Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL)
Since 2009, SLAC scientist John Bargar has led a team using synchrotron-based X-ray techniques to study bacteria that help clean uranium from groundwater in a process called bioremediation. Their initial goal was to discover how the bacteria do it and determine the best way to help, but during the course of their research the team made an even more important discovery: Nature thinks bigger than that.
In less than a decade, SLAC has built up an impressive array of dozens of laser systems – and a team of laser scientists and engineers – with capabilities that make it one of the most cutting-edge national laboratories under the U.S. Department of Energy.
Lighting the way
A material that could enable faster memory chips and more efficient batteries can switch between high and low ionic conductivity states much faster than previously thought, SLAC and Stanford researchers have determined. The key is to use extremely small chunks of it.
A team led by SLAC and Stanford scientists has made an important discovery toward understanding how a large group of complex copper oxide materials lose their electrical resistance at remarkably high temperatures.
The materials in question are high-temperature superconductors, which conduct electricity perfectly with no resistance when cooled below minus 100 degrees Celsius.
Understanding why proteins interact with certain specific molecules and not with the myriad others in their environment is a major goal of molecular biology. Now, in a series of recent papers, researchers describe how they designed proteins from scratch to have a high affinity and high specificity for targets on flu viruses, and then validated the two best designs using X-ray diffraction data collected at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).
Condensed-matter physicists the world over are in hot pursuit of a comprehensive understanding of high-temperature superconductivity, not just for its technological benefits but for the clues it holds to strongly correlated electron systems.
If the excitement and enthusiasm of young scientists like Eric Verploegen could be pumped directly into the power grid, the world's energy problems could be solved tomorrow.
It can't, though. So Verploegen has made it his goal to channel his energy into looking for solutions the old-fashioned way – hard work, and lots of it.