Fast! Hard X-Ray Flash Breaks Speed Record

Lasting just a few hundred billionths of a billionth of a second, these bursts offer new tool to study chemistry and magnetism.

Tiny Distortions in Universe's Oldest Light Reveal Clearer Picture of Strands in Cosmic Web

Scientists have decoded faint distortions in the patterns of the universe's earliest light to map huge tubelike structures invisible to our eyes - known as filaments - that serve as superhighways for delivering matter to dense hubs such as galaxy clusters.

Diamond-Based Circuits Can Take the Heat for Advanced Applications

When power generators transfer electricity to homes, businesses and the power grid, they lose almost 10 percent of the generated power. To address this problem, scientists are researching new diamond semiconductor circuits to make power conversion systems more efficient. Researchers in Japan successfully fabricated a key circuit in power conversion systems using hydrogenated diamond. These circuits can be used in diamond-based electronic devices that are smaller, lighter and more efficient than silicon-based devices. They report their findings in this week's Applied Physics Letters.

ADMX Announces Breakthrough in Axion Dark Matter Detection Technology

This week, the Axion Dark Matter Experiment (ADMX) unveiled a new result, published in Physical Review Letters, that places it in a category of one: It is the world's first and only experiment to have achieved the necessary sensitivity to "hear" the telltale signs of dark matter axions. This technological breakthrough is the result of more than 30 years of research and development, with the latest piece of the puzzle coming in the form of a quantum-enabled device that allows ADMX to listen for axions more closely than any experiment ever built.

Removing the Brakes on Plant Oil Production

UPTON, NY--Scientists studying plant biochemistry at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered new details about biomolecules that put the brakes on oil production. The findings suggest that disabling these biomolecular brakes could push oil production into high gear--a possible pathway toward generating abundant biofuels and plant-derived bioproducts.

Ultra-Powerful Batteries Made Safer, More Efficient

An international team of researchers is laying the foundation for more widespread use of lithium metal batteries. They developed a method to mitigate the formation of dendrites - crystal-like masses - that damage the batteries' performance.

Mirror, Mirror

The mirror-like physics of the superconductor-insulator transition operates exactly as expected. Scientists know this to be true following the observation of a remarkable phenomenon, the existence of which was predicted three decades ago but that had eluded experimental detection until now. The observation confirms that two fundamental quantum states, superconductivity and superinsulation, both arise in mirror-like images of each other.

Neutrino Experiment at Fermilab Delivers an Unprecedented Measurement

A group of scientists working on the MiniBooNE experiment at the Department of Energy's Fermilab has reported a breakthrough: They were able to identify exactly-known-energy muon neutrinos hitting the atoms at the heart of their particle detector. The result eliminates a major source of uncertainty when testing theoretical models of neutrino interactions and neutrino oscillations.

Tick, Tock on the 'Attoclock:' Tracking X-Ray Laser Pulses at Record Speeds

To catch chemistry in action, scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory use the shortest possible flashes of X-ray light to create "molecular movies" that capture the motions of atoms in chemical reactions and reveal new details about the most fundamental processes in nature.

Tiny Bubbles

Bubbles are a linchpin of nuclear engineering, helping to explain the natural world, predict safety issues and improve the operation of the existing and next-generation nuclear fleet. High-performance supercomputers like Mira, located at Argonne, are helping researchers understand the phenomena of bubbling behavior more quickly.

Notre Dame Researchers Developing Renewable Energy Approach for Producing Ammonia

Ammonia is an essential component of fertilizers that support the world's food production needs, and currently production relies on non-renewable fossil fuels and has limited applications for only large, centralized chemical plants.

Trap, Contain and Convert

Injecting carbon dioxide deep underground into basalt flows holds promise as an abatement strategy. Now, new research by scientists at Washington University in St. Louis sheds light on exactly what happens underground during the process, illustrating precisely how effective the volcanic rock could be in trapping and converting CO2 emissions.

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 2018

Story tips: ORNL-led team cultivated a novel oral microbe in adults with periodontitis; ORNL partnered with FCA US and Nemak to develop a new cast aluminum alloy for engine cylinder heads, which could lead to better fuel efficiency; ORNL studies cast doubt on 40-year-old theory describing how plastic polymers behave during processing.

First Direct Observations of Methane's Increasing Greenhouse Effect at the Earth's Surface

Scientists have directly measured the increasing greenhouse effect of methane at the Earth's surface for the first time. A research team from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) tracked a rise in the warming effect of methane - one of the most important greenhouse gases for the Earth's atmosphere - over a 10-year period at a DOE field observation site in northern Oklahoma.

Cooling Method Could Relieve Heat Woes in Data Centers, Electric Vehicles

Electronic systems, such as electric vehicles and large data centers, generate a lot of power, which creates tremendous heat. An engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a unique evaporative cooling system using a membrane with microscopic pillars designed to remediate the heat, ultimately improving performance.

Making Rusty Polymers for Energy Storage

It's called a nanoflower, but if you could brush your cheek against its microscopic petals, you would find them cool, hard, and...rusty. Common rust forms the inner skeleton of these lovely and intricate nanostructures, while their outer layer is a kind of plastic. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a straightforward way to make this type of conducting polymer with high surface area that is likely to be useful for energy transfer and storage applications.

What a Mesh

A team of scientists from across the U.S. has found a new way to create molecular interconnections that can give a certain class of materials exciting new properties, including improving their ability to catalyze chemical reactions or harvest energy from light.

Nanoscale Alloys From Elements Thought to Be Incapable of Mixing

A multi-institutional team of scientists describes a new technique that can meld ions from up to eight different elements to form what are known as high entropy alloyed nanoparticles.

Scientists Develop Sugar-Coated Nanosheets to Selectively Target Pathogens

A team led by Berkeley Lab scientists has developed a process for creating ultrathin, self-assembling sheets of synthetic materials that can function like designer flypaper in selectively binding with viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. The new platform could potentially be used to inactivate or detect pathogens.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Print All-Liquid 3-D Structures

Scientists from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a way to print 3-D structures composed entirely of liquids. Using a modified 3-D printer, they injected threads of water into silicone oil -- sculpting tubes made of one liquid within another liquid.

It's a Trap!

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have published a new study that identifies the process by which holes get trapped in nanoparticles made of zinc oxide, a material of potential interest for solar applications because it absorbs ultraviolet light.

Fleet of Automated Electric Taxis Could Deliver Environmental and Energy Benefits

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley decided to analyze the cost, energy, and environmental implications of a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles operating in Manhattan. They found that shared automated electric vehicles, or SAEVs, could get the job done at a lower cost - by an order of magnitude - than present-day taxis while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.

Putting Quantum Scientists in the Driver's Seat

An interdisciplinary, interdepartmental group of scientists at ORNL conducted fundamental physics studies at the nanoscale to support development of experimental platforms that will control dissipation in quantum systems and materials.

The Future of Photonics Using Quantum Dots

Fiber-optic cables package everything from financial data to cat videos into light, but when the signal arrives at your local data center, it runs into a silicon bottleneck. Instead of light, computers run on electrons moving through silicon-based chips, which are less efficient than photonics. To break through, scientists have been developing lasers that work on silicon. In this week's APL Photonics, researchers write that the future of silicon-based lasers may be in quantum dots.

Research Hints at Double the Driving Range for Electric Vehicles

When it comes to the special sauce of batteries, researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered it's all about the salt concentration.