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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.
25-Jun-2014 Massive 30-ton MicroBooNE particle detector moved into place, will see neutrinos this year
On Monday, June 23, the next phase of neutrino physics at Fermilab fell (gently) into place.
The MicroBooNE detector -- a 30-ton, 40-foot-long cylindrical metal tank designed to detect ghostly particles called neutrinos -- was carefully transported by truck across the US Department of Energy's Fermilab site, from the warehouse building it was constructed in to the experimental hall three miles away.
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.
6-Jun-2014 MINOS result narrows field for sterile neutrinos
A new result from the long-running MINOS experiment announced this week severely limits the area in which sterile neutrinos could be found and casts more doubt on whether they exist at all.
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.
8-May-2014 Scientists to map universe in 3-D HD
In a few years, scientists will come out with a new map of a third of the sky, one that will go deeper and bring that depth into sharper focus than any survey has yet achieved. It will pinpoint in three dimensions the locations of 25 million galaxies and quasars, pulling back the curtains on the history of the universe's expansion over more than half of the age of the universe.
8-May-2014 Engineering better machines and buildings by understanding mechanics of materials
Sandia National Laboratories is working to fill gaps in the fundamental understanding of materials science through an ambitious long-term, multidisciplinary project called Predicting Performance Margins, or PPM. From the atomic level to full-scale components, the research links variability in materials' atomic configurations and microstructures with how actual parts perform.
29-Apr-2014 Label-free, sequence-specific, inexpensive fluorescent DNA sensors
Using principles of energy transfer more commonly applied to designing solar cells, scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new highly sensitive way to detect specific sequences of DNA, the genetic material unique to every living thing. As described in a paper published in the journal Chemistry of Materials, the method is considerably less costly than other DNA assays and has widespread potential for applications in forensics, medical diagnostics, and the detection of bioterror agents.
29-Apr-2014 Is the universe balanced on a pinhead?
Scientists have known the mass of the heaviest fundamental particle, the top quark, since 1995. But recent, more precise measurements of this mass have revived an old question: Why is it so huge? No one is sure, but it might be a sign that our universe is inherently unstable. Or it might be a sign that some factor we don't yet understand is keeping us in balance.
25-Apr-2014 'Sweet spot' for salty water
Computational modeling has given materials researchers new insight into the properties of a membrane that purifies saltwater into potable water. The resulting technology could help speed up inefficient desalination processes in use today.
21-Apr-2014 Computer-assisted accelerator design
Accelerator physicist Stephen Brooks uses custom designed software to create a 3-D virtual model of the electron accelerator Brookhaven physicists hope to build inside the tunnel currently housing the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
11-Apr-2014 Simulation solves mystery of how liquid-crystal thin films disintegrate
Approximately four decades ago, theoreticians believed that only one of two mechanisms could explain rupture of liquid-crystal thin films. They also believed that these two mechanisms could not coexist. But 10 years ago experiments showed that these two mechanisms in many cases do coexist, according to Trung Nguyen of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who ran unprecedented large-scale molecular dynamics simulations on Titan, America's fastest supercomputer, to model the beginnings of ruptures in thin films.
7-Apr-2014 Generations of supercomputers pin down primordial plasma
Brookhaven Lab's Lattice Gauge Theory Group hunts for equations to describe the early universe and the forces binding matter together. Their search spans generations of supercomputers and parallels studies of the primordial plasma discovered and explored at Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
4-Apr-2014 Tracking the transition of early-universe quark soup to matter-as-we-know-it
By smashing together ordinary atomic nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, scientists recreate the primordial soup of the early universe thousands of times per second. Using sophisticated detectors to track what happens as exotic particles emerge from the collision zone and 'freeze out' into more familiar forms of matter, they are turning up interesting details about how the transition takes place.
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.
18-Mar-2014 Democratizing science with high-speed networks
For the first time, data collected and analyzed by a very remote user of the Department of Energy's National Center for Electron Microcopy via the Energy Sciences Network has been published. Because of this, scientists are optimistic about the future of remote microscopy for DOE-supported science.
3-Mar-2014 Particle beam cancer therapy: The promise and challenges
Advances in accelerators built for fundamental physics research have inspired improved cancer treatment facilities. But will one of the most promising -- a carbon ion treatment facility -- be built in the US? Participants at a symposium organized by Brookhaven Lab for the 2014 AAAS meeting explored the science and surrounding issues.
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.