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    Discovered: A new way to measure the stability of next-generation magnetic fusion devices

    Discovered: A new way to measure the stability of next-generation magnetic fusion devices

    Feature reports discovery of an alternative method for measuring the stability of fusion plasma, a critical task for researchers seeking to bring the fusion that powers the sun to Earth.

    Can't Take the Heat? 'Cool Walls' Can Reduce Energy Costs, Pollution

    Can't Take the Heat? 'Cool Walls' Can Reduce Energy Costs, Pollution

    A Berkeley Lab study modeled different types and ages of homes, retail stores, and office buildings and found that sunlight-reflecting "cool" exterior walls can save as much or more energy than sunlight-reflecting cool roofs in many places across the U.S.

    Augustana University Professor's Research Leads to Surprising Mating Decision in Butterfly Species

    Augustana University Professor's Research Leads to Surprising Mating Decision in Butterfly Species

    The males of one species of butterfly are more attracted to females that are active, not necessarily what they look like, according to a recent research conducted at Augustana University.The paper, "Behaviour before beauty: Signal weighting during mate selection in the butterfly Papilio polytes," found that males of the species noticed the activity levels of potential female mates, not their markings.

    Pairing "glue" for electrons in iron-based high-temp superconductors studied

    Pairing "glue" for electrons in iron-based high-temp superconductors studied

    Newly published research from a team of scientists led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory sheds more light on the nature of high-temperature iron-based superconductivity.

    Optimizing the Growth of Coatings on Nanowire Catalysts

    Optimizing the Growth of Coatings on Nanowire Catalysts

    A chemical surface treatment boosts the catalytic activity of the wire-looking nanostructures for a key reaction in solar fuel production.

    With Little Training, Machine-Learning Algorithms Can Uncover Hidden Scientific Knowledge

    With Little Training, Machine-Learning Algorithms Can Uncover Hidden Scientific Knowledge

    Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown that an algorithm with no training in materials science can scan the text of millions of papers and uncover new scientific knowledge. They collected 3.3 million abstracts of published materials science papers and fed them into an algorithm called Word2vec. By analyzing relationships between words the algorithm was able to predict discoveries of new thermoelectric materials years in advance and suggest as-yet unknown materials as candidates for thermoelectric materials.

    A Search for New Superheavy Isotopes

    A Search for New Superheavy Isotopes

    If you chart the stability of atomic cores (nuclei), the trend is that adding more protons and neutrons makes the atom less stable. However, there's an island of stability that bucks this trend. If scientists can provide an easier way of producing elements predicted to be on that island of stability, they can fine-tune today's nuclear models. Such elements were difficult to produce, until a team built an apparatus that efficiently produces superheavy elements by transferring multiple nucleons (either protons or neutrons).

    Tiny granules can help bring clean and abundant fusion power to Earth

    Tiny granules can help bring clean and abundant fusion power to Earth

    Physicists from PPPL and General Atomics have concluded that injecting tiny beryllium pellets into ITER could help stabilize the plasma that fuels fusion reactions.

    Improved Fuel Cell Catalysts with Less Platinum

    Improved Fuel Cell Catalysts with Less Platinum

    Scientists have identified highly active yet stable catalysts for use in fuel cells that contain only a quarter of the platinum as compared to existing devices. Platinum is essential for promoting reactions in these fuel cells. However, the precious metal is rare and expensive. Interactions between platinum-cobalt particles and a precious metal-free support contribute to the improved performance.

    Creating 'Movies' of Thin Film Growth at NSLS-II

    Creating 'Movies' of Thin Film Growth at NSLS-II

    Researchers from the University of Vermont, Boston University, and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated a new experimental capability for watching thin film growth in real-time. Using the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)--a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Brookhaven--the researchers were able to produce a "movie" of thin film growth that depicts the process more accurately than traditional techniques can.

    Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2019

    Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2019

    Study finds waste soft drinks for carbon capture could help cut carbon dioxide emissions; sharing secret messages using quantum communications just got more practical for better cybersecurity; designed synthetic polymers for better binding in next-generation li-ion batteries; predictive modeling could point to nuclear reactors running longer; scientists to create computers that mimic human brain.

    New Insights into a Long-Standing Debate About Materials that Turn Motion into Electricity

    New Insights into a Long-Standing Debate About Materials that Turn Motion into Electricity

    For decades, scientists have been intrigued by a class of electronic materials called relaxor ferroelectrics. These lead-based materials can convert mechanical energy to electrical energy and vice versa. The underlying mechanism for this behavior has been elusive. The challenge was getting a detailed view of the atomic structure, critical to resolve the debate concerning the role of local order. Now, novel neutron-based tools and methods have resolved this debate--revealing the relationship of local order motifs and how they affect the underlying properties.

    Super-stretchy, Self-healing, Tunable Polymers

    Super-stretchy, Self-healing, Tunable Polymers

    Discovery of novel polymers with extreme stretching, vibration suppression, and self-healing.

    Confirmation of old theory leads to new breakthrough in superconductor science

    Confirmation of old theory leads to new breakthrough in superconductor science

    Scientists at Harvard have developed a superconductor that is only one nanometer thick. By studying fluctuations in this ultra-thin material as it transitions into superconductivity, the scientists gained insight into the processes that drive superconductivity. They used the new technology to confirm a 23-year-old theory of superconductors developed by scientist Valerii Vinokur from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. Their work could have applications in virtually any technology that uses electricity.

    Beyond the "Sound Barrier" to Get the Heat Out

    Beyond the "Sound Barrier" to Get the Heat Out

    To create materials that handle heat well, scientists are exploring how vibrations within the atomic structure carry heat. Atomic vibrations used to remove heat usually are limited by the speed of sound. A new observation may have shattered that limit. A team of scientists observed particles, called phasons, moving faster than the speed of sound that carry heat. The phasons use a pattern of motion in which atoms rearrange themselves, allowing heat to move faster.

    Novel Electrodes Enhance Battery Capacity

    Novel Electrodes Enhance Battery Capacity

    New self-supporting composite metal material doubles the volumetric energy and achieves fast charging rates in batteries.

    Microbes Retain Toxicity Tolerance After They Escape Toxic Elements

    Microbes Retain Toxicity Tolerance After They Escape Toxic Elements

    Ground water microbes living outside a contaminated area contain mobile genetic elements that provide them resistance to heavy metals.

    Practice makes perfect

    Practice makes perfect

    Argonne researchers are beginning to employ Bayesian methods in developing optimal models of thermodynamic properties. Research available online for the September 2019 issue of the International Journal of Engineering Science focused on hafnium (Hf), a metal emerging as a key component in computer electronics.

    Science Snapshots: A toxin antidote in frogs, atomic motion in 4D, and better biofuels

    Science Snapshots: A toxin antidote in frogs, atomic motion in 4D, and better biofuels

    In new work by Berkeley Lab and our collaborators, scientists discover how a protein made by bullfrogs inhibits the deadly neurotoxin involved in red tide events, perform the first observation of how atoms arrange in four dimensions during phase transitions, and describe a new bacterial gene that could be engineered into biofuel-producing bacteria to significantly boost efficiency.

    Trees Consider the Climate When Choosing Their Partners

    Trees Consider the Climate When Choosing Their Partners

    ees can establish several types of symbiotic relationships with fungi and bacteria. Researchers constructed a global map of the types of tree symbioses across the world. With the map, they determined that the type of fungal symbiosis found in trees depends on how quickly the organic matter in the soil decomposes. The team also found that bacteria that convert nitrogen gas from the atmosphere into plant-usable products form tree symbioses in arid environments.

    First Snapshots of Trapped CO2 Molecules Shed New Light on Carbon Capture

    First Snapshots of Trapped CO2 Molecules Shed New Light on Carbon Capture

    Scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have taken the first images of carbon dioxide molecules within a molecular cage (break)(break)- part of a highly porous nanoparticle known as a MOF, or metal-organic framework, with great potential for separating and storing gases and liquids.

    Feeding Sugars to Algae Makes Them Fat

    Feeding Sugars to Algae Makes Them Fat

    Some microscopic green algae stop photosynthesizing and start accumulating fats and/or other valuable molecules when certain changes happen. However, scientists don't know the details of those swift metabolic changes. A team examined a green microalga to better understand this process. After a few days of feeding this microbe sugar, it completely dismantles its photosynthetic apparatus while accumulating fat. In contrast, after the team stopped feeding it sugar, the microbe returned to its normal metabolism.

    Scientists show how one cause of weak enamel unfolds on the molecular level

    Scientists show how one cause of weak enamel unfolds on the molecular level

    Scientists have shown how a tiny flaw in a protein results in damaged enamel that is prone to decay in people with a condition known as amelogenesis imperfecta. Such patients don't develop enamel correctly because of a single amino acid defect in the critical enamel protein called amelogenin.

    Explaining Light-Nuclei Production in Heavy-Ion Nuclear Collisions

    Explaining Light-Nuclei Production in Heavy-Ion Nuclear Collisions

    Pairs of sub-atomic particles may catalyze reactions that happened moments after the Big Bang.

    Scientists hit pay dirt with new microbial research technique

    Scientists hit pay dirt with new microbial research technique

    Long ago, during the European Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci wrote that we humans "know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot." Five hundred years and innumerable technological and scientific advances later, his sentiment still holds true. But that could soon change. A new study in Nature Communications details how an improved method for studying microbes in the soil will help scientists understand both fine-grained details and large-scale cycles of the environment.