Nature provides myriad examples of unique materials and structures developed for specialized applications or adaptations. An interdisciplinary group of researchers at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory is trying to unlock the secrets that organisms use to build such complex structures so that power can be used to create materials not found in nature and not capable of being synthesized by conventional means.
17-Jul-2017 No assembly required: Nanoparticles that put themselves together
Scientists may be able to use self-assembly to design new materials with custom characteristics. Understanding self-assembly is particularly important for working with nanoparticles. Scientists supported by the Department of Energy are investigating two major methods of self-assembly. They are looking into both particles that assemble on their own as well as 'nano-Velcro' that can pull together particles that wouldn't otherwise connect on their own.
12-Jul-2017 Tackling disease in three dimensions: Supercomputers help decode RNA structure
In collaboration with staff from the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, researchers at the National Cancer Institute have perfected a technique that accurately computes the 3-D structure of RNA sequences. This method, which relies on a computer program known as RS3D and supercomputer Mira gives researchers studying cancer and other diseases structural insights about associated RNAs that can be used to advance computer-assisted drug design and development.
In a milestone for studying a class of chemical reactions relevant to novel solar cells and memory storage devices, an international team of researchers working at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory used an X-ray laser to watch 'molecular breathing' -- waves of subtle in-and-out motions of atoms -- in real time and unprecedented detail.
6-Jul-2017 ORNL researchers apply imaging, computational expertise to St. Jude research
In the quest to better understand and cure childhood diseases, scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital accumulate enormous amounts of data from powerful video microscopes. To help St. Jude scientists mine that trove of data, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created custom algorithms that can provide a deeper understanding of the images and quicken the pace of research.
5-Jul-2017 Will brain-inspired chips make a dent in science's big data problems?
Although neuromorphic computing is still in its infancy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers hope that these tiny, low-power, brain-inspired computing systems could one day help alleviate some of science's big data challenges. With funding from the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program, two groups of researchers are exploring how science might benefit from this new technology.
27-Jun-2017 Yi Cui named Blavatnik National Laureate
Pioneering nanoscientist Yi Cui, professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University and of photon science at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, has been named a 2017 Blavatnik National Laureate. The $250,000 award recognizes the most promising researchers age 42 and younger at top US academic and research institutions.
21-Jun-2017 Upgrades at Sandia Lab's Tonopah Test Range help weapons testing
It's been a challenge for Sandia National Laboratories' Tonopah Test Range to keep decades-old equipment running while gathering detailed information required for 21st century non-nuclear testing. Over the past several years, the Nevada range changed the analog brains in instruments to digital, moved to modern communications systems and upgraded telemetry and tracking equipment and computing systems.
14-Jun-2017 New research finds a missing piece to high-temperature superconductor mystery
An international team led by scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University has detected new features in the electronic behavior of a copper oxide material that may help explain why it becomes a perfect electrical conductor -- a superconductor -- at relatively high temperatures.
19-May-2017 A fresh math perspective opens new possibilities for computational chemistry
A new mathematical "shortcut" developed by Berkeley Lab researchers is speeding up molecular absorption calculations by a factor of five, so simulations that used to take 10 to 15 hours to compute can now be done in approximately 2.5 hours. These algorithms will be incorporated in an upcoming release of the widely used NWChem computational chemistry software suite later this year.
5-May-2017 Bacterial boost for bio-based fuels
"Electrical" bacteria are the key ingredient in a new process developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory that recycles wastewater from biofuel production to generate hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be used to convert bio-oil into higher grade liquid fuels such as gasoline or diesel.
21-Apr-2017 What can you study in femtoseconds? Materials
When Aaron Lindenberg was introduced to ultrafast science as a first-year grad student at UC Berkeley, he was immediately hooked. He knew he wanted to be part of a hot research field that explores nature's speediest processes and lets us see the world with different eyes.
17-Apr-2017 How X-rays pushed topological matter research over the top
Pioneering X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS) helped bring to life decades-old theories about exotic topological states of matter, and the ALS continues to play an important role in this flourishing field of research.
13-Apr-2017 SLAC celebrates Femtosecond Week
Got a millionth of a billionth of a second? There's science that actually happens on this timescale. Join us online for a week of ultrafast science from April 17 to 21. Learn more about how scientists and engineers use electron beams and bright pulses of light from the Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser and other advanced lasers to capture some of nature's speediest processes that occur in just femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second.
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.