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The Economic Case for Wind and Solar Energy in Africa

To meet skyrocketing demand for electricity, African countries may have to triple their energy output by 2030. While hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that wind and solar can be economically and environmentally competitive options and can contribute significantly to the rising demand.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.


Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

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

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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

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Tuesday November 08, 2016, 12:05 PM

Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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

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

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Meet Robert Palomino: 'Give Everything a Shot!'

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Tuesday April 22, 2014, 11:30 AM

University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

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

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Texas Tech Energy Commerce Students, Community Light up Tent City

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

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Rare Nickel Atom Has "Doubly Magic" Structure

Article ID: 671220

Released: 2017-03-15 07:05:23

Source Newsroom: Department of Energy, Office of Science

  • Credit: Image courtesy of Gaute Hagen

    Scientists predict nickel-78 to be doubly magic (meaning it has an ultra-stable number of protons and neutrons) because its first excited state is significantly higher in energy than for neighboring nuclei. As shown in the figure, the energy of the first excited collective state, experimentally (Exp), is higher for the doubly magic nucleus nickel-78. Thick horizontal bars (connected by dashed lines) mark the energies of the first excited states, and the theoretical uncertainty for nickel-78 is shown as a pink band. As indicated by the depicted shapes, nuclei with a low-energy collective state exhibit a softness to surface vibrations, while doubly magic nuclei are stiffer.

The Science

How atoms form different elements tells us about the nature of our world and the universe beyond. Within an atom, the number of positively charged protons and neutral neutrons influences the atom. If the number of protons or neutrons equals a “magic” number (2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, and 126), it’s more stable and binds better. If both the protons and neutrons equal “magic” numbers, the heart of the atom, or nucleus, is “doubly magic.” Doubly magic nuclei are particularly strongly bound. Nuclear physicists have a sound understanding of doubly magic nuclei that are stable; however, in rare cases, the atom doesn’t behave as expected and there is not a good understanding as to what the magic numbers are. Can the rare atom nucleus 78Ni, having both magic numbers for protons (28) and neutrons (50), but with an extreme excess of neutrons, still be doubly magic? Scientists discovered it is. This finding is critical to understanding the processes that make elements inside supernovas.

The Impact

Why are some elements formed more often than others? That question matters to those trying to understand our world and the universe. The answer may lie inside supernova, or exploding stars, that produce and spew out certain elements. The team’s work offers calculations that could lead to insights of rare elemental isotopes. Experimental confirmation of the calculations done in this study will be valuable to developing an accurate model of important elemental nuclei and the formation of the heavy elements.

Summary

Using the supercomputer Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, scientists performed first-principles computations of the structure of 78Ni and its neighbors. Key observables, such as the neutron separation energies and the energy of the first excited state, confirm the picture of a doubly magic nucleus 78Ni that is more strongly bound than its neighbors are and less prone to surface vibrations. The study makes several predictions, including the energy of a key collective state in 78Ni, and an unexpected level ordering in 79Ni that is strongly influenced by the weak binding due to the extreme neutron excess. These predictions and more await experimental verification. This study offers calculations that could pave the way to new insights and theoretical predictions in heavy rare isotopes and how the universe forms and evolves.

Funding

This work was supported by the Office of Nuclear Physics, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science under grants DE-FG02-96ER40963, DESC0008499 (NUCLEI SciDAC collaboration), and the Field Work Proposal ERKBP57 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Computer time was provided by the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. This research used resources of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility located at ORNL, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

Publications

G. Hagen, G.R. Jansen, and T. Papenbrock, “Structure of 78Ni from first-principles computations.” Physical Review Letters 117, 172501 (2016). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.172501]