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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New battery technology from the University of Michigan should be able to prevent the kind of fires that grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners in 2013.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A team from Brookhaven Lab and Columbia University has paired up photovoltaic polymers that produce two units of electricity per unit of light instead of the usual one on a single molecular polymer chain. Having the two charges on the same molecule means the light-absorbing, energy-producing materials work efficiently when dissolved in liquids, which opens the way for a wide range of industrial scale manufacturing processes, including "printing" solar-energy-producing material like ink.
Scientists at Stony Brook University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory are using pioneering x-ray techniques to map internal atomic transformations of the highly conductive silver matrix formation within lithium-based batteries that may lead to the design of more efficient batteries. Their findings are published online today in the journal Science.
A conductive silver matrix forming inside an otherwise poorly performing battery enhances its efficiency and potential applications. X-rays revealed where, when, and how these nanoscale "bridges" emerge.
Hydrogen fuel cells -- possibly the best option for emission-free vehicles -- require costly platinum. Nickel and other metals work but aren't nearly as efficient. Findings published in Nature Communications this week help pin down the basic mechanisms of the fuel-cell reaction on platinum, which will help researchers create alternative electrocatalysts.
Heat pump water heaters are an energy-efficient alternative to conventional electric resistance water heaters. Now research shows heat pump water heaters can also reduce an entire home's energy use - if they're connected to the appropriate ducting.
A new study reveals that certain features of metal surfaces can stop the process of oxidation in its tracks. The findings could be relevant to understanding and perhaps controlling oxidation in a wide range of materials--from catalysts to the superalloys used in jet engine turbines and the oxides in microelectronics.
Researchers at Sandia and Argonne national laboratories have demonstrated, for the first time, a method to successfully predict pressure-dependent chemical reaction rates. It's an important breakthrough in combustion and atmospheric chemistry that is expected to benefit auto and engine manufacturers, oil and gas utilities and other industries that employ combustion models.
A door has been opened to low-power off/on switches in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectronic devices, as well as ultrasensitive bio-sensors, with the first observation of piezoelectricity in a free standing two-dimensional semiconductor by a team of researchers with Berkeley Lab.
First Direct Evidence that a Mysterious Phase of Matter Competes with High-Temperature Superconductivity
Scientists have found the first direct evidence that a mysterious phase of matter known as the "pseudogap" competes with high-temperature superconductivity, robbing it of electrons that otherwise might pair up to carry current through a material with 100 percent efficiency.
First images of molecular fireworks that pinpoint the origin of the zinc sparks. Zinc flux plays a central role in regulating the biochemical processes that ensure a healthy egg-to-embryo transition, and this new unprecedented quantitative information should be useful in improving in vitro fertilization methods.
Ultrafast Imaging of Complex Systems in 3-D at Near Atomic Resolution Becoming Increasingly Possible
It is becoming possible to image complex systems in 3-D with near-atomic resolution on ultrafast timescales using extremely intense X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) pulses. One important step toward ultrafast imaging of samples with a single X-ray shot is understanding the interaction of extremely brilliant and intense X-ray pulses with the sample, including ionization rates.
Sandia National Laboratories is tackling one of the biggest barriers to the use of robots in emergency response: energy efficiency. Through a project supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Sandia is developing technology that will dramatically improve the endurance of legged robots, helping them operate for long periods while performing the types of locomotion most relevant to disaster response scenarios.