Dendrite Eraser: New Electrolyte Rids Batteries of Short-Circuiting Fibers

A new electrolyte allows rechargeable batteries to operate well without growing dendrites, tiny pin-like fibers that short-circuit rechargeable batteries.

Using 'Fuzzy Logic' to Optimize Hybrid Solar/Battery Systems

A group of researchers in Tunisia and Algeria show how fuzzy logic has helped them create an ideal photovoltaic system that obeys the supply-and-demand principle and its delicate balance. They describe this new sizing system of a solar array and a battery in a standalone photovoltaic system in The Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Searching for Signs of a Force from the 'Dark Side' in Particle Collisions at RHIC

Scientists searching for signs of elusive "dark photons" as an explanation for an anomaly in a groundbreaking physics experiment have nearly ruled out their role.

New Solder for Semiconductors Creates Technological Possibilities

A research team led by the University of Chicago's Dmitri Talapin has demonstrated how semiconductors can be soldered and still deliver good electronic performance.

Scientists Get First Glimpse of a Chemical Bond Being Born

Scientists have used an X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to get the first glimpse of the transition state where two atoms begin to form a weak bond on the way to becoming a molecule.

Better Catalysts, Made-to-Order

University of Utah scientists captured enough data on crucial steps in a chemical reaction to accurately predict the structures of the most efficient catalysts, those that would speed the process with the least amount of unwanted byproducts. The new approach could help chemists design catalysts that are not just incrementally better, but entirely new.

Scientists Take First X-ray Portraits of Living Bacteria at the LCLS

Researchers working at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have captured the first X-ray portraits of living bacteria. This milestone, reported in the Feb. 11 issue of Nature Communications, is a first step toward possible X-ray explorations of the molecular machinery at work in viral infections, cell division, photosynthesis and other processes that are important to biology, human health and our environment.

Direct Measurement of Key Molecule Will Increase Accuracy of Combustion Models

Sandia National Laboratories researchers are the first to directly measure hydroperoxyalkyl radicals -- a class of reactive molecules denoted as "QOOH" -- that are key in the chain of reactions that controls the early stages of combustion. This breakthrough has generated data on QOOH reaction rates and outcomes that will improve the fidelity of models used by engine manufacturers to create cleaner and more efficient cars and trucks. A paper describing the work, performed by David Osborn, Ewa Papajak, John Savee, Craig Taatjes and Judit Zador at Sandia's Combustion Research Facility, is featured in the Feb. 6 edition of Science.

Tracking Glaciers with Accelerators

To predict Earth's future, geologists use particle accelerators to understand its past.

A Closer Look at the Flawed Studies Behind Policies Used to Promote 'Low-Carbon' Biofuels

Nearly all of the studies used to promote biofuels as climate-friendly alternatives to petroleum fuels are flawed and need to be redone, according to a University of Michigan researcher who reviewed more than 100 papers published over more than two decades.

Record Keeping Helps Bacteria's Immune System Fight Invaders

Bacteria have a sophisticated means of defending themselves, and they need it: more viruses infect bacteria than any other biological entity. Two experiments undertaken at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory provide new insight at the heart of bacterial adaptive defenses in a system called CRISPR, short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat.

UAH Research May Create Better Electric Car Batteries

Smaller, lighter electric car batteries that don't have to sacrifice longevity to be petite could be one benefit of basic research into lithium-ion battery nanomaterials at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

IU Biologists Partner Bacterium with Nitrogen Gas to Produce More, Cleaner Bioethanol

Indiana University biologists believe they have found a faster, cheaper and cleaner way to increase bioethanol production by using nitrogen gas, the most abundant gas in Earth's atmosphere, in place of more costly industrial fertilizers. The discovery could save the industry millions of dollars and make cellulosic ethanol - made from wood, grasses and inedible parts of plants - more competitive with corn ethanol and gasoline.

The Quest for Efficiency in Thermoelectric Nanowires

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have developed a single electroforming technique that tailored key factors to better thermoelectric performance: crystal orientation, crystal size and alloy uniformity. The work is outlined in a paper, "Using Galvanostatic Electroforming of Bi1-xSbx Nanowires to Control Composition, Crystallinity and Orientation," in MRS Bulletin.

Tracking Fish Easier, Quicker, Safer with New Injectable Device

A new acoustic fish-tracking tag is so tiny it can be injected with a syringe. It's small size enables researchers to more precisely and safely record how fish swim through dams and use that information to make dams more fish-friendly.

Nanoscale Mirrored Cavities Amplify, Connect Quantum Memories

Constructing tiny "mirrors" to trap light increases the efficiency with which photons can pick up and transmit information about electronic spin states--which is essential for scaling up quantum memories for functional quantum computing systems and networks.

ORNL Researchers Tune Friction in Ionic Solids at the Nanoscale

Experiments conducted by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uncovered a way of controlling friction on ionic surfaces at the nanoscale using electrical stimulation and ambient water vapor.

'Bulletproof' Battery: Kevlar Membrane for Safer, Thinner Lithium Rechargeables

New battery technology from the University of Michigan should be able to prevent the kind of fires that grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners in 2013.

Calculating the Future of Solar-Fuel Refineries

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has developed a new tool to help engineers better gauge the overall yield, efficiency and costs associated with scaling solar-fuel production processes up into large-scale refineries.

California's Policies Can Significantly Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through 2030

A new model of the impact of California's existing and proposed policies on its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals suggests that the state is on track to meet 2020 goals, and could achieve greater emission reductions by 2030, but the state will need to do more to reach its 2050 climate goals.

Self-Assembled Nanotextures Create Antireflective Surface on Silicon Solar Cells

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory show that etching a nanoscale texture onto silicon creates an antireflective surface that works as well as state-of-the-art thin-film multilayer antireflective coatings for solar cells.

Humanity Has Exceeded 4 of 9 'Planetary Boundaries,' According to Researchers

An international team of researchers says climate change, the loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, and altered biogeochemical cycles like phosphorus and nitrogen runoff have all passed beyond levels that put humanity in a "safe operating space." Civilization has crossed four of nine so-called planetary boundaries as the result of human activity, according to a report published today in Science by the 18-member research team.

Carbon Nanotube Finding Could Lead to Flexible Electronics with Longer Battery Life

University of Wisconsin-Madison materials engineers have made a significant leap toward creating higher-performance electronics with improved battery life -- and the ability to flex and stretch. Led by materials science Associate Professor Michael Arnold and Professor Padma Gopalan, the team has reported the highest-performing carbon nanotube transistors ever demonstrated. In addition to paving the way for improved consumer electronics, this technology could also have specific uses in industrial and military applications.

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2015

While researchers in ORNL's buildings group focus on increasing energy efficiency using new foam insulation panels, the nanophase materials sector experiments with catalyst performance, revealing an oxidation discovery that could help reduce vehicle emissions. Additionally, ORNL researchers aim to reduce the size, weight and power for some particle accelerators with development of a new voltage supply. And by using water and nano-sized particles isolated from trees and plants, scientists explore low-cost and nontoxic metal oxides.

Zinc Oxide Materials Tapped for Tiny Energy Harvesting Devices

Today, we're surrounded by a variety of electronic devices that are moving increasingly closer to us - we can attach and wear them, or even implant electronics inside our bodies. Many types of smart devices are readily available and convenient to use. The goal now is to make wearable electronics that are flexible, sustainable and powered by ambient renewable energy.