10-Nov-2009 An electron zap turns flimsy plastic into sturdy shrink wrap
If you buy a Butterball turkey this Thanksgiving, you have particle accelerators to thank for its freshness. For decades now the food industry has used particle accelerators to produce the sturdy, heat-shrinkable film that Butterballs come wrapped in.
6-Oct-2009 Conference tackles interstate transmission
The US electricity grid is strained to its limit, and the nation's windiest and sunniest places are rarely near cities that generate high demand. Finding ways to string new power lines across several states is a challenge for even the most creative regulators and energy analysts determined to increase America's use of renewable energy.
16-Sep-2009 Both directions at once
The challenge of controlling climate change is a goal that, to many, appears to be at odds with the equally important goal of energy security. However, the idea that the two goals are somehow mutually exclusive is not one accepted by ORNL energy researcher David Greene. "We don't want to sacrifice one for the other," he says. "We want -- and we believe it possible -- to achieve environmental goals and energy security goals at the same time.
3-Aug-2009 Award-winning reflector to cut solar cost
In a breakthrough development that recently netted a coveted R&D Magazine top 100 award, a small solar company has teamed with scientists at NREL to develop massive curved sheets of metal that have the potential to be 30 percent less expensive than today's best collectors of concentrated solar power.
16-Jul-2009 Dark Energy Camera scans ancient skies
Scientists wonder why the universe is expanding ever faster. What mysterious force is at work? By recording the light from hundreds of millions of galaxies from a mountaintop in Chile, they hope to find out what's going on.
23-Jun-2009 Green chemistry: Using lasers to detect explosives and hazardous waste
Berkeley Lab scientists are pioneering laser ablation techniques that can detect explosives and hazardous waste in seconds, with no chemical waste. The technology can save the lives of soldiers, keep children safe from toys illegally coated with lead paints, and protect workers from chemical poisoning.
4-Jun-2009 Ames Laboratory-made materials are out of this world
Materials produced at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory were launched into space on May 14 with the European Space Agency's Planck Mission. Ames Laboratory's Materials Preparation Center synthesized over 20 kilograms of a lanthanum-nickel-tin alloy for use in a metallic hydride sorption cryocooler system -- built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory -- that will cool instruments during the space mission.
13-May-2009 A wealth of liquid fuel right under our feet
INL has partnered with Baard Energy to design one of the nation's first coal-to-liquids plants, a project that could help power the US transportation system without relying on foreign oil.
22-Apr-2009 NREL gearbox study aims to grease wind power's future
Wind turbines are designed to last 20 years. But gearboxes and other key components are wearing out sooner. Engineers at NREL's National Wind Technology Center are working with industry to discover why and retool the design process to improve reliability, reduce the cost and help the nation reach its clean energy potential.
17-Mar-2009 Controlling heat key to hybrid performance
Advanced hybrid-electric vehicles are poised to transform the auto market. But excess heat can sap hybrids' advantages. Researchers in NREL's Advanced Electronics Laboratory are exploring every layer of hybrid technology to reduce heat and dramatically improve performance and efficiency while reducing costs.
24-Feb-2009 How 10 trillion bits per square inch assemble themselves perfectly
Two chemically different polymers linked together to form self-assembling block copolymers can have the potential to vastly improve the properties and manufacturing processes of nanostructured materials. Using crystal structures as a template, researchers at Berkeley Lab and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have created perfect arrays of nanoscopic block-copolymer domains, packing 10 trillion bits to the square inch and extending over several square centimeters.
5-Feb-2009 The secrets of Darwin's dinobird
For centuries, the field of archaeology has depended on what's visible to the naked eye. Now, researchers are revealing what lies beneath the surface of a key evolutionary fossil, Darwin's "dinobird."
8-Jan-2009 A better way to make nanotubes
A doughnut-shaped molecule synthesized by Berkeley Lab scientists could enable the targeted development of carbon nanotubes, which hold promise for faster electronic devices and other advanced technologies.
2-Dec-2008 Mother of pearl secret revealed
Advanced Light Source scientists Andreas Scholl and Nobumichi Tamura were part of a team that used beams from the PEEM-3 and x-ray diffraction microscopes to reveal new secrets behind the mysterious formation of mother of pearl, or nacre, the inner lining of the shells of abalone and certain other mollusks.
7-Nov-2008 Solo sparkle: Electron give-and-take lets molecules shine individually on camera
A single fluorescent molecule flashing as it gains or loses its electron has made the microscopic spotlight. Watching a whole gaggle of these molecules, they appear to work synchronously, but a new close-up view reveals mavericks that shine when they seemingly shouldn't. The work sets the stage for a better understanding of the underlying principles of certain reactions common to biofuel production.
6-Oct-2008 Bright light/dark matter: Free-electron lasers enter the realm of particle physics
While two accelerators have been operating at Jefferson Lab for more than a decade, only one was known for its research probing the particles that make up our universe. But things have changed. A particle physics experiment recently performed with Jefferson Lab's Free-Electron Laser, powered by the lesser-known and smaller accelerator, has had its results published in Physical Review Letters.
23-Sep-2008 INL engineer's long-term nuclear fuel research pays off
Science doesn't happen overnight, and Idaho National Laboratory Fellow Dave Petti knows that better than many. His research has required a long-term commitment from him and his colleagues -- one that is starting to pay off as the products of their work are breaking barriers and receiving national consideration.
23-Sep-2008 BOSS: the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey
One of the most crucial components of the new program of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and its 2.5 m, wide-field telescope in New Mexico is a unique kind of dark-energy probe called BOSS, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, led by Berkeley Lab physicists.
27-Aug-2008 Hope for those with Parkinson's
A Department of Energy program that opens some of the world's most powerful computers to researchers around the globe has generated a promising lead for a Parkinson's disease treatment.
9-Jul-2008 Powering the cars of the future
When you pull up to a filling station in the future, just what will you be "filling up" with? Will you recharge your batteries from an electrical outlet, pump in fuel made from scrap wood or grass, or perhaps feed your fuel cell with hydrogen? Researchers at the US Department of Energy are working on all of these options to power our cars in cleaner, practical, and cost competitive ways.
23-Jun-2008 Nuclear power option for developing nations gaining steam
Global energy demand is forecast to be 50 percent higher in 2030 than it is today and according to the International Energy Agency, seventy percent of this growth is expected to come from developing countries.
The question is: what will provide the additional energy?
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.