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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
9-Mar-2016 ORNL's benchmark data set validates global nuclear reactor codes
A re-analysis of nuclear fuel rods from a commercial reactor used improved radiochemical methods developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and characterized more than 50 different isotopes and 16 elements with high accuracy. It produced an experimental data set with uncertainties many times smaller than those obtained by the earlier radiochemical analysis. Modeling and simulation experts at ORNL applied the more accurate experimental data to validate codes widely used by the nuclear safeguards research community.
8-Mar-2016 'Keiser rigs' stress materials to the max to improve products for power, propulsion
For decades, environmental exposure chambers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including some called Keiser rigs, have subjected materials to corrosive gases, crushing pressures and calamitous heat. The extreme environments created in the Keiser rigs have spurred advances and continue to do so by providing insight into the conditions under which materials fail so researchers can apply the lessons learned to design better materials for power and propulsion applications.
4-Mar-2016 New ways of looking at glass-to-metal seals
Components housed in stainless steel for protection against extreme environments require paths for electricity to power them and communicate with them. Those paths in turn need a reliable insulation seal, so strong bonds between materials for airtight seals are crucial.
3-Mar-2016 Pushing boundaries
Solid-liquid interface studies have a long history at EMSL. The insights gained from this research spans areas including terrestrial ecosystems, energy materials, aerosols and biological systems. With improved understanding of interfacial events, scientists working at EMSL have developed more predictive models and made significant advances in addressing real-world challenges. EMSL's focus on solid-liquid interface research has pushed the development of new instruments and techniques to better study these complex surfaces for even greater scientific results.
22-Feb-2016 Updated workflows for new LHC era
After a massive upgrade, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is smashing particles at an unprecedented 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV) -- nearly double the energy of its previous run. In just one second, the LHC can now produce up to 1 billion collisions and generate up to 10 gigabytes of data.
To deal with the new data deluge, researchers working on the LHC's ATLAS experiment are relying on updated workflow management tools developed primarily by Berkeley Lab researchers.
4-Feb-2016 Canfield to head APS Condensed Matter Division
Ames Laboratory physicist Paul Canfield has always been a vocal proponent of his field, condensed matter physics, but he's about to take it up a notch. In March, Canfield will begin a four-year leadership stint heading up the Condensed Matter Physics Division of the American Physical Society. APS recently announced that Canfield had been elected vice-chair of the CMP division.
25-Jan-2016 Cracking cases
A group of nuclear detectives at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory takes on tough challenges, from detecting illicit uranium using isotopic 'fingerprints' to investigating Presidential assassination conspiracies. 'A very big capability at Oak Ridge exists for nuclear analytics, all the way from helping commercial production of nuclear power to making sure the world's nuclear materials are properly accounted for,' said ORNL's Joseph Giaquinto, leader of the Nuclear Analytical Chemistry and Isotopics Laboratories.
21-Jan-2016 Higher speed, more precision
In just a little over a year of operation, the US Department of Energy Ames Laboratory's dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer has successfully characterized materials at the atomic scale level with more speed and precision than ever possible before.
19-Jan-2016 ORNL researchers use neutrons to gain insight into battery inefficiency
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are improving the lifetimes of rechargeable batteries that run on lithium, a small atom that can pack tightly into graphite anode materials. The valuable ions are depleted as a battery charges, and they are also lost to the formation of a thin coating on a battery's anode during initial charging. ORNL researchers used two powerful neutron science facilities to try to understand the dynamics behind this phenomenon.
15-Jan-2016 ORNL's thermal cameras snoop beneath surfaces to reveal materials' secrets
In 1995, the Department of Energy's Continuous Fiber Ceramic Composite program, led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, bought a high-speed infrared camera -- one of the first available for purchase outside the military. Since then, ORNL has acquired at least 10 additional IR cameras for use in a spectrum of projects. The cameras have mapped changing temperatures as heat flows through objects from gears to artwork.
6-Jan-2016 ORNL on team officially recognized for elements 115, 117 discovery
The International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry has announced formal verification of four new chemical elements, recognizing the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its collaborators for the discovery of elements 115 and 117.
29-Dec-2015 2015's Top 10 Scientific Advances at Brookhaven National Laboratory
From creating the tiniest drops of primordial particle soup to devising new ways to improve batteries, catalysts, superconductors, and more, scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory pushed the boundaries of discovery in 2015. Here, in no particular order, are our picks for the top 10 advances of the year.
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.