X-ray eyes on artifact from shipwreck Gribshunden

When history meets present-day science fascinating things reveal themselves. In such a case, a sample of chain mail from the 15th century Danish flagship, Gribshunden, was recently analysed at MAX IV’s NanoMAX beamline. Researchers from Lund University want to know more about the structural and chemical makeup of the metal to give us a window into Sweden’s past.

Bacterial biomass conversion for renewable fuels

Imagine this future. Vehicles and machinery predominantly powered by renewable organic matter, a resource far better for the planet’s health than today’s predominate fossil fuels. What factors stand in the way for a global power transition to competitive, industrial-scale biomass conversion? A study in Nature Communications reveals one key piece of the puzzle using bacterial enzymes. At MAX IV’s BioMAX beamline, an international team of scientists has determined important rate-limiting steps of lignocellulose breakdown, a major hurdle in efficient biomass processing. The discovery holds promise for a significant reduction in manufacturing costs and faster adoption of new biomass-derived fuels to market.

Reaction undercover: boosting the potency of catalysts

To sever society’s tether from fossil fuels, the development of more efficient catalysts for renewable energy production is a recognized, key step. On surfaces covered by 2D materials, a more detailed picture of the reaction process will greatly enhance our understanding, according to a recent study in ACS Catalysis. Researchers in Sweden have observed the effects of hydrogen and other gas combinations on 2D material graphene during undercover reactions using ambient-pressure XPS at MAX IV’s HIPPIE beamline.

A toothy temporal map of Arctic climate change

In the vast, remoteness of the Arctic, few have the opportunity to gather data on the environmental conditions over time or decipher the long-term effects of climate change. What is required? A considerable period to observe, a nearly autonomous method or actor for collection, a robust character to withstand the harsh surroundings. Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark are tackling this issue through an interdisciplinary NordForsk project. At DanMAX beamline, the group will analyse a narwhal tusk to determine its chemical composition and biomineralization, both important potential markers of the changing environment.

Amorphous atomic structure of tungsten oxide detected at DanMAX

The relationship between atomic structure and size is crucial knowledge in the effort to improve nanomaterials properties. Amorphous atomic structure was revealed in research done at DanMAX beamline of otherwise crystalline tungsten oxide nanoparticles due to the change of the nanoparticles size. This understanding is crucial for developing materials for, among others, catalysis, batteries, solar cells, memory storage, medicine, etc.

Mapping the genetic tools of fungi for fuel production

Fungal enzymes play an important role in the breakdown of plant cell walls during plant degradation. An international collaboration of researchers explored the auxiliary activities 7 (AA7) enzyme family, characterizing four fungal enzymes and uncovering a novel class of flavo-enzymes, exemplified by oligosaccharide dehydrogenase. The enzymes fuel the activity of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) in the challenging process of crystalline cellulose degradation. The study, published in Nature Communications, offers promise for tuning the efficiency of enzymatic breakdown processes of biomass feedstocks used in energy and biomaterial production.

A fuel conversion process akin to photosynthesis

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden are developing a promising new method to selectively convert carbon dioxide and water to various types of fuel. Driving this reaction is solar energy. The recent study, published in ACS Nano, combines the material graphene and the semiconductor cubic silicon carbide in a process which essentially mimics photosynthesis in plants.

Oxygen cycling reveals path to next-gen ferroelectric devices

Research is heating up to achieve greater fundamental understanding of the mechanism of ferroelectricity in hafnia-based materials, a crucial step in the development of next generation devices. New findings from the University of Groningen (RUG) in the journal Science define the key role of oxygen for greater miniaturization potential and structural stability beyond that of standard ferroelectric materials used in low-power memories. Electron microscopy and MAX IV’s NanoMAX beamline have illuminated the nature of polarization in thin films of hafnium zirconium oxide for ferroelectronics.