12-Jul-2012 Idaho researcher building used nuclear fuel sensor
Much of the 6,200 metric tons of used nuclear fuel generated by US power plants over the last 40 years is stored safely in giant stainless steel casks. Darryl Butt, a Boise State University professor, is part of a team researching whether it can be stored that way for at least 60 more.
5-Jun-2012 Snubbed protons tattle on neutron structure
Protons and neutrons are the fraternal twins of the sub-atomic world and the building blocks of all atomic nuclei. While similar in many respects, it's their differences that give them their unique properties. Now, scientists are exploiting these differences to gain deeper insight into these fundamental particles that build our visible universe.
24-May-2012 Supernovas explode in 3-D detail at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Understanding a Type Ia supernova -- an exploding white dwarf star -- requires supercomputers. A team of astrophysicists and computational scientists is using the power of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar to virtually blow up these white dwarfs. In the process the researchers are revealing the secrets of the biggest thermonuclear explosions in the universe and finding the answers needed to measure the size of the universe.
7-May-2012 NREL catalyst brings drop-in fuels closer
We live in a petroleum-based society, and the oil we use comes from plants that were buried eons ago and changed under pressure and high temperatures. As countries across the globe face dwindling oil supplies and the environmental impacts of tapping hard-to-process shale oil, the question arises: is there a greener way to replicate Mother Nature?
17-Apr-2012 New nanoparticle technology cuts water use, energy costs
Nuclear and coal power plants are some of the thirstiest machines on earth. The turbines that spin inside of them to generate electricity require tons and tons of steam, and all of that water has to come from somewhere.
4-Apr-2012 Carbon dioxide caused global warming at ice age's end, pioneering simulation shows
Climate science has an equivalent to the "what came first -- the chicken or the egg?" question: what came first, greenhouse gases or global warming? A multi-institutional team led by researchers at Harvard, Oregon State University, and the University of Wisconsin used a global dataset of paleoclimate records and the Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to find the answer. The results, published in the April 5 issue of Nature, analyze 15,000 years of climate history.
29-Feb-2012 Computation proves predictive capabilities of nuclei through fluorine-14 simulation
Aa team led by Iowa State University physicist James Vary used Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and Argonne Leadership Computing Facility resources to predict the behavior of fluorine-14, a relatively unknown isotope. It published its predictions in Physical Review C in February 2010. Six months later, a group of researchers at Texas A&M University's Cyclotron Institute performed an experiment producing fluorine-14, and the results nearly mirrored those of Vary's group.
26-Jan-2012 Nanotube 'glow sticks' transform surface science tool kit
Many physical and chemical processes necessary for biology and chemistry occur at the interface of water and solid surfaces. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory publishing in Nature Nanotechnology have now shown that semiconducting carbon nanotubes -- light-emitting cylinders of pure carbon -- have the potential to detect and track single molecules in water.
27-Dec-2011 Materials modeling shows big future for boron nitride nanoribbons
Alejandro Lopez-Bezanilla at Oak Ridge National Laboratory studies a proposed graphene substrate: boron nitride. Graphene, which is carbon in the form of freestanding 1-atom-thick sheets, is a natural for next-generation computer chips, communications equipment, and solar energy devices. Electrons flow through the material at an astonishing 1 million meters per second. To live up to its potential, however, graphene needs support. On its own, its edges wrinkle, tear, or roll up.
7-Dec-2011 Home sweet, energy efficient, home
Two new research facilities at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will serve as a test bed for studying energy efficient and smart homes.
29-Nov-2011 Scientist wins energy award at technology event
Xin Zhao has won a World Technology Network award in the individual Energy category for innovative work of "the greatest likely long-term significance" in his field. Zhao designed and patented a supercapacitor that would use graphene. The invention could someday see batteries in electric vehicles and similar devices boosted or replaced by high-power, high-capacity, fast-charge/discharge energy storage systems using graphene.
10-Nov-2011 Building block detectors for plants
While a plant's overall health can often be determined through simple observation, researchers sometimes need to see what's happening on the inside. That's where Jefferson Lab group leader Drew Weisenberger and his colleagues come in. They are working to develop tools that can image inside plants.
3-Oct-2011 Argonne scientist energizes quest for lost Leonardo da Vinci painting
Perhaps one of Leonardo da Vinci's greatest paintings has never been reprinted in books of his art. Known as the "Battle of Anghiari," it was abandoned and then lost -- until a determined Italian engineer gave the art world hope that it still existed, and a physicist from the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory developed a technique that may reveal it to the world once again.
15-Sep-2011 Simulating turbulent combustion speeds design of power and propulsion devices
A team led by mechanical engineers Joseph Oefelein and Jacqueline Chen of Sandia National Laboratories simulates turbulent combustion at different scales. Chen and Oefelein were allocated 113 million hours on Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility's Jaguar supercomputer in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to simulate autoignition and injection processes with alternative fuels. For 2011 they received 60 million processor hours for high-fidelity simulations of combustion in advanced engines.
25-Aug-2011 Microscopic imaging provides new insights
Being able to view nanoparticles and their spatial distribution in 3-D provides a greater depth of information for clearer scientific understanding than could be obtained from a 2-D image.
12-Aug-2011 A catalyst for high-impact science
A multi-institutional team of scientists is using EMSL's new Recovery Act-funded capabilities to achieve new insights into catalytic reactions on the surfaces of advanced metal oxide-based materials. The work is part of an inaugural EMSL Research Campaign that brings together world-leading capabilities and expertise in support of more efficient, less costly catalysts -- a need with cross-cutting energy and industrial applications.
8-Aug-2011 Breakthrough fusion simulations shed light on plasma confinement
A research team led by William Tang of the Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is developing a clearer picture of plasma confinement properties in an experimental device that will pave the way to future commercial fusion power plants. Over the past three years using resources of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility and Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, Tang's team has made continual improvements to tools essential for computationally solving fusion problems.
29-Jul-2011 Result tickler: Lead nucleus may bury positive side under neutral facade
Results from the Lead (Pb) Radius Experiment (PREx), performed last year at Jefferson Lab, suggest that the nucleus of a lead atom buries its positive "personality" beneath a neutral exterior. The preliminary result is consistent with the idea that neutrons form a kind of "neutron skin" around the protons in the nucleus in heavy nuclei. It is important for understanding heavy nuclei and for theoretical equations that describe the life cycles of neutron stars.
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.