Are Multiple H-Coils Needed to Accurately Measure Magnetic Field Strengths?

Is more always better? Researchers in Kyoto, Japan, sought to find out if that was the case for measuring magnetic field strengths. Their paper, appearing this week in AIP Advances, from AIP Publishing, examines whether a double H-coil method or a single H-coil method is a more accurate way to measure magnetic field strength.

To Find New Biofuel Enzymes, It Can Take a Microbial Village

In search of new plant enzymes? Try looking in compost. Researchers at JBEI have demonstrated the importance of microbial communities as a source of stable enzymes that could be used to convert plants to biofuels. This approach yields robust enzymes that researchers can't easily obtain from isolates.

'Criticality' Experiments Enhance Nuclear Safety

Livermore researchers conducted the first Livermore-designed "criticality" experiment in 40 years. It was one in a series that aims to help ensure plutonium operations - which are key to assessing the U.S. nuclear stockpile without testing - continue to be conducted safely.

Neutrons Probe Oxygen-Generating Enzyme for a Greener Approach to Clean Water

An international researcher team used neutron analysis at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, x-ray crystallography and other techniques to study chlorite dismutase, an enzyme that breaks down the environmental pollutant chlorite into harmless byproducts. The results shed light on the catalytic process and open possibilities for bioremediation.

SLAC X-ray Laser Reveals How Extreme Shocks Deform a Metal's Atomic Structure

When hit by a powerful shock wave, materials can change their shape - a property known as plasticity - yet keep their lattice-like atomic structure. Now scientists have used the X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to see, for the first time, how a material's atomic structure deforms when shocked by pressures nearly as extreme as the ones at the center of the Earth.

Fuel Cell X-Ray Study Details Effects of Temperature and Moisture on Performance

To find the right balance of moisture and temperature in a specialized type of hydrogen fuel cell, Berkeley Lab scientists have used X-rays to explore the inner workings of its components at tiny scales.

Plasma From Lasers Can Shed Light on Cosmic Rays, Solar Eruptions

A team of researchers led by PPPL physicist Will Fox recently used lasers to create conditions that mimic astrophysical behavior. The laboratory technique enables the study of outer-space-like plasma in a controlled and reproducible environment.

New Routes to Renewables: Sandia Speeds Transformation of Biofuel Waste Into Wealth

A Sandia National Laboratories-led team has demonstrated faster, more efficient ways to turn discarded plant matter into chemicals worth billions. The team's findings could help transform the economics of making fuels and other products from domestically grown renewable sources.

The Society for Risk Analysis Presents New Research on Who Really Benefits from Energy Efficient Manufacturing

Regulators claim that the value of the energy savings to consumers exceeds the incremental costs to manufacturers for delivering greater energy efficiency. This energy paradox challenges fundamental notions of how markets work. Four studies presented at the 2017 Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual Meeting will present new evidence relating to this paradox.

Cool Textiles to Beat the Heat

Air-conditioned buildings bring welcome relief to people coming in from the heat. But creatingthat comfort comes with a cost to our wallets and the environment in the form of increased energy bills andgreenhouse gas emissions.

New Study: Scientists Narrow Down the Search for Dark Photons Using Decade-Old Particle Collider Data

A fresh analysis of particle-collider data, co-led by Berkeley Lab physicists, limits some of the hiding places for one type of theorized particle - the dark photon, also known as the heavy photon - that was proposed to help explain the mystery of dark matter.

Lessons from Marine Sponges Could Lead to Novel Glass Technology

Israeli and German scientists have uncovered some clues about the abilities of some marine creatures to form glass structures in cold water. The findings could lead to nature-inspired recipes for creating novel glass technologies at room temperature.

Neutron Spectroscopy Reveals Common 'Oxygen Sponge' Catalyst Soaks Up Hydrogen Too

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and their collaborators discovered that a workhorse catalyst of vehicle exhaust systems--an "oxygen sponge" that can soak up oxygen from air and store it for later use in oxidation reactions--may also be a "hydrogen sponge."

Improving Sensor Accuracy to Prevent Electrical Grid Overload

Electrical physicists from Czech Technical University have provided additional evidence that new current sensors introduce errors when assessing current through iron conductors. The researchers show how a difference in a conductor's magnetic permeability, the degree of material's magnetization response in a magnetic field, affects the precision of new sensors. They also provide recommendations for improving sensor accuracy. The results are published this week in AIP Advances.

Researchers Model Coulomb Crystals to Understand Star Evolution

Matter in the cores of old white dwarfs and the crusts of neutron stars is compressed to unimaginable densities by intense gravitational forces. The scientific community believes this matter is composed of Coulomb crystals that form at temperatures potentially as high as 100 million Kelvin. Researchers in Russia clarify the physics of these crystals this week in the journal Physics of Plasmas.

Where Did Those Electrons Go? X-Ray Measurements Solve Decades-Old Mystery

There's been an unsolved mystery associated with mixed valence compounds: When the valence state of an element in these compounds changes with increased temperature, the number of electrons associated with that element decreases, as well. But just where do those electrons go? Using a combination of state-of-the-art tools, including X-ray measurements at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), a group of researchers at Cornell University have come up with the answer.

The Flat and the Curious

Argonne researchers have simulated the growth of the 2-D material silicene. Their work, published in Nanoscale, delivers new and useful insights on the material's properties and behavior and offers a predictive model for other researchers studying 2-D materials.

White Roofing Isn't Always Green, Virginia Tech Study Confirms

A study out of Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies' Center for High Performance Environments presents a new scientific challenge to widely held industry assumptions that white roofing is the best option for commercial builders.

'Smart' Paper Can Conduct Electricity, Detect Water

A University of Washington team wants to simplify the process for discovering detrimental water leaks by developing "smart" paper that can sense the presence of water.

First-Ever U.S. Experiments at New X-Ray Facility May Lead to Better Explosive Modeling

For the first time in the U.S., time-resolved small-angle x-ray scattering (TRSAXS) is used to observe ultra-fast carbon clustering and graphite and nanodiamond production in the insensitive explosive Plastic Bonded Explosive (PBX) 9502, potentially leading to better computer models of explosive performance.

Lightning-Fast Communications

Researchers from the University of Utah's departments of electrical and computer engineering and physics and astronomy have discovered that a special kind of perovskite, a combination of an organic and inorganic compound that has the same structure as the original mineral, can be layered on a silicon wafer to create a vital component for the communications system of the future.

Let There Be (White) Light: New Materials Shine Out

Modifying the internal structure of 2-D hybrid perovskite materials causes them to emit white light.

Synthetic Material Acts Like an Insect Cloaking Device

Synthetic microspheres with nanoscale holes can absorb light from all directions across a wide range of frequencies, making it a candidate for antireflective coatings, according to a team of Penn State engineers.

Exotic Nucleus Exhibits Curious Shape

A new shape measurement of unstable ruthenium-110 has found this nucleus to be similar to a squashed football.

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

ORNL story tips, November 2017: Fast-learning computing technique supports hurricane damage assessments; neutrons unlock liquid flow mystery; "puckering" 2D material creates tunable energy gap; window air conditioning prototype allows safe use of propane refrigerant; graphene nanoribbons become semiconductors through precise electrical contacts.