12-Jan-2015 Water, water, everywhere -- Controlling the properties of nanomaterials
Properties of water molecules on the surface of metal oxides can be used to better control these minerals and use them to make products such as more efficient semiconductors for organic light emitting diodes and solar cells, safer vehicle glass in fog and frost, and more environmentally friendly chemical sensors for industrial applications.
7-Jan-2015 'Seeing' hydrogen atoms to unveil enzyme catalysis
A multi-institutional research team led by Chris Dealwis from Case Western Reserve University has used the new IMAGINE instrument at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Flux Isotope Reactor to map an enzyme that could play an important role in anti-cancer drug development.
18-Dec-2014 Crown ethers flatten in graphene for strong, specific binding
A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has discovered a way to dramatically increase the selectivity and binding strength of crown ethers by incorporating them within a rigid framework of graphene. Strong, specific electrostatic binding of crown ethers may advance sensors, chemical separations, nuclear-waste cleanup, extraction of metals from ores, purification and recycling of rare-earth elements, water purification, biotechnology, energy production in durable lithium-ion batteries, catalysis, medicine and data storage.
17-Nov-2014 Spiraling back in time
Using a code developed for GPU supercomputing architectures, including that of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Cray XK7 Titan, to simulate the evolution of the Milky Way galaxy, a team of researchers from the Netherlands and Japan is a Gordon Bell Prize finalist.
17-Oct-2014 Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms
A new study at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, published Sept. 24 in Nature Communications, has cracked one mystery of glass to shed light on the mechanism that triggers its deformation before shattering. The study improves understanding of glassy deformation and may accelerate broader application of metallic glass, a moldable, wear-resistant, magnetically exploitable material that is thrice as strong as the mightiest steel and ten times as springy.
17-Sep-2014 Predicting performance
Lignin, a low-cost byproduct of the pulp, paper and biofuels industries, can be transformed into a cheaper version of highly engineered graphite through a simple and industrially scalable manufacturing process.
28-Aug-2014 Materials scientists play atomic 'Jenga' and make a surprising discovery
Researchers got a surprise when they built a highly ordered lattice by layering thin films containing lanthanum, strontium, oxygen and iron. Although each layer had an intrinsically nonpolar (symmetric) distribution of electrical charges, the lattice had an asymmetric distribution of charges. The charge asymmetry creates an extra 'switch' that brings functionalities to materials when 'flipped' by external stimuli. The material defects induced polar behavior and can provide a new mechanism for manipulating electricity and magnetism in energy and information technologies.
22-Aug-2014 Catalytic gold nanoclusters promise rich chemical yields
With scientists from Carnegie Mellon University, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found a catalyst containing exactly 25 gold atoms that catalyzes the conversion of various molecules, including the transformation of poisonous carbon monoxide into harmless carbon dioxide, a reaction that may find application in devices near gas flues or wood-burning stoves.
25-Apr-2014 'Sweet spot' for salty water
Computational modeling has given materials researchers new insight into the properties of a membrane that purifies saltwater into potable water. The resulting technology could help speed up inefficient desalination processes in use today.
11-Apr-2014 Simulation solves mystery of how liquid-crystal thin films disintegrate
Approximately four decades ago, theoreticians believed that only one of two mechanisms could explain rupture of liquid-crystal thin films. They also believed that these two mechanisms could not coexist. But 10 years ago experiments showed that these two mechanisms in many cases do coexist, according to Trung Nguyen of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who ran unprecedented large-scale molecular dynamics simulations on Titan, America's fastest supercomputer, to model the beginnings of ruptures in thin films.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.