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.
24-Mar-2016 New catalyst is 3 times better at splitting water
With a combination of theory and clever, meticulous gel-making, scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Toronto have developed a new type of catalyst that's three times better than the previous record-holder at splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen -- the vital first step in making fuels from renewable solar and wind power.
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.
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.
29-Jan-2016 Meet Crysten and Ian Blaby
The US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory welcomes two new biologists, Crysten and Ian Blaby, who have been brought to the Lab to explore the many genes that play a role in a plant's ability to harness energy and what those genes could mean for enhancing bioenergy crops.
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.
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.
16-Dec-2015 A collaboration bears fruit as W7-X celebrates first research plasma
Scientists from the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and other national laboratories joined colleagues from around the world at the celebration for the first plasma of the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator at the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald, Germany.
15-Dec-2015 Schweickhard 'Schwick' von Goeler dies at 84
Schweickhard 'Schwick' von Goeler, an award-winning physicist at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) for more than 35 years and the inventor of numerous X-ray diagnostics used in fusion experiments worldwide, died of leukemia on Dec. 6 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was 84.
16-Nov-2015 PPPL to design a high-resolution diagnostic system for the National Ignition Facility
Two US Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories working on very different types of fusion experiments have begun a novel collaboration. Under the arrangement, the DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) will design a diagnostic system to provide high-resolution analysis of research on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). This work is supported by the DOE Office of Science and LLNL.
10-Nov-2015 Atoms to engines
The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, FCA US LLC, and the foundry giant, Nemak of Mexico, are combining their strengths to create lightweight powertrain materials that will help the auto industry speed past the technological roadblocks to its target of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
26-Oct-2015 The silent treatment: EMSL's quiet wing
Scientists are advancing the understanding of biological and environmental systems by conducting at least part of their research in EMSL's Quiet Wing, one of the most advanced quiet laboratories in the world for high-resolution imaging capabilities. Scientists are using this facility for a wide range of research areas, including: to study bacteria in complex soil aggregates, to understand the behavior of a unique multicopper oxidase and to explore remediation methods using porous clay.
8-Oct-2015 Los Alamos-led consortium works to enhance fuel cell technology
Los Alamos National Laboratory is leading a Department of Energy- Fuel Cells Technologies Office-funded project to enhance the performance and durability of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, while simultaneously reducing their cost.
24-Sep-2015 Los Alamos explores hybrid ultrasmall gold nanocluster for enzymatic fuel cells
With fossil-fuel sources dwindling, better biofuel cell design is a strong candidate in the energy field. In research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Los Alamos researchers and external collaborators synthesized and characterized a new DNA-templated gold nanocluster (AuNC) that could resolve a critical methodological barrier for efficient biofuel cell design.
8-Sep-2015 Making the most from carbon in plants
Researchers are looking for more effective ways to get at all the carbon in biomass to create more energy and biochemicals. However, a lot of the carbon is in lignin -- support tissues in plants, which makes up about a third of the biomass. International teams of scientists are utilizing EMSL's expertise and capabilities to better understand how lignin can be efficiently deconstructed to release its carbon for a more renewable and sustainable energy future.
20-Aug-2015 Carbon number crunching
A booming economy and population led China to emerge in 2006 as the global leader in fossil-fuel carbon emissions, a distinction it still maintains. But exactly how much carbon China releases has been a topic of debate, with recent estimates varying by as much as 15 percent.
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.