22-Sep-2014 Ames Laboratory and Japanese R&D organization discuss rare earths
The US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, a Japanese energy and industrial technology research and development organization, held a bilateral meeting on rare-earth materials in Ames on Sept. 10.
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.
12-Sep-2014 CMI hosts EU, Japan to discuss global critical materials strategy
Finding ways to ensure the planet's supply of rare earths and other materials necessary for clean energy technologies is a global challenge, and experts from around the world gathered to meet it at the fourth annual EU-US-Japan Trilateral Conference on Critical Materials on Sept. 8.
11-Sep-2014 Plastics in motion: Exploring the world of polymers
In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory using SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, scientists unraveled the complex behavior of polystyrene, a popular polymer found in packing foams and plastic cups, with a sequence of ultrabright X-ray laser pulses. Their work is detailed in the Aug. 11 edition of Scientific Reports.
4-Sep-2014 SLAC welcomes photon science faculty member Young S. Lee
SLAC's newest faculty member, Young S. Lee, studies the most unusual materials in the most down-to-earth possible way: He and his colleagues make pure crystals of minerals and other compounds and then test them for useful quantum properties, such as the ability to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency.
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.
22-Aug-2014 Catalytic gold nanoclusters promise rich chemical yields
With scientists from Carnegie Mellon University, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found a catalyst containing exactly 25 gold atoms that catalyzes the conversion of various molecules, including the transformation of poisonous carbon monoxide into harmless carbon dioxide, a reaction that may find application in devices near gas flues or wood-burning stoves.
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.
20-Aug-2014 Ying Diao honored with 2014 Spicer Award for her work at SSRL
Ying Diao, a SLAC/Stanford postdoctoral researcher who brought key innovations to a printing technique for flexible electronics, solar panels and other uses, has been selected to receive this year's William E. and Diane M. Spicer Young Investigator Award.
18-Aug-2014 Berkeley Lab's SPOT Suite transforms beamline science
For decades, synchrotron light sources have been operating on a manual grab-and-go data management model, but a recent deluge of data is quickly making this practice implausible. So Berkeley Lab X-ray scientists, facility users, computer and computational scientists, teamed up to create new tools for reducing, managing, analyzing and visualizing beamline data.The result of this collaboration is SPOT Suite, and it is already transforming the way scientists run their experiments at the ALS.
22-Jul-2014 Sandia ensures US nuclear weapons deterrent can remain effective, credible
As part of its mission of ensuring the nation's stockpile is safe, secure and effective as a deterrent, Sandia National Laboratories must make sure crucial parts can function if they're hit by radiation, especially a type called fast neutrons. It created a science-based program called QASPR, which combines computer modeling and simulation, and experiments and technology development.
15-Jul-2014 Ames Laboratory home to first-in-nation DNP-NMR instrument to study materials
The US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory is now the home to a dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer that helps scientists understand how individual atoms are arranged in materials. Ames Laboratory's DNP-NMR is the first to be used for materials science and chemistry in the United States.
14-Jul-2014 First anniversary gift for Critical Material Institute? Inventions. Eleven of them.
The Critical Materials Institute, an Energy Innovation Hub for the US Department of Energy, celebrated its first anniversary with 11 invention disclosures, all research milestones in a mission to assure the availability of rare earths and other materials critical to clean energy technologies.
The inventions include improved extractive processes, recycling techniques, and substitute materials -- technologies designed to increase production and efficiency of, and reduce reliance on, the use of rare earths and other critical materials.
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.