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.

As Temperatures Rise, Earth's Soil Is 'Breathing' More Heavily

The vast reservoir of carbon stored beneath our feet is entering Earth's atmosphere at an increasing rate, according to a new study in the journal Nature. Blame microbes: When they chew on decaying leaves and dead plants, they convert a storehouse of carbon into carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere.

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

ORNL story tips: Residents' shared desire for water security benefits neighborhoods; 3D printed molds for concrete facades promise lower cost, production time; ORNL engineered the edges of structures in 2D crystals; chasing runaway electrons in fusion plasmas; new tools to understand U.S. waterways and identify potential hydropower sites; better materials for 3D-printed permanent magnets could last longer, perform better.

Large Supercrystals Promise Superior Sensors

Using an artful combination of nanotechnology and basic chemistry, Sandia National Laboratories researchers have encouraged gold nanoparticles to self-assemble into unusually large supercrystals that could significantly improve detection sensitivity to chemicals in explosives or drugs.

New Research Demonstrates Silicon-Based, Tandem Photovoltaic Modules Can Compete in Solar Market

The dominant existing technology--silicon--is more than 90 percent of the way to its theoretical efficiency limit. More efficient technologies will be more expensive. ASU study finds the acceptable intersection of costs vs. efficiency.

Looking Inside the Lithium Battery's Black Box

Columbia University researchers report the use of SRS microscopy, a technique widely used in biomedical studies, to explore the mechanism behind dendrite growth in lithium batteries, the first team of material scientists to directly observe ion transport in electrolytes. They were able to see not only why lithium dendrites form but also how to inhibit their growth. Visualizing ion movement could help improve the performance of electrochemical devices, from batteries to fuel cells to sensors.

Tin Type

Argonne researchers find that tin is a silicon-friendly alternative for production of solid-state memory components.

Engineers Use Tiki Torches in Study of Soot, Diesel Filters

Chemical engineers are using the summer staple in testing methods to improve efficiency of diesel engines.

Pictures of Success in 3-D Printing

The better we understand additive manufacturing -- or 3-D printing, the more likely it may revolutionize manufacturing. A recent Argonne paper spots possible ways to reduce powder "spattering," which can result in defects. This new information could help businesses in many industries.

Black Holes Really Just Ever-Growing Balls of String, Researchers Say

Black holes aren't surrounded by a burning ring of fire after all, suggests new research.

Quantum Computing: Learning to Speak a Whole New Technology

Quantum computers work in a fundamentally different way than classical computers. Computer scientists need to start from scratch when creating algorithms for them to run. Three teams from the Department of Energy's laboratories are developing the foundations for new computer languages and programs.

Unusual Rare Earth Compound Opens Doorway to New Class of Functional Materials

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered an earlier unknown discontinuous magnetoelastic transition in a rare-earth intermetallic. The mechanism of the material's changing magnetic state is so unusual, it provides new possibilities for discovery of similar materials.

And then there was (more) light: Researchers boost performance quality of perovskites

In a paper published online this spring in the journal Nature Photonics, scientists at the University of Washington report that a prototype semiconductor thin-film has performed even better than today's best solar cell materials at emitting light.

ORNL develops new capability to evaluate human-driven change in Eastern U.S. streams

A stream classification system developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory can help assess physical changes to United States streams and rivers from human influences and aid in more effective management of water resources.

A Catalytic Support Material Takes a Leading Role

Chemists at Argonne and Ames national laboratories have spotted an important and unexpected reaction mechanism -- called redox behavior -- in some catalyst support materials that are commonly used in the chemical industry.

Vibrations at an Exceptional Point

A team of international researchers led by engineers at Washington University has developed a way to use a light field to trigger a mechanical movement that will generate an acoustic wave.

Designing the Computational Architecture of the Future

Under a new research program, improved processing capabilities will enable sophisticated applications to operate more effectively in technologies like those that control unmanned aerial vehicles and the internet of things, as well as consumer electronics such as cell phones, cameras and health monitoring devices.

Liquid Microscopy Technique Reveals New Problem with Lithium-Oxygen Batteries

Using an advanced, new microscopy technique that can visualize chemical reactions occurring in liquid environments, researchers have discovered a new reason lithium-oxygen batteries -- which promise up to five times more energy than the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and cell phones -- tend to slow down and die after just a few charge/discharge cycles.

States Boost Renewable Energy and Economic Development When Utilities Adopt Renewable Standards

A group of researchers led by Sanya Carley of Indiana University closely examined the history and evolution of state renewable portfolio standards and interviewed more than 40 experts about renewable portfolio standards implementation. The researchers' findings are newly published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Energy, in an article titled "Empirical evaluation of the stringency and design of renewable portfolio standards."

Nanocrystals Emit Light by Efficiently 'Tunneling' Electrons

Using advanced fabrication techniques, engineers at the University of California San Diego have built a nanosized device out of silver crystals that can generate light by efficiently "tunneling" electrons through a tiny barrier. The work brings plasmonics research a step closer to realizing ultra-compact light sources for high-speed, optical data processing and other on-chip applications.

Two Faces Offer Limitless Possibilities

Named for the mythical god with two faces, Janus membranes -- double-sided membranes that serve as gatekeepers between two substances -- have emerged as a material with potential industrial uses.

Relax, Just Break It

Argonne scientists and their collaborators are helping to answer long-held questions about a technologically important class of materials called relaxor ferroelectrics.

Putting Bacteria to Work

Bacteria are diverse and complex creatures that are demonstrating the ability to communicate organism-to-organism and even interact with the moods and perceptions of their hosts (human or otherwise). Scientists call this behavior "bacterial cognition," a systems biology concept that treats these microscopic creatures as beings that can behave like information processing systems.