DOE News
    Doe Science news source
    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2019-07-01 10:05:08
    • Article ID: 714926

    New Insights into a Long-Standing Debate About Materials that Turn Motion into Electricity

    Detailed view of atoms opens doors for new designs to convert atomic displacements to electrical energy.

    • Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

      Neutron diffuse scattering of relaxor ferroelectrics helped scientists see that the well-known “butterfly” diffuse scattering isn’t symmetrical. This means the intensity of the scattering doesn’t correlate with the material’s ability to return to its equilibrium state, as is the assumption in current models. This result answers long-held questions about relaxor ferroelectrics, which are useful in devices that use sonar and ultrasound.

    The Science

    For decades, scientists have been intrigued by a class of electronic materials called relaxor ferroelectrics. These lead-based materials can convert mechanical energy to electrical energy and vice versa. The underlying mechanism for this behavior has been elusive. The challenge was getting a detailed view of the atomic structure, critical to resolve the debate concerning the role of local order. Now, novel neutron-based tools and methods have resolved this debate—revealing the relationship of local order motifs and how they affect the underlying properties.

    The Impact

    Relaxor ferroelectrics are integral in certain types of computer memory and medical imaging devices. To expand their use in energy production, scientists need to know how the materials work in detail. This study offers a detailed view of the local disorder and its effect. Knowing how structural changes affect properties helps scientists design new materials for energy-relevant uses.

    Summary

    In the past, scientists have used different techniques to study relaxor ferroelectrics, such as lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate. However, the techniques couldn’t offer a complete view of the atomic-level structure needed for a comprehensive understanding of these materials. Recent advancements of novel instrumentation and techniques now enable detailed study of the local structure embedded in a crystalline lattice, which is germane to these materials. Using these neutron and synchrotron X-ray scattering methods, researchers determined how local order affects the electromechanical and dielectric properties.

    The neutron scattering instrument, Corelli, at the Spallation Neutron Source facilitated the measurements of the diffuse neutron scattering that arises from the local structures. Diffuse scattering measurements are particularly sensitive to the departure of the atomic structure from that of a perfect crystal; however, the resultant scattering is generally difficult to quantify because of the wide variety of microstructural effects that may contribute to the signal. The team used complementary neutron and X-ray scattering techniques. Their experiments provided the needed quantitative data and revealed that the local order involves displacements of both the heavy (lead) and light (oxygen) atoms. This insight requires revision of current theoretical models that assume light atom displacements are negligible. The combined neutron and synchrotron X-ray investigations revealed that the unique dielectric properties are influenced by the presence of local competing antiferroelectric and ferroelectric order, where the neighboring electric dipole moments are aligned in opposing and parallel directions, respectively.  

    These results provide important guidelines for developing and evaluating microscopic models that are crucial for the design of the next generation of efficient materials.

    Contact

    Stephan Rosenkranz
    Argonne National Laboratory
    srosenkranz@anl.gov

    Daniel Phelan 
    Argonne National Laboratory 
    dphelan@anl.gov

    Funding

    The following supported this research: Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, including support of the Spallation Neutron Source, an Office of Science user facility; the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences (Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source); Office of Naval Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (research at Simon Fraser University); and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce (access to the neutron Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis research facilities).

    • other-fb
    • other-tw
    X
    X
    X
    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters
    Of Leaves and Light

    Of Leaves and Light

    Imagine getting an entire health workup just by having your picture taken--no invasive poking or prodding, not even a pinprick blood test. That's a goal ecologists have for monitoring the health of plants. Their cameras would be high-resolution sensors mounted on drones or satellites, capable of capturing much more than what's visible to the naked eye.

    New Technique Could Streamline Design of Intricate Fusion Device

    New Technique Could Streamline Design of Intricate Fusion Device

    Stellarators, twisty machines that house fusion reactions, rely on complex magnetic coils that are challenging to design and build. Now, a PPPL physicist has developed a mathematical technique to help simplify the design of the coils.

    Measuring the Charge of Electrons in a High-Temp Superconductor

    Measuring the Charge of Electrons in a High-Temp Superconductor

    The measurements could inform the search for new materials that perfectly conduct electricity at relatively higher temperatures.

    A new way to generate solar steam for cleaning water and reducing waste

    A new way to generate solar steam for cleaning water and reducing waste

    At the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, researchers are exploring affordable materials that could absorb the sunlight necessary to evaporate water and recapture it, leaving contaminants behind.

    Amazon Rainforest Absorbing Less Carbon Than Expected

    Amazon Rainforest Absorbing Less Carbon Than Expected

    An international team of scientists, including climate scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found that accounting for phosphorus-deficient soils reduced projected carbon dioxide uptake by an average of 50% in the Amazon, compared to current estimates based on previous climate models that did not take into account phosphorus deficiency.

    Fermilab's newest accelerator delivers first results

    Fermilab's newest accelerator delivers first results

    IOTA is designed to develop technologies to increase the number of particles in a beam without increasing the beam's size and thus the size and cost of the accelerator. IOTA researchers are investigating a novel technique called nonlinear integrable optics. The technique was a winner: Scientists observed that these specialized magnets significantly decreased the instability.

    Brookhaven Completes LSST's Digital Sensor Array

    Brookhaven Completes LSST's Digital Sensor Array

    After 16 years of dedicated planning and engineering, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have completed a 3.2 gigapixel sensor array for the camera that will be used in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a massive telescope that will observe the universe like never before.

    Scientists Report Two Advances in Understanding the Role of 'Charge Stripes' in Superconducting Materials

    Scientists Report Two Advances in Understanding the Role of 'Charge Stripes' in Superconducting Materials

    In independent studies, two research teams report important advances in understanding how charge stripes might interact with superconductivity. Both studies were carried out with X-rays at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

    For Superconductors, Discovery Comes From Disorder

    For Superconductors, Discovery Comes From Disorder

    In a new study, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have explained the ways in which two electronic arrangements compete with each other and ultimately affect the temperature at which a material becomes superconducting.

    Cool Roofs Can Help Shield California's Cities Against Heat Waves

    Cool Roofs Can Help Shield California's Cities Against Heat Waves

    A new study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that if every building in California sported "cool" roofs by 2050, these roofs would help contribute to protecting urbanites from the consequences of dangerous heatwaves.


    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters

    DOE Issues Small Business Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement

    The Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs issued its first Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Fiscal Year 2020.

    Bioenergy startup licenses ORNL food-waste-to-fuel system

    Bioenergy startup licenses ORNL food-waste-to-fuel system

    Electro-Active Technologies, Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn., has exclusively licensed two biorefinery technologies invented and patented by the startup's co-founders while working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The technologies work as a system that converts organic waste into renewable hydrogen gas for use as a biofuel.

    DOE to Provide $27.6 Million for Data Science Research in Chemical and Materials Sciences

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $27.6 million in funding over the next three years for targeted research in data science to accelerate discovery in chemistry and material sciences.

    Explore the Site of a New Telescope Survey That Will Map the Universe in 3-D

    Explore the Site of a New Telescope Survey That Will Map the Universe in 3-D

    For a special sneak preview before the official start of observations in early 2020, join scientists, engineers, and others who are working on the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) for an exclusive day of access. DESI, under installation at Kitt Peak National Observatory, will capture the light from tens of millions of distant galaxies to better understand the accelerating expansion of the universe.

    A Community-Driven Data Science System to Advance Microbiome Research

    A Community-Driven Data Science System to Advance Microbiome Research

    The National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC), a new initiative aimed at empowering microbiome research, is gearing up its pilot phase after receiving $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

    Brookhaven Lab and University of Delaware Begin Joint Initiative

    Brookhaven Lab and University of Delaware Begin Joint Initiative

    The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Delaware (UD) have begun a two-year joint initiative to promote collaborative research in new areas of complementary strength and strategic importance.

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA licenses ORNL advanced optical array

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA licenses ORNL advanced optical array

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA has licensed an advanced optical array developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The portable technology can be used to help identify individuals in challenging outdoor conditions.

    Jefferson Lab Welcomes New Director of Accelerator Operations

    Jefferson Lab Welcomes New Director of Accelerator Operations

    After an extensive search, Camille Ginsburg has been selected as the director of accelerator operations at DOE's Jefferson Lab.

    EIC Center at Jefferson Lab Announces Fellowship Awards

    EIC Center at Jefferson Lab Announces Fellowship Awards

    One graduate student and three postdoctoral research scientists are awarded fellowships to advance the science of an electron-ion collider.


    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters
    Chaos Ensues When Lasers and Plasma Meet

    Chaos Ensues When Lasers and Plasma Meet

    Warp+PXR dramatically improves the accuracy of the simulations compared to those typically used in plasma research. Now, researchers can simulate lasers' interactions with plasma with much higher precision.

    This Superconductor Does Not Take Light Lightly

    This Superconductor Does Not Take Light Lightly

    Superconductors are materials that show no resistance to electrical current when cooled. Recently, scientists discovered a new superconducting material. Now, scientists have found that when exposed to low-energy ultraviolet light, the material acts as a superconductor at higher temperatures.

    Nuclear Physics Detector Tech Used in Cancer Treatment Monitoring System

    Nuclear Physics Detector Tech Used in Cancer Treatment Monitoring System

    The OARtrac(r) system includes technologies that are based on a novel application of scintillating material in fiber form. Doctors can insert these scintillating fibers into the human body via a catheter to monitor the radiation that cancer patients receive in a range of hard-to-reach areas.

    Machine Learning Helps Create Detailed, Efficient Models of Water

    Machine Learning Helps Create Detailed, Efficient Models of Water

    A team devised a way to better model water's properties. They developed a machine-learning workflow that offers accurate and computationally efficient models.

    Cultivating the Assembly Landscape

    Cultivating the Assembly Landscape

    For the first time, a team determined and predictably manipulated the energy landscape of a material assembled from proteins. Designing materials that easily and reliably morph on command could benefit water filtration, sensing applications, and adaptive devices.

    A Change in Structure for a Superheavy Magnesium Isotope

    A Change in Structure for a Superheavy Magnesium Isotope

    A recent measurement exploring the structure of magnesium-40 has shown a surprising change in the structure relative to expectations. This unanticipated change could be pointing to physics missing from our theories, such as the effects of weak binding between particles.

    Bursts of Light Shape Walls Between Waves of Charge

    Bursts of Light Shape Walls Between Waves of Charge

    To better store data, scientists need ways to change a material's properties suddenly. For example, they want a material that can go from insulator to conductor and back again. Now, they devised a surprisingly simple way of flipping a material from one state into another, and back again, with flashes of light. A single light pulse turns thin sheets of tantalum disulfide from its original (alpha) state into a mixture of alpha and beta states. Domain walls separate the two states. A second pulse of light dissolves the walls, and the material returns to its original state.

    New Geometric Model Improves Predictions of Fluid Flow in Rock

    New Geometric Model Improves Predictions of Fluid Flow in Rock

    Supercomputer validates mathematical approach for describing geological features.

    Deep Learning Reveals Mysteries of Deep Space

    Deep Learning Reveals Mysteries of Deep Space

    How do you determine the measurable "things" that describe the nature of our universe? To answer that question, researchers used CosmoFlow, a deep learning technique, running on a National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center supercomputer. They analyzed large, complex data sets from 3-D simulations of the distribution of matter to answer that question. The team showed that CosmoFlow offers a new platform to gain a deeper understanding of the universe.

    At DOE's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, science drives next-gen creations

    At DOE's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, science drives next-gen creations

    American ingenuity is providing radical productivity improvements from advanced materials and robotic systems developed at the Department of Energy's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


    Spotlight

    PPPL apprenticeship program offers young people chance to earn while they learn high-tech careers
    Thursday August 01, 2019, 12:05 PM

    PPPL apprenticeship program offers young people chance to earn while they learn high-tech careers

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Creating a diverse pipeline
    Friday July 19, 2019, 01:05 PM

    Creating a diverse pipeline

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    JSA Awards Graduate Fellowships for Research at Jefferson Lab
    Monday July 08, 2019, 03:00 PM

    JSA Awards Graduate Fellowships for Research at Jefferson Lab

    Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

    ILSAMP Symposium showcases benefits for diverse students, STEM pipeline
    Monday May 20, 2019, 12:05 PM

    ILSAMP Symposium showcases benefits for diverse students, STEM pipeline

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Integrating Scientific Computing into Science Curricula
    Monday May 13, 2019, 11:05 AM

    Integrating Scientific Computing into Science Curricula

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Monday April 29, 2019, 02:05 PM

    Students from Minnesota and Massachusetts Win DOE's 29th National Science Bowl(r)

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    Friday April 12, 2019, 03:05 PM

    DOE's Science Graduate Student Research Program Selects 70 Students to Pursue Research at DOE Laboratories

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    Young Women's Conference in STEM seeks to change the statistics one girl at a time
    Thursday March 28, 2019, 03:05 PM

    Young Women's Conference in STEM seeks to change the statistics one girl at a time

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Students team with Argonne scientists and engineers to learn about STEM careers
    Tuesday March 12, 2019, 05:05 PM

    Students team with Argonne scientists and engineers to learn about STEM careers

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Lynbrook High wins 2019 SLAC Regional Science Bowl competition
    Wednesday February 13, 2019, 02:05 PM

    Lynbrook High wins 2019 SLAC Regional Science Bowl competition

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Equipping the next generation for a technological revolution
    Thursday January 24, 2019, 01:05 PM

    Equipping the next generation for a technological revolution

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Chemistry intern inspired by Argonne's real-world science
    Friday January 18, 2019, 05:05 PM

    Chemistry intern inspired by Argonne's real-world science

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Chasing a supernova
    Friday January 18, 2019, 04:05 PM

    Chasing a supernova

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Argonne intern streamlines the beamline
    Tuesday January 08, 2019, 02:05 PM

    Argonne intern streamlines the beamline

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Research on Light-Matter Interaction Could Lead to Improved Electronic and Optoelectronic Devices
    Thursday October 11, 2018, 04:00 PM

    Research on Light-Matter Interaction Could Lead to Improved Electronic and Optoelectronic Devices

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Innovating Our Energy Future
    Wednesday October 03, 2018, 07:05 PM

    Innovating Our Energy Future

    Oregon State University, College of Engineering

    Physics graduate student takes her thesis research to a Department of Energy national lab
    Tuesday October 02, 2018, 03:05 PM

    Physics graduate student takes her thesis research to a Department of Energy national lab

    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Friday September 21, 2018, 01:05 PM

    "Model" students enjoy Argonne campus life

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Writing Code for a More Skilled and Diverse STEM Workforce
    Thursday September 06, 2018, 01:05 PM

    Writing Code for a More Skilled and Diverse STEM Workforce

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    New graduate student summer school launches at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
    Tuesday September 04, 2018, 11:30 AM

    New graduate student summer school launches at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    The Gridlock State
    Friday August 31, 2018, 06:05 PM

    The Gridlock State

    California State University (CSU) Chancellor's Office

    Meet Jasmine Hatcher and Trishelle Copeland-Johnson
    Friday August 31, 2018, 02:05 PM

    Meet Jasmine Hatcher and Trishelle Copeland-Johnson

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Argonne hosts Modeling, Experimentation and Validation Summer School
    Friday August 24, 2018, 11:05 AM

    Argonne hosts Modeling, Experimentation and Validation Summer School

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Students affected by Hurricane Maria bring their research to SLAC
    Wednesday August 22, 2018, 01:05 PM

    Students affected by Hurricane Maria bring their research to SLAC

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Brookhaven Lab Pays Tribute to 2018 Summer Interns
    Wednesday August 22, 2018, 10:05 AM

    Brookhaven Lab Pays Tribute to 2018 Summer Interns

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Changing How Buildings Are Made
    Monday August 20, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Changing How Buildings Are Made

    Washington University in St. Louis

    CSUMB Selected to Host Architecture at Zero Competition in 2019
    Thursday August 16, 2018, 12:05 PM

    CSUMB Selected to Host Architecture at Zero Competition in 2019

    California State University, Monterey Bay

    Department of Energy Invests $64 Million in Advanced Nuclear Technology
    Friday July 20, 2018, 03:00 PM

    Department of Energy Invests $64 Million in Advanced Nuclear Technology

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Professor Miao Yu Named the Priti and Mukesh Chatter '82 Career Development Professor
    Thursday July 19, 2018, 05:00 PM

    Professor Miao Yu Named the Priti and Mukesh Chatter '82 Career Development Professor

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    2018 RHIC & AGS Annual Users' Meeting: 'Illuminating the QCD Landscape'
    Tuesday July 03, 2018, 11:05 AM

    2018 RHIC & AGS Annual Users' Meeting: 'Illuminating the QCD Landscape'

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Argonne welcomes <em>The Martian</em> author Andy Weir
    Friday June 29, 2018, 06:05 PM

    Argonne welcomes The Martian author Andy Weir

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Creating STEM Knowledge and Innovations to Solve Global Issues Like Water, Food, and Energy
    Monday June 18, 2018, 09:55 AM

    Creating STEM Knowledge and Innovations to Solve Global Issues Like Water, Food, and Energy

    Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

    Professor Emily Liu Receives $1.8 Million DoE Award for Solar Power Systems Research
    Friday June 15, 2018, 10:00 AM

    Professor Emily Liu Receives $1.8 Million DoE Award for Solar Power Systems Research

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Celebrating 40 years of empowerment in science
    Thursday June 07, 2018, 03:05 PM

    Celebrating 40 years of empowerment in science

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Introducing Graduate Students Across the Globe to Photon Science
    Monday May 07, 2018, 10:30 AM

    Introducing Graduate Students Across the Globe to Photon Science

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Students from Massachusetts and Washington Win DOE's 28th National Science Bowl(r)
    Wednesday May 02, 2018, 04:05 PM

    Students from Massachusetts and Washington Win DOE's 28th National Science Bowl(r)

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    The Race for Young Scientific Minds
    Thursday April 12, 2018, 07:05 PM

    The Race for Young Scientific Minds

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Q&A: Al Ashley Reflects on His Efforts to Diversify SLAC and Beyond
    Wednesday March 14, 2018, 02:05 PM

    Q&A: Al Ashley Reflects on His Efforts to Diversify SLAC and Beyond

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Insights on Innovation in Energy, Humanitarian Aid Highlight UVA Darden's Net Impact Week
    Thursday February 15, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Insights on Innovation in Energy, Humanitarian Aid Highlight UVA Darden's Net Impact Week

    University of Virginia Darden School of Business

    Ivy League Graduate, Writer and Activist with Dyslexia Visits CSUCI to Reframe the Concept of Learning Disabilities
    Friday February 09, 2018, 11:05 AM

    Ivy League Graduate, Writer and Activist with Dyslexia Visits CSUCI to Reframe the Concept of Learning Disabilities

    California State University, Channel Islands

    Photographer Adam Nadel Selected as Fermilab's New Artist-in-Residence for 2018
    Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Photographer Adam Nadel Selected as Fermilab's New Artist-in-Residence for 2018

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

    Fermilab Computing Partners with Argonne, Local Schools for Hour of Code
    Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Fermilab Computing Partners with Argonne, Local Schools for Hour of Code

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

    Q&A: Sam Webb Teaches X-Ray Science from a Remote Classroom
    Wednesday December 20, 2017, 01:05 PM

    Q&A: Sam Webb Teaches X-Ray Science from a Remote Classroom

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    The Future of Today's Electric Power Systems
    Monday December 18, 2017, 01:05 PM

    The Future of Today's Electric Power Systems

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Supporting the Development of Offshore Wind Power Plants
    Monday December 18, 2017, 12:05 PM

    Supporting the Development of Offshore Wind Power Plants

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Stairway to Science
    Tuesday October 03, 2017, 01:05 PM

    Stairway to Science

    Argonne National Laboratory





    Showing results

    0-4 Of 2215