Nov. 10, 2010
How Graphene Rotates Light
When light passes through a medium in a magnetic field, its polarization rotates – how much depends on the strength of the magnetic field and the nature and thickness of the medium. The effect is called the Faraday rotation. But what happens when the medium is graphene, which has virtually no thickness at all? Aaron Bostwick and Eli Rotenberg of the Advanced Light Source (ALS), with ALS guest Andrew Walter of the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin, were members of an international team who discovered that graphene’s remarkable electronic properties not only rotate the orientation of polarization but also twist it into an ellipse. More>
Research: Novel Metamaterial Improves Ultrasound Imaging
UC Berkeley researchers — including Berkeley Lab materials scientist Xiang Zhang — have found a way to overcome one of the main limitations of ultrasound imaging — the poor resolution of the picture. Using a 3-D metamaterial, they improved the resolution of sonagraphy by a factor of 50, promising better picture quality for ultrasound imaging as well as sonar. A paper on the discovery appears in the journal Nature Physics this week. More>
UC Update: Yudof Offers Proposals to Address Budget Issues
University of California President Mark Yudof announced Monday a series of proposed actions intended to shore up university finances. Yudof said he would bring to the governing Board of Regents next week separate plans to reform the university’s seriously overextended pension and retiree health programs and to stabilize the university budget. “Current employees and the university together will begin to contribute more into the retirement plan, but will receive no reduction in benefits,” explains Yudof. “Employees hired after July 1, 2013, will be offered a plan with slightly reduced benefits, but one that will cost 20 percent less than the current pension plan.” Go here to read the full announcement, and here for more information on the proposed changes to retirement benefits.
In The News: Chu Faces Grueling Year of Budget Battles, Oversight Hearings
[New York Times] Energy Secretary Steven Chu coasted through his 2009 Senate confirmation and began his tenure at the Department of Energy with broad political support for his goals to combat climate change and foster alternative energy sources. The outlook is less rosy today. With tight-fisted Republicans set to take charge of the House next year, Chu is likely to face funding battles, oversight hearings, and pushback over his plans to advance energy research. More>
Special Event: Lab Staff Invited to Attend After-Party for Launch of Bill Nye Climate Exhibit
The Chabot Space and Science Center is hosting a gala fundraiser this Saturday, in conjunction with the opening of Bill Nye’s Climate Lab exhibit. As part of the evening’s activities, an after-party will be held at 9 p.m., which Nye will attend. Go here for ticket information. Proceeds support the museum's work in serving over 168,000 schoolchildren, teachers and visitors, combined.
HR: Interactive Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors and Managers
The Lab will host an onsite interactive UC Sexual Harassment Prevention training course on Monday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Building 66 Auditorium. Supervisors and managers who attend will receive full credit for the biannual training mandated by California Law AB 1825 (Gov. Code Section 12950.1). Registration is available (BLI0955) through Employee Self Service. Call x7443 for more information.
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