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Video Captures Bubble-Blowing Battery in Action

PNNL researchers have created a unique video that shows oxygen bubbles inflating and later deflating inside a tiny lithium-air battery. The knowledge gained from the video could help make lithium-air batteries that are more compact, stable and can hold onto a charge longer.

Study Offers New Theoretical Approach to Describing Non-Equilibrium Phase Transitions

Two physicists at Argonne offered a way to mathematically describe a particular physics phenomenon called a phase transition in a system out of equilibrium. Such phenomena are central in physics, and understanding how they occur has been a long-held and vexing goal; their behavior and related effects are key to unlocking possibilities for new electronics and other next-generation technologies.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Discover New Atomically Layered, Thin Magnet

Berkeley Lab scientists have found an unexpected magnetic property in a 2-D material. The new atomically thin, flat magnet could have major implications for a wide range of applications, such as nanoscale memory, spintronic devices, and magnetic sensors.

Stabilizing Molecule Could Pave Way for Lithium-Air Fuel Cell

Lithium-oxygen fuel cells boast energy density levels comparable to fossil fuels and are thus seen as a promising candidate for future transportation-related energy needs.

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.


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.


Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Wednesday April 05, 2017, 12:05 PM

High-Schooler Solves College-Level Security Puzzle From Argonne, Sparks Interest in Career

Argonne National Laboratory

Tuesday March 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jenica Jacobi

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

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

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

Argonne National Laboratory

Friday January 27, 2017, 04:00 PM

Haslam Visits ORNL to Highlight State's Role in Discovering Tennessine

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tuesday November 08, 2016, 12:05 PM

Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday May 13, 2016, 04:05 PM

More Than 12,000 Explore Jefferson Lab During April 30 Open House

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Monday April 25, 2016, 05:05 PM

Giving Back to National Science Bowl

Ames Laboratory

Friday March 25, 2016, 12:05 PM

NMSU Undergrad Tackles 3D Particle Scattering Animations After Receiving JSA Research Assistantship

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Tuesday February 02, 2016, 10:05 AM

Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Monday November 16, 2015, 04:05 PM

Rare Earths for Life: An 85th Birthday Visit with Mr. Rare Earth

Ames Laboratory

Tuesday October 20, 2015, 01:05 PM

Meet Robert Palomino: 'Give Everything a Shot!'

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Tuesday April 22, 2014, 11:30 AM

University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

University of Utah

Wednesday March 06, 2013, 03:40 PM

Student Innovator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Seeks Brighter, Smarter, and More Efficient LEDs

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday November 16, 2012, 10:00 AM

Texas Tech Energy Commerce Students, Community Light up Tent City

Texas Tech University

Wednesday November 23, 2011, 10:45 AM

Don't Get 'Frosted' Over Heating Your Home This Winter

Temple University

Wednesday July 06, 2011, 06:00 PM

New Research Center To Tackle Critical Challenges Related to Aircraft Design, Wind Energy, Smart Buildings

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday April 22, 2011, 09:00 AM

First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money

Wake Forest University

Friday April 15, 2011, 12:25 PM

Like Superman, American University Will Get Its Energy from the Sun

American University

Thursday February 10, 2011, 05:00 PM

ARRA Grant to Help Fund Seminary Building Green Roof

University of Chicago

Tuesday December 07, 2010, 05:00 PM

UC San Diego Installing 2.8 Megawatt Fuel Cell to Anchor Energy Innovation Park

University of California San Diego

Monday November 01, 2010, 12:50 PM

Rensselaer Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center Announces First Deployment of New Technology on Campus

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday September 10, 2010, 12:40 PM

Ithaca College Will Host Regional Clean Energy Summit

Ithaca College

Tuesday July 27, 2010, 10:30 AM

Texas Governor Announces $8.4 Million Award to Create Renewable Energy Institute

Texas Tech University

Friday May 07, 2010, 04:20 PM

Creighton University to Offer New Alternative Energy Program

Creighton University

Wednesday May 05, 2010, 09:30 AM

National Engineering Program Seeks Subject Matter Experts in Energy

JETS Junior Engineering Technical Society

Wednesday April 21, 2010, 12:30 PM

Students Using Solar Power To Create Sustainable Solutions for Haiti, Peru

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday March 03, 2010, 07:00 PM

Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Thursday February 04, 2010, 02:00 PM

Turning Exercise into Electricity

Furman University

Thursday November 12, 2009, 12:45 PM

Campus Leaders Showing the Way to a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Tuesday November 03, 2009, 04:20 PM

Furman University Receives $2.5 Million DOE Grant for Geothermal Project

Furman University

Thursday September 17, 2009, 02:45 PM

Could Sorghum Become a Significant Alternative Fuel Source?

Salisbury University

Wednesday September 16, 2009, 11:15 AM

Students Navigating the Hudson River With Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday September 16, 2009, 10:00 AM

College Presidents Flock to D.C., Urge Senate to Pass Clean Energy Bill

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Wednesday July 01, 2009, 04:15 PM

Northeastern Announces New Professional Master's in Energy Systems

Northeastern University

Friday October 12, 2007, 09:35 AM

Kansas Rural Schools To Receive Wind Turbines

Kansas State University

Thursday August 17, 2006, 05:30 PM

High Gas Prices Here to Stay, Says Engineering Professor

Rowan University

Wednesday May 17, 2006, 06:45 PM

Time Use Expert's 7-Year Fight for Better Gas Mileage

University of Maryland, College Park




Top 10 PPPL Stories That You Shouldn't Miss

Article ID: 667255

Released: 2017-01-06 10:05:04

Source Newsroom: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

  • Credit: Elle Starkman/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

The past year saw many firsts in experimental and theoretical research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Here, in no particular order, are 10 of the Laboratory’s top findings in 2016, from the first results on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade to a new use for Einstein’s theory of special relativity to modeling the disk that feeds the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

1. First results of the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U)

The NSTX-U recorded important findings during its first 10 weeks of operation, before shutting down for repairs. Results ranged from rapidly achieving high plasma confinement, a superior regime for plasma performance, to swiftly surpassing the maximum field strength of its predecessor prior to the upgrade. The nearly four-year overhaul doubled the heating capacity and field strength of the NSTX-U, making it the most powerful spherical torus device in the world.

2. Collaborating on fusion facilities around the world

PPPL contributes heavily to worldwide fusion experiments. PPPL leads all U.S. collaborators on the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator in Germany, and played a key role in confirming the accuracy of the twisty, 3D magnetic fields that distinguish stellarators from 2D tokamak devices. The Lab leads studies on avoiding disruptions on KSTAR, the major tokamak in South Korea, and heads a multi-institutional project to study plasma-material interaction on China’s EAST tokamak. Domestically, PPPL collaborations on the DIII-D tokamak at General Atomics this year have ranged from analyzing the behavior of the crucial edge of fusion plasmas to coupling our flagship TRANSP fusion analysis code to a GA code to make TRANSP widely available to beginners and experts alike.

3. Unraveling the source of rapid reconnection

Scientists have puzzled for decades over what causes magnetic reconnection, a universal process that sets off solar flares, northern lights and geomagnetic storms, to develop so much faster than theory says it should. Recent findings at PPPL suggest the answer lies in electrically charged plasma sheets that break up into tiny magnetic islands called “plasmoids” that evolve from quiescent to explosive stages. This process, which roughly follows a principle laid out by 17th century mathematician Pierre de Fermat, accelerates magnetic reconnection, which occurs when the magnetic field lines in plasma converge and violently snap apart.

4.Applying Einstein and quantum mechanics to astrophysical mysteries

Pulsars, collapsed stars that orbit a cosmic companion and flash like lighthouses in the sky, have many properties that defy detailed explanation. Researchers at PPPL and Princeton have combined Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity with the theory of quantum mechanics to portray several of the qualities. The new method infers the strength of the magnetic field and density of the plasma that surrounds pulsars with greater precision than standard approaches can show. This method, based on the complex behavior of plasma waves, can also infer such properties for the plasma created by inertial fusion, which uses lasers to vaporize a target that contains plasma fuel.

5. Delivering power and diagnostics to ITER

The United States is a key contributor to ITER, the international fusion experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power. PPPL is an important participant in the experiment. During the past year the Laboratory completed delivery of new major components for the steady state electrical network that will power the complex plant’s electrical loads, with the exception of the pulsed loads that will power the heating, current and magnetic fields inside the giant tokamak itself. PPPL also furthered development of designs for seven diagnostic instruments that the U.S. will provide to ITER to observe, record and analyze data from its experiments.

6. First steps toward a possible technique for facilitating disarmament agreements

The Laboratory and Princeton University successfully completed a novel experiment for a system that, when fully developed, could prove useful in future disarmament talks. The experiment translated a method called “zero-knowledge protocol” that is employed in cryptography into use in a physical system. The aim of this system is to determine, without tapping into classified information, whether objects to be dismantled are true nuclear warheads. The experiment successfully distinguished between “true” and “false” patterns of 2-inch steel and aluminum cubes without revealing any information about the composition and configuration of the cubes. While far more development will need to be done, the test marked a promising beginning.

7. Creating a framework for improving high-intensity particle accelerator beams

Accelerator beams consist of billions of charged particles that are used in scientific experiments to strike other particles with enormous intensity and generate subatomic particles not seen since the early universe. However, mutual repulsion of the particles and imperfections of accelerators tend to degrade the beam, so the walls of large devices are lined with high-precision magnets to control the motion. Now researchers at PPPL, South Korea and Germany have teamed up to develop a theoretical framework for optimizing the beams. The new method contrasts with standard approaches, which treat the horizontal and vertical motions of the charged particles as uncoupled. Instead, the new system couples all forces and elements that can stabilize the beam, and the results agreed well with simulation of a German experiment that illustrated a technique for manipulating the beams of future accelerators.

8. Modeling the accretion disk that feeds the black hole at the center of our galaxy

As the accretion disk that orbits the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way spirals into the hole, the plasma particles that comprise it emit far less radiation than the disks that flow into many other black holes. The question is why, since feeding black holes can create some of the brightest and most energetic radiation in the universe, and the huge Milky Way hole has four million times the mass of our sun. To help find the answer, scientists at PPPL and Princeton University have developed a rigorous new method for modeling the disk around the gigantic Milky Way hole, which is called Sagittarius A*. The particles inside this disk’s plasma rarely collide, compared with the frequent collisions of particles in other disks. So tracing the movements of individual collisionless particles in Sagittarius A*, rather than relying on standard formulas that treat the plasma in collisional disks as a fluid, could produce improved predictions of how the Sagittarius A* disk will behave when compared with astrophysical observations.

9. A shot-by-shot look at what happens when plasma meets walls

Of crucial importance to the production of fusion energy is the contact during experiments — or shots — between particles of the hot plasma that fuels fusion reactions and the walls that enclose the magnetically confined gas. Such contact can erode the walls of a fusion facility and recycle the particles back into the core of the plasma, cooling it down and halting fusion reactions. At PPPL, physicists have collaborated with a consortium that includes Princeton University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to successfully test a unique diagnostic called a Materials Analysis Particle Probe (MAPP) that swiftly analyzes what happens when plasma meets a tokamak’s walls. The diagnostic, tested on a shot-by-shot basis on the NSTX-U at PPPL, could become an integral part of fusion research and lead to optimal methods of conditioning a facility’s walls.

10. Gauging the speed of fusion plasma rotation

The superhot plasma that fuels fusion reactions swirls rapidly during experiments — but how fast is it spinning and why do researchers want to know? At PPPL, physicists have developed a real time velocity diagnostic that delivers crucial information about the speed of the swirl that could lead to a system for actively controlling the rapid motion. Such control can be critical for optimizing the stability of the plasma against a range of instabilities that can shut down reactions. Researchers gathered their findings by measuring just four points of the plasma during NSTX-U operations, enabling the diagnostic to swiftly calculate how the velocity evolves over time.

PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single 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.