15-Jan-2013 Sandia airborne pods seek to trace nuclear bomb's origins
If a nuclear device were to unexpectedly detonate anywhere on Earth, the ensuing effort to find out who made the weapon probably would be led by aircraft rapidly collecting airborne radioactive particles for analysis.
16-Nov-2012 Growth Forum offers networking nirvana
A greener detergent, a better solar-cell coating, an off-the-grid freezer -- clean-tech entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to money-men and -women in 10-minute bursts at the 2012 Industry Growth Forum last month in Denver.
The US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory held the 25th Industry Growth Forum, an annual event that features presentations from emerging clean energy companies, provocative panels led by thought leaders, one-on-one meetings, and organized networking opportunities.
21-Aug-2012 Scientists create new diamond-denting carbon
A new super-hard form of carbon has been created by an international team of scientists working with X-rays at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.
17-Jul-2012 Special report: Graphics processing units speed results in extreme-scale supercomputers
Can scientists and engineers benefit from extreme-scale supercomputers that use application-code accelerators called GPUs (graphics processing units)? Comparing GPU accelerators with today's fastest central processing units (CPUs), early results from diverse areas of research show 1.5- to 3-fold speedups for most codes. That acceleration means increased realism of simulations and decreased time to results. A special report details these findings.
12-Jul-2012 Idaho researcher building used nuclear fuel sensor
Much of the 6,200 metric tons of used nuclear fuel generated by US power plants over the last 40 years is stored safely in giant stainless steel casks. Darryl Butt, a Boise State University professor, is part of a team researching whether it can be stored that way for at least 60 more.
5-Jun-2012 Snubbed protons tattle on neutron structure
Protons and neutrons are the fraternal twins of the sub-atomic world and the building blocks of all atomic nuclei. While similar in many respects, it's their differences that give them their unique properties. Now, scientists are exploiting these differences to gain deeper insight into these fundamental particles that build our visible universe.
24-May-2012 Supernovas explode in 3-D detail at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Understanding a Type Ia supernova -- an exploding white dwarf star -- requires supercomputers. A team of astrophysicists and computational scientists is using the power of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar to virtually blow up these white dwarfs. In the process the researchers are revealing the secrets of the biggest thermonuclear explosions in the universe and finding the answers needed to measure the size of the universe.
7-May-2012 NREL catalyst brings drop-in fuels closer
We live in a petroleum-based society, and the oil we use comes from plants that were buried eons ago and changed under pressure and high temperatures. As countries across the globe face dwindling oil supplies and the environmental impacts of tapping hard-to-process shale oil, the question arises: is there a greener way to replicate Mother Nature?
17-Apr-2012 New nanoparticle technology cuts water use, energy costs
Nuclear and coal power plants are some of the thirstiest machines on earth. The turbines that spin inside of them to generate electricity require tons and tons of steam, and all of that water has to come from somewhere.
4-Apr-2012 Carbon dioxide caused global warming at ice age's end, pioneering simulation shows
Climate science has an equivalent to the "what came first -- the chicken or the egg?" question: what came first, greenhouse gases or global warming? A multi-institutional team led by researchers at Harvard, Oregon State University, and the University of Wisconsin used a global dataset of paleoclimate records and the Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to find the answer. The results, published in the April 5 issue of Nature, analyze 15,000 years of climate history.
29-Feb-2012 Computation proves predictive capabilities of nuclei through fluorine-14 simulation
Aa team led by Iowa State University physicist James Vary used Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and Argonne Leadership Computing Facility resources to predict the behavior of fluorine-14, a relatively unknown isotope. It published its predictions in Physical Review C in February 2010. Six months later, a group of researchers at Texas A&M University's Cyclotron Institute performed an experiment producing fluorine-14, and the results nearly mirrored those of Vary's group.
26-Jan-2012 Nanotube 'glow sticks' transform surface science tool kit
Many physical and chemical processes necessary for biology and chemistry occur at the interface of water and solid surfaces. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory publishing in Nature Nanotechnology have now shown that semiconducting carbon nanotubes -- light-emitting cylinders of pure carbon -- have the potential to detect and track single molecules in water.
27-Dec-2011 Materials modeling shows big future for boron nitride nanoribbons
Alejandro Lopez-Bezanilla at Oak Ridge National Laboratory studies a proposed graphene substrate: boron nitride. Graphene, which is carbon in the form of freestanding 1-atom-thick sheets, is a natural for next-generation computer chips, communications equipment, and solar energy devices. Electrons flow through the material at an astonishing 1 million meters per second. To live up to its potential, however, graphene needs support. On its own, its edges wrinkle, tear, or roll up.
7-Dec-2011 Home sweet, energy efficient, home
Two new research facilities at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will serve as a test bed for studying energy efficient and smart homes.
29-Nov-2011 Scientist wins energy award at technology event
Xin Zhao has won a World Technology Network award in the individual Energy category for innovative work of "the greatest likely long-term significance" in his field. Zhao designed and patented a supercapacitor that would use graphene. The invention could someday see batteries in electric vehicles and similar devices boosted or replaced by high-power, high-capacity, fast-charge/discharge energy storage systems using graphene.
10-Nov-2011 Building block detectors for plants
While a plant's overall health can often be determined through simple observation, researchers sometimes need to see what's happening on the inside. That's where Jefferson Lab group leader Drew Weisenberger and his colleagues come in. They are working to develop tools that can image inside plants.
3-Oct-2011 Argonne scientist energizes quest for lost Leonardo da Vinci painting
Perhaps one of Leonardo da Vinci's greatest paintings has never been reprinted in books of his art. Known as the "Battle of Anghiari," it was abandoned and then lost -- until a determined Italian engineer gave the art world hope that it still existed, and a physicist from the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory developed a technique that may reveal it to the world once again.
15-Sep-2011 Simulating turbulent combustion speeds design of power and propulsion devices
A team led by mechanical engineers Joseph Oefelein and Jacqueline Chen of Sandia National Laboratories simulates turbulent combustion at different scales. Chen and Oefelein were allocated 113 million hours on Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility's Jaguar supercomputer in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to simulate autoignition and injection processes with alternative fuels. For 2011 they received 60 million processor hours for high-fidelity simulations of combustion in advanced engines.
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.