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  • 2017-01-04 09:05:40
  • Article ID: 667120

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2017

  • Credit: ORNL

    Atomic arrangements inside the unit cell of an iron-based superconducting material show that reduction of unit cells along the c-axis is necessary for causing superconductivity.

  • Credit: ORNL

    Habitats of salmon could be preserved through the careful management of forests.

  • Credit: ORNL

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s supercomputer is opening new horizons for the Nature Inspired Machine Learning Team.

  • Credit: ORNL

    Neon atoms between graphene sheets poke the top sheet from below and stretch the crystalline lattice, forming a bubble at a pressure larger than that of the ocean at its greatest depth. The ORNL method can introduce large local strains into 2D lattices in cases where conventional methods fail.

  • Credit: ORNL

    ORNL scientists studied ways to enhance the proposed memory cell performance and minimize access times and energies, yielding a novel cryogenic, or low-temperature, design that may resolve a memory storage bottleneck, accelerating a pathway to next-generation computing.

SUPERCONDUCTIVITY – Crystal clear conclusion …

Hundreds of tables and plots from papers published about superconductivity are the focus of a Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter review paper that condenses this data into a single graph. “We were able to find a pattern throughout many scientists’ work that was never recognized because no one had taken the time to assemble all of the data,” said co-author Lance Konzen. He and ORNL’s Athena Safa Sefat conclude that superconducting properties of iron- and copper-based materials are highly dependent on the behavior of atomic arrangements inside the unit cells. They noted that their paper, titled “Lattice Parameters Guide Superconductivity in Iron-Arsenides,” is a resource that will guide materials chemists and could save considerable time. Konzen’s work was sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists and the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship programs. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/01%20superconductivity%201.jpg

Cutline: Atomic arrangements inside the unit cell of an iron-based superconducting material show that reduction of unit cells along the c-axis is necessary for causing superconductivity.

ENVIRONMENT – Triple benefit …

Strategic thinning of forests in the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the United States plagued by fires could produce benefits on multiple levels, according to Rebecca Novello, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In a collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Forest Service, Novello and Yetta Jager are developing decision support tools for thinning forest understory that could provide biomass for energy, decrease the incidence of high-intensity wildfires and preserve habitat for threatened and endangered salmon. “Climate change is a big driver of this research,” Jager said. “Among many other factors, increasing temperatures have shifted seasonal patterns of flow from those that salmon have adapted to and increased the number and duration of wildfires.” The three-year project began Oct. 1. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/02%20triple%20benefit%20tip%201.jpg

Cutline: Habitats of salmon could be preserved through the careful management of forests.

COMPUTING – Charting new territory …

From machine learning to neuromorphic architectures that enable greater computing flexibility and utility, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are pushing boundaries with Titan. “We’re using deep learning to advance the state of the art in several challenging fields such as computer vision and speech recognition,” said Steven Young, a member of ORNL’s Intelligent Computing Research Team. Young noted that their approach is providing a promising tool in areas previously unexplored by computer scientists. For example, optimal networks for commercial datasets are vastly different than the optimal networks for scientific data. But by utilizing the 18,688 GPUs on Titan and an evolutionary algorithm, researchers can quickly find the best network for their problem. As a result, scientists are seeing and making sense of data that was previously either obscured or simply unavailable for analysis. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/03%20computing%20tip.jpg

Cutline: Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s supercomputer is opening new horizons for the Nature Inspired Machine Learning Team.

MATERIALS – Measuring and manipulating graphene …

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory found a simpler way to measure adhesion between graphene sheets, compared to a sophisticated method used in a 2015 study: They measured how much graphene deflects when neon atoms poke it from below to create “bubbles.” Each bubble’s curvature encodes properties such as sheet flexibility and adhesion. “We discovered a new method to measure adhesion of layered materials at very small length scales,” said Petro Maksymovych. “It’s a simple way to probe a large number of two-dimensional materials and ask how their mechanical properties vary with modifications. It also opens an avenue for atomic-scale control over 2D materials without defects, which may prove useful to achieve their full potential in future technologies.” Stacking atomically thin materials opens a pathway toward new energy and electronic applications. [Contact: Dawn Levy, (865) 576-6448; levyd@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/04%20materials%20measuring%20tip%201.jpg

Cutline: Neon atoms between graphene sheets poke the top sheet from below and stretch the crystalline lattice, forming a bubble at a pressure larger than that of the ocean at its greatest depth. The ORNL method can introduce large local strains into 2D lattices in cases where conventional methods fail.

SUPERCOMPUTING – Resolving the bottleneck …

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have proposed a novel cryogenic, or low-temperature, memory cell circuit design that may resolve a memory storage bottleneck, accelerating the pathway to exascale and quantum computing. The proposed design converges write, read and reset memory operations on the same circuit, enabling memory processing functions to operate faster and more efficiently. This could yield decreased access energies and access times and allow for more circuits to occupy less space. Details of the research were published in Superconductor Science and Technology and Physical Review E. [Contact: Sara Shoemaker, (865) 576-9219; shoemakerms@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/05%20bottleneck%20tip.jpg

Cutline: ORNL scientists studied ways to enhance the proposed memory cell performance and minimize access times and energies, yielding a novel cryogenic, or low-temperature, design that may resolve a memory storage bottleneck, accelerating a pathway to next-generation computing.

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Kentucky Researchers First to Produce High Grade Rare Earths From Coal

University of Kentucky researchers have produced nearly pure rare earth concentrates from Kentucky coal using an environmentally-conscious and cost-effective process, a groundbreaking accomplishment in the energy industry.

Watching Atoms Move in Hybrid Perovskite Crystals Reveals Clues to Improving Solar Cells

The discovery of nanoscale changes deep inside hybrid perovskites could shed light on developing low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. Using X-ray beams and lasers, a team of researchers led by the University of California San Diego discovered how the movement of ions in hybrid perovskites causes certain regions within the material to become better solar cells than other parts.

Quantum Dots Amplify Light with Electrical Pumping

In a breakthrough development, Los Alamos scientists have shown that they can successfully amplify light using electrically excited films of the chemically synthesized semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots.

The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

Strain-Free Epitaxy of Germanium Film on Mica

Germanium was the material of choice in the early history of electronic devices, and due to its high charge carrier mobility, it's making a comeback. It's generally grown on expensive single-crystal substrates, adding another challenge to making it sustainably viable for most applications. To address this aspect, researchers demonstrate an epitaxy method that incorporates van der Waals' forces to grow germanium on mica. They discuss their work in the Journal of Applied Physics.

Unplugging the Cellulose Biofuel Bottleneck

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

Detailed View of Immune Proteins Could Lead to New Pathogen-Defense Strategies

Biologists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley used cryo-EM to resolve the structure of a ring of proteins used by the immune system to summon support when under attack, providing new insight into potential strategies for protection from pathogens. The researchers captured the high-resolution image of a protein ring, called an inflammasome, as it was bound to flagellin, a protein from the whiplike tail used by bacteria to propel themselves forward.

Unlocking the Secrets of Ebola

Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease. The results come from one of the most in-depth studies ever of blood samples from patients with Ebola.

Scientists Make First Observations of How a Meteor-Like Shock Turns Silica Into Glass

Studies at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first real-time observations of how silica - an abundant material in the Earth's crust - easily transforms into a dense glass when hit with a massive shock wave like one generated from a meteor impact.

How Fungal Enzymes Break Down Plant Cell Walls

Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.


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Five Brookhaven Lab Scientists Named 2017 American Physical Society Fellows

Anatoly Frenkel, Morgan May, Rachid Nouicer, Eric Stach, and Peter Steinberg were recognized for their outstanding contributions to astrophysics, materials physics, and nuclear physics.

Argonne Appoints Chief of Staff

Megan Clifford has been named Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, effective January 1, 2018.

Jefferson Lab Scientist Selected to Receive Francis Slack Award

Dr. Hari Areti, has been selected to receive the Francis G. Slack Award, established by the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society, to honor excellence in service to Physics in the Southeastern U.S.

ORNL Wins Nine R&D 100 Awards

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received nine R&D 100 Awards in recognition of their significant advancements in science and technology.

Argonne Scientists Capture Several R&D 100 Awards

Innovative technologies developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory recently earned several R&D 100 Awards.

Eight Los Alamos innovations win R&D 100 Awards

Eight Los Alamos National Laboratory technologies won R&D 100 Awards last week at R&D Magazine's annual ceremony in Orlando, Florida.

Physicist David Gates Named Editor-in-Chief of Plasma, a New Online Journal

Article announces David Gates' appointment as editor-in-chief of Plasma magazine

Argonne to Install Comanche System to Explore ARM Technology for High-Performance Computing

Argonne National Laboratory is collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide system software expertise and a development ecosystem for a future high-performance computing (HPC) system based on 64-bit ARM processors.

CANDLE Shines in 2017 HPCwire Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards

Argonne National Laboratory has been recognized in the annual <em>HPCwire</em> Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards, presented at the 2017 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17), in Denver, Colorado.

SLAC's Helen Quinn Honored with 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics

Helen Quinn, a professor emerita at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, will receive the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics - one of eight prestigious Franklin Institute Awards that will be handed out in Philadelphia next April.


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The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

Unplugging the Cellulose Biofuel Bottleneck

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

How Fungal Enzymes Break Down Plant Cell Walls

Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.

Stretching to Perfection of 2-D Semiconductors

Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

The Effect of Hurricanes on Puerto Rico's Dry Forests

More frequent storms turn forests from carbon source to sink.

A Chemical Thermometer for Tropical Forests

Monoterpene measures how certain forests respond to heat stress.

Where a Leaf Lands and Lies Influences Carbon Levels in Soil for Years to Come

Whether carbon comes from leaves or needles affects how fast it decomposes, but where it ends up determines how long it's available.

Twisting Molecule Wrings More Power from Solar Cells

Readily rotating molecules let electrons last, resulting in higher solar cell efficiency.

Rules Are Only Suggestions in Heavy Elements

The arrangement of electrons in an exotic human-made element shows that certain properties of heavy elements cannot be predicted using lighter ones.


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