Where did those electrons go? Decades-old mystery solved

Valence controls crucial properties of molecules and materials, including their bonding, crystal structure, and electronic and magnetic properties.

Four decades ago, a class of materials called “mixed valence” compounds was discovered. Many of these compounds contain elements near the bottom of the periodic table, so-called “rare-earth” elements, whose valence was discovered to vary with changes in temperature in some cases. Materials comprising these elements can display unusual properties, such as exotic superconductivity and unusual magnetism.

RAW Power! MacCHESS software brings synchrotron-level data processing to the laptop and home laboratory

From the start, RAW was designed specifically with novice users in mind: when scientists arrive at the beamline, they need something fast and easy to learn in the very limited time available … often late at night. The program was literally designed by looking over the shoulders of beamline users as they collected data. But rather than simply create an automated data processing pipeline, we opted to give people the power to fully process data on their own computers at home, if they choose.

Summer Science Snapshot Success!

The Ithaca City School District consulted with the Xraise team to select two design activities addressing electricity and magnetism as part of the New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS). Teachers discovered how loudspeakers operate and explored the photoelectric effect through the investigation of solar cells. The activities provide engineering design curriculum for teachers, and eventually hands-on activities for students, by enabling teachers to build inexpensive speakers made out of paper cups and cars from kits that are powered by solar panels.

Materials scientist Jin Suntivich to study fuel cells differently

Transition-metal oxides are a class of high-performance catalysts with great potential, but the way in which they govern electrochemical reactions that turn fuel into energy remains poorly understood. Jin Suntivich, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, hopes to change that by studying catalysts in a new way, and he has been awarded $750,000 by the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 Early Career Research Program.


A photographic feast of physics

Indeed, students from the Applied Learning Experiences photography class at Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) took hundreds of pictures during their visit to CHESS during the month of October. “It is a visually fascinating place,” said Harry Littell, Associate Professor and Chair of Photography at TC3, “And fun to try to imagine the physics taking place amidst the spaghetti of wires and equipment. I like seeing the precision machinery augmented with tinfoil and duct tape."