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Scientists Set Record Resolution for Drawing at the One-Nanometer Length Scale

Using a specialized electron microscope outfitted with a pattern generator, scientists turned an imaging instrument into a lithography tool that could be used to create and study materials with new properties.

For First Time, Researchers Measure Forces That Align Crystals and Help Them Snap Together

For the first time, researchers have measured the force that draws tiny crystals together and visualized how they swivel and align. Called van der Waals forces, the attraction provides insights into how crystals self-assemble, an activity that occurs in a wide range of cases in nature, from rocks to shells to bones.

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.


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.


Uncrowded Coils

A new fast and robust algorithm for computing stellarator coil shapes yields designs that are easier to build and maintain.

Fast Electrons and the Seeds of Disruption

Physicists measured fast electron populations. They achieved this first-of-its-kind result by seeing the effect of the fast electrons on the ablation rate of small frozen argon pellets.

Plasma Turbulence Generates Flow in Fusion Reactors

Heating the core of fusion reactors causes them to develop sheared rotation that can improve plasma performance.

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.


Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

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Argonne National Laboratory

Tuesday March 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

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

Brookhaven National Laboratory

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Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

Argonne National Laboratory

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

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Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

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

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

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New Limits in the Search for Sterile Neutrinos

Article ID: 667401

Released: 2017-01-10 09:00:37

Source Newsroom: Department of Energy, Office of Science

  • Credit: Image courtesy of the Daya Bay and MINOS Experiments

    Detectors from the Daya Bay and MINOS neutrino experiments, in China and the United States, respectively.

The Science

Travelling at near the speed of light, particles smaller than an atom zoom through you, me, and, in fact, all matter. In a revelation that earned the Nobel Prize in Physics, scientists found that the particles, called neutrinos, change forms. They oscillate, or change, between three different “flavors:” electron, muon, and tau. What if that wasn’t all? A fourth, undetectable, or “sterile,” flavor could potentially be a component of dark matter, which makes up about a quarter of the universe, and would have other profound effects on scientists’ understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics. New measurements have narrowed down the search for these sterile neutrinos by looking for signs of their oscillations into the other known neutrino flavors.

The Impact

The undetectable, or light, sterile neutrinos could be components of the mysterious “dark world,” including the dark matter that makes up about a quarter of the universe, but has never been directly detected. True evidence that sterile neutrinos exist would profoundly change our understanding of the Standard Model and the universe. This study narrows down the search for these particles by eliminating available space in neutrino oscillation amplitude and frequency.

Summary

The detection of neutrino oscillations, a discovery that garnered the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, is a proof that neutrinos have mass -- proving that the Standard Model, in which neutrinos are described as massless, is incomplete. The fact that neutrinos have mass is a strong hint that we may discover other things we don’t know about these particles. If a fourth type, a sterile neutrino, really existed, it would be the first discovery of an unexpected fundamental particle since the Standard Model was established.

The search specifically for sterile neutrinos as a possible missing component of the Standard Model is motivated by theoretical ideas and hints from an earlier experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory that may have observed a new kind of neutrino oscillation. This new oscillation is approximately described as a two-step shift that transforms existing muon neutrinos into neutrinos of an undetectable, or “sterile,” flavor, which then oscillate again to become electron neutrinos. The Los Alamos team measured the rate of this proposed two-step transformation through a possible sterile flavor.

The new results from the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) collaboration experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in the central United States and the Daya Bay experiments at a nuclear reactor complex in southern China test this observation by measuring the rates of the individual steps. Multiplying the rates measured for each of the two individual steps that include the proposed sterile neutrino should equal the rate measured by the Los Alamos team—if the sterile neutrino indeed exists. The recent results from Daya Bay and MINOS, described in the three papers published in Physical Review Letters (PRL), like results recently announced by another experiment known as IceCube, greatly constrain the allowed properties of a sterile neutrino and narrow the region where scientists must hunt.

The October 7, 2016, issue of PRL featured a significantly better sterile neutrino search limit with a factor of two improvement by the Daya Bay collaboration. They obtained the new limit through the search for anomalous electron antineutrino disappearance in Daya Bay with its full eight-detector configuration. Simultaneously, a significantly improved sterile neutrino search limit was published in PRL by the MINOS collaboration with the search for anomalous accelerator muon neutrino disappearance. Researchers combined the results from these two experiments with a reanalysis of the Bugey-3 experiment’s search for anomalous electron antineutrino disappearance to set a new limit on the active-to-sterile neutrino oscillation in a third PRL paper.

Although these search results are negative, they significantly constrain the properties of a sterile neutrino and set an excellent example of how to properly combine results from multiple experiments. The remaining allowed region will be searched by future experiments at Fermilab and other places to obtain a definite answer to the question of whether light sterile neutrinos exist.

Funding

Physics research at Daya Bay for 15 U.S universities and 2 national laboratories is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics, and the National Science Foundation. Physics research at Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) for 18 universities and 3 national laboratories is funded by the DOE Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics, and the National Science Foundation, and by the state of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota. The United States is one of the six countries and regions collaborating on Daya Bay and one of the five countries collaborating on MINOS.

Publications

Daya Bay Collaboration, “Improved search for a light sterile neutrino with the full configuration of the Daya Bay experiment.” Physical Review Letters 117, 151802 (2016).

MINOS Collaboration, “Search for sterile neutrinos mixing with muon neutrinos in MINOSk.” Physical Review Letters 117, 151703 (2016).

Daya Bay and MINOS Collaborations, “Limits on active to sterile neutrino oscillations from disappearance searches in the MINOS, Daya Bay, and Bugey-3 experiments.” Physical Review Letters 117, 151801 (2016).