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.
1-Dec-2014 Optimized algorithms boost combustion research
Turbulent combustion simulations, used in the design of more fuel-efficient combustion systems, have gotten their own efficiency boost, thanks to researchers from Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division. They developed new algorithmic features that streamline turbulent flame simulations, which are commonly used in the design of combustion systems such as diesel engines; after testing the enhanced code on NERSC supercomputers, they were able to achieve dramatic improvements in simulation times, which will help reduce the time -- and thus the cost -- of designing new engines.
20-Nov-2014 Agreement gives energy storage companies easier access to SLAC
More than a dozen energy-storage companies now have streamlined access to research facilities and expertise at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory under a new cooperative research and development agreement, or CRADA.
19-Nov-2014 Fast company
Researchers answering fundamental scientific questions in biology, climate and chemistry look to high performance computing and robust software. With its history of integrating experiment and computation, EMSL supports research into climate change, contaminated soil remediation, and energy production and storage with its Cascade supercomputer and enhanced NWChem computational chemistry software.
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.
18-Sep-2014 Factors underlying nuclear fuel swelling seen at nanoscale for first time
Understanding factors that drive nuclear fuel swelling will help engineers develop higher performance fuels, which could be even safer and more efficient than those used in current nuclear energy plants. As uranium atoms split to produce energy, fission products build up within fuel rods, which impacts nuclear fuel performance inside a reactor. But, a clear picture of the size and location of these solid fission products has been elusive until now.
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.
20-Aug-2014 Junior researchers showing world the way to advanced nuclear fuel design
Two early-career Idaho National Laboratory researchers are earning international attention for their groundbreaking work. They're getting a long-sought look into the 3-D microstructure of irradiated nuclear fuel, then feeding that data into cutting-edge fuel behavior models. Their work will make the design and testing of even safer nuclear fuels more informed and efficient.
17-Jul-2014 Hot plasma partial to bootstrap current
Supercomputers at NERSC are helping plasma physicists 'bootstrap' a potentially more affordable and sustainable fusion reaction. If successful, fusion reactors could provide almost limitless clean energy.
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.