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Chemists ID Catalytic 'Key' for Converting CO2 to Methanol

Results from experiments and computational modeling studies that definitively identify the "active site" of a catalyst commonly used for making methanol from CO2 will guide the design of improved catalysts for transforming this pollutant to useful chemicals.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy Achieves Unprecedented Resolution Using New Computational Methods

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)--which enables the visualization of viruses, proteins, and other biological structures at the molecular level--is a critical tool used to advance biochemical knowledge. Now Berkeley Lab researchers have extended cryo-EM's impact further by developing a new computational algorithm instrumental in constructing a 3-D atomic-scale model of bacteriophage P22 for the first time.

New Study Maps Space Dust in 3-D

A new Berkeley Lab-led study provides detailed 3-D views of space dust in the Milky Way, which could help us understand the properties of this dust and how it affects views of distant objects.

Single-Angle Ptychography Allows 3D Imaging of Stressed Materials

Scientists have used a new X-ray diffraction technique called Bragg single-angle ptychography to get a clear picture of how planes of atoms shift and squeeze under stress.

New Feedback System Could Allow Greater Control Over Fusion Plasma

A physicist has created a new system that will let scientists control the energy and rotation of plasma in real time in a doughnut-shaped machine known as a tokamak.

Towards Super-Efficient, Ultra-Thin Silicon Solar Cells

Researchers from Ames Laboratory used supercomputers at NERSC to evaluate a novel approach for creating more energy-efficient ultra-thin crystalline silicon solar cells by optimizing nanophotonic light trapping.

Study IDs Link Between Sugar Signaling and Regulation of Oil Production in Plants

UPTON, NY--Even plants have to live on an energy budget. While they're known for converting solar energy into chemical energy in the form of sugars, plants have sophisticated biochemical mechanisms for regulating how they spend that energy. Making oils costs a lot. By exploring the details of this delicate energy balance, a group of scientists from the U.

High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.

Two-Dimensional MXene Materials Get Their Close-Up

Researchers have long sought electrically conductive materials for economical energy-storage devices. Two-dimensional (2D) ceramics called MXenes are contenders.


Three SLAC Employees Awarded Lab's Highest Honor

At a March 7 ceremony, three employees of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were awarded the lab's highest honor ­- the SLAC Director's Award.

Dan Sinars Represents Sandia in First Energy Leadership Class

Dan Sinars, a senior manager in Sandia National Laboratories' pulsed power center, which built and operates the Z facility, is the sole representative from a nuclear weapons lab in a new Department of Energy leadership program that recently visited Sandia.

ORNL, HTS International Corporation to Collaborate on Manufacturing Research

HTS International Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed an agreement to explore potential collaborations in advanced manufacturing research.

Jefferson Lab Director Honored with Energy Secretary Award

Hugh Montgomery, director of the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), was awarded The Secretary's Distinguished Service Award by the Secretary of Energy earlier this year.

New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive

Geothermal energy, a clean, renewable source of energy produced by the heat of the earth, provides about 6 percent of California's total power. That number could be much higher if associated costs were lower. Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two California Energy Commission-funded projects aimed at making geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate.

Southern Research Project Advances Novel CO2 Utilization Strategy

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy has awarded Southern Research nearly $800,000 for a project that targets a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method of producing some of the most important chemicals used in manufacturing.

Harker School Wins 2017 SLAC Regional Science Bowl Competition

After losing its first match of the day to the defending champions, The Harker School's team won 10 consecutive rounds to claim victory in the annual SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Francis Alexander Named Deputy Director of Brookhaven Lab's Computational Science Initiative

Alexander brings extensive management and leadership experience in computational science research to the position.

Kalinin, Paranthaman Elected Materials Research Society Fellows

Two researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sergei Kalinin and Mariappan Parans Paranthaman, have been elected fellows of the Materials Research Society.

Two PNNL Researchers Elected to Membership in the National Academy of Engineering

Two scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will become members of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering.


High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

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Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.

Modeling the "Flicker" of Gluons in Subatomic Smashups

A new model identifies a high degree of fluctuations in the glue-like particles that bind quarks within protons as essential to explaining proton structure.

Rare Nickel Atom Has "Doubly Magic" Structure

Supercomputing calculations confirm that rare nickel-78 has unusual structure, offering insights into supernovas.

Microbial Activity in the Subsurface Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Natural carbon dioxide production from deep subsurface soils contributes significantly to emissions, even in a semiarid floodplain.

Stretching a Metal Into an Insulator

Straining a thin film controllably allows tuning of the materials' magnetic, electronic, and catalytic properties, essential for new energy and electronic devices.

How Moisture Affects the Way Soil Microbes Breathe

Study models soil-pore features that hold or release carbon dioxide.

ARM Data Is for the Birds

Scientists use LIDAR and radar data to study bird migration patterns, thanks to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility.

The Future of Coastal Flooding

Better storm surge prediction capabilities could help reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes.

Estimating Global Energy Use for Water-Related Processes

Scientists find that water-related energy consumption is increasing across the globe, with pronounced differences across regions and sectors.


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

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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

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

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Modeling the "Flicker" of Gluons in Subatomic Smashups

Article ID: 671215

Released: 2017-03-15 07:05:50

Source Newsroom: Department of Energy, Office of Science

  • Credit: Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Four snapshots produced by a model representing fluctuating gluon density in a proton at high energy, with red indicating high gluon density and blue indicating low density. Understanding these fluctuations will help physicists better understand the results of nuclear physics experiments.

The Science

Gluons, the glue-like particles that ordinarily bind subatomic quarks within the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei, appear to play an important role in establishing key properties of matter. But right now, no one can see how gluons are distributed within individual protons and nuclei. Recent experiments at Brookhaven National Lab and the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) suggest that the arrangement of these particles within a proton fluctuates strongly. This means that while, on average, a proton is close to spherical, if we were to take snapshots of a proton in time, each of them would look dramatically different. Brookhaven nuclear theorists have developed a model of gluon fluctuations that is consistent with previous measurements. The model allows them to interpret the new data from nuclear collision experiments as snapshots of what a proton really looks like at any given point in time.

The Impact

Nuclear physicists want to study the properties of the nuclear matter in the nucleus and how it is changed by high-energy collisions. To do this they measure the patterns of particles that fly out from collisions of protons with heavy nuclei in particle colliders. These colliders include the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Europe’s CERN laboratory. To understand more about the nuclear matter they need to know what the proton looked like when the collision happened. In experiments at these facilities, where particles are accelerated to high energies, the gluons are virtual particles that continuously split and recombine, essentially flickering in and out of existence like the light of fireflies blinking on and off in the nighttime sky. Because scientists can’t see this flicker directly, they need a model that accurately describes the fluctuating behavior. Understanding the flickering lets physicists interpret results from these experiments to better understand the internal structure of protons and better explain our world.

Summary

Experimental results from RHIC and the LHC suggest that protons are much more complex than a simple arrangement of three quarks held together by gluons. Understanding how protons interact when they collide with larger nuclei requires knowing the geometry of the proton just before the collision—whether it is round or more irregular, for example. Exploring the internal structure of the proton is also a fundamental research endeavor for nuclear physicists.

While scientists know how large the average gluon density is inside a proton, they do not know exactly where the gluons are located inside the larger particle or how large the fluctuations in shape and gluon distribution might be. Without the ability to see inside the proton, the scientists developed a mathematical model to represent a variety of arrangements of gluons. The scientists then tested the model by comparing its predictions with experimental data from an accelerator in Germany. They found that including a high degree of gluon fluctuations in their model fit the data best. The scientists are now looking to apply this knowledge to the proton-nucleus collisions at RHIC and the LHC. If this model can successfully describe these experiments, scientists will be able to use some key observables from the experiments as measures of the proton shape at the time of collision.

Funding

This research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Nuclear Physics.

Publications

H. Mäntysaari, and B. Schenke, “Evidence of strong proton shape fluctuations from incoherent diffraction.” Physical Review Letters 117, 052301 (2016). [DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.117.052301]

H. Mäntysaari, and B. Schenke, “Revealing proton shape fluctuations with incoherent diffraction at high energy.” Physical Review D 94, 034042 (2016). [DOI: 10.1103/physrevd.94.034042]