X
X
X

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.

A Real CAM-Do Attitude

A multi-institutional team used resources at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility to catalog how desert plants photosynthetic processes vary. The study could help scientists engineer drought-resistant crops for food and fuel.

Predictive Power

The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors carried out the largest time-dependent simulation of a nuclear reactor ever to support Tennessee Valley Authority and Westinghouse Electric Company during the startup of Watts Bar Unit 2, the first new US nuclear reactor in 20 years. The simulation was carried out primarily on OLCF resources.


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.

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.


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

Wednesday November 23, 2011, 10:45 AM

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

Temple University

Wednesday July 06, 2011, 06:00 PM

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

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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

Creighton University

Wednesday May 05, 2010, 09:30 AM

National Engineering Program Seeks Subject Matter Experts in Energy

JETS Junior Engineering Technical Society

Wednesday April 21, 2010, 12:30 PM

Students Using Solar Power To Create Sustainable Solutions for Haiti, Peru

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday March 03, 2010, 07:00 PM

Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Thursday February 04, 2010, 02:00 PM

Turning Exercise into Electricity

Furman University

Thursday November 12, 2009, 12:45 PM

Campus Leaders Showing the Way to a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Tuesday November 03, 2009, 04:20 PM

Furman University Receives $2.5 Million DOE Grant for Geothermal Project

Furman University

Thursday September 17, 2009, 02:45 PM

Could Sorghum Become a Significant Alternative Fuel Source?

Salisbury University

Wednesday September 16, 2009, 11:15 AM

Students Navigating the Hudson River With Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday September 16, 2009, 10:00 AM

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

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Wednesday July 01, 2009, 04:15 PM

Northeastern Announces New Professional Master's in Energy Systems

Northeastern University

Friday October 12, 2007, 09:35 AM

Kansas Rural Schools To Receive Wind Turbines

Kansas State University

Thursday August 17, 2006, 05:30 PM

High Gas Prices Here to Stay, Says Engineering Professor

Rowan University

Wednesday May 17, 2006, 06:45 PM

Time Use Expert's 7-Year Fight for Better Gas Mileage

University of Maryland, College Park




How X-Rays Pushed Topological Matter R&D Over the Top

Article ID: 673039

Released: 2017-04-17 08:00:51

Source Newsroom: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • Credit: Yulin Chen, Z.-X. Shen/Stanford University

    A 3-D image of the surface band structure of bismuth telluride.

  • Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab

    Beamline 10.0.1 at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source is optimized for studies of topological properties in materials.

  • Credit: David Hsieh, Yuqi Xia, Andrew Wray/Princeton University

    Band structure of bismuth selenide, a topological insulator. The red areas represent surface states and the vertical space between the yellow areas is the bulk band gap. At lower right, a 3-D schematic of the cone-shaped surface band structure. The spin states (yellow arrows) indicate that electrons on the surface won’t backscatter from disorder and impurities in the material.

  • Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab

    Alexei Fedorov, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source, is pictured here at Beamline 12.0.1, which is specialized for topological matter research.

While using X-rays generated by the Advanced Light Source (ALS), a synchrotron facility at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), to study a bismuth-containing thermoelectric material that can convert heat into electricity, physicist M. Zahid Hasan of Princeton University saw that something was interfering with the anticipated view of electrons’ behavior inside the material.

Knowing how electrons move within this material was sought as a key to decipher how it worked, so this interference -- which he and his team observed more than a decade ago during an experiment employing an X-ray-based technique dubbed ARPES (angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy) -- was a problem ... at first.

“Since 2004, I was involved with this research looking for a better understanding of bismuth-based thermoelectric materials, among other things,” said Hasan.

Around 2007, after completing more X-ray experiments at the ALS and other synchrotrons, and after gaining some understanding of the theory related to his team’s observations, it would become clear to Hasan that this obstruction was actually a discovery: One that would spark a revolution in materials research that continues today, and that could eventually lead to new generations of electronics and quantum technologies.

Topological matter research is now a flourishing field of research at the ALS, with several staff members devoted to supporting X-ray techniques that largely focus on the properties of topological matter.

“Since 2005, something on the surface was annoying me quite a bit,” said Hasan, a Princeton physics professor who in late 2016 became a visiting faculty member at Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and a Visiting Miller Professor at UC Berkeley. “I could not get rid of the surface states.”

Back at Princeton, Hasan struck up a conversation with a fellow physics professor, Duncan Haldane, and he also spoke with Charles Kane, a physics professor at the neighboring University of Pennsylvania, for their collective theoretical insight about the surface effects he was seeing in some bismuth-containing materials. “At that point I was not aware of the theoretical predictions.”

They discussed theoretical work, some of it dating back several decades, that had explored bizarre and resilient “topological” states in which electrons could move about the surface of a thin material with next to no resistance -- like in a traditional superconductor but with a different mechanism.

The theoretical work provided little clue in how to find the effects in the materials exhibiting this phenomenon, though. So Hasan set out on a path that crossed into the fields of quantum theory, particle physics, and complex mathematics.

“I had to translate all of the abstract math into these experiments,” he said. “It was like translating from a foreign language.”

Flash forward to October 2016, and this time Haldane was describing his early theoretical work during a Nobel Prize press conference. Haldane shared the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics with David Thouless of the University of Washington (a former postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab) and J. Michael Kosterlitz of Brown University for their work in “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.” 

Haldane had said at the time of the Nobel Prize announcement, “I put in the first paper that this is unlikely to be anything anyone could make.” His work, he said, was a “sleeper” that “sat around as an interesting toy model for a very long time -- no one quite knew what to do with it.”

What helped bring that “toy model” to life were later theories by Kane and collaborators, and innovative ARPES studies at the ALS and other synchrotrons that directly probed exotic topological states in some materials.

Synchrotrons like the ALS have dozens of beamlines that produce focused X-rays and other types of light beams for a variety of experiments that explore the properties of exotic materials and other samples at tiny scales, and ARPES provides a window into materials’ electron properties.

The Nobel Committee, in its supporting materials for the prize, had cited early experiments by Hasan’s team at the ALS on materials exhibiting topological insulator phases. A topological insulator acts like an electrical conductor on the surface and an insulator (with no electrical flow) inside.

Zahid Hussain, division deputy at the ALS said, “Hasan is an exceptional scientist with a deep understanding of both theory and experiment. He is the reason this became experimentally visible. One experiment did that.”

Hasan’s work provided an early demonstration of a 3-D topological insulator, for example.

In these materials, the electron motion is relatively robust, and is immune to many types of impurities and deformities. Researchers have found examples of topological properties in materials even at room temperature.

This is a critical advantage over so-called high-temperature superconductors, which must be chilled to extreme temperatures in order to achieve a nearly resistance-free flow of electrons.

With topological materials, the electrons exhibit unique patterns in a property known as electron spin that is analogous to a compass needle pointing up or down, and this property can change based on the electron’s path and position in a material.

One potential future application for the spin properties of electrons in topological materials is spintronics, an emerging field that seeks to control the spin on demand to transmit and store information, much like the zeroes and ones in traditional computer memory.

Spin could also be harnessed as the information carriers in quantum computers, which could conceivably carry out exponentially more calculations of a certain type in a shorter time than conventional supercomputers.

Jonathan Denlinger, a staff scientist in the Scientific Support Group at the ALS, said the breakthrough studies on materials with topological behavior led to a rapid shift in focus on materials’ surface properties. Researchers had historically been more interested in electrons within the “bulk,” or inside of materials. 

Hasan’s group used three ALS beamlines -- MERLIN, 12.0.1, and 10.0.1 -- in pioneering ARPES studies of topological matter. Hasan was a co-leader on the proposal that led to the construction of MERLIN in the early 2000s.

Denlinger, and fellow ALS staff scientists Alexei Fedorov and Sung-Kwan Mo, work at these ALS beamlines, which specialize in ARPES and a related variant called spin-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy. The techniques can provide detailed information about how electrons travel in materials and also about the electrons’ spin orientation.

ARPES beamlines at the ALS remain in high demand for topological matter research. Fedorov said, “These days, almost every proposal submitted to our beamline in one way or another deals with topological matter.”

The quest for discoveries of new topological matter at the ALS will also be boosted by a beamline known as MAESTRO that started up last year. A new beamline called COSMIC (coherent scattering and microscopy), now in commissioning, will help in visualizing exotic ordered structures formed in some topological materials.

ALS-U, a planned upgrade of the ALS, should improve and enhance topological matter studies using the ALS,” Mo said. “It will allow us to focus down to a very small spot,” which could reveal more detail in the electron behavior of topological matter.

Improved X-ray performance could help identify some topological materials that were previously overlooked, and to better distinguish and classify their properties, Hasan said.

Hasan’s early work in topological matter, including topological insulators, led him to the detection of a previously theorized massless particle known as the Weyl fermion in topological semimetals, and he is now devising a related experiment that he hopes will mimic the period of the early universe in which particles began to take on mass.

Denlinger, Fedorov, and Mo are gearing up for more studies of topological matter, and are reaching out to possible collaborators across Berkeley Lab and the global scientific community.

Nanoscale materials show a lot of promise for topological materials applications, and thermoelectrics -- those same materials that can transfer heat to electricity and vice versa, and that led to the first realization of topological matter in X-ray experiments -- should see performance gains in the short term thanks to the feverish pace of R&D in the field, Fedorov noted.

Hasan, too, said he is excited about progress in the field. “We are in the middle of a topological revolution in physics, for sure,” he said.

The Advanced Light Source (ALS) is a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Operation of ALS and this work is supported by the DOE Office of Science.

# # #

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.