Materials Science

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Copper Shock: An Atomic-scale Stress Test

Scientists used the powerful X-ray laser at the U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to create movies detailing trillionths-of-a-second changes in the arrangement of copper atoms after an extreme shock.

SLAC Scientists Make Detailed Map of Current Between Insulators

When scientists found electrical current flowing where it shouldn't be – at the place where two insulating materials meet– it set off a frenzy of research that turned up more weird properties and the hope of creating a new class of electronics.

Now SLAC and Stanford scientists have mapped those currents in microscopic detail and found another surprise: Rather than flowing uniformly, the currents are stronger in some places than others, like river currents shaped by underlying rock.

Annual SSRL Award Honors Former Stanford Grad Student

Jonathan Rivnay, a former Stanford graduate student who is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Center of Microelectronics in Provence, France, will receive this year's William E. and Diane M. Spicer Young Investigator Award in recognition of his synchrotron studies of organic semiconductors.

Designer Glue Improves Lithium-ion Battery Life

When it comes to improving the performance of lithium-ion batteries, no part should be overlooked – not even the glue that binds materials together in the cathode, researchers at SLAC and Stanford have found.

Speed Limit Set for Ultrafast Electrical Switch

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have clocked the fastest-possible electrical switching in magnetite, a naturally magnetic mineral. Their results could drive innovations in the tiny transistors that control the flow of electricity across silicon chips, enabling faster, more powerful computing devices.

Printing Innovations Provide 10-fold Improvement in Organic Electronics

Through innovations to a printing process, researchers have made major improvements to organic electronics – a technology in demand for lightweight, low-cost solar cells, flexible electronic displays and tiny sensors. The printing method is fast and works with a variety of organic materials to produce semiconductors of strikingly higher quality than what has so far been achieved with similar methods.

X-ray Laser Brings Gold Exploration to the Nanoscale

Pushing gold exploration to the nanoscale, scientists used SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser to produce a series of 3-D images that detail a ringing effect in tiny gold crystals. The technique provides a unique window for studying why smaller is better for some specialized materials, including those used in chemical reactions and electronic components, for example.

New Battery Design Could Help Solar and Wind Energy Power the Grid

Menlo Park, Calif. — Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.