Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent Work

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been a leader in science and engineering research for more than 70 years. Located on a 200 acre site in the hills above the Berkeley campus of the University of California, overlooking the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory managed by the University of California. It has an annual budget of nearly $480 million (FY2002) and employs a staff of about 4,300, including more than a thousand students.

Berkeley Lab conducts unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines with key efforts in fundamental studies of the universe; quantitative biology; nanoscience; new energy systems and environmental solutions; and the use of integrated computing as a tool for discovery. It is organized into 17 scientific divisions and hosts four DOE national user facilities. Details on Berkeley Lab's divisions and user facilities can be viewed here.

Cover page of Observation of a thermoelectric Hall plateau in the extreme quantum limit

Observation of a thermoelectric Hall plateau in the extreme quantum limit


© 2020, The Author(s). The thermoelectric Hall effect is the generation of a transverse heat current upon applying an electric field in the presence of a magnetic field. Here, we demonstrate that the thermoelectric Hall conductivity αxy in the three-dimensional Dirac semimetal ZrTe5 acquires a robust plateau in the extreme quantum limit of magnetic field. The plateau value is independent of the field strength, disorder strength, carrier concentration, or carrier sign. We explain this plateau theoretically and show that it is a unique signature of three-dimensional Dirac or Weyl electrons in the extreme quantum limit. We further find that other thermoelectric coefficients, such as the thermopower and Nernst coefficient, are greatly enhanced over their zero-field values even at relatively low fields.

Cover page of Magnetic electron collimation in three-dimensional semi-metals

Magnetic electron collimation in three-dimensional semi-metals


© 2020, The Author(s). While electrons moving perpendicular to a magnetic field are confined to cyclotron orbits, they can move freely parallel to the field. This simple fact leads to complex current flow in clean, low carrier density semi-metals, such as long-ranged current jets forming along the magnetic field when currents pass through point-like constrictions. Occurring accidentally at imperfect current injection contacts, the phenomenon of "current jetting" plagues the research of longitudinal magneto-resistance, which is particularly important in topological conductors. Here we demonstrate the controlled generation of tightly focused electron beams in a new class of micro-devices machined from crystals of the Dirac semi-metal Cd3As2. The current beams can be guided by tilting a magnetic field and their range tuned by the field strength. Finite element simulations quantitatively capture the voltage induced at faraway contacts when the beams are steered towards them, supporting the picture of controlled electron jets. These experiments demonstrate direct control over the highly non-local signal propagation unique to 3D semi-metals in the current jetting regime, and may lead to applications akin to electron optics in free space.

Cover page of Wannier–Koopmans method calculations for transition metal oxide band gaps

Wannier–Koopmans method calculations for transition metal oxide band gaps


© 2020, The Author(s). The widely used density functional theory (DFT) has a major drawback of underestimating the band gaps of materials. Wannier–Koopmans method (WKM) was recently developed for band gap calculations with accuracy on a par with more complicated methods. WKM has been tested for main group covalent semiconductors, alkali halides, 2D materials, and organic crystals. Here we apply the WKM to another interesting type of material system: the transition metal (TM) oxides. TM oxides can be classified as either with d0 or d10 closed shell occupancy or partially occupied open shell configuration, and the latter is known to be strongly correlated Mott insulators. We found that, while WKM provides adequate band gaps for the d0 and d10 TM oxides, it fails to provide correct band gaps for the group with partially occupied d states. This issue is also found in other mean-field approaches like the GW calculations. We believe that the problem comes from a strong interaction between the occupied and unoccupied d-state Wannier functions in a partially occupied d-state system. We also found that, for pseudopotential calculations including deep core levels, it is necessary to remove the electron densities of these deep core levels in the Hartree and exchange–correlation energy functional when calculating the WKM correction parameters for the d-state Wannier functions.

Cover page of Software-Defined Network for End-to-end Networked Science at the Exascale

Software-Defined Network for End-to-end Networked Science at the Exascale


© 2020 Domain science applications and workflow processes are currently forced to view the network as an opaque infrastructure into which they inject data and hope that it emerges at the destination with an acceptable Quality of Experience. There is little ability for applications to interact with the network to exchange information, negotiate performance parameters, discover expected performance metrics, or receive status/troubleshooting information in real time. The work presented here is motivated by a vision for a new smart network and smart application ecosystem that will provide a more deterministic and interactive environment for domain science workflows. The Software-Defined Network for End-to-end Networked Science at Exascale (SENSE) system includes a model-based architecture, implementation, and deployment which enables automated end-to-end network service instantiation across administrative domains. An intent based interface allows applications to express their high-level service requirements, an intelligent orchestrator and resource control systems allow for custom tailoring of scalability and real-time responsiveness based on individual application and infrastructure operator requirements. This allows the science applications to manage the network as a first-class schedulable resource as is the current practice for instruments, compute, and storage systems. Deployment and experiments on production networks and testbeds have validated SENSE functions and performance. Emulation based testing verified the scalability needed to support research and education infrastructures. Key contributions of this work include an architecture definition, reference implementation, and deployment. This provides the basis for further innovation of smart network services to accelerate scientific discovery in the era of big data, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Cover page of Analysis of curtailment at The Geysers geothermal Field, California

Analysis of curtailment at The Geysers geothermal Field, California


© 2020 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (manual version of copyright notice completed and submitted) Geothermal energy has traditionally been viewed as a baseload energy source, but the rapid growth of intermittent renewable energy has led to a need for more flexibility in power generation to avoid mandatory curtailment imposed by grid operators. This study of curtailment at The Geysers provides insights into the magnitude, duration, frequency, temporal and spatial distribution, and potential causes of curtailment events between 2013 and 2018. Annual levels of curtailment range during this period from 9 to 47 GW h, representing 0.15 to 0.81 % of the net generation. Most curtailments occurred at the power plants connected to a lower capacity transmission line and may result from transmission constriction. There is a clear link between negative pricing and economic curtailment, especially when solar production is higher. Economic curtailment events tend to be only a few hours and vary in magnitude up to almost 300 MW, whereas transmission-related curtailment events can be up to several weeks in duration. It is likely that curtailment of geothermal power will be an increasing concern, and could be mitigated by flexible generation strategies and increases in energy storage. It is critical to know the nature of curtailment events so that flexible generation options can be assessed properly.

Cover page of Tailored gamification and serious game framework based on fuzzy logic for saving energy in connected thermostats

Tailored gamification and serious game framework based on fuzzy logic for saving energy in connected thermostats


© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Connected thermostats (CTs) often save less energy than predicted because consumers may not know how to use them and may not be engaged in saving energy. Additionally, several models perform contrary to consumers’ expectations and are thus not used the way they are intended to. As a result, CTs save less energy and are underused in households. This paper reviews aspects of gamification and serious games focused on engaging consumers. A gamification and serious games framework is proposed for saving energy that is tailored by a fuzzy logic system to motivate connected thermostat consumers. This intelligent gamification framework can be used to customize the gamification and serious game strategy to each consumer so that fuzzy logic systems can be adapted according to the requirements of each consumer. The framework is designed to teach, engage, and motivate consumers while helping them save electrical energy when using their thermostats. It is described the proposed framework as well as a mockup that can be run on a cellphone. Although this framework is designed to be implemented in CTs, it can be translated to their energy devices in smart homes.

Cover page of Revisiting the π → π* transition of the nitrite ion at the air/water interface: A combined experimental and theoretical study

Revisiting the π → π* transition of the nitrite ion at the air/water interface: A combined experimental and theoretical study


© 2020 Elsevier B.V. Broadband deep ultraviolet electronic sum frequency generation spectroscopy allows measurement of electronic |χ(2)|2-spectra at aqueous interfaces, providing considerable improvement over deep ultraviolet electronic second harmonic generation spectroscopy that yields error-prone, pointwise spectra. Reexamination of the π → π* transition of nitrite at the air/water interface reveals that the interfacial |χ(2)|2-spectrum is strikingly similar to the bulk absorption spectrum. Molecular dynamics simulations and SOS-CIS(D0) electronic structure calculations provide no evidence for the previously reported contact ion pair-induced red-shift of the π → π* transition at the air/water interface. Our results thus revise the previous description for nitrite interfacial adsorption as a contact ion pair.

Cover page of Revisiting individual and group differences in thermal comfort based on ASHRAE database

Revisiting individual and group differences in thermal comfort based on ASHRAE database


© 2020 Different thermal demands and preferences between individuals lead to a low occupant satisfaction rate, despite the high energy consumption by HVAC system. This study aims to quantify the difference in thermal demands, and to compare the influential factors which might lead to those differences. With the recently released ASHRAE Database, we quantitatively answered the following two research questions: which factors would lead to marked individual difference, and what the magnitude of this difference is. Linear regression has been applied to describe the macro-trend of how people feel thermally under different temperatures. Three types of factors which might lead to different thermal demands have been studied and compared in this study, i.e. individual factors, building characteristics and geographical factors. It was found that the local climate has the most marked impact on the neutral temperature, with an effect size of 3.5 °C; followed by country, HVAC operation mode and body built, which lead to a difference of more than 1 °C. In terms of the thermal sensitivity, building type and local climate are the most influential factors. Subjects in residential buildings or coming from Dry climate zone could accept 2.5 °C wider temperature range than those in office, education buildings or from Continental climate zone. The findings of this research could help thermal comfort researchers and designers to identify influential factors that might lead to individual difference, and could shed light on the feature selection for the development of personal comfort models.