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    • 2015-10-06 11:05:00
    • Article ID: 640948

    Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, October 2015

    To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications staff member identified at the end of each tip. For more information on ORNL and its research and development activities, please refer to one of our media contacts. If you have a general media-related question or comment, you can send it to news@ornl.gov.

    BIOFUELS – High-octane payoff …

    Ethanol’s inherently high octane rating makes it attractive for meeting fuel economy and greenhouse gas targets and renewable fuel mandates, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory report. Although ethanol has two-thirds the energy density of gasoline, its higher octane – an anti-knock index – rating allows for more aggressive engine design, which can improve efficiency. “High-octane fuels can create additional demand for large amounts of ethanol and enable improved fuel economy in dedicated vehicles,” said Tim Theiss of ORNL’s Sustainable Transportation Program. Researchers expect efficiency gains that offset the lower energy density to occur with blends of between 20 and 40 percent ethanol. They also point to potential benefits of about a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle efficiency gains of up to 10 percent and significant increase in ethanol demand with a corresponding decrease in petroleum use. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

    VEHICLES ¬– Connected to efficiency …

    Collisions and congestion at intersections and where highways merge could be greatly reduced – even eliminated ¬¬– with a technology being developed by a team led by Andreas Malikopoulos, deputy director of the Urban Dynamics Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The approach presented by Malikopoulos at the recent 18th IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems takes into account which vehicle is closest to the merging zone and assigns times for each vehicle to reach and leave that section. Unlike other approaches addressing the vehicle coordination problem, this method yields the “optimal solution” for all vehicles in real time, which allows for easy vehicle implementation. Malikopoulos and colleagues note that an optimized connected vehicle system can dramatically reduce the 5.5 billion hours wasted each year in traffic jams and the nearly 3 billion gallons of fuel. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

    MATERIALS – Accelerating discovery …

    Steady progress in the development of advanced materials has led to modern civilization’s foundational technologies—better batteries, resilient building materials and atom-scale semiconductors. Development of the next wave of materials, however, is being slowed by the sheer complexity of material systems at extremely small scales. Fortunately, the tools and techniques to overcome these challenges are starting to emerge thanks to advances in experimental imaging, data analytics and high-performance computing. Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Sergei Kalinin, Bobby Sumpter and Richard Archibald have published an overview of these transformative trends in the October 2015 issue of Nature Materials. “We believe this is the wave of the future—not only for understanding the physics and chemistry that characterize a material but also for manipulating materials to exhibit desirable properties,” Sumpter said. [Contact: Jonathan Hines, (865) 574-6944; hinesjd@ornl.gov]

    NUCLEAR — Molten salt reactor anniversary …

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory is marking the 50th anniversary of the startup of its Molten Salt Reactor Experiment this month. A workshop on molten salt reactor technologies Oct. 15-16 at ORNL will bring together government representatives, U.S. and international researchers, regulators, utilities and reactor design firms for technical discussions and a reception honoring the pioneers of MSR technology. The MSRE, designed to assess the viability of liquid fuel reactor technologies for use in commercial power generation, operated from January 1965 through December 1969, logging more than 13,000 hours at full power during its four-year run. The MSRE was designated a nuclear historic landmark in 1994. “Molten salt technology has experienced a revival in interest both domestically and internationally, and the experiment itself remains unique in reactor development history,” said ORNL’s David Holcomb. [Contact: Morgan McCorkle, (865) 574-7308; mccorkleml@ornl.gov]

    COMPUTING— Mining information …

    Harvesting oil, mitigating subsurface contamination, and sequestering carbon emissions share a common thread—they deal with multiphase flows, or situations where materials are flowing close together in different states (solids, liquids, or gases) or when the flow is comprised of materials that have a common state with a different chemical makeup that prevents mixing (oil and water). A research team led by Virginia Tech’s James McClure is using computational resources at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility to improve computational models for subsurface multiphase flow calculations. The team can essentially take 3-D micro-CT imagery of geologic systems and put them in motion. Thus far, the team has been able to gain unprecedented insight into the intersection of disparate phases, such as oil and water, move and interact in porous rock below the Earth’s surface. [Contact: Eric Gedenk, (865) 241-5497; gedenked@ornl.gov]

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    Scientists Successfully Demonstrate a New Experiment in the Search for Theorized 'Neutrinoless' Process

    Scientists Successfully Demonstrate a New Experiment in the Search for Theorized 'Neutrinoless' Process

    Nuclear physicists affiliated with Berkeley Lab played a leading role in analyzing data for a demonstration experiment in France that has achieved record precision for a specialized detector material.

    Argonne soil carbon research reduces uncertainty in predicting climate change impacts

    Argonne soil carbon research reduces uncertainty in predicting climate change impacts

    DOE and USDA researchers use new global models to study how environmental controllers affect soil organic carbon, changes in which can alter atmospheric carbon concentrations and affect climate. Predictions could benefit industry mitigation plans.

    Learning more about particle collisions with machine learning

    Learning more about particle collisions with machine learning

    A team of Argonne scientists has devised a machine learning algorithm that calculates, with low computational time, how the ATLAS detector in the Large Hadron Collider would respond to the ten times more data expected with a planned upgrade in 2027.

    New cathode coating extends lithium-ion battery life, boosts safety

    New cathode coating extends lithium-ion battery life, boosts safety

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, has developed a new particle-level cathode coating for lithium ion batteries meant to increase their life and safety.

    Scientists Dive Deep Into Hidden World of Quantum States

    Scientists Dive Deep Into Hidden World of Quantum States

    A research team led by the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has developed a technique that could lead to new electronic materials that surpass the limitations imposed by Moore's Law.

    Precise Measurement of Pions Confirms Understanding 
of Fundamental Symmetry

    Precise Measurement of Pions Confirms Understanding of Fundamental Symmetry

    Nuclear physicists have announced the most precise measurement yet of the ultra-short lifetime of the neutral pion. The result is an important validation of our understanding of the theory of quantum chromodynamics, which describes the makeup of ordinary matter. The research, carried out at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, was recently published in the journal Science.

    Story Tips: Predicting fire risk, solid state stability check and images in a flash

    Story Tips: Predicting fire risk, solid state stability check and images in a flash

    ORNL Story Tips: Predicting fire risk, solid state stability check and images in a flash

    Summit Helps Predict Molecular Breakups

    Summit Helps Predict Molecular Breakups

    A team used the Summit supercomputer to simulate transition metal systems--such as copper bound to molecules of nitrogen, dihydrogen, or water--and correctly predicted the amount of energy required to break apart dozens of molecular systems, paving the way for a greater understanding of these materials.

    Carbon-loving materials designed to reduce industrial emissions

    Carbon-loving materials designed to reduce industrial emissions

    Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are advancing gas membrane materials to expand practical technology options for reducing industrial carbon emissions.

    Science Snapshots July 2020

    Science Snapshots July 2020

    Berkeley Lab Science Snapshots July 2020


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    Barbara Harrison brings experience and human resource skills to new position of equity, diversity and inclusion business partner

    Barbara Harrison brings experience and human resource skills to new position of equity, diversity and inclusion business partner

    The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has appointed Barbara Harrison, who has 19 years of experience in recruiting, to a new position spearheading PPPL's equity, diversity and inclusion efforts.

    Fundamental Exploration Into Future Clean Energy Technologies Receives DOE Support

    Fundamental Exploration Into Future Clean Energy Technologies Receives DOE Support

    The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded $65 million in grants to support research that will advance safe, reliable, and clean nuclear energy. Among those projects are two led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which received a combined total of $1.2 million.

    Argonne to explore how digital twins may transform nuclear energy with $8 million from ARPA-E's GEMINA program

    Argonne to explore how digital twins may transform nuclear energy with $8 million from ARPA-E's GEMINA program

    ARPA-E's GEMINA funding will allow Argonne's nuclear scientists to partner with industry and develop tools for the advanced reactors of tomorrow.

    Brookhaven and Forge Nano to Mature Noble Gas-Trapping Technology

    Brookhaven and Forge Nano to Mature Noble Gas-Trapping Technology

    Through DOE's Technology Commercialization Fund, the national lab-startup team will develop "nanocages" for nuclear applications.

    Chicago Quantum Exchange welcomes seven new partners in tech, computing and finance, to advance research and training

    Chicago Quantum Exchange welcomes seven new partners in tech, computing and finance, to advance research and training

    The Chicago-based research hub expands to include 13 total industry leaders in tech, computing, finance.

    EIC Center at Jefferson Lab Announces Six New Research Awards

    EIC Center at Jefferson Lab Announces Six New Research Awards

    The Electron-Ion Collider Center at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (EIC Center at Jefferson Lab) has announced the winners of six international fellowships. The fellows will pursue research over the next year related to advancing the science program of the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), a one-of-a-kind nuclear physics research facility to be built over the next decade at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, in partnership with Jefferson Lab.

    Department of Energy awards $3.15 million to Argonne to support collaborations with industry

    Department of Energy awards $3.15 million to Argonne to support collaborations with industry

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $33 million in funding for 82 projects aimed at advancing commercialization of promising energy technologies and strengthening partnerships between DOE's National Laboratories and private-sector companies.

    Analyzing Matter's Building Blocks

    Analyzing Matter's Building Blocks

    Nobuo Sato is working to put the know in femto. He's just been awarded a five-year, multimillion dollar research grant by the Department of Energy to develop a "FemtoAnalyzer" that will help nuclear physicists image the three-dimensional internal structure of protons and neutrons. Now, Sato is among 76 scientists nationwide who have been awarded a grant through the DOE Office of Science's Early Career Research Program to pursue their research.

    Particle Physicist Takes the Lead on Groundbreaking Electron Measurement

    Particle Physicist Takes the Lead on Groundbreaking Electron Measurement

    James "Jim" Fast has joined Jefferson Lab as the MOLLER Project Manager. MOLLER is the "Measurement of a Lepton-Lepton Electroweak Reaction" experiment that will measure the weak charge of the electron.

    Six Argonne researchers receive DOE Early Career Research Program awards

    Six Argonne researchers receive DOE Early Career Research Program awards

    Argonne scientists Michael Bishof, Maria Chan, Marco Govini, Alessandro Lovato, Bogdan Nicolae and Stefan Wild have received funding for their research as part of DOE's Early Career Research Program.


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    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Scientists designed and connected two different artificial cells to each other to produce molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Bone and mollusk shells are composite systems that combine living cells and inorganic components. This allows them to regenerate and change structure while also being very strong and durable. Borrowing from this amazing complexity, researchers have been exploring a new class of materials called engineered living materials (ELMs).

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Researchers developed two new methods to assess and remove error in how scientists measure quantum systems. By reducing quantum "noise" - uncertainty inherent to quantum processes - these new methods improve accuracy and precision.

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    Lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO) is a widely applicable material, from magnetic tunnel junctions to solid oxide fuel cells. However, when it gets thin, its behavior changes for the worse. The reason why was not known. Now, using two theoretical methods, a team determined what happens.

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    How an ion behaves when isolated within an analytical instrument can differ from how it behaves in the environment. Now, Xue-Bin Wang at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory devised a way to bring ions and molecules together in clusters to better discover their properties and predict their behavior.

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Shape affects how the particles fit together and, in turn, the resulting material. For the first time, a team observed the self-assembly of nanoparticles with tetrahedral shapes.

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    This study is the first to confirm dust particles pre-dating the formation of our solar system. Further study of these materials will enable a deeper understanding of the processes that formed and have since altered them.

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Future fusion reactors will require materials that can withstand extreme operating conditions, including being bombarded by high-energy neutrons at high temperatures. Scientists recently irradiated titanium diboride (TiB2) in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to better understand the effects of fusion neutrons on performance.

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    In breast cancer screening, an imaging technique based on nuclear medicine is currently being used as a successful secondary screening tool alongside mammography to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. Now, a team is hoping to improve this imaging technique.

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Scientists can use genetic information to measure if microbes in the environment can perform specific ecological roles. Researchers recently analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 microbial species.


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