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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.


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

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

Temple University

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

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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

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Wednesday May 05, 2010, 09:30 AM

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Wednesday March 03, 2010, 07:00 PM

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Turning Exercise into Electricity

Furman University

Thursday November 12, 2009, 12:45 PM

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Furman University Receives $2.5 Million DOE Grant for Geothermal Project

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

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Northeastern Announces New Professional Master's in Energy Systems

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Kansas Rural Schools To Receive Wind Turbines

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Thursday August 17, 2006, 05:30 PM

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Wednesday May 17, 2006, 06:45 PM

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Attention Earthlings: Help Wanted in Finding a New Planet

Article ID: 670768

Released: 2017-03-07 13:05:27

Source Newsroom: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • Credit: NASA

    The public is invited to participate in the hunt for a hypothetical Neptune-like ninth planet in our solar system, dubbed Planet Nine. This image shows an artist’s concept of Planet Nine, with a view toward the sun.

  • Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    An artist’s conception of three types of brown dwarfs.

  • Credit: www.backyardworlds.org

    An example of a large dipole object (at lower left) spotted by a Backyard Worlds participant.

  • Credit: www.backyardworlds.org

    Citizen scientists are asked to identify dipoles, which are black-and-white objects that seem to flip flop from frame to frame, and "movers," which are objects that appear to move in a line, changing position in each frame. This animation shows sample frames for both types of these objects of interest.

  • Credit: Robert Hurt/Caltech

    The orbit of a possible ninth planet in our solar system is shown in brown.

The pursuit of Planet Nine -- a hypothesized Neptune-like giant that some scientists believe may be cruising along a remote orbit in our solar system -- can now go door-to-door.

A new NASA-launched citizen science project is looking for the public’s help in reviewing more than a million animations to identify moving space objects that could be new discoveries. The effort benefited from data research on a cosmology project led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

Each animation in this “Backyard Worlds: Planet 9” project, launched Feb. 15, is composed of four infrared images taken of the same patch of sky over the course of the past five years by NASA’s WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) space telescope.

Aaron Meisner, a UC Berkeley physics postdoctoral researcher who works on DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument), a sky-mapping project led by the Berkeley Lab, said his research earned him a spot on the Backyard Worlds team.

“It turns out that the WISE data that I was adapting for DESI is really good for looking for moving objects,” such as brown dwarfs, said Meisner. “We wouldn’t have all of this WISE data available in this form if it wasn’t for DESI,” he added.

Brown dwarfs can be tens of times more massive than Jupiter but aren’t capable of carrying out the same type of nuclear fusion as stars.

Marc Kuchner, the Backyard Worlds project creator and an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, said, “More than a million of these ‘rogue worlds’ are swarming the galaxy. There may well be a brown dwarf located near the sun that we can find with this project.”

Kuchner reached out to Meisner when he learned of his work with the WISE data. Meisner has been developing algorithms tapping Berkeley Lab’s NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) to help parse and reprocess the giant load of data produced by WISE and make it more useful to DESI. UC Berkeley researchers are also using NERSC to sift through data collected by a San Diego-area telescope for signs of Planet Nine.

Kuchner has also led a citizen science project called Disk Detective that allows users to scan WISE images for debris disks that could provide clues to planetary formation. He was a graduate student of Mike Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology who helped build up the scientific case for the existence of Planet Nine.

A goal of the Backyard Worlds project is to see whether there are any brown dwarfs that are even closer than Proxima Centauri, which is the nearest star to our sun at about 4.2 light years’ distance. The nearest brown dwarfs that have been observed, to date, are about 6.5 light years away.

In his DESI-related research, Meisner helps to ensure that the WISE images are useful for selecting sky objects that DESI can fix on when it begins operating in 2019. Data from a set of Earth-based, visible-light sky surveys will also be used to identify millions of candidate galaxies and quasars for DESI.

DESI will build the most detailed 3-D map of the universe and provide the most exacting measure of the accelerating expansion rate of the universe. Scientists explain this expansion rate with a hypothesized form of energy called dark energy.

Meisner last year embarked on a pet project to conduct automated searches for Planet Nine within the WISE data. But computerized searches can be greatly compromised by false detections caused by a small amount of light scattering in the telescope’s camera -- particularly when there are bright stars or densely packed stars in the image.

“One of the hardest areas for both automated and citizen science approaches is in the plane of the Milky Way galaxy because there are so many stars,” Meisner said. “We don’t want to leave out any part of the sky, and that is one of the key motivations and advantages for showing the volunteers everything.”

The current plan for the Backyard Worlds project is to have each of the 1.2 million animations in the project’s first batch of data reviewed at least 15 times, for a total of 18 million classifications. This helps increase the possibility that moving objects that slip past some of the volunteers may be spotted by others.

In the first week, Backyard Worlds drew about 1.7 million total classifications from about 20,000 volunteers.

“The response has been so wonderful that we’re having trouble keeping up,” Kuchner said. “The volunteers are churning through the data as fast as I can upload it.”

Volunteers are asked to click to place markers in every frame for those objects that clearly flip-flop between black-and-white states between frames (referred to as “dipoles”), and those that seem to be moving across the frame (“movers”).

Volunteers are also invited to review a couple of online catalogs of space objects to check whether what they find is something new or something known, and to make notations for what they learn.

Members of the Backyard Worlds team participate in online discussion groups at its Web home on Zooniverse to help keep up with volunteers’ queries.

The team is working out plans on how to best mine all of the user-generated information that is already pouring in, Meisner said, and he plans to assist in developing some algorithms to call out the most promising finds by volunteers.

There is plenty of additional WISE data available to feed to the growing community of Backyard Worlds volunteers, too, he said.

The early data analyses of the volunteers’ classifications has begun, Meisner added, and already the data appear to contain intriguing examples of pairs of nearby stars that trail across the animations at about the same speed and direction.

Little is known about how Planet Nine might appear in the WISE animations, or if it would appear at all, and that’s part of the excitement surrounding Backyard Worlds, Meisner said. The discovery of nearby brown dwarfs would be a big win for the project, even without the unearthing of a new planet.

“While we may not discover Planet Nine, we’ll still have the fun of finding new objects,” he said.

NERSC is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

More information about the Backyard Worlds project:

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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 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.