Science and Research Highlights

Animatedly Suspended X-ray Observations

Animatedly Suspended X-ray Observations

December 16, 2013

Researchers using the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source have probed the behavior of colloidal systems in which microscopic particles stay suspended in a fluid indefinitely. Their findings could have applications in new synthetic materials such as paints, coatings and adhesives, foodstuffs, pharmaceutical formulations, and cosmetics.
The Fate of Bioavailable Iron in Antarctic Coastal Seas

The Fate of Bioavailable Iron in Antarctic Coastal Seas

December 11, 2013

Science is exploring many options for carbon dioxide sequestration, including geoengineering. Understanding all of the possible effects of geoengineering, such as the results of iron fertilization on marine ecosystems, is vital. Researchers using the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source have brought to the surface new information about iron cycling in the Southern Ocean with possible implications for improving carbon sequestration.
A Better Way to Probe Biological Polymorphs

A Better Way to Probe Biological Polymorphs

December 3, 2013

Using bright x-rays from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory to study the incredibly strong adhesive material of the common jingle shell bivalve, researchers discovered connections between the material’s design and its function, and demonstrated the value of diffraction tomography in the detailed study of complex materials.
Composite Battery Boost

Composite Battery Boost

December 2, 2013

New composite materials based on selenium sulfides that act as the positive electrode in a rechargeable lithium-ion battery could boost the range of electric vehicles by up to five times, according to groundbreaking research carried out at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.
Water-Like Properties of Soft Nanoparticle Suspensions

Water-Like Properties of Soft Nanoparticle Suspensions

November 25, 2013

Certain unusual properties of water have intrigued researchers for decades, but are hard to investigate owing to inherently small length scales and complex interactions. Now researchers using the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne have achieved the first experimental observation of the arrangements and mobility of soft nanoparticles in dense suspensions that mirror the anomalies observed in complex liquids like water in a colloidal suspension. This finding extends the toolbox of researchers interested in using suspensions to mimic molecular liquids.
Real-Time Capture of Intermediates in Enzymatic Reactions

Real-Time Capture of Intermediates in Enzymatic Reactions

November 22, 2013

Successful development of new pharmaceuticals could be the payoff from five-dimensional crystallography, a new experimental technique employed by researchers carrying out studies at the BioCARS facility at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source.
A New Multilayer-Based Grating for Hard X-ray Grating Interferometry

A New Multilayer-Based Grating for Hard X-ray Grating Interferometry

November 20, 2013

A new kind of x-ray multilayer grating that could open a pathway for high-sensitivity, hard x-ray phase contrast full-field imaging of large samples has been developed at the National Institutes of Health and at Argonne National Laboratory. In tests the device produced phase-contrast images of vascular structures in a mouse kidney specimen that rival those obtained with magnetic resonance imaging and that were previously invisible with conventional attenuation-based x-ray imaging methods.
The Most Detailed Picture Yet of a Key AIDS Protein

The Most Detailed Picture Yet of a Key AIDS Protein

November 14, 2013

The first atomic-level structure of the tripartite human immunodeficiency virus envelope protein—long considered one of the most difficult targets in structural biology and of great value for medical science—has been determined by scientists using data obtained at three synchrotron x-ray light sources including the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.
Superconductivity with Stripes

Superconductivity with Stripes

October 18, 2013

By examining a cuprate under high pressure at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source, a team of researchers probed the relationship between stripe ordering and superconductivity. Their work is an important step in understanding high-Tc superconductivity and eventually achieving practical room-temperature superconductors.
Simulating Deep Earthquakes in the Laboratory

Simulating Deep Earthquakes in the Laboratory

September 26, 2013

Deep earthquakes simulated by researchers carrying out studies at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source have confirmed that the phase transition of olivine is a trigger for earthquakes occurring at depths below 400 kilometers.
How HIV Infects Cells

How HIV Infects Cells

September 26, 2013

In a long-awaited finding, scientists using high-brightness x-rays from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory have determined the high-resolution atomic structure of a cell-surface receptor that most strains of the human immunodeficiency virus use in gaining entry to human immune cells, and showed where maraviroc, an HIV drug, attaches to cells and blocks HIV’s entry.
A “Sponge” Path to Better Catalysts and Energy Materials

A “Sponge” Path to Better Catalysts and Energy Materials

September 6, 2013

Scientists working at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories have developed a new oxygen “sponge” that can easily absorb or shed oxygen atoms at low temperatures. Materials with these novel characteristics would be useful in devices such as rechargeable batteries, sensors, gas converters, and fuel cells.
Metal Model Mimics Metalloenzymes

Metal Model Mimics Metalloenzymes

August 7, 2013

Metal ions play critical roles throughout biochemistry and are the key to oxidizing organic molecules and, in the case of photosynthesis, water. An international team of scientists carrying out research at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source has homed in on the role of metal ions in a wide range of biological processes, from metabolism to photosynthesis. Their published results were the cover article for the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
New Physics in a Copper-Iridium Compound

New Physics in a Copper-Iridium Compound

August 6, 2013

An unexpected magnetic behavior within the transition-metal compound Sr3CuIrO6 has been revealed by research at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source, results that may eventually lead to new materials for applications such as electronic memory devices and quantum computation.
A Key Target for Diabetes Drugs

A Key Target for Diabetes Drugs

July 26, 2013

The three-dimensional atomic structure of the human glucagon receptor has been identified by an international team of researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source. The receptor, found mainly on liver and kidney cells, helps regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream and is the target of potential therapeutic agents for type 2 diabetes.
Molten Metal Solidifies into a New Kind of Glass

Molten Metal Solidifies into a New Kind of Glass

July 25, 2013

When a molten material cools too quickly it may grow into orderly crystals, but if it cools too rapidly for the entire melt to crystallize, the remaining material ends up in a non-crystalline state known as a glass, with atoms caught in place essentially as a frozen liquid. Experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source revealed an unexpected reversal of this usual sequence of events.
Organic Polymers Show Sunny Potential

Organic Polymers Show Sunny Potential

June 25, 2013

A new version of solar cells created by laboratories at the Rice and Pennsylvania State universities, with an assist from two U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science x-ray light sources, could open the door to research on a new class of solar energy devices.
A New Family of Quasicrystals

A New Family of Quasicrystals

June 24, 2013

Just as fishing experts know that casting a line in the right spot hooks the big catch, scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory used an algorithm they developed, and the high-brightness x-ray beams from the Argonne National Laboratory Advanced Photon Source to hone in on just the right spot for the only known magnetic rare earth icosahedral binary quasicrystals.
Cool Muscles: Storing Elastic Energy for Flight

Cool Muscles: Storing Elastic Energy for Flight

June 12, 2013

Studies by researchers utilizing high-brightness x-rays at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory provide important information about how flying species meet the energy needs of their powerful adaptation, new knowledge that may have implications for locomotion in general.
A Further Understanding of Superconductivity

A Further Understanding of Superconductivity

June 10, 2013

A crucial ingredient of high-temperature superconductivity can be found in a class of materials that is entirely different than conventional superconductors. That discovery is the result of research by an international team of scientists working at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source.
New Family of Tiny Crystals Glow Bright in LED Lights

New Family of Tiny Crystals Glow Bright in LED Lights

June 7, 2013

Minuscule crystals that glow different colors may be the missing ingredient for white light-emitting diode lighting that illuminates homes and offices as effectively as natural sunlight. So say researchers who studied europium aluminate nanocrystals using four x-ray beamlines at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source.
How Serotonin Receptors Can Shape Drug Effects, from LSD to Migraine Medication

How Serotonin Receptors Can Shape Drug Effects, from LSD to Migraine Medication

May 15, 2013

New findings by researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source help explain why some drugs that interact with two kinds of human serotonin receptors have had unexpectedly complex and sometimes harmful effects.
X-rays Paint a Picture of Picasso's Pigments

X-rays Paint a Picture of Picasso's Pigments

April 30, 2013

Art historians have long supposed that Pablo Picasso employed ordinary house paint, in place of conventional artists' paints, in some of his artwork. A recent collaborative effort between the Art Institute of Chicago and two Argonne National Laboratory research facilities utilized twenty-first century research to demonstrate conclusively that pigment from one of Pablo Picasso's paintings was indeed derived from a common house paint of the era in which he created the art work.
Antibody Evolution Could Guide HIV Vaccine Development

Antibody Evolution Could Guide HIV Vaccine Development

April 25, 2013

Observing the evolution of a particular type of antibody in an HIV-infected patient has provided insights that will enable vaccination strategies that mimic antibody development within the body, thanks to a multi-institution study carried out at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory
Blue Ruthenium Dimer Catalysis for Hydrogen Generation

Blue Ruthenium Dimer Catalysis for Hydrogen Generation

April 15, 2013

Scientists utilizing a variety of spectroscopic techniques to probe the catalysis process, including x-ray absorption spectroscopy at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source, reported progress in revealing previously unknown mechanistic details about blue dimer’s water oxidation reaction, which may result in cost-effect, practical, and sustainable alternative energy sources.
A High-Pressure Nano-imaging Breakthrough

A High-Pressure Nano-imaging Breakthrough

April 11, 2013

A major breakthrough in measuring the structure of nanomaterials under extremely high pressures has been achieved by researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. Their method for avoiding the distortions of high-energy x-ray beams utilized to image the structure of a gold nanocrystal could lead to new nanomaterials created under high pressures and a greater understanding of what happens in planetary interiors.
Protein Structure Could Lead to Better Treatments for HIV, Early Aging

Protein Structure Could Lead to Better Treatments for HIV, Early Aging

April 9, 2013

A breakthrough that could eventually help researchers develop new treatments for early-aging diseases and redesign AIDS medications to avoid side effects such as diabetes is the result of research was carried out at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.
The Superpower behind Iron Oxyfluoride Battery Electrodes

The Superpower behind Iron Oxyfluoride Battery Electrodes

April 2, 2013

Electrodes based on “conversion chemistry” have the potential to double energy storage capacities compared to electrodes in existing lithium-ion batteries, but the electrochemical reactions giving rise to this improved performance remain a mystery. Scientists utilizing the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne investigating the fundamental basis for the performance advantage gained new element-specific insights that represent significant milestones in understanding electrochemical reactions in battery electrodes and in the experimental tools available to investigate such reactions.
Shedding Light on Chemistry with a Biological Twist

Shedding Light on Chemistry with a Biological Twist

March 14, 2013

Discovering how living things absorb and convert light energy into a form that can change the molecules involved in such processes would not only help scientists understand them, but could lead to ways to mimic such processes for more efficient solar energy conversion, for instance. A clearer understanding of how light can drive biological processes has emerged from x-ray diffraction studies carried out on beamlines at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, helping shed a brighter light on some of life's most critical processes.
Watching a Protein as it Functions

Watching a Protein as it Functions

March 14, 2013

For decades, biochemists and biophysicists have worked to reveal the relationship between protein structural complexity and function, only to discover more complexity. They relied on freeze-trapping to capture protein intermediates at various steps along a biochemical pathway. Now a research group has developed the necessary infrastructure at the BioCARS beamline at the Argonne Advanced Photon Source to watch proteins function in real time on the picosecond time scale. Their work brings us many steps closer to knowing how proteins function, or malfunction when leading to disease.
Teasing Out the Nature of Structural Instabilities in Ceramic Compounds

Teasing Out the Nature of Structural Instabilities in Ceramic Compounds

March 12, 2013

Researchers utilized the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, as well as the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, to study the rare-earth magnetic material europium titanate. In a magnetic field, the (near) optical properties of this material change quite dramatically, presenting hope of a strong magneto-electric material often dreamed of by engineers for use in combining magnetic and charge parameters for many memory, processing, and sensor devices.
Doubling Estimates of Light Elements in the Earth's Core

Doubling Estimates of Light Elements in the Earth's Core

March 1, 2013

Researchers utilizing Advanced Photon Source x-rays have developed a new model of how sound waves travel through iron and iron-silicon alloys. Their results suggest that the amount of light elements in the inner core of the Earth could be two times more than estimated in previous studies.
A New Material for Warm-White LEDs

A New Material for Warm-White LEDs

February 20, 2013

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are known for their energy efficiency and durability. But the bluish, cold light of current white LEDs has precluded their widespread use for indoor lighting. Now, with a critical assist from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source, scientists have fabricated what is thought to be the world's first LED that emits a warm white light utilizing a single light-emitting material, or phosphor, with a single emitting center for illumination.
Probing Ultrafast Solvation Dynamics with High Repetition-Rate Laser/X-ray Methodologies

Probing Ultrafast Solvation Dynamics with High Repetition-Rate Laser/X-ray Methodologies

February 11, 2012

Thanks to implementation of a high-repetition-rate, high-power laser system at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lsboratory, it has become possible to study light-induced intramolecular processes and solvent interactions in rapidly evolving molecular systems.
Ultrafast X-Ray Spectroscopy as a Probe of Nonequilibrium Dynamics in Ruthenium Complexes

Ultrafast X-Ray Spectroscopy as a Probe of Nonequilibrium Dynamics in Ruthenium Complexes

February 8, 2013

Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and Northern Illinois University have shown that the ultrafast x-ray spectroscopy technique employed at a high-brightness x-ray light source such as the Argonne Advanced Photon Source can produce valuable new information about the physics underlying photoexcitation.
The Electronic Origin of Photoinduced Strain

The Electronic Origin of Photoinduced Strain

February 8, 2013

Research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source and Center for Nanoscale Materials that adds to our understanding of the way light interacts with multiferroics represents an important step toward the development of future electronic devices.
Modifying Proteins to Combat Disease

Modifying Proteins to Combat Disease

January 22, 2013

Thanks to the efforts of a research team from Eli Lilly and Company, with the help of the Lilly Research Laboratories Collaborative Access Team x-ray beamline at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source, the structure of an important methylation enzyme is now known. The results of this research can be utilized to provide new direction and focus in the race to create drugs to combat disease, especially cancer.
Higher Temperature at the Earth’s Core

Higher Temperature at the Earth’s Core

January 21, 2013

Exactly how hot is the center of the Earth? Apparently hotter than we had thought, according to new investigations by researchers working at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source.
Clues about Rheumatoid Arthritis Damage

Clues about Rheumatoid Arthritis Damage

January 7, 2013

Utilizing high-brightness Advanced Photon Source x-rays, researchers with the Illinois Institute of Technology viewed the actions of an antibody targeted toward the proteoglycan biglycan — one of a group of polysaccharide-protein conjugates present in connective tissue and cartilage — that may help illustrate the underlying pathology of rheumatoid arthritis.