Large Outdoor Study Shows Biodiversity Improves Stability of Algal Biofuel Systems

A diverse mix of species improves the stability and fuel-oil yield of algal biofuel systems, as well as their resistance to invasion by outsiders, according to the findings of a federally funded outdoor study by University of Michigan researchers.

SLAC, Stanford Scientists Discover How a Hardy Microbe's Crystalline Shell Helps it Reel in Food

SLAC and Stanford scientists have discovered how some archaea thrive where other organisms would starve: Their crystalline shells not only protect them from the environment, but they also draw in nutrients through nanosized pores. Those nutrients concentrate in the space between the shell and the microbial cell, so what looks like a famine turns into a feast.

Critical plant gene takes unexpected detour that could boost biofuel yields

For decades, biologists have believed a key enzyme in plants had one function--produce amino acids, which are vital to plant survival and also essential to human diets. But for Wellington Muchero, Meng Xie and their colleagues, this enzyme does more than advertised. They had run a series of experiments on poplar plants that consistently revealed mutations in a structure of the life-sustaining enzyme that was not previously known to exist.

How Microgrids Could Boost Resilience in New Orleans

In a year-long project, researchers at Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories teamed up with the City of New Orleans to analyze ways to increase community resilience and improve the availability of critical lifeline services during and after severe weather. The team used historical hurricane scenarios to model how storms cause localized flooding, disrupt the electrical system and cut off parts of the community from lifeline services. Sandia researchers then developed a tool to analyze and identify existing clusters of businesses and community resources in areas less prone to inundation -- such as gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies that could be outfitted with microgrids to boost resilience.

NIF Experiments Blast Previous Record and Double Fusion Yield

An experimental campaign conducted at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) - the world's largest and most energetic laser - has achieved a total fusion neutron yield of 1.9e16 (1.9x1016) and 54 KJ of fusion energy output - double the previous record. The experiments utilized a diamond capsule - a layer of ultra-thin high-density carbon containing the deuterium-tritium (DT) fusion fuel. In addition to increased yield, the experiments achieved unprecedented pressures, exceeding those found at the center of the Sun.

PNNL Technology Clears Way for Ethanol-Derived Jet Fuel

News Release RICHLAND, Wash. -- ASTM International recently revised ASTM D7566 Annex A5 -- the Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons -- to add ethanol as an approved feedstock for producing alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK). The revision of ASTM D7566 Annex A5 clears the way for increased adoption of sustainable aviation fuels because ethanol feedstocks can be made from so many different low-cost sources.

Experiments at Berkeley Lab Help Trace Interstellar Dust Back to Solar System's Formation

Experiments conducted at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory helped to confirm that samples of interplanetary particles - collected from Earth's upper atmosphere and believed to originate from comets - contain dust leftover from the initial formation of the solar system.

Designing a better superconductor with geometric frustration

Notre Dame study shows a magnet-controlled "switch" in superconductor configuration provides unprecedented flexibility in managing the location of vortex filaments, altering the properties of the superconductor.

Robust MOF Material Exhibits Selective, Fully Reversible and Repeatable Capture of Toxic Atmospheric Gas

Scientists have developed a metal-organic framework material offering selective, reversible and repeatable capture of nitrogen dioxide from ambient air. This could lead to cost-effective capture of greenhouse gases, to facilitate sequestration and help mitigate air pollution and global warming.

Diamond Dust Shimmering Around Distant Stars

Some of the tiniest diamonds in the universe - bits of crystalline carbon hundreds of thousands of times smaller than a grain of sand - have been detected swirling around three infant star systems in the Milky Way. These microscopic gemstones are neither rare nor precious; they are, however, exciting for astronomers who identified them as the source of a mysterious cosmic microwave "glow" emanating from several protoplanetary disks in our galaxy.

Simulations of Magnetically Confined Plasmas Reveal a Self-Regulating Stabilizing Mechanism

A mysterious mechanism that prevents instabilities may be similar to the process that maintains the Earth's magnetic field.

Non-Crystal Clarity: Scientists Find Ordered Magnetic Patterns in Disordered Magnetic Material

A team of scientists working at Berkeley Lab has confirmed a special property known as "chirality" - which potentially could be exploited to transmit and store data in a new way - in nanometers-thick samples of multilayer materials that have a disordered structure.

A boon for physicists: new insights into neutrino interactions from MicroBooNE

Physicists on the MicroBooNE collaboration at the Department of Energy's Fermilab have produced their first collection of science results. The measurements are of three independent quantities that describe neutrino interactions with argon atoms.

Seeing All the Colors of the Plasma Wind

2-D velocity imaging helps fusion researchers understand the role of ion winds (aka flows) in the boundary of tokamak plasmas.

Hidden Magnetism Appears under Hidden Symmetry

Sometimes a good theory just needs the right materials to make it work. That's the case with recent findings by UT's physicists and their colleagues, who designed a two-dimensional magnetic system that points to the possibility of devices with increased security and efficiency, using only a small amount of energy

Theorists Love Giant Formulas (Even More Than Coffee)

SLAC theorist Lance Dixon and collaborators have calculated the formula for the energy-energy correlation (EEC) with more precision than ever before.

New Model Sheds Light on Key Physics of Magnetic Islands That Halt Fusion Reactions

Article describes results of new simulation of magnetic islands.

Renewable Solvents Derived From Lignin Lowers Waste in Biofuel Production

New class of solvents breaks down plant biomass into sugars for biofuels and bioproducts in a closed-loop biorefinery concept.

Scientists Studying Nuclear Spin Make a Surprising Discovery

The size of a nucleus appears to influence the direction of certain particles emitted from collisions with spinning protons.

Blast from the past

Scientists recently reexamined data from the MiniBooNE experiment at Fermilab taken between 2009 and 2011, and they found the first direct evidence of mono-energetic neutrinos, or neutrinos with definite energy, that are energetic enough to produce a muon.

Simulating Turbulent Bubbly Flows in Nuclear Reactors

With a better understanding of bubbly flows, researchers can improve the safety and operation of our nuclear reactors.

Rutgers-led Research Could Lead to More Efficient Electronics

A Rutgers-led team of physicists has demonstrated a way to conduct electricity between transistors without energy loss, opening the door to low-power electronics and, potentially, quantum computing that would be far faster than today's computers. Their findings, which involved using a special mix of materials with magnetic and insulator properties, are published online in Nature Physics.

The Perfect Couple: Higgs and Top Quark Spotted Together

Today two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider announced a discovery that finally links the two heaviest known particles: the top quark and the Higgs boson. The CMS and ATLAS experiments have seen simultaneous production of both particles during a rare subatomic process.

From Leaves to Clouds: Revealing How Trees' Emissions Shape The Air Around Us

Scientists supported by the Department of Energy are studying how biological emissions from trees interact with the atmosphere. These emissions, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), react with other gases to become particles. These particles, called secondary organic aerosols, influence cloud formation. The GoAmazon project studies this process in the Amazonian rainforest to provide data that can improve climate models.

NOvA experiment sees strong evidence for antineutrino oscillation

The NOvA collaboration has announced its first results using antineutrinos, and has seen strong evidence of muon antineutrinos oscillating into electron antineutrinos over long distances, a phenomenon that has never been unambiguously observed.