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Chemists ID Catalytic 'Key' for Converting CO2 to Methanol

Results from experiments and computational modeling studies that definitively identify the "active site" of a catalyst commonly used for making methanol from CO2 will guide the design of improved catalysts for transforming this pollutant to useful chemicals.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy Achieves Unprecedented Resolution Using New Computational Methods

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)--which enables the visualization of viruses, proteins, and other biological structures at the molecular level--is a critical tool used to advance biochemical knowledge. Now Berkeley Lab researchers have extended cryo-EM's impact further by developing a new computational algorithm instrumental in constructing a 3-D atomic-scale model of bacteriophage P22 for the first time.

New Study Maps Space Dust in 3-D

A new Berkeley Lab-led study provides detailed 3-D views of space dust in the Milky Way, which could help us understand the properties of this dust and how it affects views of distant objects.

Single-Angle Ptychography Allows 3D Imaging of Stressed Materials

Scientists have used a new X-ray diffraction technique called Bragg single-angle ptychography to get a clear picture of how planes of atoms shift and squeeze under stress.

New Feedback System Could Allow Greater Control Over Fusion Plasma

A physicist has created a new system that will let scientists control the energy and rotation of plasma in real time in a doughnut-shaped machine known as a tokamak.

Towards Super-Efficient, Ultra-Thin Silicon Solar Cells

Researchers from Ames Laboratory used supercomputers at NERSC to evaluate a novel approach for creating more energy-efficient ultra-thin crystalline silicon solar cells by optimizing nanophotonic light trapping.

Study IDs Link Between Sugar Signaling and Regulation of Oil Production in Plants

UPTON, NY--Even plants have to live on an energy budget. While they're known for converting solar energy into chemical energy in the form of sugars, plants have sophisticated biochemical mechanisms for regulating how they spend that energy. Making oils costs a lot. By exploring the details of this delicate energy balance, a group of scientists from the U.

High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.

Two-Dimensional MXene Materials Get Their Close-Up

Researchers have long sought electrically conductive materials for economical energy-storage devices. Two-dimensional (2D) ceramics called MXenes are contenders.


Three SLAC Employees Awarded Lab's Highest Honor

At a March 7 ceremony, three employees of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were awarded the lab's highest honor ­- the SLAC Director's Award.

Dan Sinars Represents Sandia in First Energy Leadership Class

Dan Sinars, a senior manager in Sandia National Laboratories' pulsed power center, which built and operates the Z facility, is the sole representative from a nuclear weapons lab in a new Department of Energy leadership program that recently visited Sandia.

ORNL, HTS International Corporation to Collaborate on Manufacturing Research

HTS International Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed an agreement to explore potential collaborations in advanced manufacturing research.

Jefferson Lab Director Honored with Energy Secretary Award

Hugh Montgomery, director of the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), was awarded The Secretary's Distinguished Service Award by the Secretary of Energy earlier this year.

New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive

Geothermal energy, a clean, renewable source of energy produced by the heat of the earth, provides about 6 percent of California's total power. That number could be much higher if associated costs were lower. Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two California Energy Commission-funded projects aimed at making geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate.

Southern Research Project Advances Novel CO2 Utilization Strategy

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy has awarded Southern Research nearly $800,000 for a project that targets a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method of producing some of the most important chemicals used in manufacturing.

Harker School Wins 2017 SLAC Regional Science Bowl Competition

After losing its first match of the day to the defending champions, The Harker School's team won 10 consecutive rounds to claim victory in the annual SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Francis Alexander Named Deputy Director of Brookhaven Lab's Computational Science Initiative

Alexander brings extensive management and leadership experience in computational science research to the position.

Kalinin, Paranthaman Elected Materials Research Society Fellows

Two researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sergei Kalinin and Mariappan Parans Paranthaman, have been elected fellows of the Materials Research Society.

Two PNNL Researchers Elected to Membership in the National Academy of Engineering

Two scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will become members of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering.


High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.

Modeling the "Flicker" of Gluons in Subatomic Smashups

A new model identifies a high degree of fluctuations in the glue-like particles that bind quarks within protons as essential to explaining proton structure.

Rare Nickel Atom Has "Doubly Magic" Structure

Supercomputing calculations confirm that rare nickel-78 has unusual structure, offering insights into supernovas.

Microbial Activity in the Subsurface Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Natural carbon dioxide production from deep subsurface soils contributes significantly to emissions, even in a semiarid floodplain.

Stretching a Metal Into an Insulator

Straining a thin film controllably allows tuning of the materials' magnetic, electronic, and catalytic properties, essential for new energy and electronic devices.

How Moisture Affects the Way Soil Microbes Breathe

Study models soil-pore features that hold or release carbon dioxide.

ARM Data Is for the Birds

Scientists use LIDAR and radar data to study bird migration patterns, thanks to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility.

The Future of Coastal Flooding

Better storm surge prediction capabilities could help reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes.

Estimating Global Energy Use for Water-Related Processes

Scientists find that water-related energy consumption is increasing across the globe, with pronounced differences across regions and sectors.


Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

Argonne National Laboratory

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Haslam Visits ORNL to Highlight State's Role in Discovering Tennessine

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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

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More Than 12,000 Explore Jefferson Lab During April 30 Open House

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

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Giving Back to National Science Bowl

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NMSU Undergrad Tackles 3D Particle Scattering Animations After Receiving JSA Research Assistantship

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Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

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Rare Earths for Life: An 85th Birthday Visit with Mr. Rare Earth

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Meet Robert Palomino: 'Give Everything a Shot!'

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University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

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Student Innovator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Seeks Brighter, Smarter, and More Efficient LEDs

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Texas Tech Energy Commerce Students, Community Light up Tent City

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Don't Get 'Frosted' Over Heating Your Home This Winter

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New Research Center To Tackle Critical Challenges Related to Aircraft Design, Wind Energy, Smart Buildings

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First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money

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Like Superman, American University Will Get Its Energy from the Sun

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ARRA Grant to Help Fund Seminary Building Green Roof

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UC San Diego Installing 2.8 Megawatt Fuel Cell to Anchor Energy Innovation Park

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Rensselaer Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center Announces First Deployment of New Technology on Campus

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Texas Governor Announces $8.4 Million Award to Create Renewable Energy Institute

Texas Tech University

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New Properties Discovered in Atom-Wide Troughs

Article ID: 667412

Released: 2017-01-10 10:05:18

Source Newsroom: Department of Energy, Office of Science

  • Credit: Image courtesy of Molecular Foundry, Berkeley Lab

    Scientists made a discovery relevant to the electronic and optical properties of thin materials. Lines of missing atoms that cross the surface like veins function as “wires” to channel electrons and packets of light called photons, improving the material’s ability to conduct electricity and convert light. The defects are located between parallel lines in the microscopy image (left). Zooming in (right image) shows two parallel lines of high charge density on either side of the linear defect producing the wire. The theoretical atomic structure (right, bottom) shows the missing line of selenium atoms in gold.

The Science

Could adding defects make a good material even better? Scientists have found that linear defects in a promising thin film create one-atom-thick metallic wires. These wires cross the otherwise intact material, offering a way to channel electrons and photons, tiny packets of light. A multidisciplinary team made this discovery using resources at the Molecular Foundry and the Advanced Light Source.

The Impact

The team worked with transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) because the materials have exceptional optical characteristics. This research found that a single TMD layer could emit as much light as an equivalent material that is 10,000 times thicker, paving the way toward smaller, more efficient devices. Further, the team found that engineering defects (purposely introducing missing or displaced atoms) into TMDs could modify their intrinsic properties. These modifications might improve the material or lead to altogether new useful properties for future energy conversion, quantum computing and communication systems.

Summary

In the world of semiconductors, impurities and defects can be a good thing. They modify the properties of materials such as silicon, and scientists can exploit these properties to develop better transistors for laptop computers, smart phones, and solar cells. Recently, scientists discovered a new class of semiconductor that is only three atoms thick and extends in a two-dimensional plane, similar to graphene. These two-dimensional semiconductors, called transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), have exceptional optical characteristics. They can be developed into ultra-sensitive photodetectors, and a single TMD layer emits as much light as a three-dimensional TMD crystal composed of 10,000 layers.

For the past several years, scientists have wondered if impurities and defects could also modify TMDs’ intrinsic properties, perhaps in ways that improve the semiconductor or lead to new functionalities. Scientists at the Molecular Foundry, in collaboration with researchers at the Advanced Light Source, have taken a big step towards answering this question. They found -- to their surprise -- how substantial linear defects in TMDs create entirely new properties. Some of these properties indicate that defects in TMDs might even mediate superconducting states.

The team synthesized three-atom-thick, clean layers of molybdenum diselenide, which is a type of TMD. They then studied the material with a microscope that can visualize atoms and their electronic wave functions. They discovered a linear defect formed by a line of missing selenium atoms. This defect creates one-atom-thick metallic wires to transport electrons or photons across the otherwise intact semiconductor like veins.

Funding

Work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by the Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under contract DE-AC02-05CH11231 (user proposal #3282) (scanning transmission microscopy (STM) imaging, STM spectroscopy, theoretical simulations, and analysis). A.W.B. and S.W. were supported by the DOE, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Scientific User Facilities Division Early Career Award. S.B. acknowledges fellowship support by the European Union under FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IOF-327581. Advanced Light Source and SIMES were supported by Office of Basic Energy Science, DOEnder contracts DE-AC02-05CH11231 and DE-AC02-76SF00515, respectively. H.R. acknowledges support from the Max Planck Korea/POSTECH Research Initiative of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) under Project No. NRF-2011-0031558. M.B.S. was supported by the DOE, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Science and Engineering through the Chemical and Mechanical Properties of Surfaces and Interfaces Program. Portions of the computational work were done with National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center resources. M.F.C. acknowledges support from National Science Foundation grant EFMA-1542741 (sample surface preparation development).

Publications

S. Barja, S. Wickenburg, Z.F. Liu, Y. Zhang, H. Ryu, M.M. Ugeda, Z. Hussain, Z.X. Shen, S.K. Mo, E. Wong, M.B. Salmeron, F. Wang, M.F. Crommie, D.F. Ogletree, J.B. Neaton, and A. Weber-Bargioni, “Charge density wave order in 1D mirror twin boundaries of single-layer MoSe2.” Nature Physics 12, 751–756 (2016). [DOI: 10.1038/nphys3730]