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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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Imaging Technology Reveals Copper Is Key to Meeting Future Food and Energy Needs

For the first time, Cornell University researchers are using imaging capabilities at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) to explore how copper affects plant fertility. The work could provide key insights into how plants can be bred for better performance in marginal soils.

PPPL Researchers Perform First Basic Physics Simulation of the Impact of Recycled Atoms on Plasma Turbulence

Article describes simulation of impact of recycled atoms on plasma turbulence.

"Hindcasting" Study Investigates the Extreme 2013 Colorado Flood

Using a publicly available climate model, Berkeley Lab researchers "hindcast" the conditions that led to the Sept. 9-16, 2013 flooding around Boulder, Colo. and found that climate change attributed to human activity made the storm much more severe than would otherwise have occurred.

Ultrathin Device Harvests Electricity From Human Motion

Imagine slipping into a jacket, shirt or skirt that powers your cell phone, fitness tracker and other personal electronic devices as you walk, wave and even when you are sitting down. A new, ultrathin energy harvesting system developed at Vanderbilt University's Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory has the potential to do just that.

Energy-Efficient Accelerator Was 50 Years in the Making

With the introduction of CBETA, the Cornell-Brookhaven ERL Test Accelerator, Cornell University and Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists are following up on the concept of energy-recovering particle accelerators first introduced by physicist Maury Tigner at Cornell more than 50 years ago.

Scientists Program Yeast to Turn Plant Sugars into Biodiesel

Redox metabolism was engineered in Yarrowia lipolytica to increase the availability of reducing molecules needed for lipid production.

Soils Could Release Much More Carbon than Expected as Climate Warms

Deeper soil layers are more sensitive to warming than previously thought.

3-D Models Help Scientists Gauge Flood Impact

Using one of the world's most powerful supercomputers--Titan, the 27-petaflop Cray XK7 at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)--a University of Iowa team performed one of the first highly resolved, 3-D, volume-of-fluid Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations of a dam break in a natural environment. The simulation allowed the team to map precise water levels for actual flood events over time.

Titan Simulations Show Importance of Close 2-Way Coupling Between Human and Earth Systems

A new integrated climate model developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other institutions is designed to reduce uncertainties in future climate predictions as it bridges Earth systems with energy and economic models and large-scale human impact data.

Weaving a Fermented Path to Nylons

Microbial enzymes create precursors of nylon while avoiding harsh chemicals and energy-demanding heat.


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Construction of Massive Neutrino Experiment Kicks Off a Mile Underground

A new era in international particle physics research officially began July 21 with a unique groundbreaking held a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. Dignitaries, scientists and engineers from around the world marked the start of construction of a massive international experiment that could change our understanding of the universe. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) will house the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will be built and operated by roughly 1,000 scientists and engineers from 30 countries.

Construction Begins on International Mega-Science Experiment to Understand Neutrinos

In a unique groundbreaking ceremony held this afternoon at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, a group of dignitaries, scientists and engineers from around the world marked the start of construction of a massive international experiment that could change our understanding of the universe. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) will house the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will be built and operated by a group of roughly 1,000 scientists and engineers from 30 countries.

Buchanan Named Deputy for Science and Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Michelle Buchanan, an accomplished scientific leader and researcher, has been appointed Deputy for Science and Technology at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory by new Lab Director Thomas Zacharia.

Neutrino Project to Fuel Particle Physics Research

Over the next decade, 800,000 tons of rock will be excavated from the former Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, to accommodate a particle detector filled with 70,000 tons of liquid argon cooled to -300 degrees Fahrenheit to study neutrinos beamed from Fermilab in Illinois. It's called the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

Berkeley Lab to Lead Multimillion-Dollar Geothermal Energy Project

The Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will lead a new $9 million project aimed at removing technical barriers to commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), a clean energy technology with the potential to power 100 million American homes.

PNNL Scientist Ruby Leung Appointed a Battelle Fellow

Ruby Leung of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been named a Battelle Fellow -- the highest recognition from Battelle for leadership and accomplishment in science. She is one of eight Battelle fellows at PNNL.

Gu and Paranthaman Named ORNL Corporate Fellows

Researchers Baohua Gu and Parans Paranthaman have been named Corporate Fellows of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

DOE Funds Center for Bioenergy Innovation at ORNL to Accelerate Biofuels, Bioproducts Research

The DOE has announced funding for new research centers to accelerate the development of specialty plants and processes for a new generation of biofuels and bioproducts.

Grant Focuses on 'Hydrogen Sponge' for Use in Fuel-Cell Vehicles

Finding practical hydrogen storage technologies for vehicles powered by fuel cells is the focus of a $682,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, awarded to Mike Chung, professor of materials science and engineering, Penn State.

Engineers Win Energy Department Grants to Help Develop a Reliable, Resilient Power Grid

Two Iowa State electrical engineers have won Energy Department grants to help improve the country's power grid. The projects' goals include addressing the challenges of adding high levels of intermittent power sources to the grid, mainly wind and solar power.


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Quantum Computing Building Blocks

Scientists invented an approach to creating ordered patterns of nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamonds, a promising approach to storing and computing quantum data.

Scientists Program Yeast to Turn Plant Sugars into Biodiesel

Redox metabolism was engineered in Yarrowia lipolytica to increase the availability of reducing molecules needed for lipid production.

Soils Could Release Much More Carbon than Expected as Climate Warms

Deeper soil layers are more sensitive to warming than previously thought.

Weaving a Fermented Path to Nylons

Microbial enzymes create precursors of nylon while avoiding harsh chemicals and energy-demanding heat.

Loosening of Lignocellulose: Switchgrass and Success in Sugar Release

Using a genetically modified line of switchgrass, scientists reduced plant cell wall recalcitrance while increasing sugar release over three generations.

Extending the Life of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Scientists offer new insights into how the source of electrons in batteries fails.

Unraveling the Molecular Complexity of Cellular Machines and Environmental Processes

State-of-the-art mass spectrometer delivers unprecedented capability to scientists.

Speeding Up Catalysts for Energy Storage

Researchers develop the fastest synthetic catalyst for producing hydrogen gas, potentially leading to a new environmentally friendly, affordable fuel.

Watching Neutrons Flow

Like water, neutrons seek their own level, and watching how they flow may teach us about how the chemical elements were made.

FIONA to Take on the Periodic Table's Heavyweights

FIONA (For the Identification Of Nuclide A) is a newly installed device designed to measure the mass numbers of individual atoms of heavy and superheavy elements. FIONA will let researchers learn about the shape and structure of heavy nuclei, guide the search for new elements, and offer better measurements for nuclear fission and related processes.


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