2-May-2016 Could aluminum nitride be engineered to produce quantum bits?
The leading method for creating quantum bits, or qubits, currently involves exploiting the structural defects in diamonds. But using NERSC resources, University of Chicago researchers found that the same defect could be engineered in cheaper aluminum nitride. If confirmed by experiments, this could significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing quantum technologies.
27-Apr-2016 Math helps scientists capture molecules in motion
Using data from the world's most powerful X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, an international team of scientists has made a crucial advance in analyzing ultrafast motions of molecules. They developed a computational method that increases the accuracy of this analysis 300 times -- to one femtosecond, which is a millionth of a billionth of a second.
26-Apr-2016 The hottest job in physics?
While the supply of accelerator physicists in the United States has grown modestly over the last decade, it hasn't been able to catch up with demand fueled by industry interest in medical particle accelerators and growing collaborations at the national labs.
26-Apr-2016 The Pellet Stove Design Challenge: We have a winner!
At Brookhaven Lab last week, seven finalists competed to be designated the top-performing pellet stove. The three-day Pellet Stove Design Challenge, organized by the Alliance for Green Heat, featured stove demonstrations and testing as well as presentations and round-table discussions on a variety of issues.
25-Apr-2016 Giving back to National Science Bowl
In the 1990s, Dean Jens and Doug Fuller were high school students playing on teams from Ankeny High School that were competing to secure coveted spots in the US Department of Energy's National Science Bowl (NSB) ® competition. Today, they're professionals, fathers, and devoted alumni whose annual volunteer commitment to the NSB allows them to give back to a competition that helped shape their lives.
20-Apr-2016 Peering deep into materials with ultrafast science
Creating the batteries or electronics of the future requires understanding materials that are just a few atoms thick and that change their fundamental physical properties in fractions of a second. Cutting-edge facilities at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have allowed researchers like Aaron Lindenberg to visualize properties of these nanoscale materials at ultrafast time scales.
18-Apr-2016 ORNL forges connections for sturgeon conservation
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are taking a closer look at how sturgeon, a prehistoric -- and now imperiled -- group of fish species may better be helped to get around the dams that block their migrations.
15-Apr-2016 SLAC researchers recreate the extreme universe in the lab
Conditions in the vast universe can be quite extreme: Violent collisions scar the surfaces of planets. Nuclear reactions in bright stars generate tremendous amounts of energy. Gigantic explosions catapult matter far out into space. But how exactly do processes like these unfold? What do they tell us about the universe?
To find out, researchers from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory perform sophisticated experiments and computer simulations that recreate violent cosmic conditions on a small scale in the lab.
11-Apr-2016 Researchers discover new type of 'pili' used by bacteria to cling to hosts
Many bacteria interact with their environment through hair-like structures known as pili, which attach to and help mediate infection of host organisms, among other things. Now a US-Japanese research team, including scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, has discovered that certain bacteria prevalent in the human gut and mouth assemble their pili in a previously unknown way -- information that could potentially open up new ways of fighting infection.
7-Apr-2016 Physicists build ultra-powerful accelerator magnet
The next generation of cutting-edge accelerator magnets is no longer just an idea. Recent tests revealed that the United States and CERN have successfully co-created a prototype superconducting accelerator magnet that is much more powerful than those currently inside the Large Hadron Collider.
6-Apr-2016 Six weighty facts about gravity
Gravity: we barely ever think about it, at least until we slip on ice or stumble on the stairs. To many ancient thinkers, gravity wasn't even a force -- it was just the natural tendency of objects to sink toward the center of Earth, while planets were subject to other, unrelated laws.
5-Apr-2016 Chalice receptors attract metal contaminants with new chemical selectivity
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory found new ways to influence selectivity for specific positively charged ions (cations) with the addition of simple receptors, not for cations but rather for negatively charged ions (anions). This discovery proves that adding an anion receptor can affect the selectivity of extractants used to separate metals. Better selectivity via the addition of anion receptors to enhance discrimination between metals, such as sodium and cesium, could improve future environmental cleanup efforts.
5-Apr-2016 World's fastest electron diffraction snapshots of atomic motions in gases
Scientists have made a significant advance toward making movies of extremely fast atomic processes with potential applications in energy production, chemistry, medicine, materials science and more. Using a superfast, high-resolution 'electron camera,' a new instrument for ultrafast electron diffraction (UED) at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, researchers have captured the world's fastest UED images of nitrogen molecules rotating in a gas, with a record shutter speed of 100 quadrillionths of a second.
4-Apr-2016 Putting it all together: Fermilab assembles first cryomodule for LCLS-II
In February, a Fermilab team came together to witness a moment they'd looked forward to for over a year. Crew members parted the plastic sheeting at one end of a cleanroom and rolled out on narrow tracks a long string of eight accelerating cavities. It was the first cavity string for LCLS-II, which will greatly increase the power and capacity of SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source.
1-Apr-2016 What are aerosols?
Art Sedlacek, an atmospheric scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, has flown on planes outfitted with high tech equipment through wildfire plumes and over the ocean, and has visited stations all over the globe to observe aerosols and understand the potentially big impact these suspensions of tiny particles can have on climate.
28-Mar-2016 ORNL scientists show charged salts can extract specific central lanthanide elements
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory wanted to find out if it was possible to make a molecule that could selectively bind to metal cations in the middle of the lanthanide series. The team provided a proof-of-principle by successfully creating a new ligand that selectively extracted central lanthanides. Easier accessibility to these central lanthanides could lead to advances in materials for technologies such as lasers, strong magnets, lights and neutron-absorbing control rods in nuclear reactors.
24-Mar-2016 New catalyst is 3 times better at splitting water
With a combination of theory and clever, meticulous gel-making, scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Toronto have developed a new type of catalyst that's three times better than the previous record-holder at splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen -- the vital first step in making fuels from renewable solar and wind power.
21-Mar-2016 Sisters in science
Emma and Molly White and Ru-Shyan and Ru-Huey Yen, a pair of twin sisters and close friends who met in high school 16 years ago. Flash forward to today, and the four all have science-based careers, and look back at their shared-sisterhood-times-two as vital in getting them to where they are today.
21-Mar-2016 Bump in LHC data has physicists electrified
In December, the ATLAS and CMS experiments reported what could be the first hint of a new massive particle that spits out two photons as it decays. Now, physicists are presenting their latest analyses at the Moriond conference in La Thuile, Italy, including a full investigation of this mysterious bump. After carefully checking, cross-checking and rechecking the data, both experiments have come to the same conclusion -- the bump is still there.
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.