Brown-eyed person with glasses wearing a blue plaid suit. A scientist operating a machine to obtain a small sample of einsteinium.

Berkeley Lab researchers are broadening our understanding of heavy element chemistry to advance new technologies for health, energy, medical countermeasures, environmental cleanup, and hazardous waste reduction.

Water droplets.

Supports the Berkeley Lab Catalysis Program’s pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the synthesis, reactions, and mechanisms of catalysts and catalytic reactions.

Colorful scientific image

Accelerating innovation in materials research for batteries, solar cells, and computer chips.

Orange droplet of water and rippling pool.

Advancing new systems to efficiently generate liquid fuels from sunlight, water, CO2, and nitrogen.

Ocean waves and blue sky.

Accelerating advanced water-splitting technologies for clean, sustainable hydrogen production.

Artist’s illustration of hydrodynamical behavior from an interacting ensemble of quantum spin defects in diamond.

Developing new approaches to quantum information science and technology.

People looking at scientific instrumentation in a lab.

Developing next-gen batteries from the bottom up — atom by atom and molecule by molecule.

Scientific figure.

Developing theories, methods, and general software to elucidate and predict excited-state phenomena in energy-related materials.

Abstract collage of code overlaid on data centers.

Developing a data-driven approach to synthesis science by combining text mining and machine learning.

CAMERA scientific figure.

Developing fundamental new mathematics required to capitalize on experimental investigations at scientific facilities.

Polly Arnold, a person with short brown hair wearing glasses and a purple collared top, photographed in a lab.

Polly Arnold is the director of Berkeley Lab's Chemical Sciences Division and a faculty professor in UC Berkeley's Chemistry department. Her research is focused on exploratory synthetic chemistry of heavy elements, the f-block of the periodic table, and the development of homogeneous catalysis using the earth-abundant rare earths.

Ting Xu, a person with medium-length black hair wearing a dark top with a colorful scarf, photographed in the Hearst Memorial Mining Building.

Ting Xu is a faculty senior scientist and professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at UC Berkeley. Her lab is designing, characterizing, and understanding complex systems of synthetic polymers, nanoparticles, and biomolecules to develop new functional materials that exhibit novel electronic, photonic, and biological properties.

Brett Helms, a person with short gray hair and a beard wearing a dark colored blazer over a dark collared shirt, photographed outdoors, with a view of the Bay Area.

Brett Helms is a staff scientist in the Molecular Foundry's Organic and Macromolecular Synthesis facility. His research focuses on designing and applying organic and polymeric materials to solve problems in energy and sustainability, including next-generation batteries, membrane separations, and more recyclable polymers for the circular economy.

Carolin Sutter-Fella (standing), Staff Scientist, and Tim Kodalle, Postdoctoral Researcher, discuss their research at the Advanced Light Source (ALS). Carolin Sutter-Fella, a person with long blonde hair wearing a navy top.

A Berkeley Lab team has applied a set of techniques to reveal changes in the crystalline structures of perovskite solar cell materials in real time as they are fabricated. The results provide researchers with a deeper understanding of how to make better perovskite solar cells.

Berkeley Lab researcher Natalia Molchanova is working on advancing low-cost biotech solutions through synthetic protein molecules called peptoids at the Molecular Foundry.

This episode features three scientists working to manage the planet’s plastic addiction by developing smarter materials that avoid the pitfalls of 20th century plastics. We talk about the challenges of the current recycling and composting systems, philosophies of materials design, why trying to recycle some things is just “wishcycling,” and why we can allow ourselves to feel a little optimism — even though the news paints a pretty bleak picture sometimes.

Two scientists looking at an experimental set-up in a fume hood. A field of pink, purple, cyan, indigo, orange, and yellow shapes packed together, resembling vibrant abstract art. Split shot, over under water surface. Defocused fish under the waterline with an island on the surface during a dramatic sunrise. Close up of blue and gold microchip. Photo of gloved handed holding a slim pen-sized flashlight over a quantum fridge. Colorful, abstract nebulous image.