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  • 2017-11-02 13:00:27
  • Article ID: 684463

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, November 2017

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

    As hurricanes formed in the Gulf Coast, ORNL activated a computing technique to quickly gather building structure data from Texas’ coastal counties.

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

    ORNL’s novel computing method supports emergency response efforts by providing preliminary building structure data on the county level. This technique has been applied for hurricane-impacted areas of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other U.S. Caribbean territories. coastal counties.

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

    Scientists used neutrons produced at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to discover the molecular mechanism responsible for the flow in a hydrogen-bonding liquid.

  • Credit: Christopher Rouleau and Kai Xiao/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    A novel, two-dimensional material “puckers” because its structure is composed of atoms that tile in the famous Cairo pentagonal pattern, opening exciting new opportunities for nanoelectronics.

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

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Bo Shen works with a prototype window air conditioning unit that cools using propane, which lowers costs, increases efficiency and benefits the environment.

  • Credit: Chuanxu Ma and An-Ping Li/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    An ORNL-led team formed seamless interfaces between graphene ribbons with different widths, creating a staircase configuration. This configuration has seamless electrical contacts, making the material viable as a building block for next-generation electronic devices.

Datasets – Supporting hurricane damage assessments 

Geospatial scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a novel method to quickly gather building structure datasets that support emergency response teams assessing properties damaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. By coupling deep learning with high-performance computing, ORNL collected and extracted building outlines and roadways from high-resolution satellite and aerial images. As hurricanes formed in the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Ocean, ORNL activated their technique. “During devastating weather events, it’s difficult and time consuming to assess damage manually,” said ORNL’s Mark Tuttle. “Our method supports emergency response efforts by providing preliminary building structure data—which can be categorized for residential, multi-family and commercial properties—on the county level, and this has been applied for hurricane-impacted areas of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other U.S. Caribbean territories.” During Hurricane Harvey, ORNL analyzed nearly 2,000 images covering nearly 26,000 square miles of building structures in Texas’ coastal counties in just 24 hours, a process that would typically take up to nine months. [Contact: Sara Shoemaker, (865) 576-9219; shoemakerms@ornl.gov]

Image #1

Caption #1: As hurricanes formed in the Gulf Coast, ORNL activated a computing technique to quickly gather building structure data from Texas’ coastal counties. Credit: Mark Tuttle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Image #2

Caption #2: ORNL’s novel computing method supports emergency response efforts by providing preliminary building structure data on the county level. This technique has been applied for hurricane-impacted areas of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other U.S. Caribbean territories. Credit: Mark Tuttle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Neutrons – Go with the flow

Using neutrons produced at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, scientists discovered the molecular mechanism responsible for the flow in a hydrogen-bonding liquid, which has similar characteristics to the molecular motions in organic molecules such as DNA and proteins. Their observation demonstrates Maxwell’s Law, which relates how fast molecules inside a liquid rearrange to flow with a syrupy or water-like viscosity. “Maxwell’s theory was confirmed long ago for many liquids, but hydrogen-bonding liquids were a complicated exception,” University of Cincinnati professor Jonathan Nickels said. “We unexpectedly discovered that flow in this liquid was connected to fluctuations in the hydrogen-bond network connectivity, rather than the dynamics of molecular collisions or the fluctuations of H-bonds themselves.” Understanding this mechanism will help scientists develop safe and more environmentally friendly solvents and advance protein and water research for biomedical applications. The team used ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source, a DOE user facility. Nickels’ team, including coauthors Stefania Perticaroli and Barmak Mostofian, published their findings in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. [Contact: Kelley Smith, (865) 576-5668; smithks@ornl.gov]

Image

Caption: Scientists used neutrons produced at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to discover the molecular mechanism responsible for the flow in a hydrogen-bonding liquid. Credit: Jill Hemman/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Video

Video caption: This video shows the rearrangement of the molecular backbone and hydrogen bonds in a green solvent. Credit: Jonathan Nickels, University of Cincinnati

Materials – Ripple effect

A semiconducting material with a puckered pentagonal atomic structure, characterized by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, could rival graphene and black phosphorus as a viable option for nanoscale electronics. The ORNL-led team studied a novel two-dimensional, or atomic-thin, layered material called palladium diselenide, or PdSe2. The team unveiled that the atoms of the material chemically bond in five-sided structures. This causes the resulting layers to “pucker” and makes the material exhibit properties that could benefit future optoelectronics. “The band gap of the material changed significantly as we exfoliated layers of PdSe2 from a bulk crystal,” ORNL’s Kai Xiao said. “The ability to tune the material’s band gap from zero in the bulk to approximately 1.3 electron volts in the monolayer opens exciting new options for nanoelectronics.” The team published their work in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and plans to grow scalable, large-area 2D PdSe2 crystals. [Contact: Sara Shoemaker, (865) 576-9219; shoemakerms@ornl.gov]

Image

Caption: A novel, two-dimensional material “puckers” because its structure is composed of atoms that tile in the famous Cairo pentagonal pattern, opening exciting new opportunities for nanoelectronics. Credit: Christopher Rouleau and Kai Xiao/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Refrigerants – Cooling with propane

Cooling homes and small office spaces could become less costly and more efficient with new early stage technology developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Researchers designed a window air conditioning unit that uses propane as the refrigerant, cooling the air with 17 percent higher efficiency than the best ENERGY STAR® commercial units. “Propane offers superior thermodynamic properties and creates 700 percent less pollution than standard refrigerants,” said ORNL’s Brian Fricke. “We developed a system that takes advantage of these qualities and reduces global warming potential.” The team’s early-stage technology includes a novel heat exchanger, compressor and controls that require less propane than similar units used overseas. The team’s laboratory evaluations demonstrate the prototype unit is the first propane window air conditioner to meet U.S. building safety standards. [Contact: Kim Askey, (865) 946-1861; askeyka@ornl.gov]

Image

Caption: Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Bo Shen works with a prototype window air conditioning unit that cools using propane, which lowers costs, increases efficiency and benefits the environment. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Semiconductors – Making contact

A new approach developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory creates seamless electrical contacts between precisely controlled nanoribbons of graphene, making the material viable as a building block for next-generation electronic devices. In a recent study, an ORNL-led team grew the popular, atomic-thick semi-metallic graphene material as semiconducting ribbons, constructed from the bottom up using a precise number of atoms across and a precise molecular structure at the edge. To be more useful in electronics, the team focused efforts on forming seamless interfaces between ribbons with different widths, which created a staircase configuration. “This novel configuration allows us to adjust the energy gap, tune the energy level alignment and direct the flow of electricity through the materials,” said An-Ping Li, ORNL coauthor of a study published in Nano Letters that describes the approach. [Contact: Sara Shoemaker, (865) 576-9219; shoemakerms@ornl.gov]

Image

Caption: An ORNL-led team formed seamless interfaces between graphene ribbons with different widths, creating a staircase configuration. This configuration has seamless electrical contacts, making the material viable as a building block for next-generation electronic devices. Credit: Chuanxu Ma and An-Ping Li/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

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Watching Atoms Move in Hybrid Perovskite Crystals Reveals Clues to Improving Solar Cells

The discovery of nanoscale changes deep inside hybrid perovskites could shed light on developing low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. Using X-ray beams and lasers, a team of researchers led by the University of California San Diego discovered how the movement of ions in hybrid perovskites causes certain regions within the material to become better solar cells than other parts.

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In a breakthrough development, Los Alamos scientists have shown that they can successfully amplify light using electrically excited films of the chemically synthesized semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots.

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Biologists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley used cryo-EM to resolve the structure of a ring of proteins used by the immune system to summon support when under attack, providing new insight into potential strategies for protection from pathogens. The researchers captured the high-resolution image of a protein ring, called an inflammasome, as it was bound to flagellin, a protein from the whiplike tail used by bacteria to propel themselves forward.

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Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease. The results come from one of the most in-depth studies ever of blood samples from patients with Ebola.

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Studies at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first real-time observations of how silica - an abundant material in the Earth's crust - easily transforms into a dense glass when hit with a massive shock wave like one generated from a meteor impact.

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Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.

Stretching to Perfection of 2-D Semiconductors

Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.


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Eight Los Alamos innovations win R&D 100 Awards

Eight Los Alamos National Laboratory technologies won R&D 100 Awards last week at R&D Magazine's annual ceremony in Orlando, Florida.

Physicist David Gates Named Editor-in-Chief of Plasma, a New Online Journal

Article announces David Gates' appointment as editor-in-chief of Plasma magazine

Argonne to Install Comanche System to Explore ARM Technology for High-Performance Computing

Argonne National Laboratory is collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide system software expertise and a development ecosystem for a future high-performance computing (HPC) system based on 64-bit ARM processors.

CANDLE Shines in 2017 HPCwire Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards

Argonne National Laboratory has been recognized in the annual <em>HPCwire</em> Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards, presented at the 2017 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17), in Denver, Colorado.

SLAC's Helen Quinn Honored with 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics

Helen Quinn, a professor emerita at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, will receive the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics - one of eight prestigious Franklin Institute Awards that will be handed out in Philadelphia next April.

PPPL Honors Grierson and Greenough for Distinguished Research and Engineering Achievements

Article describes PPPL's presentation of 2017 Kaul Prize and Distinguished Engineering Fellow awards.

INCITE Grants of 5.95 Billion Hours Awarded to 55 Computational Research Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science announced 55 projects with high potential for accelerating discovery through its Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. The projects will share 5.95 billion core-hours on three of America's most powerful supercomputers dedicated to capability-limited open science and support a broad range of large-scale research campaigns from infectious disease treatment to next-generation materials development.

Former SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan Awarded Japan's Order of the Rising Sun

Former SLAC Director and Stanford University Professor Emeritus Jonathan Dorfan has been awarded Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star for his contributions as founding president of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). It is the highest award Japan bestows on university presidents.

Jefferson Lab Staff Scientist Honored with APS Fellowship

Fulvia Pilat, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society. The honor is bestowed by members of APS on their peers for exceptional contributions to their fields.

First Northwest Theoretical Chemistry Conference Is a Hit!

The first Northwest Theoretical Chemistry Conference was a success. The event offered ~50 early career theorists and students opportunities to present talks in a nurturing environment that developed and advanced collaborations.


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The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

Unplugging the Cellulose Biofuel Bottleneck

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

How Fungal Enzymes Break Down Plant Cell Walls

Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.

Stretching to Perfection of 2-D Semiconductors

Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

The Effect of Hurricanes on Puerto Rico's Dry Forests

More frequent storms turn forests from carbon source to sink.

A Chemical Thermometer for Tropical Forests

Monoterpene measures how certain forests respond to heat stress.

Where a Leaf Lands and Lies Influences Carbon Levels in Soil for Years to Come

Whether carbon comes from leaves or needles affects how fast it decomposes, but where it ends up determines how long it's available.

Twisting Molecule Wrings More Power from Solar Cells

Readily rotating molecules let electrons last, resulting in higher solar cell efficiency.

Rules Are Only Suggestions in Heavy Elements

The arrangement of electrons in an exotic human-made element shows that certain properties of heavy elements cannot be predicted using lighter ones.


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