2 electronic transitions. more»

Disentangling surface state formation in topological insulators

Research within MSD’s Ultrafast Materials Science program has revealed surprising new spin-polarized unoccupied surface resonance states (USR) in Bi2Se3 through real time mapping of the formation of topologically protected surface states (TSS). more»

MoS2 transistors with 1-nanometer gate lengths

Research within MSD’s EMAT program has demonstrated the shortest gate length transistor using a MoS2 channel and ~1 nm diameter single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) gate. more»

Ultrathin Colloidal Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Nanowires

Research within MSD’s Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program successfully synthesized and purified highly uniform single crystal ultrathin CsPbBr3 nanowires with diameter of 2.2 nm and length up to several microns using a catalyst-free colloidal method. more»

Surface Energies of Elemental Crystals

Research within MSD’s Materials Project program has created the world’s largest database of surface energies and Wulff shapes for more than 100 polymorphs of 72 elements crystals. more»

Spectroscopic elucidation of energy transfer in hybrid inorganic–biological organisms

Research within MSD’s Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program reports that two pathways facilitate electron and light energy transfer from semiconductor to bacterium as concluded using time-resolved spectroscopy and biochemical analysis. more»

Gate Switchable Transport and Optical Anisotropy in 90° Twisted Bilayer Black Phosphorus

Research within MSD’s Materials Theory program has discovery of a phenomenon of gate-voltage controlled, switchable anisotropy in the transport and optical properties of bilayer black phosphorus with an interlayer twist angle of 90°. more»

Anisotropic phase segregation and migration of Pt in nanocrystals en route to nanoframe catalysts

Research within MSD’s Chemical and Mechanical Properties of Surfaces, Interfaces and Nanostructures program has demonstrated control of nanoscopic segregation of the elements in Pt-Ni rhombic dodecahedra (RD) was discovered to create a 3-D PtM3Ni nanoframe. more»

Local Stress Sensing using Tetrapod Nanocrystals

Research within MSD’s Inorganic/Organic Nanocomposites program has embedded tetrapod nanocrystal stress sensors into structural films and simultaneous opto-mechanical tensile testing revealed new sensing modalities with orders of magnitude improved sensitivity to detect stress. more»

Atomically Precise Interfacial Control of Magnetic States

Research within MSD’s Quantum Materials program has demonstrated the use of heteroepitaxy in controlling spin-orbit interactions in oxide quantum materials which will provide a pathway to a new generation of spin-orbit coupled materials. more»

Composition Tunable and Highly Luminescent Cesium Lead Halide Nanowires through Anion-exchange Reactions

Research within MSD’s Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program has successfully synthesized brightly emitting colloidal cesium lead halide (CsPbX3, X = Cl, Br, I) nanowires with uniform diameter and tunable composition by combining a facial solution method with a post-synthetic approach. more»

Solar Water-Splitting Materials From the Bottom-Up

Research within MSD’s Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program has grown Indium Phosphide nanowires and utilized them as a light absorbing photocathode for solar-driven water splitting. more»

Atomic Structure of Ultrathin Gold Nanowires

Research within MSD’s Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program has revealed the atomic structure, defect, strain, and surface characters of ultrathin Au nanowires. more»

Single-nanowire photoelectrochemistry

Research within MSD’s Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program has shown that a single-nanowire-based photoelectrode platform can be used to reliably probe the current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of individual nanowires. more»

Electron Microscopy Discovers Peptoid Crystalline Nanotubes

A family of nature-inspired polymers was discovered at MSD, that, when placed in water, spontaneously assemble into hollow crystalline nanotubes. more»

Nondisruptive Dissolution of Hp-129Xe into Viscous Aqueous and Organic Liquid Crystalline Environments

MSD PI Alex Pines and his group have developed a device that enables facile dissolution of hyperpolarized xenon into fragile, viscous and anisotropic media without disrupting molecular order or otherwise damaging samples. more»

Soft x-ray ptychography resolves nanoscale magnetic and structural correlations in thin SmCo5 films

MSD PIs from the Non-Equilibrium Magnetic Materials program used soft X-ray ptychography at the ALS to study nanoscale magnetic textures in thin amorphous SmCo5 films at 10nm spatial resolution. This new technique opens a path to high resolution x-ray imaging studies of novel spin textures, such as skyrmions to identify e.g. the underlying nucleation mechanisms. more»

Lasing in Robust Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Nanowires

MSD PIs from the Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program achieved stable, high performance lasing in perovskite-based cesium lead halide nanowires (NWs). more»

Study of Heat Transfer Dynamics from Gold Nanorods to the Environment via Time-Resolved Infrared Spectroscopy

MSD PIs from the Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program revealed the dynamics of heat transfer from plasmonic gold nanorods to the local water environment using time-resolved infrared spectroscopy. more»

Remarkable Damage Tolerance of the Medium-Entropy Alloy CrCoNi

MSD PIs from the Mechanical Behavior of Materials program have shown that medium-entropy alloy CrCoNi yields a material with damage-tolerance that surpasses literally all HEAs and most conventional alloys to date. more»

Activation of Copper by Decomposition into Nanoclusters Driven by CO Adsorption

Miquel Salmeron of Berkeley Lab, has found a new paradigm to understand the origin of chemical activation of catalysts. more»

Strength and Toughness of Nanocrystalline Graphene

MSD PIs from the Mechanical Behavior of Materials program have completed the first statistical theory of the toughness of nanocrystalline graphene and used it to elucidate the nanoscale origins of the grain-size dependence of its strength and toughness in terms of its inherent point and line defects. more»

Strength and Toughness of Nanocrystalline Graphene

MSD PIs from the Electronic Materials program have developed a new growth method, templated liquid phase (TLP) crystal growth, for growing patterned single crystalline III-V’s on amorphous substrates. more»

Observation of Polarization Vortices in Complex Oxide Superlattices

The Quantum Materials team from the Berkeley Lab has identified the existence of non-uniform polarization vortex states in a ferroelectric material. more»

Efficient silicon solar cells with dopant-free asymmetric heterocontacts

Berkeley Lab researchers, led by Ali Javey, have demonstrated efficient crystalline silicon solar cells without the use of doped-silicon layers or regions. more»

Self-photosensitization of Nonphotosynthetic Bacteria for Solar-to-Chemical Production

Berkeley Lab researchers from the Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures program have induced the nonphotosynthetic, CO2 reducing bacterium M. thermoacetica to precipitate cadmium sulfide nanoparticles which serve as light harvesters to enable photosynthetic production of acetic acid. more»


Multicolor Electroluminescence from Intermediate Band Solar Cell Structure

Berkeley Lab researchers observed two color electroluminescence from voltage applied across intermediate band solar cell structures in both forward and reverse bias configuration. more»

Nanoscale Origins of the Exceptional Damage Tolerance of High-Entropy Alloys

Berkeley Lab researchers from MSD's Mechanical Behavior of Materials program have discovered that In situ strength/fracture testing in an aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope (TEM) reveals a unique synergy of multiple deformation mechanisms that are the nanoscale basis of the exceptional ductility and toughness of high-entropy alloy CrMnFeCoNi. more»

Room-temperature in situ nuclear spin hyperpolarization from optically pumped nitrogen vacancy centres in diamond

Berkeley Lab researchers, led by Alex Pines, have demonstrated enhanced (x105) in situ nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) of diamond through optical and microwave pumping of nitrogen vacancy (NV) defects. more»

Modular Design of Ordered Polymer-Nanoparticle Composites

Berkeley Lab researchers, led by Ting Xu and Paul Alivisatos, created a diverse array of self-assembled binary superlattices using polymer-grafted nanocrystals as the colloidal building blocks. more»

Computational Study of Atomic Cluster Connections in Metallic Glasses

Beyond short-range order, the atomic structure of metallic glasses has long been poorly understood. Using molecular dynamics simulations, Berkeley Lab researchers, led by Robert Richie and Mark Asta, were able to characterize atomic cluster connections as medium-range order and found the relationship with elastic heterogeneity. more»

Near-unity photoluminescence quantum yield in MoS2

Berkeley Lab researchers demonstrated an opto-electronically perfect monolayer semiconductor using chemical treatments for defect passivation. more»

Bidirectional Freeze Casting

Processing of ceramic scaffolds with large-scale aligned lamellar porous, nacre-like structure, and long-range order at the centimeter scale have been achieved by Berkeley Lab researchers, led by Robert Richie. more»

Molecular Self-Assembly in a Poorly Screened Environment: F4TCNQ on Graphene/BN

Berkeley Lab researchers, with support from the Nanomachine program and the Molecular Foundry, observe charged molecules that would normally repel one another have been observed to attract each other on graphene due to a novel self-assembly mechanism. more»

Charge Density Waves and Superconductivity at the Single-layer Limit in NbSe2

Berkeley Lab researchers in MSD's Novel sp2-Bonded Materials program have conducted the first atomic-scale study of single-layer NbSe2. The coexistence of charge density wave (CDW) order and superconductivity have been confirmed at the single-layer limit for a 2D transition metal dichalcogenide material. more»

Anisotropic in-plane thermal conductivity of black phosphorus

Early Career researchers, with support from the Electronic Materials program and the Molecular Foundry, discovered a factor of two difference in thermal conductivity along two different directions in few-layer black phosphorous (BP). more»

The World's Largest Database of Piezoelectric Properties

Materials Project researchers used first-principles calculations to compute piezoelectric tensors for nearly 1000 compounds, thereby increasing the available data for this property by an order of magnitude. more»

Atomically thin two-dimensional organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites

A solution-phase growth method was developed by researchers in the Physical Chemistry program to synthesize atomically thin 2D hybrid perovskites with a well-defined square shape and large size. For the first time, we are introducing a new member of the 2D nanostructure family: an ionic semiconductor. more»

Characterizing Individual Defects in a Bulk Insulator

Berkeley Lab researchers in the sp2-Bonded Materials program emonstrated a new method that can bed applied to study individual defects in a widely used bulk insulating material, hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), by employing scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). more»

3D Structure of Inorganic Nanocrystals in Solution by Transmission Electron Microscopy

Berkeley Lab researchers in the Physical Chemistry program measured the locations of all of the atoms in colloidal nanocrystals for the first time, with resolution of 2.15 Å. more»

Charting the Complete Elastic Properties of Inorganic Crystalline Compounds: A Materials Genome Approach

Berkeley Lab and MIT researchers used high throughput first principles-modeling used to create the up-to-date largest data set of calculated complete elastic properties, accessible online by researchers and industry worldwide through the Materials Project. more»

Boosting Thermoelectrics with Irradiation Damage

Berkeley Lab researchers in the Electronic Materials program discovered that radiation damage can drastically boost thermoelectric performance of some materials by generating beneficial defects. more»

Bright High-Repetition-Rate XUV Source for Ultrafast ARPES

Berkeley Lab researchers in the Ultrafast Materials program demonstrated a highly-efficient XUV source for Time- & Angle-Resolved Photoemission Spectroscopy (trARPES) that delivers spectrally-isolated 22 eV pulses, uniquely combining 50-kHz repetition rate, narrow bandwidth, and high sample flux. more»

Temperature Effects on Lithium Dendrite Growth in Nanostructured Block Copolymer Electrolytes

Berkeley Lab researchers in the Soft Matter Electron Microscopy program demonstrated the effect of battery cycling temperature on dendrite growth through a block copolymer electrolyte in lithium batteries. more»

Topological Valley Transport at Bilayer Graphene Domain Walls

Berkeley Lab researchers in the Novel sp2-Bonded Materials program discovered topologically protected one-dimensional channels that conduct electrons at the domain walls of bilayer graphene. more»

Effects of Vanadium Atoms on Electronic Band Structure of ZnO

Researchers in LBNL's Electronic Materials program have demonstrated anti-crossing interaction, or splitting of the conduction band, between d-electrons localized on Vanadium atoms and delocalized electrons of the entire ZnO crystal. They showed the interaction’s effects on electronic structure and properties of the ZnVO alloy. more»

Seeing into the Liquid-Solid Interface with Standing Wave Ambient Pressure Photoemission

Researchers at LBNL and UC Davis combined standing-wave and ambient pressure photoemission to develop a new technique which permits sub-nanometer depth resolution of all species in a liquid/solid interface. more»

Charge Percolation Pathways Are Guided by Defects in Quantum Dot Solids

MSD researchers have presented the first imaging of charge transport pathways in 2D quantum dot (QD) arrays, which could help to provide the understanding necessary to have control over the degree to which charges move from one QD to the next. more»

Solar-powered Green Chemistry Using Sequestered Carbon Dioxide

Scientists at MSD have have created a hybrid system of semiconducting nanowires and bacteria that mimics the natural photosynthetic process. more»

Improving Resolution with CLAIRE: Cathodoluminescence Activated Imaging by Resonant Energy transfer

Scientists at UC Berkeley and LBNL have developed a technique, called ‘CLAIRE’, that extends the incredible resolution of electron microscopy to non-invasive nanoscale imaging of soft matter. more»

Chaotic Dynamics Hamper Reliable Control of Magnetic Vortex Structures

Scientists at the Center for X-Ray Optics, including Peter Fischer and Mi-Young Im, directly imaged the stochastic behavior in the formation of vortex structures in asymmetric magnetic nanodisks with circularly polarized X-rays at Advanced Light Source beamline 6.1.2. The ultrafast dynamics in the initial stage of vortex creation exhibits a chaotic behavior. more»

Low-Energy CO2 Capture through Cooperative Adsorption

MSD's Jeff Long revealed an unprecedented cooperative mechanism for CO2 capture via its insertion into metal–amine bonds of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). more»

New Pathway to Valleytronics

Feng Wang and colleagues demonstrated that a well-established phenomenon known as the ‘optical Stark effect’ can be used to selectively control photoexcited electron/hole pairs in different energy valleys as electrons move, wavelike, through a 2D semiconductor. more»

Atomic-Level Calculations Explain Metastable Aragonite Formation

Scientists on the Materials Project, a collaboration amongst several institutions including MIT, explained how magnesium (Mg) concentrations in seawater determine when calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitates as aragonite instead of calcite. more»

Engineering Molecular Bandgap by Bottom-up Synthesis of Varied-Width Graphene Nanoribbons

Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists including Mike Crommie connected pre-designed molecular building blocks to create shape-tunable graphene nanoribbons (GNRs), which leads to the ability to control and vary GNR width and the resulting bandgap. more»

A Fast Algorithm for Real-Time Time Dependent Density Functional Theory Simulations

Lin-Wang Wang's development of a new algorithm for simulating excited-state systems uses bigger timestep and operates ~100x faster than conventional computations. more»

Interfacial Mode Coupling as the Origin of Tc Enhancement in FeSe Films on SrTiO3

A collaboration between LBNL and SLAC explained why a thin layer of iron selenide (FeSe) superconducts at much higher temperatures when placed atop SrTiO3 (STO) substrate. more»


Fabricating First Fully 2D Field-Effect Transistors

Berkeley Lab researchers have fabricated the world’s first ‘fully 2D’ Field Effect Transistors (FETs) from monolayers of 2D materials held together by van der Waals bonding. more»

Ab initio Study of Hot Carriers in Semiconductors: First Picosecond after Sunlight Absorption in Silicon

Work by Steve Louie and Jeff Neaton provides the first ab initio calculations of HC properties and dynamics in semiconductors using many-body perturbation theory without any experimentally derived parameters. more»

Revealing Facet Development During Nanocube Growth

Real time imaging of platinum nanocube growth using liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has led to breakthroughs in the understanding of nanocrystal shape control mechanisms. more»

Extending the Coherence Lifetime of Nitrogen Vacancy Centers in Diamond

The NMR research program suppressed the decoherence of ensemble of nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers by a factor of 2, with a potential enhancement of up to 60 times; a technique that can be applied to ensemble NV spin systems to enhance the magnetic field sensitivity of the NV centers, and also to improve the figure of merit for use in quantum computing. more»

Photo-induced Doping in Graphene-BN Heterostructures

Feng Wang and colleagues have demonstrated photo-induced doping in van der Waals heterostructures consisting of graphene and boron nitride layers (G/BN), which could enable novel high-quality graphene electronic devices using a photoresist-free photolithography, where the BN substrate itself acts as the photosensitive media. more»

Coherent Phonon Transport in Complex Oxide Superlattices

The Thermoelectrics team presented an unambiguous demonstration of the theoretically-predicted crossover from diffuse to specular phonon scattering in oxide superlattices, manifested by a minimum in lattice thermal conductivity as a function of interface density. more»

Exceptional Fracture Resistance of a High Entropy Alloy

Rob Ritchie's team examined a five‐element high‐entropy alloy that yields a material with exceptional cryogenic fracture toughness (damage-tolerant) properties. more»

Revealing the Atomic Restructuring of Pt-Co Nanoparticles

Haimei Zheng's team conducted imaging and spectroscopy studies of Pt-Co bimetallic nanoparticles during oxidation/reduction gases using an aberration corrected environmental transmission electron microscope (TEM) to reveal the atomic restructuring dynamics. more»

Unraveling the Pseudogap Phase in Stripe-phase Nickelates

Members of the Ultrafast Materials Program identified a “pseudogap” phase in the model stripe system La1.75Sr0.25NiO4 as the dynamic precursor of stripe formation, characterized by femtosecond charge localization which drives strong electron-phonon coupling. more»

Unraveling the Preference of Discharge Products in Na-O2 Batteries Using ab initio Computation

Researchers with the Materials Project have investigated thermodynamic stability of Na−O particles as a function of temperature, O2 partial pressure, and particle size using first-principles calculations. more»

Realization of a Harmonic Honeycomb Iridate

Quantum Materials program presents discovery of a new iridium-oxide based material, realization of a novel spin-anisotropic magnetic exchange mechanism, and prediction of a new materials family. more»

Strong Inter-layer Coupling in van der Waals Heterostructures Built from Individual Monolayers

Members of Ali Javey’s Electronic Materials Program built new class of heterostructures consisting of layered transition metal components, by van der Waals stacking of individual monolayers into functional multilayer structures. more»

Drawing the atomic line in graphene

Alex Zettl’s sp2-Bonded Materials program developed method by which a favorable line defect can be grown in grapheme, when and where it is desired. more»

Photoinduced Oxidation State Change in α-Fe2O3 Studied by Femtosecond Extreme Ultraviolet Spectroscopy

The Physical Chemistry Program developed time-resolved extreme ultraviolet (XUV) spectroscopy to measure ultrafast charge-transfer processes in condensed-phase systems. more»

Long-Lived Heteronuclear Spin-Singlet States in Liquids at Zero Magnetic Field

The NMR Program has demonstrated the formation of a long-lived spin-singlet (zero spin) state in a spin pair comprised of unique nuclear constituents, which is possible due to symmetries of NMR spectra acquired in an environment screened from magnetic fields (zero-field NMR). more»

A Computational Approach to Modeling Nature-Inspired Structural Ceramics

Members of the Mechanical Behavior of Materials Program established a novel computational modeling approach to predict the statistical failure of nature-inspired ceramics at multiple length-scales, coupling micro-scale criteria to macroscopic behavior. more»

New technique with scanning tunneling microscope

The Characterization of Nanomachines Program developed a new technique that can measure infrared (IR) absorption spectra of molecular adsorbates with a scanning tunneling microscope. more»

Life-cycle net energy assessment of large-scale hydrogen production via photoelectrochemical water splitting

This article reports the first prospective life-cycle net energy assessment of a utility-scale photoelectrochemical (PEC) hydrogen production facility including balance-of-system components. more»

Nonlinear Propagation in Optical Zero-Index Materials

The Subwavelength Metamaterials Program achieved the first experimental observation of nonlinear light generation from 3D metamaterials with zero refractive index: light gains strength in all directions while moving through the material. more»

Visualization of Electrode-Electrolyte Interfaces in LiPF6/EC/DEC Electrolyte for Lithium Ion Batteries via In-Situ TEM

Via in-situ electrochemical liquid cell transmission electron microscope (TEM), electrochemical reaction dynamics at the electrolyte-electrode interfaces are visualized in commercial electrolyte for lithium ion batteries. more»

Quantum Dot-Organic Semiconductor Hybrid: Using Energy Level Alignment for Efficient Carrier Transport

The Inorganic/Organic Nanocomposites Program has, for the first time, demonstrated efficient charge carrier transport modulation in quantum dot (QD) films by energy level alignment between QDs and ligands. more»

Nanoframes with 3D Electrocatalytic Surfaces

Synthesized nanoframes that allow 3D molecular accessibility to platinum-rich surfaces, achieving electrocatalyst with high surface-to-volume ratio and control of surface chemistry. more»


A Square Peg in a Round Hole: Nanocrystals Pass Through Tiny Constrictions Unchanged

A team of researchers have observed an iron nanocrystal move through a constriction in a carbon nanotube with a smaller diameter than that of the nanocrystal, driven by an electric current. It's the nanoscience equivalent of putting a square peg in a round hole. more»

Increasing NMR/MRI Sensitivity through Optical Hyperpolarization in Diamond

Dynamic nuclear polarization, which transfers the spin polarization of electrons to nuclei, is routinely applied to enhance the sensitivity of nuclear magnetic resonance. This method is particularly useful when spin hyperpolarization can be produced and controlled optically or electrically. Here the researchers show complete polarization of nuclei located near optically polarized nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond. more»

Single-Bond-Resolved Images Catch Chemistry in Action

MSD's Felix Fischer, Michael Crommie, and collaborators have taken the first single-bond-resolved images of individual organic molecules immediately before and after they undergo a complex chemical reaction. The results provide powerful new insights into organic chemical reactions, which underlie biology and are critically important to industrial processes such as liquid fuel production. more»

Lower-Limits of the Nanostructured Approach To a Better Thermoelectric

A team of scientists, headed by Jeffrey Urban of the Molecular Foundry, have achieved ultralow thermal conductivity in polycrystalline thin films of cadmium selenide (CdSe). The results help identify fundamental limits of grain-boundary scattering as a means of improving thermoelectric efficiency. more»

Microfluidic Electrochemical Energy Conversion for Artificial Photosynthesis

Researchers at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis have developed a versatile microfluidic test-bed which can be used to optimize the integrated catalysis and mass transport components of electrochemical energy conversion devices. The small size and versatility of the design facilitates the evaluation of new materials under development without the need for scale-up. more»

Composite Organic/Inorganic Thermoelectric is More Than Sum of Its Parts

A team led by MSD's Jeffrey Urban and Rachel Segalman have discovered highly conductive polymer behavior occurring at a polymer/nanocrystal interface. The composite organic/inorganic material is a thermoelectric – a material capable of converting heat into electricity – and has a higher performance than either of its constituent materials. The results may impact not only thermoelectrics research, but also polymer/nanocrystal composites being investigated for photovoltaics, batteries, and hydrogen storage. more»

Photonic Spin Hall Effect Captured with 2-D Metamaterial

Berkeley Lab researchers obtained the strongest signal yet of the photonic spin Hall effect by engineering a unique two-dimensional metamaterial sheet of gold nanoantennas. The work demonstrates that metamaterials allow control over not only propagation of light but also of circular polarization, results that could have important consequences for information encoding and processing. more»

Atomic Collapse Observed in Graphene

Berkeley Lab scientists have experimentally observed “atomic collapse” for the first time, confirming decades-old predictions and providing important insights for future graphene devices. more»


High-Current-Density Nanostructured Photocathodes

A team of MSD researchers within the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis led by Joel Ager and Ali Javey has shown that nanostructured InP can be a high performance photocathode for the conversion of sunlight into hydrogen. The combination of high efficiency and stability demonstrated in this system is a significant step towards the realization of artificial photosynthesis. more»

Peering Deep into Spintronic Materials:  Dilute Magnetic Semiconductors

MSD researchers have investigated the bulk electronic structure of the prototypical dilute magnetic semiconductor gallium manganese arsenide using a new technique called HARPES, for Hard x-ray Angle-Resolved PhotoEmission Spectroscopy. Their findings help resolve a long-standing question about the material’s ferromagnetism, which they find arises from both of the two different mechanisms that have been proposed to explain it. more»

Navigating Impurities in Graphene

MSD researchers Michael Crommie, Alex Zettl and coworkers have directly imaged how electrons respond to a charged impurity placed on electrically isolated graphene. The results shed light on the origins of graphene’s extraordinary mechanical and electronic properties. more»

Squeezing Optical Cavities to the Nanoscale

Xiang Zhang and colleagues have created the world’s smallest optical cavities, the light-amplification chamber at the heart of laser technology. The researchers circumvented the usual size limitations on optical cavities by harnessing exotic properties of metamaterials, and the unprecedented size and performance of the resulting cavities open exciting possibilities in nanophotonic applications. more»

Not All Vortex States are Created Equal

A team headed by Peter Fischer and Mi-Young Im of MSD’s Center for X-Ray Optics, in collaboration with colleagues in Japan, have discovered that magnetic-vortex formation in ferromagnetic nanodisks is asymmetric, contrary to common assumption. Their results are relevant to implementing nanodisks in data storage devices as the asymmetry could lead to failure during initialization. more»

Assembling Functional Mesoporous Architectures

Molecular Foundry researchers headed by Brett Helms and Delia Milliron have unveiled a powerful new technique to form mesoporous materials with precisely controlled structure by mating specialized block copolymers with ligand-stripped nanocrystals. Their approach opens new possibilities for making mesoporous architectures from diverse compositions of materials to achieve new properties. more»

Towards Ligand-Customized Quantum Dots

A team of researchers headed by Foundry User Eric Schwegler and Tony van Buuren of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has shed light on a long-standing question about passivating quantum dot surfaces with organic molecules known as ligands. Pairing theoretical modeling with X-ray absorption spectroscopy, they revealed how ligands modify optical and electronic properties of quantum dots, insights highly relevant to designing nanocrystal-based solar cells. more»

Closer Look at Nanoparticle Growth Through a Graphene Window

A team co-headed by Alex Zettl and Paul Alivisatos of the Materials Sciences Division has invented an elegant technique for encapsulating liquid samples in pockets of graphene and imaging the contents with high-resolution electron microscopy. This technique makes it possible to image a broad range of solution-phase phenomena, such as nanoparticle growth and protein folding, with unprecedented resolution. more»

Revealing Nanorod Formation with Liquid-Cell TEM

Materials Science Division researcher Haimei Zheng and colleagues have imaged iron-platinum nanoparticle forming from solution, helping resolve a decades-long debate about growth dynamics. By understanding how nanoparticles grow, researchers can better tailor their properties for cheap, efficient energy-related technologies. more»

Nanotwinned Crystal Structures for Stronger Alloys

A team headed by Materials Sciences Division researcher Andrew Minor imaged the atomic-level response of magnesium crystals to mechanical strain, revealing the origin and dynamics of the crystal structure integral to mechanical properties of metal alloys. The discovery will help researchers develop new alloys with advanced mechanical properties. more»

Organizing Nanorods with a Polymer Template

Materials Sciences Division researcher Ting Xu and colleagues at the National Center for Electron Microscopy and the Advanced Light Source have discovered a route for creating complex structures of CdS nanorods by leveraging the self-assembly of large polymer molecules. This unprecedented degree of control over nanostructure assembly will enable researchers to use them more effectively in applications like solar cells and magnetic storage devices. more»

Pioneering a Nanoscale Nuclear Materials Testing Capability

Materials Science Division faculty scientist Andy Minor and colleagues have devised a nanoscale testing technique for irradiated materials that provides macroscale materials-strength properties. This technique could help accelerate the development of new materials for nuclear applications, and reduce the amount of material required for testing of facilities already in service. more»

Nanocrystal Transformers

A team led by Materials Science Division researchers Paul Alivisatos and Haimei Zheng is breaking new ground for the design of novel materials with the first direct observation of structural transformations in semiconductor nanocrystals. Studying structural transformations in ordered materials is of great interest in many applications, ranging from light harvesting to materials manufacture and energy storage, in which such transformations affect device performance. more»

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Now Without Magnets

Materials Sciences Division's Alex Pines and colleagues have demonstrated the first high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) instrument capable of chemical analysis without large, cumbersome magnets. An inexpensive version of NMR, which reveals the identity and chemical environment of molecules or atoms, could help researchers fingerprint small quantities of a chemical in a variety of settings. more»

Imaging Electron Clouds on the Surface of Graphene

Guided by the Molecular Foundry's David Prendergast, researchers at the University of Buffalo and SEMATECH have imaged electron clouds on the surface of graphene. These clouds reveal surface folds, ripples and other distortions that can impair graphene's ability to conduct electrons. more»

Shedding Light on a Mystery of Raman Signal Enhancement

Led by the Molecular Foundry's Jeff Neaton, researchers have unraveled a mystery behind surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy---a detection method useful for analyzing artwork and anthrax alike. more»

Electronic Life on the Edge

Led by the Materials Sciences Division's Michael Crommie, researchers have seen for the first time that electrons prefer to live on the edge---of graphene nanoribbons, a slim strip of carbon atoms arranged in a 'chicken wire' lattice just one atom thick. These findings show electrons confined to narrow channels along the edges of well-ordered graphene nanoribbons. This one-dimensional channeling of electrons could be beneficial for energy harvesting applications, such as solar cells. more»

Berkeley Lab Scientists Control Light Scattering in Graphene

Led by the Materials Sciences Division's Feng Wang, researchers have made the first direct observation of quantum interference in graphene, a 'chicken wire'-like sheet of carbon just one atom thick. These findings illuminate controls for quantum pathways in light scattering devices for material characterization or biological tagging. more»

Engineering a Practical Full-Spectrum Solar Cell

Researchers led by the Materials Science Division's Wladek Walukiewicz have designed a multiband solar cell in which two distinct materials are alloyed together using a common semiconductor fabrication technique. By engineering an alloy with multiple band gaps—the energies of light that can be absorbed by a material—costly fabrication steps can be avoided. In addition, such a design also improves the power conversion efficiency of solar cells, as a larger portion of the sun's energy can be translated into electrical current. more»

Tandem Catalysis in Nanocrystal Interfaces

Materials Sciences Division researchers Peidong Yang and Gabor Somorjai have designed layered nanocrystals that allow multiple, sequential catalytic reactions to be carried out selectively and in tandem. This achievement holds intriguing possibilities for industrial catalysis and promising green energy technologies such as artificial photosynthesis. more»

Seeing the Light - Bringing Plasmonic Nanofields Into Focus

A research team led by the Molecular Foundry's Jim Schuck demonstrated an innovative imaging concept to visualize plasmonic fields from devices with nanoscale resolution. In plasmonic devices, electromagnetic waves crowd into tiny metal structures, concentrating energy into nanoscale dimensions. This savvy coupling of electronics and photonics could be harnessed for high-speed data transmission or ultrafast detector arrays. more»

Next-Generation Chemical Mapping on the Nanoscale

A team of Molecular Foundry scientists led by Alexander Weber-Bargioni has pioneered a new chemical mapping method that provides unprecedented insight into materials at the nanoscale. more»

Engineered Biomimetic Polymers as Tunable Agents for CaCO 3 Mineralization

Molecular Foundry scientists Ron Zuckermann and Jim DeYoreo have developed a suite of protein-like materials capable of enhancing or inhibiting mineralization of inorganic solids. These engineered, non-natural polymers could enable technologies applicable to industrial crystallization, including CO 2 sequestration. more»

Grain Boundary Mapping in Polycrystalline Graphene

Using advanced electron microscopes at the National Center for Electron Microscopy, researchers have reported direct mapping of grains and grain boundaries in large-area monolayer polycrystalline graphene sheets, at length scales from micrometers to single atoms. more»