New Cost-Effective Instrument Measures Molecular Dynamics on a Picosecond Timescale

Studying the photochemistry has shown that ultraviolet radiation can set off harmful chemical reactions in the human body and, alternatively, can provide "photo-protection" by dispersing extra energy. To better understand the dynamics of these photochemical processes, a group of scientists irradiated the RNA base uracil with ultraviolet light and documented its behavior on a picosecond timescale. They discuss their work this week in The Journal of Chemical Physics.

Exploding Waves from Colliding Dissipative Pulses

The interaction of traveling waves in dissipative systems, physical systems driven by energy dissipation, can yield unexpected and sometimes chaotic results. These waves, known as dissipative pulses are driving experimental studies in a variety of areas that involve matter and energy flows. In the journal Chaos, researchers discuss their work studying collisions between three types of DSs to determine what happens when these traveling waves interact.

Theorists Publish Highest-Precision Prediction of Muon Magnetic Anomaly

UPTON, NY--Theoretical physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Brookhaven National Laboratory and their collaborators have just released the most precise prediction of how subatomic particles called muons--heavy cousins of electrons--"wobble" off their path in a powerful magnetic field.

How Gold Nanoparticles Could Improve Solar Energy Storage

Star-shaped gold nanoparticles, coated with a semiconductor, can produce hydrogen from water over four times more efficiently than other methods - opening the door to improved storage of solar energy and other advances that could boost renewable energy use and combat climate change, according to Rutgers University-New Brunswick researchers.

National Ignition Facility Sets New Energy Record

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser system has set a new record, firing 2.15 megajoules (MJ) of energy to its target chamber - a 15 percent improvement over NIF's design specification of 1.8 MJ, and more than 10 percent higher than the previous 1.9 MJ energy record set in March 2012. Increasing NIF's energy limit will expand the parameter space for stockpile stewardship experiments and provide a significant boost to the pursuit of ignition.

Generating Electrical Power From Waste Heat

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories have developed a tiny silicon-based device that can harness what was previously called waste heat and turn it into DC power.

Extracting Signals of Elusive Particles from Giant Chambers Filled with Liquefied Argon

In two new papers, the MicroBooNE collaboration describes how they use this detector to pick up the telltale signs of neutrinos. The papers include details of the signal processing algorithms that are critical to accurately reconstruct neutrinos' subtle interactions with atoms in the detector.

SLAC's Ultra-High-Speed 'Electron Camera' Catches Molecules at a Crossroads

An extremely fast "electron camera" at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has produced the most detailed atomic movie of the decisive point where molecules hit by light can either stay intact or break apart. The results could lead to a better understanding of how molecules respond to light in processes that are crucial for life, like photosynthesis and vision, or that are potentially harmful, such as DNA damage from ultraviolet light.

Merging Antenna and Electronics Boosts Energy and Spectrum Efficiency

By integrating the design of antenna and electronics, researchers have boosted the energy and spectrum efficiency for a new class of millimeter wave transmitters, allowing improved modulation and reduced generation of waste heat. The result could be longer talk time and higher data rates in millimeter wave wireless communication devices for future 5G applications.

New Experimental Results from the Largest and Most Sophisticated Stellerator

An international team is running tests on the largest and most sophisticated stellerator, the Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment. This complex machine is housed at the Max-Planck-Institute of Plasma Physics, and researchers are analyzing data from the first experiment campaign that took place in 2016, hoping to understand the science of fusion reactors. In a new report in Physics of Plasma, the scientists recount the first detailed characterization of plasma turbulence at the outer edge of the stellerator.

X-Ray Experiment Confirms Theoretical Model for Making New Materials

Experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have confirmed the predictive power of a new computational approach to materials synthesis. Researchers say that this approach, developed at the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, could streamline the creation of novel materials for solar cells, batteries and other sustainable technologies.

Diesel Doesn't Float This Boat

Marine research could soon be possible without the risk of polluting either the air or the ocean. It's thanks to a new ship design and feasibility study led by Sandia National Laboratories. Despite many advantages, the feasibility of a hydrogen-powered research vessel has never been studied or proven. Until now.

Adding an Inert Polymer to Plastic Solar Cells Enables High Efficiency and Easy Production

Polymer plastic solar cells remain an industry priority because of their light weight, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Now scientists from Stony Brook University and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) have demonstrated that these types of solar cells can be more efficient and have more stability based on new research findings.

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

ORNL story tips: Oak Ridge National Laboratory assists FEMA with structural damage data from Hawaii lava flows; self-healing super-stretchy material could lead to longer-lasting consumer products; ORNL 3D prints plant-based plastic polymers; mini-grid safely tests components to the max; neutrons uncover pathway to new algae strains for sustainable biofuels.

Supercomputers Help Design Mutant Enzyme that Eats Plastic Bottles

PET plastic, short for polyethylene terephthalate, is the fourth most-produced plastic, used to make things such as beverage bottles and carpets, most of which are not being recycled. Some scientists are hoping to change that, using supercomputers to engineer an enzyme that breaks down PET. They say it's a step on a long road toward recycling PET and other plastics into commercially valuable materials at industrial scale.

Atomic Movie of Melting Gold Could Help Design Materials for Future Fusion Reactors

Researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have recorded the most detailed atomic movie of gold melting after being blasted by laser light. The insights they gained into how metals liquefy have potential to aid the development of fusion power reactors, steel processing plants, spacecraft and other applications where materials have to withstand extreme conditions for long periods of time.

New Insights Bolster Einstein's Idea About How Heat Moves Through Solids

A discovery by scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory supports a century-old theory by Albert Einstein that explains how heat moves through everything from travel mugs to engine parts.

Sandia Light Mixer Generates 11 Colors Simultaneously

A multicolor laser pointer you can use to change the color of the laser with a button click -- similar to a multicolor ballpoint pen -- is one step closer to reality thanks to a new tiny synthetic material made at Sandia National Laboratories. Research on the new light-mixing metamaterial was published in Nature Communications earlier today.

Reproducibility Matters

An international team reported on the results of a large-scale field study to identify the core microbial community for the maize rhizosphere. The work partially replicates earlier trials to identify soil microbes that colonize plants and which can be associated with particular traits.

Tracking Down Helium-4's Quarks and Gluons

Scientists obtain the first exclusive measurement of deeply virtual Compton scattering of electrons off helium-4, vital to obtaining an unambiguous 3-D view of quarks and gluons within nuclei.

Separate But Together: Ultrathin Membrane Both Isolates and Couples Living and Non-Living Catalysts

Bioelectrochemical systems combine the best of both worlds - microbial cells with inorganic materials - to make fuels and other energy-rich chemicals with unrivaled efficiency. Yet technical difficulties have kept them impractical anywhere but in a lab. Now researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a novel nanoscale membrane that could address these issues and pave the way for commercial scale-up.

Engineer Creates New Design for Ultra-Thin Capacitive Sensors

As part of ongoing acoustic research at Binghamton University, State University at New York Distinguished Professor Ron Miles has created a workable sensor with the least possible resistance to motion.

'Workhorse' Lithium Battery Could Be More Powerful Thanks to New Design

Cornell University chemical engineering professor Lynden Archer believes there needs to be a battery technology "revolution" - and thinks that his lab has fired one of the first shots.

Predicting Magnetic Explosions: From Plasma Current Sheet Disruption to Fast Magnetic Reconnection

Supercomputer simulations and theoretical analysis shed new light on when and how fast reconnection occurs.

Is Nature Exclusively Left Handed? Using Chilled Atoms to Find Out

Elegant techniques of trapping and polarizing atoms open vistas for beta-decay tests of fundamental symmetries, key to understanding the most basic forces and particles constituting our universe.