The Saykally Group

Experimental and Theoretical Physical Chemistry

News

APXPS Finds Carbonate Reversal at Liquid Interfaces

May 30, 2017

Dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2) in water produces carbonate systems that are key to many processes essential to life, from the buffer system that regulates pH levels in blood, to the carbon cycle that governs CO2 uptake by Earth’s oceans. A detailed understanding of such systems is complicated by the presence of an interface—a cell membrane or the ocean surface, for example—that the CO2 must cross and that could affect the behavior of the various carbonate species (molecules containing the carbonate ion, CO32–). At the ALS, researchers have used ambient-pressure x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (APXPS) to probe the relative concentrations of carbonates near an interface, finding a surprising reversal in the expected abundances of carbonate (CO32–) and bicarbonate (HCO3) as a function of depth. The results raise important questions about what is really happening at interfacial regions, with relevance to topics ranging from carbon sequestration to biomedical research. Continue Reading...

Unravelling the Mysteries of Carbonic Acid

Lynn Yaris
June 16, 2015

Blink your eyes and it’s long gone. Carbonic acid exists for only a tiny fraction of a second when carbon dioxide gas dissolves in water before changing into a mix of protons and bicarbonate anions. Despite its short life, however, carbonic acid imparts a lasting impact on Earth’s atmosphere and geology, as well as on the human body... Continue Reading...

Five Things We Still Don't Know About Water

Richard J. Saykally
June 11, 2015

What could we not know about water? It’s wet! It’s clear. It comes from rain. It boils. It makes snow and it makes ice! Does our government actually spend taxpayer money for you to study water?”... Continue Reading...

New insights on carbonic acid in water

Lynn Yarris
October 22, 2014

Though it garners few public headlines, carbonic acid, the hydrated form of carbon dioxide, is critical to both the health of the atmosphere and the human body. However, because it exists for only a fraction of a second before changing into a mix of hydrogen and bicarbonate ions, carbonic acid has remained an enigma. A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers has yielded valuable new information about carbonic acid with important implications for both geological and biological concerns... Continue Reading (1) (2)

Royce Lam Wins Student Poster Competition at 2013 ALS User Meeting

October 8, 2013

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Synchrotron Sheds (X-ray) Light on Carbon Chemistry at Ocean Surfaces

AIP News Staff
March 7, 2017

A team of researchers from University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have made breakthrough discoveries on the Earth’s carbonate system with far ranging applications, including carbon sequestration and biology... Continue Reading...

Ingenious: Richard Saykally

Brian Gallagher
June 11, 2015

Donning his regular work attire—jeans and a Hawaiian shirt—Richard Saykally tells me in four words the answer to a question I had often pondered in the shower: Why is water wet?... Continue Reading...

Making a Good Thing Better: Berkeley Lab Researchers Open a Possible Avenue to Better Electrolyte for Lithium Ion Batteries

Lynn Yarris
December 19, 2014

The lithium-ion batteries that mobilize our electronic devices need to be improved if they are to power electric vehicles or store electrical energy for the grid. Berkeley Lab researchers looking for a better understanding of liquid electrolyte may have found a pathway forward. A team led by Richard Saykally, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, David Prendergast, a theorist with Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, and Steven Harris, a chemist with the Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, found surprising results in the first X-ray absorption spectroscopy study of a model lithium electrolyte... Continue Reading...

ALS Capabilities Reveal How Like Can Attract Like

March 26, 2014

A Berkeley Lab research team working at the ALS has observed an unusual pairing that seems to go against a universal scientific truth—that opposite charges attract and like charges repel. Led by Berkeley Lab chemist Richard Saykally and theorist David Prendergast, researchers demonstrated that, when hydrated in water, positively charged ions (cations) can actually pair up with one another... Continue Reading...


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