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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.

Scientists Demonstrate New Real-Time Technique for Studying Ionic Liquids at Electrode Interfaces

This electron microscope-based imaging technique could help scientists optimize the performance of ionic liquids for batteries and other energy storage devices.

How Scientists Turned a Flag Into a Loudspeaker

A paper-thin, flexible device created at Michigan State University not only can generate energy from human motion, it can act as a loudspeaker and microphone as well, nanotechnology researchers report in the May 16 edition of Nature Communications.

Assembling Life's Molecular Motor

As part of a project dedicated to modeling how single-celled purple bacteria turn light into food, a team of computational scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) simulated a complete ATP synthase in all-atom detail. The work builds on the project's first phase--a 100-million atom photosynthetic organelle called a chromatophore--and gives scientists an unprecedented glimpse into a biological machine whose energy efficiency far surpasses that of any artificial system.

Engineering Researchers Apply Data Science to Better Predict Effect of Weather and Other Conditions on Solar Panels

In a new study, a team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Gebze Technical University (GTU) in Turkey used data science to determine and predict the effects of exposure to weather and other conditions on materials in solar panels.

More Natural Dust in the Air Improves Air Quality in Eastern China

Man-made pollution in eastern China's cities worsens when less dust blows in from the Gobi Desert, according to a new study. That's because dust plays an important role in determining the air temperatures and thereby promoting winds to blow away man-made pollution. Less dust means the air stagnates, with man-made pollution sticking around longer.


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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.


Saving Energy Through Light Control

Article ID: 673922

Released: 2017-05-01 18:05:56

Source Newsroom: Department of Energy, Office of Science

  • Credit: Image: Manuel A. Ortuño, ICDC EFRC

    Change of a metal-organic framework (honeycomb) from transparent to opaque upon an electric current.

  • Credit: Image: Nathan Johnson, Pacific Northwest National Lab

    A porous material, with a honeycomb-esque structure, quickly changes from transparent to opaque when it meets an electrical current.

Tired of inconvenient blinds and shades? Switch to smart glass, windows that get dark on bright days and turn clear on cloudy ones. Researchers at the Center for Excitonics took advantage of the fundamental properties of molecules to design a material that changes from transparent to opaque (and vice versa) within only a few seconds.

If someone asks you which sector of modern American life is the most energy demanding, what would you say? Industry? Transportation, maybe? Well, not quite. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2015, residential and commercial buildings consumed half of all the energy produced in the United States. Making our neighborhoods comfortable costs us a lot of energy, but the proper control of sunlight can drastically reduce heating and cooling costs. Along these lines, the versatile chemical composition and high porosity of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs for short) make them suitable for a broad variety of applications.

Metal-organic frameworks are sponge-like, porous materials formed by an extended network of metallic centers (nodes) tied together with organic molecules (linkers). The MOF used in this study resembles a honeycomb as shown in the figure, where the hexagon vertices are nodes and the edges are linkers. Both components are key to the success of the material.

No more blinds. There is a particular family of molecules that can change color under an applied electric current. Based on that idea, the researchers prepared a MOF using one of those color-changing molecules as the linker. The new design worked nicely. With an applied voltage, the MOF transitioned from transparent to opaque and vice versa, as shown in the figure.

But wait, here is where the unique nature of MOFs really pays off. While other compounds need several minutes to change color, the MOF only takes a few seconds. The high efficiency comes from its sponge-like structure, which allows a fast movement of charged species within the pores of the material.

Before throwing all your blinds and shades away, we first need to apply a MOF coating on glass to further develop smart window applications. Now the other component of the MOF — the metallic node — enters into play. The researchers found that the MOF with nickel nodes adhered to glass faster than its magnesium counterpart. The rapid growth produces a smooth, thin film on glass that greatly improves the optical properties of the nickel-based material.

Clear sight to the future of energy savings. This study demonstrates the potential of MOFs as energy-efficient materials. The fast and nearly complete transition from transparent to dark holds promise to design new technologies for elevators, screen projectors, aircrafts, and trains. To paraphrase the old saying: In the country of blinds, MOFs are the new kings.

Acknowledgments: 

Fundamental studies of opto-electronic properties of MOFs were supported by the Center for Excitonics, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Translational support for developing smart windows from color-changing MOFs was provided by a cooperative agreement between the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (Abu Dhabi) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. K.A. acknowledges Saudi Aramco for financial support during graduate studies.

More Information: 

AlKaabi K, CR Wade, and M Dincӑ. 2016. “Transparent-to-Dark Electrochromic Behavior in Naphthalene-Diimide-Based Mesoporous MOF-74 Analogs.” Chem 1(2):264-272. DOI: 10.1016/j.chempr.2016.06.013

This item, written by Manuel A. Ortuno, is part of Frontiers in Energy Research, a newsletter for the Energy Frontier Research Centers created by early career members of the centers. See http://www.energyfrontier.us/newsletter/