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.
25-Jun-2014 A model for success
Idaho National Laboratory researcher Blaise Collin works with software called PARFUME (particle fuel model) as part of an effort to find new, safer fuel sources for use in nuclear reactors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
29-Jan-2014 Letting in the light
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is developing a low-cost, transparent, anti-soiling coating for solar reflectors to optimize energy efficiency while lowering operating and maintenance costs and avoiding negative environmental impacts.
16-Jan-2014 Top 10 Brookhaven Lab breakthroughs of 2013
2013 was a banner year for science at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratoryfrom our contributions to Nobel Prize-winning research to new insights into catalysts, superconductors, and other materials key to advancing energy-efficient technologies.
7-Jan-2014 The play-by-play of energy conversion: Catching catalysts in action
Before catalysis unfolds in a laboratory, scientists painstakingly assemble the materials and spark a reaction. But many experimental techniques only capture the static details before and after the reaction. Now, researchers at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated an unprecedented ability to peer into the dynamic, real-time reactions blazing along at scales spanning just billionths of a meter, producing a sort of play-by-play view of the chemistry in action.
16-Dec-2013 Small size enhances charge transfer in quantum dots
In a study just published in the journal Chemical Communications, scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University, and Syracuse University show that shrinking the core of a quantum dot can enhance the ability of a surrounding polymer to extract electric charges generated in the dot by the absorption of light.
29-Oct-2013 NREL brings precision, savings to energy audits
An energy audit tool that more accurately pinpoints potential energy savings while potentially costing 35 percent to 75 percent less than traditional audits is set to hit the multi-billion-dollar energy retrofit industry next year.
17-Oct-2013 Architects and building engineers flock to NREL
Eight busloads of architects and mechanical engineers toured one of the world's largest net-zero-energy office building this summer at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and came away inspired with new ideas for how to design and build beautiful, eco-friendly structures on a budget.
27-Aug-2013 Third consecutive IEEE Cherry Award for NREL
Keith Emery always had amazing computer programming skills, but he lacked that special gift for creating solar cells. So, 30 years ago he switched to something more in his wheelhouse -- characterizing and measuring the efficiency of solar cells and modules.
13-Aug-2013 Wood-boring gribbles intrigue researchers
Tiny wood borers known colloquially as gribbles make their own enzymes and use them to eat through docks in harbor towns, earning enmity from fishermen all around the world.
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.