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.
30-Jun-2017 Ecological roots
Despite popular conceptions as an offshoot of the environmental movement, much of the field of ecology evolved to meet the needs of the federal government during the Atomic Age. The Department of Energy's national laboratories played a key role, from developing fundamental theories to computer models. The contributions from the institutions that became Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory still influence the field today.
In some of the coldest places in the world, scientists supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science are studying how permafrost thaws. Using both field and laboratory data, these researchers are collaborating with modelers to improve our understanding of future climate change.
8-Jun-2017 Tackling infectious disease -- one protein at a time
A team of scientists in the Pacific Northwest has solved the 3-D structure of 1,000 proteins from more than 70 organisms that cause infectious disease in people. The proteins the team has studied come from microbes that cause several serious diseases, including tuberculosis, Listeria, Giardia, Ebola, anthrax, C. diff., Legionella, Lyme, chlamydia and the flu.
4-May-2017 New effort by Argonne helps power utilities and others better plan for the future
If you're an electric utility planning a new power plant by a river, it would be nice to know what that river will look like 20 years down the road. Will it be so high that it might flood the new facility? Will the water be so low that it can't be used to cool the plant? A new initiative by Argonne combines climate data and analysis with infrastructure planning and decision support to offer real help.
13-Jan-2017 Study of microbes reveals new insight about Earth's geology and carbon cycles
Tiny microbes play a big role in cycling carbon and other key elements through our air, water, soil and sediment. Researchers who study these processes at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered that these microbial communities are significantly affected by the types of carbon 'food' sources available. Their findings reveal that the type of carbon source affects not only the composition and activity of natural microbial communities, but also in turn the types of mineral products that form in their environment.
22-Dec-2016 For critical marine low clouds, a research and observation plan
Marine low clouds hover in the lowest couple of kilometers above the world's oceans. They produce little but drizzle, and could never match their deeper mid-continent cousin clouds for dramatic weather and severe storms. But marine low clouds are vastly important to the world's climate and energy balance.
Scientists have witnessed the birth of atmospheric ice clouds, creating ice cloud crystals in the laboratory and then taking images of the process through a microscope, essentially documenting the very first steps of cloud formation. The team took time-lapse movies of the first few seconds when a particle attracts water vapor, forming ice crystals that become the core of icy cirrus clouds - the high, wispy clouds that act much like a blanket for our planet.
15-Dec-2016 Data storage upgrades future-proof ARM field sites -- for now
Throughout 2016, Cory Stuart, ARM's Site Data System (SDS) and Cyber Security Manager, and his team at Argonne National Laboratory have been methodically visiting all ARM sites to upgrade the data systems, especially storage capacity.
1-Sep-2016 Blowing bubbles to catch carbon dioxide
Sandia and UNM researchers developed a bio-inspired bubble-like membrane to capture CO2 from coal-fired power plants efficiently. The CO2 Memzyme could capture CO2 equivalent to planting 63 million trees and letting them grow for 10 years from just one power plant.
12-May-2016 Solving the biomass puzzle
Biomass holds great promise as a petroleum replacement, but unlocking its true potential remains a puzzle. A group of researchers at Iowa State University and the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory hope to develop the pieces of that puzzle to create a clearer picture of what takes place within a plant and how that applies to its downstream uses as biomass.
26-Apr-2016 The Pellet Stove Design Challenge: We have a winner!
At Brookhaven Lab last week, seven finalists competed to be designated the top-performing pellet stove. The three-day Pellet Stove Design Challenge, organized by the Alliance for Green Heat, featured stove demonstrations and testing as well as presentations and round-table discussions on a variety of issues.
18-Apr-2016 ORNL forges connections for sturgeon conservation
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are taking a closer look at how sturgeon, a prehistoric -- and now imperiled -- group of fish species may better be helped to get around the dams that block their migrations.
1-Apr-2016 What are aerosols?
Art Sedlacek, an atmospheric scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, has flown on planes outfitted with high tech equipment through wildfire plumes and over the ocean, and has visited stations all over the globe to observe aerosols and understand the potentially big impact these suspensions of tiny particles can have on climate.
21-Mar-2016 Sisters in science
Emma and Molly White and Ru-Shyan and Ru-Huey Yen, a pair of twin sisters and close friends who met in high school 16 years ago. Flash forward to today, and the four all have science-based careers, and look back at their shared-sisterhood-times-two as vital in getting them to where they are today.
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.
12-Feb-2016 AWARE project launched to gain new insights on climate of Antarctica
Scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory, working with a group led by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, embarked on a new project that will lead to a better understanding of how much of the sun's light and the atmosphere's heat radiation reach the Antarctic surface.
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.