Protecting the Power Grid: Advanced Plasma Switch Can Make the Grid More Efficient for Long-Distance Power Transmission

Article describes PPPL research to help General Electric design a high-voltage power switch for converting DC current to AC current over long-distance power transmission lines.

More Workers Working Might Not Get More Work Done, Ants (and Robots) Show

For ants and robots operating in confined spaces like tunnels, having more workers does not necessarily mean getting more work done. Just as too many cooks in a kitchen get in each other's way, having too many robots in tunnels creates clogs that can bring the work to a grinding halt.

National Ignition Facility Reveals How Hydrogen Becomes Metallic Inside Giant Gas Planets

Swirling dense metallic hydrogen dominates the interiors of Jupiter, Saturn and many extra-solar planets. Building precise models of these giant planets requires an accurate description of the transition of pressurized hydrogen into this metallic substance - a long-standing scientific challenge. In a paper published by Science, a research team led by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory describes optical measurements of the insulator-to-metal transition in fluid hydrogen, resolving discrepancies in previous experiments and establishing new benchmarks for calculations used to construct planetary models. The multi-institution team included researchers from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, University of Edinburgh, University of Rochester, Carnegie Institution of Washington, University of California, Berkeley and The George Washington University.

Light-Emitting Nanoparticles Could Provide a Safer Way to Image Living Cells

A research team has demonstrated how light-emitting nanoparticles, developed at Berkeley Lab, can be used to see deep in living tissue. Researchers hope they can be made to attach to specific components of cells to serve in an advanced imaging system that can pinpoint even single cancer cells.

Demonstrated Natural Refrigerant Replacements Could Reduce Energy Costs and Conserve the Environment

The 1987 Montreal Protocol and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol called for countries around the world to phase out substances that deplete the ozone layer and cause global warming, but many HVAC systems still use synthetic refrigerants that violate those international agreements and inflict environmental damage. Recently, Iranian researchers investigated how natural refrigerants could be used in geothermal heat pumps to reduce energy consumption and operating costs. They report their findings in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

The Behavior of Water: Scientists Find New Properties of H2O

A team of scientists has uncovered new molecular properties of water--a discovery of a phenomenon that had previously gone unnoticed.

Algorithm Provides Early Warning System for Tracking Groundwater Contamination

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Savannah River National Laboratory have developed a low-cost method for real-time monitoring of pollutants using commonly available sensors.

Protons Get Zippier in Neutron-Rich Nuclei

A new study carried out at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has confirmed that increasing the number of neutrons as compared to protons in the atom's nucleus also increases the average momentum of its protons. The nuclear physics result, which has implications for the dynamics of neutron stars, has been published in the journal Nature.

Sight Unseen: Novel Method Detects Evidence of Unmarked Human Graves

A new approach to find unmarked gravesites could help narrow the scope and potentially speed up the search for clues during crime scene investigations. Geospatial researchers with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and forensic scientists at University of Tennessee used LIDAR to detect telltale signs of recently buried human remains.

UT-ORNL team makes first particle accelerator beam measurement in six dimensions

The first full characterization measurement of an accelerator beam in six dimensions will advance the understanding and performance of current and planned accelerators around the world.

For UW Physicists, the 2-D Form of Tungsten Ditelluride Is Full of Surprises

In a paper published online July 23 in Nature, a UW-led research team reports that the 2-D form of tungsten ditelluride can undergo "ferroelectric switching" -- a first for a exfoliated 2-D material. Ferroelectric materials can have applications in memory storage, capacitors, RFID card technologies and even medical sensors.

Scientists Discover How to Protect Yeast From Damage in Biofuel Production

Some chemicals used to speed up the breakdown of plants for production of biofuels like ethanol are poison to the yeasts that turn the plant sugars into fuel. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and several Department of Energy laboratories have identified two changes to a single gene that can make the yeast tolerate the pretreatment chemicals.

Lining Up the Surprising Behaviors of a Superconductor with One of the World's Strongest Magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of this material changes in an unusual way under very high magnetic fields--a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperature.

Hotter Temperatures Extend Growing Season for Peatland Plants

A study in Nature revealed that turning up the heat accelerates spring greening in vegetation and delays fall color change. The research team measured plant greenness over three years at the SPRUCE study, a unique ecosystem-scale experiment operated by DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Scientists Create Biodegradable, Paper-Based Biobatteries

The batteries of the future may be made out of paper. Researchers at Binghamton University, State University at New York have created a biodegradable, paper-based battery that is more efficient than previously possible

Scientists 'Squeeze' Nanocrystals in a Liquid Droplet Into a Solid-Like State - and Back Again

A team led by scientists at Berkeley Lab found a way to make a liquid-like state behave more like a solid, and then to reverse the process.

Quantum Computing of an Atomic Nucleus

The first-ever computation of an atomic nucleus, the deuteron, on a quantum chip demonstrates that even today's rudimentary quantum computers can solve nuclear physics questions.

New Approach Yields High-Purity Radium for Medical Applications

Proton-irradiated thorium targets are successfully mined for therapeutic radium isotopes.

Catching the Dance of Antibiotics and Ribosomes at Room Temperature

Researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a new imaging technique to better understand the mechanisms that lead to hearing loss when aminoglycosides are introduced to the body. Using the lab's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser and Stanford Synchrotron Lightsource (SSRL), SLAC researchers, in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University, were able to observe interactions between the drugs and bacterial ribosomes at both extremely low and room temperatures, revealing never-before-seen details.

Can solar energy save the bees?

In response to the population decline of pollinating insects, such as wild bees and monarch butterflies, Argonne researchers are investigating ways to use "pollinator-friendly solar power."

'Strange Metals' Just Got Stranger

Scientists at the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory have discovered a behavior in materials called cuprates that suggests they carry current in a way entirely different from conventional metals such as copper. The research, published today in the journal Science, adds new meaning to the materials' moniker, "strange metals."

In a First, Scientists Precisely Measure How Synthetic Diamonds Grow

Scientists have now observed for the first time how diamonds grow from seed at an atomic level, and discovered just how big the seeds need to be to kick the crystal growing process into overdrive.

Crash Course in Old Mining Tech Creates Cheap, Easy Way to Recycle Lithium Ion Batteries

Using 100-year-old minerals processing methods, chemical engineering students have found a solution to a looming 21st-century problem: how to economically recycle lithium ion batteries.

Particle physicists team up with AI to solve toughest science problems

A group of researchers, including scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, summarize current applications and future prospects of machine learning in particle physics in a paper published today in Nature.

New Competition for MOFs: Scientists Make Stronger COFs

Hollow molecular structures known as COFs suffer from an inherent problem: It's difficult to keep a network of COFs connected in harsh chemical environments. Now, a team at the Berkeley Lab has used a chemical process discovered decades ago to make the linkages between COFs much more sturdy, and to give the COFs new characteristics that could expand their applications.