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Machine Learning Dramatically Streamlines Search for More Efficient Chemical Reactions

A catalytic reaction may follow thousands of possible paths, and it can take years to identify which one it actually takes so scientists can tweak it and make it more efficient. Now researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have taken a big step toward cutting through this thicket of possibilities.

Freezing Lithium Batteries May Make Them Safer and Bendable

Columbia Engineering Professor Yuan Yang has developed a new method that could lead to lithium batteries that are safer, have longer battery life, and are bendable, providing new possibilities such as flexible smartphones. His new technique uses ice-templating to control the structure of the solid electrolyte for lithium batteries that are used in portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid-level energy storage. The study is published online April 24 in Nano Letters.

New Study Reveals the Mystery Behind the Formation of Hollowed Nanoparticles During Metal Oxidation

In a newly published <i>Science</i> paper, Argonne and Temple University researchers reveal new knowledge about the behavior of metal nanoparticles when they undergo oxidation, by integrating X-ray imaging and computer modeling and simulation. This knowledge adds to our understanding of fundamental processes like oxidation and corrosion.

Rare Supernova Discovery Ushers in New Era for Cosmology

With help from a supernova-hunting pipeline based at NERSC, astronomers captured multiple images of a gravitationally lensed Type 1a supernova. This is currently the only one, but if astronomers can find more they may be able to measure Universal expansion within four percent accuracy. Luckily, Berkeley Lab researchers do have a method for finding more.

Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries will extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and provide more power with fewer charges to personal electronics like cell phones and laptops.

Changing the Game

High performance computing researcher Shuaiwen Leon Song asked if hardware called 3D stacked memory could do something it was never designed to do--help render 3D graphics.

A Scientific Advance for Cool Clothing: Temperature-Wise, That Is

Stanford University researchers, with the aid of the Comet supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer at UC San Diego, have engineered a low-cost plastic material that could become the basis for clothing that cools the wearer, reducing the need for energy-consuming air conditioning.

Adjusting Solar Panel Angles a Few Times a Year Makes Them More Efficient

With Earth Day approaching, new research from Binghamton University-State of New York could help U.S. residents save more energy, regardless of location, if they adjust the angles of solar panels four to five times a year.

A Real CAM-Do Attitude

A multi-institutional team used resources at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility to catalog how desert plants photosynthetic processes vary. The study could help scientists engineer drought-resistant crops for food and fuel.

Predictive Power

The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors carried out the largest time-dependent simulation of a nuclear reactor ever to support Tennessee Valley Authority and Westinghouse Electric Company during the startup of Watts Bar Unit 2, the first new US nuclear reactor in 20 years. The simulation was carried out primarily on OLCF resources.


3 Small Energy Firms to Collaborate with PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is collaborating with three small businesses to address technical challenges concerning hydrogen for fuel cell cars, bio-coal and nanomaterial manufacturing.

ORNL to Collaborate with Five Small Businesses to Advance Energy Tech

Five small companies have been selected to partner with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory to move technologies in commercial refrigeration systems, water power generation, bioenergy and battery manufacturing closer to the marketplace.

U.S. Department of Energy's INCITE Program Seeks Advanced Computational Research Proposals for 2018

The Department of Energy's INCITE program will be accepting proposals for high-impact, computationally intensive research campaigns in a broad array of science, engineering, and computer science domains.

New Berkeley Lab Project Turns Waste Heat to Electricity

A new Berkeley Lab project seeks to efficiently capture waste heat and convert it to electricity, potentially saving California up to $385 million per year. With a $2-million grant from the California Energy Commission, Berkeley Lab scientists will work with Alphabet Energy to create a cost-effective thermoelectric waste heat recovery system.

New SLAC Theory Institute Aims to Speed Research on Exotic Materials at Light Sources

A new institute at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is using the power of theory to search for new types of materials that could revolutionize society - by making it possible, for instance, to transmit electricity over power lines with no loss.

Lenvio Inc. Exclusively Licenses ORNL Malware Behavior Detection Technology

Virginia-based Lenvio Inc. has exclusively licensed a cyber security technology from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory that can quickly detect malicious behavior in software not previously identified as a threat.

Argonne Scientist and Nobel Laureate Alexei Abrikosov Dies at 88

Alexei Abrikosov, an acclaimed physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory who received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on superconducting materials, died Wednesday, March 29. He was 88.

Jefferson Lab Accomplishes Critical Milestones Toward Completion of 12 GeV Upgrade

The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has achieved two major commissioning milestones and is now entering the final stretch of work to conclude its first major upgrade. Recently, the CEBAF accelerator delivered electron beams into two of its experimental halls, Halls B and C, at energies not possible before the upgrade for commissioning of the experimental equipment currently in each hall. Data were recorded in each hall, which were then confirmed to be of sufficient quality to allow for particle identification, a primary indicator of good detector operation.

Valerie Taylor Named Argonne National Laboratory's Mathematics and Computer Science Division Director

Computer scientist Valerie Taylor has been appointed as the next director of the Mathematics and Computer Science division at Argonne, effective July 3, 2017.

Three SLAC Employees Awarded Lab's Highest Honor

At a March 7 ceremony, three employees of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were awarded the lab's highest honor ­- the SLAC Director's Award.


The Roadmap to Quark Soup

Scientists discover new signposts in the quest to determine how matter from the early universe turned into the world we know today.

Neutrons Play the Lead to Protons in Dance Around "Double-Magic" Nucleus

Electric and magnetic properties of a radioactive atom provide unique insight into the nature of proton and neutron motion.

Ultrafast Imaging Reveals the Electron's New Clothes

Scientists use high-speed electrons to visualize "dress-like" distortions in the atomic lattice. This work reveals the vital role of electron-lattice interactions in manganites. This material could be used in data-storage devices with increased data density and reduced power requirements.

One Small Change Makes Solar Cells More Efficient

For years, scientists have explored using tiny drops of designer materials, called quantum dots, to make better solar cells. Adding small amounts of manganese decreases the ability of quantum dots to absorb light but increases the current produced by an average of 300%.

Electronic "Cyclones" at the Nanoscale

Through highly controlled synthesis, scientists controlled competing atomic forces to let spiral electronic structures form. These polar vortices can serve as a precursor to new phenomena in materials. The materials could be vital for ultra-low energy electronic devices.

In a Flash! A New Way for Making Ceramics

A new process controllably but instantly consolidates ceramic parts, potentially important for manufacturing.

Deciphering Material Properties at the Single-Atom Level

Scientists determine the precise location and identity of all 23,000 atoms in a nanoparticle.

Smallest Transistor Ever

It has long been thought that building nanometer-sized transistors was impossible. Simply put, the physics and atomic structural imperfections couldn't be overcome. However, scientists built fully functional, nanometer-sized transistors.

Creation of Artificial Atoms

For the first time, scientists created a tunable artificial atom in graphene. The results from this research demonstrate a viable, controllable, and reversible technique to confine electrons in graphene.

Developing Tools to Understand Lithium-Ion Battery Instabilities

Scientists develop tools to understand Li-ion battery instabilities, enabling the study of electrodes and solid-electrolyte interphase formation.


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Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

Article ID: 664428

Released: 2016-11-08 12:05:45

Source Newsroom: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    ORNL intern Rachel Seibert is researching TRISO particles—a promising fuel type for next-generation high temperature gas-cooled reactors—by studying several interfaces of the fuel particle through transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy.

  • Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Doctoral student Rachel Seibert works with ORNL mentor Kurt Terrani as part of the lab’s Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) program.

For a second straight summer, Rachel Seibert spent her days at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researching advanced nuclear reactors. The Ph.D. candidate may not have had such an opportunity more than a decade ago, but thanks to a unique internship program, Seibert analyzed tri-structural isotropic (TRISO) fuels and continued to pave the path toward her post-graduation career.

ORNL’s Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) program—a cooperative research initiative designed to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to pursue careers in nuclear science—launched in 2002 in response to a lack of potential engineers and researchers in the discipline. NESLS has grown from two participants that first summer to dozens of students each spring, summer, and fall semester.

This year’s summer semester saw 39 students from across the country spend 10 or more weeks working with an ORNL mentor. Across the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate (NSED), students could be found working on nuclear security, radiation shielding, facility safety, medical isotope development, and many other nuclear-focused areas.

“We want to diversify the background of our students and give them a well-rounded experience while they’re here,” said Julie Ezold, californium-252 program manager and chair of NSED’s Education Committee. “For undergraduates, it is opening that door and experiencing a national lab. For our graduate students, it is helping them focus on specific areas around their advanced degrees.”

The selection process takes into account a variety of factors¬—such as the mentor’s ability to support a student, a student’s area of interest, and opportunities for a project that would fit into the mentor’s current research. This summer, 700 students applied to take part in the program.

In addition to the opportunity to take part in a research project, students receive a travel reimbursement and weekly stipend. They also attend a lecture series featuring leading experts from various backgrounds, tour ORNL’s facilities, and present their work during a poster session, where their research and presentation skills are judged.

“There’s a lot of value in standing up and giving a talk about what you have done,” Ezold said. “It’s all a part of making it a great experience, so they’ll become ambassadors of ORNL and go back and tell their universities what they did over the past few months.”

Seibert, a fourth-year student from Illinois Institute of Technology, finished as the runner-up in this summer’s poster session. Her poster highlighted the second year of her work with ORNL mentor Kurt Terrani.

With a background in physics and condensed matter, Seibert was a natural to work alongside Terrani, a nuclear fuels expert and Weinberg Fellow. As part of Terrani’s team, Seibert was tasked with investigating TRISO particles—a promising fuel type for next-generation high temperature gas-cooled reactors—by studying several interfaces of the fuel particle through transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy.

The fuel comprises four separate layers—a carbon buffer, then a silicon carbon (SiC) layer sandwiched between two pyrolytic carbon layers. After analyzing the inner side of the SiC layer last summer, Seibert’s 2016 work looked at the middle and outer SiC interfaces. Seibert’s research is examining the fuels reaction specifically in accident conditions, with temperatures greater than 1600 degrees Celsius.

“We want to know how the fission products are interacting with the SiC, since it is the backbone of TRISO nuclear fuels,” Seibert said. “It’s important research to make them inherently safe and move one step closer to use in a reactor.”

Because the research continues to show promise, Seibert will remain at ORNL through the coming year as an intern outside of the NESLS program; such an arrangement is common when the partnership proves promising for the student and mentor. Seibert will continue to contribute to Terrani’s work but will also use the analysis in completing her dissertation—something she knows would not have been possible without NESLS.

“It is an absolutely amazing program. The facilities you have access to when you come in as a summer student are incredible,” she said. “And you not only have all of this equipment at your fingertips, but also staff, the people who work here. Everyone is a leading expert and willing to help you learn.”

For more information about NESLS, visit http://web.ornl.gov/sci/nsed/outreach/internship_nesls.shtml.

Seibert’s internship was sponsored by the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy through the Nuclear Science User Facilities and the Advanced Fuels Campaign. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.