29-May-2014 Scientists pinpoint creeping nanocrystals behind lithium-ion battery degradation
Scientists from several US Department of Energy national laboratories -- Lawrence Berkeley, Brookhaven, SLAC, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory -- mapped the nanoscale dynamics of lithium-ion charge cycles and discovered never-before-seen evolution and degradation patterns in two key battery materials.
29-May-2014 Multidimensional image processing and analysis in R
An esoteric, open-source programming language -- called R -- could pave the way for open science. Thousands of scientists are participating in the R development community, including Berkeley Lab Postdoc Talita Perciano. As a student, she contributed one of the first image-processing tools -- called R Image Processing Analysis -- to the community. Now with big science datasets in mind, she's updated the existing tool with improved features for complex data analysis.
21-May-2014 Tethys: A robust source of information on marine energy, offshore wind projects
Wondering what the impact on killer whales might be from a turbine installed under the sea? Check out Tethys, a robust online resource available for free to anyone interested in ocean energy and offshore wind resources. Tethys focuses on the environmental effects of energy projects that are proposed, underway or completed in the ocean and above it.
15-May-2014 The brain: Key to a better computer
Although brain-inspired computing is in its infancy, Sandia National Laboratories has included it in a long-term research project whose goal is future computer systems. Neuro-inspired computing seeks to develop algorithms that would run on computers that function more like a brain than a conventional computer.
12-May-2014 Industry research: Experiment enters next stage at new Idaho hot cell
To the average eye, the experimental specimens don't look like much: silver-colored squares about the size of a domino. But the samples represent several big milestones for Idaho National Laboratory, the Department of Energy and the US nuclear energy industry. The irradiated 'compact tension' specimens are the first to undergo analysis in a specialized test rig at INL. Plus, they're part of a first-of-its-kind collaboration through the DOE's Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility.
8-May-2014 Scientists to map universe in 3-D HD
In a few years, scientists will come out with a new map of a third of the sky, one that will go deeper and bring that depth into sharper focus than any survey has yet achieved. It will pinpoint in three dimensions the locations of 25 million galaxies and quasars, pulling back the curtains on the history of the universe's expansion over more than half of the age of the universe.
8-May-2014 Engineering better machines and buildings by understanding mechanics of materials
Sandia National Laboratories is working to fill gaps in the fundamental understanding of materials science through an ambitious long-term, multidisciplinary project called Predicting Performance Margins, or PPM. From the atomic level to full-scale components, the research links variability in materials' atomic configurations and microstructures with how actual parts perform.
6-May-2014 What lies beneath
The effects of biogeochemical and geochemical processes in the ground under us are on massive scales. Understanding what's going on down there and how it effects what's going on up here is an enormous undertaking. Scientists working at EMSL are getting a handle on these gigantic macroscopic processes by focusing on the microscopic scale. By creating micromodels and incorporating supercomputer simulations, researchers are connecting the molecular level with processes that affect our entire ecosystem.
29-Apr-2014 Label-free, sequence-specific, inexpensive fluorescent DNA sensors
Using principles of energy transfer more commonly applied to designing solar cells, scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new highly sensitive way to detect specific sequences of DNA, the genetic material unique to every living thing. As described in a paper published in the journal Chemistry of Materials, the method is considerably less costly than other DNA assays and has widespread potential for applications in forensics, medical diagnostics, and the detection of bioterror agents.
29-Apr-2014 Is the universe balanced on a pinhead?
Scientists have known the mass of the heaviest fundamental particle, the top quark, since 1995. But recent, more precise measurements of this mass have revived an old question: Why is it so huge? No one is sure, but it might be a sign that our universe is inherently unstable. Or it might be a sign that some factor we don't yet understand is keeping us in balance.
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.
21-Apr-2014 Computer-assisted accelerator design
Accelerator physicist Stephen Brooks uses custom designed software to create a 3-D virtual model of the electron accelerator Brookhaven physicists hope to build inside the tunnel currently housing the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
15-Apr-2014 Wind tunnel tests support improved aerodynamic design of B61-12 bomb
Sandia National Laboratories has finished eight days of testing a full-scale mock unit representing the aerodynamic characteristics of the B61-12 gravity bomb in a wind tunnel.
The tests on the mock-up were done to establish the configuration that will deliver the necessary spin motion of the bomb during freefall and are an important milestone in the Life Extension Program to deliver a new version of the aging system, the B61-12.
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.
11-Apr-2014 Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers contribute to prestigious climate report
Thomas Wilbanks and Benjamin Preston, both of the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are among the 309 coordinating lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group II report. The report, which was released in Japan on March 31, found that climate change isn't just a problem for future generations, but also impacts humans in the present day.
7-Apr-2014 Generations of supercomputers pin down primordial plasma
Brookhaven Lab's Lattice Gauge Theory Group hunts for equations to describe the early universe and the forces binding matter together. Their search spans generations of supercomputers and parallels studies of the primordial plasma discovered and explored at Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
4-Apr-2014 Tracking the transition of early-universe quark soup to matter-as-we-know-it
By smashing together ordinary atomic nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, scientists recreate the primordial soup of the early universe thousands of times per second. Using sophisticated detectors to track what happens as exotic particles emerge from the collision zone and 'freeze out' into more familiar forms of matter, they are turning up interesting details about how the transition takes place.
3-Apr-2014 'Smart window' material may make better batteries
Windows that darken to filter out sunlight in response to electric current, function much like batteries. Now, X-ray studies at SLAC provide a crystal-clear view into how this color-changing material behaves in a working battery -- information that could benefit next-generation rechargeable batteries.
31-Mar-2014 Ames Lab researchers show polymer-coated nanocubes form complex structures
Nanoparticles assembled in new ways hold the promise of a wave of new high-tech materials that could offer high strength, enhanced magnetic properties, light reflectivity or absorption, use as catalysts and much more. Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed a theoretical model to explore the effect of polymer coatings, including DNA, for self-assembly of nanocubes into so-called superlattices.
27-Mar-2014 Human-induced climate change reduces chance of flooding in Okavango Delta
Researchers at the University of Cape Town, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the United Nations Development Programme have analyzed how human-induced climate change has affected recent flooding in an ecologically and geographically unique river basin in southern Africa -- the Okavango River. After running a number of simulations, they found that greenhouse gas emissions have substantially reduced the chance of the floods in the region.
18-Mar-2014 Tapping into the metabolome
Metabolomics -- a field often called "the last 'omics frontier" -- seeks to understand the fundamental metabolic workings of a cell in a changing environment. Scientists at EMSL use mass spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance, imaging devices and other cutting-edge instruments to glean the information to help produce better fuels, crops and other bioproducts.
18-Mar-2014 Democratizing science with high-speed networks
For the first time, data collected and analyzed by a very remote user of the Department of Energy's National Center for Electron Microcopy via the Energy Sciences Network has been published. Because of this, scientists are optimistic about the future of remote microscopy for DOE-supported science.
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.