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.


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.


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.

What Can You Study in Femtoseconds? High Energy Density Physics

Article ID: 673369

Released: 2017-04-20 14:05:58

Source Newsroom: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

It might be difficult to imagine a job that spans understanding the cosmos, bringing fusion energy to Earth, and treating cancer, but that’s exactly what Siegfried Glenzer does.

He works with high-powered lasers, a field of science that has interested him since his first glimpse of a laser laboratory during a college tour in Germany. Because, as he puts it, “There’s so much control, and you can do so many things with lasers.”

Glenzer came to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory after working 19 years at another national lab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. At SLAC, he started an exploratory science program that looks at matter in extreme conditions. Glenzer’s research team uses lasers to create materials that are under high pressure, similar to the interiors of planets and stars.

In addition to learning about other worlds, he has a long-term goal of creating a fusion energy source. And along the way, there have been added discoveries.

What exactly is “high energy density science”?

It means you have matter or material with a lot of energy in it. The energy is so densely packed that the material is under enormous pressure. So “high energy density science” can also stand for “material at extreme pressure.”

How do you create these extreme environments?

We need a powerful laser to start with. We focus those laser beams to tiny spots—like on the micron scale. A human hair is 50 microns, and these spots are a tenth of the diameter of a human hair.

Putting a lot of energy in a very small area produces “high energy density” science. We want to measure the physical properties of these materials.

What can we learn from these measurements?

It’s important for our knowledge of how the planets came about, the evolution of the cosmos. And it’s also important for our endeavor to create fusion energy.

Energy in the sun is produced by nuclear fusion. If we can reproduce that on the planet in a controlled way, we have the perfect energy source.

There are also practical, near-term applications. For example, in order to create the extreme material states, we are using powerful lasers. And we discovered that when we fire those laser beams at materials, we accelerate particles to high energies. Where those lasers interact with the materials very energetic particles are produced—protons, electrons, hadrons, X-rays and gamma rays.

These particle movements lead to an instability that can create a shockwave. We can form the instabilities that lead to collisions, so we have a control mechanism, and we just discovered that. What we believe we can do is use that process to our advantage to accelerate particles. So we could have a proton source where we could produce a proton beam at very high energies. That’s currently being investigated as a way to treat cancer.

This is one of the advantages of lasers—they’re so versatile. We do laboratory astrophysics, we do fusion energy discovery science, and we do very practical accelerator physics for tumor therapy.

Why is the timescale important? Why do you need an ultrafast laser?

In this realm of science, a series of processes are happening, all on the femtosecond timescale.

The laser interacts with electrons in the materials in femtoseconds, and the light pushes around the electrons. The electrons gain energy and stream through a target. Magnetic fields form around the energized electrons that can coalesce and form a shockwave. That’s called a “collisionless shock.”

That process has been conjectured to be the origin of cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are one of the fundamental processes that mankind still seeks to understand. They are the most energetic particles that we know of. It’s a million times more energetic than what we can produce on Earth at the Large Hadron Collider. And we are looking for the process that explains how these energetic particles came about.

In addition to the high power optical lasers that create these extreme conditions, we also have an intense X-ray beam, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). This laser also has femtosecond capabilities—we can create ultrafast pulses—but at a higher energy than visible light. The X-ray laser allows us to take snapshots of the incredibly fast processes that occur.

So we’ve done experiments where we fire an optical laser on a small piece of carbon, create this environment where the electrons are being pushed out and create shockwaves, and then use X-rays to visualize the shockwaves.

These processes might happen in femtoseconds, but how long will it take to create a fusion energy source?

One of the big misconceptions is that people think it cannot happen. They don’t like thinking on a 20- or 30-year timescale. But there are now fusion experiments happening all over the world. We’re making progress. People just have to accept that science can take more than a year or two to see results. It may take decades.

Fusion is happening every day in the sun, so all we have to do is look up in the sky and ask “Can we control it in the laboratory? How bright are we? And how willing are we as a community to make it happen?”