Weaving a Fermented Path to Nylons

Microbial enzymes create precursors of nylon while avoiding harsh chemicals and energy-demanding heat.

India's EV Drive Will Boost Power Utilities, Increase Energy Security

India is pushing hard to electrify its automobile market, aiming to sell only electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. But what impact will that shift have on the country's utilities and the grid? A new report by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that the prospective EV expansion will deliver economic benefits, help integrate renewable energy, and significantly reduce imports of foreign oil.

Studying Argon Gas Trapped in Two-Dimensional Array of Tiny "Cages"

For the first time, scientists have trapped a noble gas in a two-dimensional porous structure at room temperature. This achievement will enable detailed studies of individual gas atoms in confinement--research that could inform the design of new materials for gas separation and nuclear waste remediation.

Mica Provides Clue to How Water Transports Minerals

In a new study from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Delaware, chemists have been able to look at the interface between water and muscovite mica, a flat mineral commonly found in granite, soils and many sediments. In particular, the researchers looked at the capture and release of rubidium - a metal closely related to but more easily singled out than common elements like potassium and sodium.

Unraveling the Molecular Complexity of Cellular Machines and Environmental Processes

State-of-the-art mass spectrometer delivers unprecedented capability to scientists.

Machine Learning Technique Offers Insight Into Plasma Behavior

A paper by graduate student Matthew Parsons describes the application of machine learning to avoiding plasma disruptions, which will be crucial to ensuring the longevity of future large tokamaks.

Algae Production Research Gets Boost at Los Alamos

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of three projects to receive up to $8 million, aimed at reducing the costs of producing algal biofuels and bioproducts.

Scientists See Molecules 'Breathe' in Remarkable Detail

In a milestone for studying a class of chemical reactions relevant to novel solar cells and memory storage devices, an international team of researchers working at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory used an X-ray laser to watch "molecular breathing" - waves of subtle in-and-out motions of atoms - in real time and unprecedented detail.

Scientists Design Solar Cell That Captures Nearly All Energy of Solar Spectrum

Scientists have designed and constructed a prototype for a new solar cell that integrates multiple cells stacked into a single device capable of capturing nearly all of the energy in the solar spectrum.

New Berkeley Lab Algorithms Extract Biological Structure from Limited Data

A new Berkeley Lab algorithmic framework called multi-tiered iterative phasing (M-TIP) utilizes advanced mathematical techniques to determine 3D molecular structure of important nanoobjects like proteins and viruses from very sparse sets of noisy, single-particle data.

Laser Stripping Powers Protons

Researchers demonstrate a new technique that could lead to significantly higher power proton beams to answer tough scientific questions.

Meniscus-Assisted Technique Produces High Efficiency Perovskite PV Films

A new low-temperature solution printing technique allows fabrication of high-efficiency perovskite solar cells with large crystals intended to minimize current-robbing grain boundaries. The meniscus-assisted solution printing (MASP) technique boosts power conversion efficiencies to nearly 20 percent by controlling crystal size and orientation.

Electron Orbitals May Hold Key to Unifying Concept of High-Temperature Superconductivity

A team of scientists has found evidence for a new type of electron pairing that may broaden the search for new high-temperature superconductors. The findings provide the basis for a unifying description of how radically different copper- and iron-based "parent" materials can develop the ability to carry electrical current with no resistance at strikingly high temperatures.

Scientists Get First Direct Look at How Electrons 'Dance' with Vibrating Atoms

Scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have made the first direct measurements, and by far the most precise ones, of how electrons move in sync with atomic vibrations rippling through an exotic material, as if they were dancing to the same beat.

New Material May Help Cut Battery Costs for Electric Cars, Cellphones

In the battle of the batteries, lithium-ion technology is the reigning champion. But a novel manganese and sodium-ion-based material developed at The University of Texas at Dallas might become a contender, offering a potentially lower-cost, more ecofriendly option to fuel next-generation devices and electric cars.

First Battery-Free Cellphone Makes Calls by Harvesting Ambient Power

UW engineers have designed the first battery-free cellphone that can send and receive calls using only a few microwatts of power, which it harvests from ambient radio signals or light. It's a major step forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones.

PPPL Researchers Demonstrate First Hot Plasma Edge in a Fusion Facility

Article describes first experimental finding of constant temperature throughout a fusion plasma.

Neutrons Detect Elusive Higgs Amplitude Mode in Quantum Material

A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has used sophisticated neutron scattering techniques to detect an elusive quantum state known as the Higgs amplitude mode in a two-dimensional material.

A Whole-Genome Sequenced Rice Mutant Resource for the Study of Biofuel Feedstocks

Researchers at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute, in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute, are reporting the first whole-genome sequence of a mutant population of Kitaake, a model variety of rice. Their high-density, high-resolution catalog of mutations facilitates the discovery of novel genes and functional elements that control diverse biological pathways.

Cutting the Cost of Ethanol, Other Biofuels and Gasoline

Biofuels like the ethanol in U.S. gasoline could get cheaper thanks to experts at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Michigan State University. They've demonstrated how to design and genetically engineer enzyme surfaces so they bind less to corn stalks and other cellulosic biomass, reducing enzyme costs in biofuels production, according to a study published this month on the cover of the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Story Tips From the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2017

ORNL links Earth and human impact systems for better climate predictions; To develop platform to analyze VA's large health datasets; Neutrons resolve debate over metallic glass behavior origins; 3D printing materials crosslink without heat; Web tool shows energy-savings of airtight buildings; 3D printing and casting yields damage-tolerant parts.

New Studies Reveal Customer Demand and Cost of Supplying Power During an Outage

Long-lasting electrical outages can lead to severe individual and societal impacts, including significant economic losses and even death. A set of companion papers recently published in Risk Analysis found that it would be economically feasible and socially advantageous for electrical companies to provide a partial backup service to customers during a blackout.

'Near-Zero-Power' Temperature Sensor Could Make Wearables, Smart Home Devices Less Power-Hungry

A new "near-zero-power" technology could make wearables and smart home devices last for years without changing or recharging the battery. Electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a temperature sensor that runs on only 113 picowatts of power -- 628 times lower power than the state of the art and about 10 billion times smaller than a watt.

New Studies of Ancient Concrete Could Teach Us to Do as the Romans Did

A new look inside 2,000-year-old Roman concrete has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbor structures to withstand the test of time.