Scientists Craft World's Tiniest Interlinking Chains

For decades, scientists have been trying to make a true molecular chain: a repeated set of tiny rings interlocked together. In a study in Science published online Nov. 30, University of Chicago researchers announced the first confirmed method to craft such a molecular chain.

Heavy Metal: How First Supernovae Altered Early Star Formation

An international team of researchers ran multi-scale, multi-physics 2D and 3D simulations at NERSC to illustrate how heavy metals expelled from exploding supernovae held the first stars in the universe regulate subsequent star formation and influence the appearance of galaxies in the process.

Hybrid Electrolyte Enhances Supercapacitance in Vertical Graphene Nanosheets

Supercapacitors can store more energy than and are preferable to batteries because they are able to charge faster, mainly due to the vertical graphene nanosheets that are larger and positioned closer together. Using VGNs as the material for supercapacitor electrodes offers advantages due to their intriguing properties, and those advantages can be enhanced depending on how the material is grown, treated and prepared to work with electrolytes. In this week's Journal of Applied Physics, researchers discuss their work to improve the material's supercapacitance properties.

WVU Physicists Tune the Dynamics of Exotic Quantum Particles

Physicists at West Virginia University have discovered a way to control a newly discovered quantum particle, potentially leading to faster computers and other electronic devices.

Dark Fiber: Using Sensors Beneath Our Feet to Tell Us About Earthquakes, Water, and Other Geophysical Phenomenon

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shown for the first time that dark fiber - the vast network of unused fiber-optic cables installed throughout the country and the world - can be used as sensors for detecting earthquakes, the presence of groundwater, changes in permafrost conditions, and a variety of other subsurface activity.

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

U.S. cities could save billions with ORNL's precise approach to de-icing wintry roads; discovery of overlooked function of certain microbes could boost environmental clean-up strategies; novel tools can "see" atomic structures of aluminum-cerium alloys for automotive and aerospace applications.

Genes Found in Drought-Resistant Plants Could Accelerate Evolution of Water-Use Efficient Crops

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have identified a common set of genes that enable different drought-resistant plants to survive in semi-arid conditions, which could play a significant role in bioengineering and creating energy crops that are tolerant to water deficits.

Study Confirms that Cuprate Materials Have Fluctuating Stripes that May Be Linked to High-temperature Superconductivity

Scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have shown that copper-based superconductors, or cuprates - the first class of materials found to carry electricity with no loss at relatively high temperatures - contain fluctuating stripes of electron charge and spin that meander like rivulets over rough ground.

Making Polymer Chemistry Click

Scientists unlock the key to efficiently make a new class of engineering polymers.

Photosynthesis without Cells: Turning Light into Fuel

An entirely human-made architecture produces hydrogen fuel using light, shows promise for transmitting energy in numerous applications.

Watching a Quantum Material Lose Its Stripes

In quantum materials, periodic stripe patterns can be formed by electrons coupled with lattice distortions. To capture the extremely fast dynamics of how such atomic-scale stripes melt and form, Berkeley Lab scientists used femtosecond-scale laser pulses at terahertz frequencies. Along the way, they found some unexpected behavior.

Scaling Deep Learning for Science

Using the Titan supercomputer, a research team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed an evolutionary algorithm capable of generating custom neural networks that match or exceed the performance of handcrafted artificial intelligence systems.

Addition of Tin Boosts Nanoparticle's Photoluminescence

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed germanium nanoparticles with improved photoluminescence, making them potentially better materials for solar cells and imaging probes. The research team found that by adding tin to the nanoparticle's germanium core, its lattice structure better matched the lattice structure of the cadmium-sulfide coating which allows the particles to absorb more light.

"Holy Grail" for Batteries: Solid-State Magnesium Battery a Big Step Closer

A team of Department of Energy (DOE) scientists at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) has discovered the fastest magnesium-ion solid-state conductor, a major step towards making solid-state magnesium-ion batteries that are both energy dense and safe.

SLAC-led Study Shows Potential for Efficiently Controlling 2-D Materials With Light

In experiments with the lab's ultrafast 'electron camera,' laser light hitting a material is almost completely converted into nuclear vibrations, which are key to switching a material's properties on and off for future electronics and other applications.

New Pathways, Better Biofuels

New research from an engineer at Washington University in St. Louis stitches together the best bits of several different bacteria--including a virulent pathogen--to synthesize a new biofuel product.

Solar Cell Discovery Opens a New Window to Powering Tomorrow's Cities

Windows that generate electricity may have a clearer path to prominent roles in buildings of the future due to an Argonne-led discovery.

How the Earth Stops High-Energy Neutrinos in Their Tracks

A research collaboration including scientists from Berkeley Lab has demonstrated that the Earth stops high-energy neutrinos - particles that only very rarely interact with matter.

Kentucky Researchers First to Produce High Grade Rare Earths From Coal

University of Kentucky researchers have produced nearly pure rare earth concentrates from Kentucky coal using an environmentally-conscious and cost-effective process, a groundbreaking accomplishment in the energy industry.

Watching Atoms Move in Hybrid Perovskite Crystals Reveals Clues to Improving Solar Cells

The discovery of nanoscale changes deep inside hybrid perovskites could shed light on developing low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. Using X-ray beams and lasers, a team of researchers led by the University of California San Diego discovered how the movement of ions in hybrid perovskites causes certain regions within the material to become better solar cells than other parts.

Quantum Dots Amplify Light with Electrical Pumping

In a breakthrough development, Los Alamos scientists have shown that they can successfully amplify light using electrically excited films of the chemically synthesized semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots.

The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

Strain-Free Epitaxy of Germanium Film on Mica

Germanium was the material of choice in the early history of electronic devices, and due to its high charge carrier mobility, it's making a comeback. It's generally grown on expensive single-crystal substrates, adding another challenge to making it sustainably viable for most applications. To address this aspect, researchers demonstrate an epitaxy method that incorporates van der Waals' forces to grow germanium on mica. They discuss their work in the Journal of Applied Physics.

Unplugging the Cellulose Biofuel Bottleneck

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

Detailed View of Immune Proteins Could Lead to New Pathogen-Defense Strategies

Biologists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley used cryo-EM to resolve the structure of a ring of proteins used by the immune system to summon support when under attack, providing new insight into potential strategies for protection from pathogens. The researchers captured the high-resolution image of a protein ring, called an inflammasome, as it was bound to flagellin, a protein from the whiplike tail used by bacteria to propel themselves forward.