12-May-2014 Industry research: Experiment enters next stage at new Idaho hot cell
To the average eye, the experimental specimens don't look like much: silver-colored squares about the size of a domino. But the samples represent several big milestones for Idaho National Laboratory, the Department of Energy and the US nuclear energy industry. The irradiated 'compact tension' specimens are the first to undergo analysis in a specialized test rig at INL. Plus, they're part of a first-of-its-kind collaboration through the DOE's Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility.
8-May-2014 Scientists to map universe in 3-D HD
In a few years, scientists will come out with a new map of a third of the sky, one that will go deeper and bring that depth into sharper focus than any survey has yet achieved. It will pinpoint in three dimensions the locations of 25 million galaxies and quasars, pulling back the curtains on the history of the universe's expansion over more than half of the age of the universe.
8-May-2014 Engineering better machines and buildings by understanding mechanics of materials
Sandia National Laboratories is working to fill gaps in the fundamental understanding of materials science through an ambitious long-term, multidisciplinary project called Predicting Performance Margins, or PPM. From the atomic level to full-scale components, the research links variability in materials' atomic configurations and microstructures with how actual parts perform.
29-Apr-2014 Label-free, sequence-specific, inexpensive fluorescent DNA sensors
Using principles of energy transfer more commonly applied to designing solar cells, scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new highly sensitive way to detect specific sequences of DNA, the genetic material unique to every living thing. As described in a paper published in the journal Chemistry of Materials, the method is considerably less costly than other DNA assays and has widespread potential for applications in forensics, medical diagnostics, and the detection of bioterror agents.
29-Apr-2014 Is the universe balanced on a pinhead?
Scientists have known the mass of the heaviest fundamental particle, the top quark, since 1995. But recent, more precise measurements of this mass have revived an old question: Why is it so huge? No one is sure, but it might be a sign that our universe is inherently unstable. Or it might be a sign that some factor we don't yet understand is keeping us in balance.
25-Apr-2014 'Sweet spot' for salty water
Computational modeling has given materials researchers new insight into the properties of a membrane that purifies saltwater into potable water. The resulting technology could help speed up inefficient desalination processes in use today.
21-Apr-2014 Computer-assisted accelerator design
Accelerator physicist Stephen Brooks uses custom designed software to create a 3-D virtual model of the electron accelerator Brookhaven physicists hope to build inside the tunnel currently housing the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
11-Apr-2014 Simulation solves mystery of how liquid-crystal thin films disintegrate
Approximately four decades ago, theoreticians believed that only one of two mechanisms could explain rupture of liquid-crystal thin films. They also believed that these two mechanisms could not coexist. But 10 years ago experiments showed that these two mechanisms in many cases do coexist, according to Trung Nguyen of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who ran unprecedented large-scale molecular dynamics simulations on Titan, America's fastest supercomputer, to model the beginnings of ruptures in thin films.
7-Apr-2014 Generations of supercomputers pin down primordial plasma
Brookhaven Lab's Lattice Gauge Theory Group hunts for equations to describe the early universe and the forces binding matter together. Their search spans generations of supercomputers and parallels studies of the primordial plasma discovered and explored at Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
4-Apr-2014 Tracking the transition of early-universe quark soup to matter-as-we-know-it
By smashing together ordinary atomic nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, scientists recreate the primordial soup of the early universe thousands of times per second. Using sophisticated detectors to track what happens as exotic particles emerge from the collision zone and 'freeze out' into more familiar forms of matter, they are turning up interesting details about how the transition takes place.
3-Apr-2014 'Smart window' material may make better batteries
Windows that darken to filter out sunlight in response to electric current, function much like batteries. Now, X-ray studies at SLAC provide a crystal-clear view into how this color-changing material behaves in a working battery -- information that could benefit next-generation rechargeable batteries.
18-Mar-2014 Tapping into the metabolome
Metabolomics -- a field often called "the last 'omics frontier" -- seeks to understand the fundamental metabolic workings of a cell in a changing environment. Scientists at EMSL use mass spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance, imaging devices and other cutting-edge instruments to glean the information to help produce better fuels, crops and other bioproducts.
18-Mar-2014 Democratizing science with high-speed networks
For the first time, data collected and analyzed by a very remote user of the Department of Energy's National Center for Electron Microcopy via the Energy Sciences Network has been published. Because of this, scientists are optimistic about the future of remote microscopy for DOE-supported science.
3-Mar-2014 Particle beam cancer therapy: The promise and challenges
Advances in accelerators built for fundamental physics research have inspired improved cancer treatment facilities. But will one of the most promising -- a carbon ion treatment facility -- be built in the US? Participants at a symposium organized by Brookhaven Lab for the 2014 AAAS meeting explored the science and surrounding issues.
1-Mar-2014 CDMS result covers new ground in search for dark matter
Scientists looking for dark matter face a serious challenge: No one knows what dark matter particles look like. So their search covers a wide range of possible traits -- different masses, different probabilities of interacting with regular matter.
Today, scientists on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search experiment, or CDMS, announced they have shifted the border of this search down to a dark-matter particle mass and rate of interaction that has never been probed.
30-Jan-2014 Early Edison users deliver results
Before any supercomputer is accepted at NERSC, scientists are invited to put the system through its paces during an "early science" phase. While the main aim of this period is to test the new system, many scientists are able to use the time to significantly advance their work.
29-Jan-2014 Letting in the light
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is developing a low-cost, transparent, anti-soiling coating for solar reflectors to optimize energy efficiency while lowering operating and maintenance costs and avoiding negative environmental impacts.
29-Jan-2014 A map made in the heavens
Researchers supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science have made an incredibly precise map of the universe to better understand dark energy and other wonders within.
16-Jan-2014 Top 10 Brookhaven Lab breakthroughs of 2013
2013 was a banner year for science at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratoryfrom our contributions to Nobel Prize-winning research to new insights into catalysts, superconductors, and other materials key to advancing energy-efficient technologies.
7-Jan-2014 The play-by-play of energy conversion: Catching catalysts in action
Before catalysis unfolds in a laboratory, scientists painstakingly assemble the materials and spark a reaction. But many experimental techniques only capture the static details before and after the reaction. Now, researchers at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated an unprecedented ability to peer into the dynamic, real-time reactions blazing along at scales spanning just billionths of a meter, producing a sort of play-by-play view of the chemistry in action.
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.