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Printed, Flexible and Rechargeable Battery Can Power Wearable Sensors

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first printed battery that is flexible, stretchable and rechargeable. The zinc batteries could be used to power everything from wearable sensors to solar cells and other kinds of electronics. The work appears in the April 19, 2017 issue of Advanced Energy Materials.

Neutrons Provide the First Nanoscale Look at a Living Cell Membrane

A research team from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has performed the first-ever direct nanoscale examination of a living cell membrane. In doing so, it also resolved a long-standing debate by identifying tiny groupings of lipid molecules that are likely key to the cell's functioning.

How X-Rays Helped to Solve Mystery of Floating Rocks

Experiments at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source have helped scientists to solve a mystery of why some rocks can float for years in the ocean, traveling thousands of miles before sinking.

Special X-Ray Technique Allows Scientists to See 3-D Deformations

In a new study published last Friday in Science, researchers at Argonne used an X-ray scattering technique called Bragg coherent diffraction imaging to reconstruct in 3-D the size and shape of grain defects. These defects create imperfections in the lattice of atoms inside a grain that can give rise to interesting material properties and effects.

Neptune: Neutralizer-Free Plasma Propulsion

The most established plasma propulsion concepts are gridded-ion thrusters that accelerate and emit a larger number of positively charged particles than those that are negatively charged. To enable the spacecraft to remain charge-neutral, a "neutralizer" is used to inject electrons to exactly balance the positive ion charge in the exhaust beam. However, the neutralizer requires additional power from the spacecraft and increases the size and weight of the propulsion system. Researchers are investigating how the radio-frequency self-bias effect can be used to remove the neutralizer altogether, and they report their work in this week's Physics of Plasmas.

Report Sheds New Insights on the Spin Dynamics of a Material Candidate for Low-Power Devices

In a report published in Nano LettersArgonne researchers reveal new insights into the properties of a magnetic insulator that is a candidate for low-power device applications; their insights form early stepping-stones towards developing high-speed, low-power electronics that use electron spin rather than charge to carry information.

Researchers Find Computer Code That Volkswagen Used to Cheat Emissions Tests

An international team of researchers has uncovered the mechanism that allowed Volkswagen to circumvent U.S. and European emission tests over at least six years before the Environmental Protection Agency put the company on notice in 2015 for violating the Clean Air Act. During a year-long investigation, researchers found code that allowed a car's onboard computer to determine that the vehicle was undergoing an emissions test.

Physicists Discover That Lithium Oxide on Tokamak Walls Can Improve Plasma Performance

A team of physicists has found that a coating of lithium oxide on the inside of fusion machines known as tokamaks can absorb as much deuterium as pure lithium can.

Scientists Perform First Basic Physics Simulation of Spontaneous Transition of the Edge of Fusion Plasma to Crucial High-Confinement Mode

PPPL physicists have simulated the spontaneous transition of turbulence at the edge of a fusion plasma to the high-confinement mode that sustains fusion reactions. The research was achieved with the extreme-scale plasma turbulence code XGC developed at PPPL in collaboration with a nationwide team.

Green Fleet Technology

New research at Penn State addresses the impact delivery trucks have on the environment by providing green solutions that keep costs down without sacrificing efficiency.


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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduates Urged to Embrace Change at 211th Commencement

Describing the dizzying pace of technological innovation, former United States Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz urged graduates to "anticipate career change, welcome it, and manage it to your and your society's benefit" at the 211th Commencement at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Saturday.

ORNL Welcomes Innovation Crossroads Entrepreneurial Research Fellows

Oak Ridge National Laboratory today welcomed the first cohort of innovators to join Innovation Crossroads, the Southeast region's first entrepreneurial research and development program based at a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory.

Department of Energy Secretary Recognizes Argonne Scientists' Work to Fight Ebola, Cancer

Two groups of researchers at Argonne earned special awards from the office of the U.S. Secretary of Energy for addressing the global health challenges of Ebola and cancer.

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC Recognized for Leadership in Small Business Utilization

Jefferson Lab/Jefferson Science Associates has a long-standing commitment to doing business with and mentoring small businesses. That commitment and support received national recognition at the 16th Annual Dept. of Energy Small Business Forum and Expo held May 16-18, 2017 in Kansas City, Mo.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President's Commencement Colloquy to Address "Criticality, Incisiveness, Creativity"

To kick off the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Commencement weekend, the annual President's Commencement Colloquy will take place on Friday, May 19, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The discussion, titled "Criticality, Incisiveness, Creativity," will include the Honorable Ernest J. Moniz, former Secretary of Energy, and the Honorable Roger W. Ferguson Jr., President and CEO of TIAA, and will be moderated by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson.

ORNL, University of Tennessee Launch New Doctoral Program in Data Science

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has approved a new doctoral program in data science and engineering as part of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.

SurfTec Receives $1.2 Million Energy Award to Develop Novel Coating

The Department of Energy has awarded $1.2 million to SurfTec LLC, a company affiliated with the U of A Technology Development Foundation, to continue developing a nanoparticle-based coating to replace lead-based journal bearings in the next generation of electric machines.

Ames Laboratory Scientist Inducted Into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Iver Anderson, senior metallurgist at Ames Laboratory, has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

DOE HPC4Mfg Program Funds 13 New Projects to Improve U.S. Energy Technologies Through High Performance Computing

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program designed to spur the use of high performance supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing is funding 13 new industry projects for a total of $3.9 million.

Penn State Wind Energy Club Breezes to Victory in Collegiate Wind Competition

The Penn State Wind Energy Club breezed through the field at the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition 2017 Technical Challenge, held April 20-22 at the National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado--earning its third overall victory in four years at the Collegiate Wind Competition.


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Casting a Wide Net

Designed molecules will provide positive impacts in energy production by selectively removing unwanted ions from complex solutions.

New Software Tools Streamline DNA Sequence Design-and-Build Process

Enhanced software tools will accelerate gene discovery and characterization, vital for new forms of fuel production.

The Ultrafast Interplay Between Molecules and Materials

Computer calculations by the Center for Solar Fuels, an Energy Frontier Research Center, shed light on nebulous interactions in semiconductors relevant to dye-sensitized solar cells.

Supercapacitors: WOODn't That Be Nice

Researchers at Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage, an Energy Frontier Research Center, take advantage of nature-made materials and structure for energy storage research.

Groundwater Flow Is Key for Modeling the Global Water Cycle

Water table depth and groundwater flow are vital to understanding the amount of water that plants transmit to the atmosphere.

Finding the Correct Path

A new computational technique greatly simplifies the complex reaction networks common to catalysis and combustion fields.

Opening Efficient Routes to Everyday Plastics

A new material from the Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center, facilitates the production of key industrial supplies.

Fight to the Top: Silver and Gold Compete for the Surface of a Bimetallic Solid

It's the classic plot of a buddy movie. Two struggling bodies team up to drive the plot and do good together. That same idea, when it comes to metals, could help scientists solve a big problem: the amount of energy consumed by making chemicals.

Saving Energy Through Light Control

New materials, designed by researchers at the Center for Excitonics, an Energy Frontier Research Center, can reduce energy consumption with the flip of a switch.

Teaching Perovskites to Swim

Scientists at the ANSER Energy Frontier Research Center designed a two-component layer protects a sunlight-harvesting device from water and heat.


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.