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Scientists Identify Chemical Causes of Battery "Capacity Fade"

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory identified one of the major culprits in capacity fade of high-energy lithium-ion batteries.

Modeling Reveals How Policy Affects the Adoption of Solar Energy Photovoltaics in California

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, inspired by efforts to promote green energy, are exploring the factors driving commercial customers in Southern California, both large and small, to purchase and install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. As the group reports this week in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, they built a model for commercial solar PV adoption to quantify the impact of government incentives and solar PV costs.

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.


OU Engineering Professor Receives National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award

A University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering professor, Steven P. Crossley, is the recipient of a five-year, National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award in the amount of $548,829 for research that can be used to understand catalysts that are important for a broad range of chemical reactions ranging from the production of renewable fuels and chemicals for natural gas processing. The research will be integrated with educational and outreach programs intended for American Indian students, emphasizing the importance of sustainable energy.

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.


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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Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

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Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

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Filling in the Nuclear Data Gaps

Article ID: 666843

Released: 2016-12-21 11:00:28

Source Newsroom: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

    Lee Bernstein, who leads the Nuclear Data Group in Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division, stands beside the beam line in Cave 0 of the Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron.

  • Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

    Thin-foil samples such as the one shown in this photo are used in nuclear physics experiments at Berkeley Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron. In these experiments, an intense particle beam is used to irradiate the foil, and the radiation properties are then precisely measured using a high-purity germanium detector.

  • Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

    Lee Bernstein (center) works with UC Berkeley graduate students Andrew Voyles (left) and Alexander Springer (right) to prepare for an experiment in Cave 0 at Berkeley Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron.

  • Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

    This device is used to measure the thickness of foil samples for nuclear physics experiments at the 88-Inch Cyclotron.

  • Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

    Lee Bernstein (center), works on the setup for a nuclear physics experiment at Berkeley Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron with UC Berkeley graduate students Andrew Voyles (right) and Alexander Springer (left).

Nuclear science, a field focused on what’s at work in the center of atoms, brought us a powerful energy source and new medical treatments and imaging tools.

And the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories have for decades contributed basic nuclear science results and other data on nuclear reactions and nuclear structure to support these and other applications, such as the management of our nuclear weapons stockpile.

Now, to help fill some important knowledge gaps and settle disagreements between experiments and models, the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is ramping up its efforts to solve common problems for a broad group of stakeholders in the nuclear energy, security, and medical fields.

In June, Berkeley Lab managers brought aboard Lee Bernstein -- a nuclear physicist who has been involved in national efforts to guide the focus and effectiveness of the U.S. Nuclear Data Program -- to lead the renewed Nuclear Data Group.

With the availability of precise measurement tools, powerful computer simulations, and a coordinated plan for new experiments, scientists are better equipped than ever to answer some of the most pressing questions in nuclear science. This renewed effort, Bernstein says, could boost fusion energy and nuclear medicine R&D, aid nuclear materials detection and nuclear weapons counterproliferation efforts, and lead to improvements in nuclear power generation.

Bernstein, who during the early ’90s had conducted experiments at Berkeley Lab’s particle-accelerating 88-Inch Cyclotron as a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University, spent the previous 22 years as a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore Lab).

He developed a nuclear science program at Livermore Lab’s National Ignition Facility (NIF), a powerful laser that is used to help ensure the reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. In 2013, he began teaching nuclear physics courses at UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering.

“The Nuclear Data Group is now going beyond the traditional assembly, assessment, and dissemination of nuclear data to include a vibrant experimental effort to address data priorities for the various nuclear agencies and those they serve,” says Barbara Jacak, who leads Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division.

“Surprisingly, this is the first time that such a coherent experimental effort is being made,” she adds. “Some of the wonderful advantages of Lee’s group include access to the Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron, an ideal accelerator facility to perform measurements; active local groups willing to collaborate; and many excellent students wanting to get involved thanks to the strong links with the UC Berkeley campus.”

Berkeley Lab’s new Nuclear Data Group effort benefits greatly from Berkeley Lab’s connection to UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department, Bernstein says. His career path, he notes, has taken him full circle, as he is again conducting nuclear physics experiments at the 88-Inch Cyclotron. Only now the experiments are for a different purpose.

The models that have been developed to describe nuclear processes -- such as the intricate details of the fission reactions that release energy in nuclear reactors as atomic nuclei are split to form lighter elements -- can be improved upon thanks to advances in tools and techniques, and a new round of experiments at Berkeley Lab will help to provide more precise measurements.

“Our role in the U.S. Nuclear Data Program was to compile, evaluate, and archive data. We were judges and librarians,” Bernstein says. “We now do measurements, which is a new aspect: Where we see the deficiencies, we measure.” These new measurements are used to validate, in part, and improve upon past experiments, theory, and simulations.

Bernstein also leads the Data Evaluation for the Applied Nuclear Science (DEANS) project at UC Berkeley, which is part of the U.S. Nuclear Data Program. That and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are among the world’s custodians for unclassified nuclear data.

In April 2017, Berkeley Lab will host a meeting of the IAEA’s Nuclear Structure and Decay Data (NSDD) Network, a governing body that sets the standards for evaluating the structure of atomic nuclei. “Inviting us to hold the NSDD meeting in Berkeley is a recognition of the new role of the Lab and campus in the international nuclear data community,” says Bernstein.

Bernstein also serves as a member of the leadership team for the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium, a group of national labs and universities that has a mission to train the next generation of experts for nuclear security and related fields.

Generally, nuclear data is focused on “the properties of nuclei and the reactions that make them and that produce energy and medical isotopes,” Bernstein says. “All of this data, all of this information is completely open and unclassified,” he says. “But even though everybody shares and uses this nuclear data, there has really not been a concerted, multi-agency effort to try to address these needs” for improved data, he says. Until now.

A workshop held at Berkeley Lab in May 2015 and a related white paper outlined the highest-priority needs for nuclear data that were common to a collection of agencies, and that report is now driving some of the latest work in the nuclear data field, Bernstein says.

“Who owns fission physics? Everyone owns it,” he explains, from the nuclear power industry to the counterproliferation community, and from the scientists who must ensure the safety of the nation’s nuclear weapons to the medical community that uses radioactive isotopes for treatment, imaging, and diagnosis.

Berkeley Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron has provided a good platform for the new program in nuclear data measurements, Bernstein says, adding that he enjoys working with several UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students who journey up to the cyclotron to assist with the experiments.

“For these students, what a treat,” he says, noting that their classrooms on campus are just 800 meters from the cyclotron. “They have world-class capabilities here, and can go right back down and have classes there. The vast majority of my work is here (at the cyclotron) as well.”

Even before he joined Berkeley Lab, Bernstein had been conducting some research at the cyclotron to support his work developing new detectors for use at Livermore Lab’s NIF laser. He conducted that work and other cyclotron research at Berkeley Lab as part of a national labs and UC Berkeley research consortium known as BANG, the Bay Area Neutron Group.

“This place has always been welcoming to us,” Bernstein says of Berkeley Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron. “The staff are innovative, they’re clever, and a lot of this research sits on both sides: from practical applications to basic science.”

Bernstein says that Rick Firestone, a longtime staff scientist at Berkeley Lab and a mentor, had convinced him to think about joining Berkeley Lab full time.

“When Rick told me he was retiring, I said, ‘Wow, here’s a great opportunity to do something between these two worlds (basic science and applications) and have nuclear data at the core,’” Bernstein says.

Now, Bernstein says he enjoys mentoring students who may pursue careers in nuclear science and engineering.

“I get to see all of the best and brightest students,” he says. “A large amount of my time is spent teaching and mentoring students. I think this is a very special place to be -- it is so completely intertwined with campus.”

Nuclear science research at Berkeley Lab is support by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit http://www.lbl.gov.

DOE’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. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.