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  • 2017-06-05 08:05:31
  • Article ID: 675874

Story Tips From the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 2017

  • Credit: Image from U.S. Dept. of Energy

    A novel approach developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory could streamline processes for locating oil and natural gas in shale.

  • Credit: Photo by Jason Richards, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Dept. of Energy

    ORNL’s Sergei Kalinin and Rama Vasudevan (far left) used scanning probe microscopy to discover inseparable interplay between bulk ferroelectricity and surface electrochemistry in a 30-nanometer-thick film of barium titanate, a crystalline material employed in electronics.

  • Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept. of Energy

    Momentum Technologies has licensed Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s 3D-printed magnet technology and plans to produce the first 3D-printed magnet made from recycled materials for use in electric vehicles, wind turbines and high-speed rail.

  • Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept. of Energy

    An ORNL-led team discovered a simpler, quicker nontoxic method to synthesize biomass materials without applying heat or solvents. The molecules self-assembled into large-pore-sized hexagonal cylinder-shaped mesostructures suitable for large molecule transfer during catalysis.

  • Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept. of Energy

    At the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, a research team achieved a 500 percent increase in thermal conductivity using a thermoplastic composite made of copper fibers mixed with nylon.

Hydrocarbons – Better oil and gas seeking

Finding optimal locations for extracting petroleum and natural gas from shale could become more economical and efficient thanks to a new approach developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The research team combined two existing statistical models and applied them to publicly available geographic data to accurately characterize the availability of hydrocarbons in five, high-producing shale plays in the United States and Canada. “Mid-size oil and gas companies, plus those outside of industry, could leverage this method to reduce overall production, extraction time and cost and the potential of environmental disturbances,” ORNL’s Joanna McFarlane said. The research, published in the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, was led by former student Elisabeth Gallmeier with Shichen Zhang, who both participated in Oak Ridge High School’s Senior Math Thesis program. [Contact: Sara Shoemaker, (865) 576-9219; shoemakerms@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/01%20Better_oil_gas_seeking.jpg

Caption: A novel approach developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory could streamline processes for locating oil and natural gas in shale. Image from U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Nanoscience – Inseparable states of matter

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory–led team discovered a link between electrochemistry at the surface and ferroelectricity within the bulk material of ultrathin crystalline films. The findings, published in Nature Physics, explain a decade of anomalous thin-film behavior observations and offers a new mode for control. “We show that surface chemistry can be a third method, besides using traditional substrate strain and octahedral rotation, to achieve similar effects for memories, tunneling junctions, memristors and neuromorphic computing,” ORNL’s Sergei Kalinin said. The research team will explore new opportunities for controlling ferroelectric materials. For example, because light couples weakly to ferroelectricity but strongly to surface chemistry, the discovery may accelerate designs of next-generation detectors and photovoltaics. [Contact: Dawn Levy, (865) 576-6448; levyd@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/02%20Inseparable_states_matter.jpg

Caption: ORNL’s Sergei Kalinin and Rama Vasudevan (far left) used scanning probe microscopy to discover inseparable interplay between bulk ferroelectricity and surface electrochemistry in a 30-nanometer-thick film of barium titanate, a crystalline material employed in electronics. Photo by Jason Richards, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Dept. of Energy

Magnets – Momentum licenses ORNL technology

Dallas-based Momentum Technologies has non-exclusively licensed Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s 3D-printed magnet technology and plans to commercialize the first 3D-printed magnet made from recycled materials. ORNL has demonstrated that 3D-printed magnets can outperform those created by traditional methods and could be used in electric vehicles, wind turbines and high-speed rail. Momentum holds two other ORNL technology licenses related to the recovery of rare earth minerals and magnets from electronic waste. “Bringing together these technologies through the Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute and ORNL allows us to create a sustainable domestic supply of low-cost magnets made from recycled materials recovered from hard disk drives,” said Momentum’s CEO Preston Bryant. [Contact: Stephanie Seay, (865) 576-9894; seaysg@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/03%20Momentum_licenses_ORNL_tech.jpg

Caption: Momentum Technologies has licensed Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s 3D-printed magnet technology and plans to produce the first 3D-printed magnet made from recycled materials for use in electric vehicles, wind turbines and high-speed rail.

Catalysis – Simple synthesis

A “lucky finding” by Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists has led to a simple, nontoxic method to synthesize inexpensive ordered mesoporous materials from plant products. These materials will allow larger molecules to transfer more easily during catalysis, separations and other energy-related applications, said ORNL’s Pengfei Zhang, whose team was originally evaluating tannin, a biomolecule found in plants, for other studies. As they mixed tannin with metallic salt cross-linkers, without applying heat or solvents, the molecules surprisingly self-assembled into hexagonal cylinder-shaped mesostructures with large, uniform pore size. The solid-state process took only one hour as opposed to days when using traditional solution methods. Results of the synthesis process are detailed in Nature Communications. [Contact: Sara Shoemaker, (865) 976-9219; shoemakerms@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/04%20Simple_synthesis.jpg

Caption: An ORNL-led team discovered a simpler, quicker nontoxic method to synthesize biomass materials without applying heat or solvents. The molecules self-assembled into large-pore-sized hexagonal cylinder-shaped mesostructures suitable for large molecule transfer during catalysis.

Materials – Transferring heat

Reducing the energy and water that power plants require to convert heat to electricity could become easier with a novel heat exchanger designed and 3D printed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A research team achieved a 500 percent increase in thermal conductivity using a new thermoplastic composite made of copper fibers mixed with nylon. Developed in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, the material and design can be used in creating heat exchangers for other applications as well. “Additive manufacturing gives us the flexibility to customize the heat exchanger for the task, tailoring the design and scaling the size as needed,” ORNL’s Vlastimil Kunc said. [Contact: Kim Askey, (865) 946-1861; askeyka@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/05%20Transferring_heat.jpg

Caption: At the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, a research team achieved a 500 percent increase in thermal conductivity using a thermoplastic composite made of copper fibers mixed with nylon.

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DRIFTing to Fast, Precise Data

Non-destructive technique identifies key variations in Alaskan soils, quickly providing insights into carbon levels.

A Shortcut to Modeling Sickle Cell Disease

Using Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Titan supercomputer, a team led by Brown University's George Karniadakis devised a multiscale model of sickle cell disease that captures what happens inside a red blood cell affected by the disease.

Remotely Predicting Leaf Age in Tropical Forests

New approach offers data across species, sites, and canopies, providing insights into carbon uptake by forests.

Conservation Mind Game

A new study led by Kathryn Caldwell, an assistant professor of psychology at Ithaca College, demonstrates that homeowners can be encouraged to make changes to their energy use with a simple education plan and some helpful tricks from the world of social psychology.

X-Rays Reveal 'Handedness' in Swirling Electric Vortices

Scientists used spiraling X-rays at Berkeley Lab to observe, for the first time, a property that gives left- or right-handedness to swirling electric patterns - dubbed polar vortices - in a layered material called a superlattice.

Breaking Bad Metals with Neutrons

By combining the latest developments in neutron scattering and theory, researchers are close to predicting phenomena like superconductivity and magnetism in strongly correlated electron systems. It is likely that the next advances in superconductivity and magnetism will come from such systems, but they might also be used in completely new ways such as quantum computing.

ORNL Researchers Use Titan to Accelerate Design, Training of Deep Learning Networks

For deep learning to be effective, existing neural networks to be modified, or novel networks designed and then "trained" so that they know precisely what to look for and can produce valid results. This is a time-consuming and difficult task, but one that a team of ORNL researchers recently demonstrated can be dramatically expedited with a capable computing system.

Dark Energy Survey Publicly Releases First Three Years of Data

At a special session held during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., scientists on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) announced today the public release of their first three years of data. This first major release of data from the Survey includes information on about 400 million astronomical objects, including distant galaxies billions of light-years away as well as stars in our own galaxy.

Ingredients for Life Revealed in Meteorites That Fell to Earth

A detailed study of blue salt crystals found in two meteorites that crashed to Earth - which included X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab - found that they contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds including hydrocarbons and amino acids.

Rewritable Wires Could Mean No More Obsolete Circuitry

An electric field switches the conductivity on and off in atomic-scale channels, which could allow for upgrades at will.


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Kelsey Stoerzinger Earns Young Investigator Lectureship

Kelsey Stoerzinger, Pauling Fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is one of the 2018 Caltech Young Investigator Lecturers in Engineering and Applied Physics.

North Dakota State University Joins Two National Distributed Computing Groups

The NDSU Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology (CCAST) joins OSG (Open Science Grid) and XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment).

DOE Announces Funding for New HPC4Manufacturing Industry Projects

The Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) today announced the funding of $1.87 million for seven new industry projects under an ongoing initiative designed to utilize DOE's high-performance computing (HPC) resources and expertise to advance U.S. manufacturing and clean energy technologies.

DOE Announces First Awardees for New HPC4Materials for Severe Environments Program

The Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) today announced the funding of $450,000 for the first two private-public partnerships under a brand-new initiative aimed at discovering, designing and scaling up production of novel materials for severe environments.

Two Argonne Scientists Recognized for a Decade of Breakthroughs

Two scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have been named to the Web of Science's Highly Cited List of 2017, ranking in the top 1 percent of their peers by citations and subject area. Materials Scientist Khalil Amine and Energy and Environmental Policy Scientist David Streets say they are thrilled to see their work -- and the laboratory -- recognized in such a way.

Argonne Welcomes Department of Energy Secretary Perry

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Argonne National Laboratory yesterday, getting a first-hand view of the multifaceted and interdisciplinary research program laboratory of the Department.

Argonne names John Quintana Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations and COO

John Quintana has been named Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations and Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

Developing Next-Generation Sensing Technologies

Recently, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $20 million in funding for 15 projects that will develop a new class of sensor systems to enable significant energy savings via reduced demand for heating and cooling in residential and commercial buildings.

Supporting the Development of Offshore Wind Power Plants

Offshore wind is becoming a reality in the United States, especially in the northeast states. To support this development, the Center for Future Energy System (CFES) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will present a webinar titled "Turbine and Transmission System Technologies for Offshore Wind (OSW) Power Plants." The program will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. Advance registration is required.

LLNL Releases Newly Declassified Nuclear Test Videos

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) released 62 newly declassified videos today of atmospheric nuclear tests films that have never before been seen by the public.


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Arctic Photosynthetic Capacity and Carbon Dioxide Assimilation Underestimated by Terrestrial Biosphere Models

New measurements offer data vital to projecting plant response to environmental changes.

DRIFTing to Fast, Precise Data

Non-destructive technique identifies key variations in Alaskan soils, quickly providing insights into carbon levels.

Superconducting Tokamaks Are Standing Tall

Plasma physicists significantly improve the vertical stability of a Korean fusion device.

Graphene Flexes Its Muscle

Crumpling reduces rigidity in an otherwise stiff material, making it less prone to catastrophic failure.

Remotely Predicting Leaf Age in Tropical Forests

New approach offers data across species, sites, and canopies, providing insights into carbon uptake by forests.

What's the Noise Eating Quantum Bits?

The magnetic noise caused by adsorbed oxygen molecules is "eating at" the phase stability of quantum bits, mitigating the noise is vital for future quantum computers.

Rewritable Wires Could Mean No More Obsolete Circuitry

An electric field switches the conductivity on and off in atomic-scale channels, which could allow for upgrades at will.

Filtering Water Better than Nature

Water passes through human-made straws faster than the "gold standard" protein, allowing us to filter seawater.

Machine Learning Provides a Bridge to the Texture of the Quantum World

Machine learning and neural networks are the foundation of artificial intelligence and image recognition, but now they offer a bridge to see and recognize exotic insulating phases in quantum materials.

A Rare Quantum State Realized in a New Material

A revolutionary material harbors magnetism and massless electrons that travel near the speed of light--for future ultrasensitive, high-efficiency electronics and sensors.


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