News Releases

Critical plant gene takes unexpected detour that could boost biofuel yields


OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 15, 2018 – For decades, biologists have believed a key enzyme in plants had one function—produce amino acids, which are vital to plant survival and also essential to human diets.

But for Wellington Muchero, Meng Xie and their colleagues, this enzyme does more than advertised. They had run a series of experiments on poplar plants that consistently revealed mutations in a structure of the life-sustaining enzyme that was not previously known to exist.

Zili Wu: Beating plants at photosynthetic step with help from catalysts

June 13, 2018 – Zili Wu of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory grew up on a farm in China’s heartland. He chose to leave it to catalyze a career in chemistry. Today Wu leads ORNL’s Surface Chemistry and Catalysis group and conducts research at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL. It turns out what he learned on the farm would later continue to inspire him and feed his accomplishments.

Amy Moore: Delivering the smart mobility goods

Amy Moore is a postdoctoral researcher in the Transportation Planning and Decision Science Group at ORNL.

June 13, 2018 – Amy Moore has found that her pursuit of several degrees and certificates in a variety of subjects is serving her well as she uses her expertise in transportation planning, geographic information science, and information technology to develop intelligent mobility solutions at ORNL.

The transportation systems engineer is working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Transportation Planning and Decision Science Group, where she’s figuring out the most energy-efficient methods for last-mile freight delivery in an urban area (hint: it’s not drones).

Carlex Glass America licenses ORNL superhydrophobic coatings for automotive applications

ORNL’s Tolga Aytug uses thermal processing and etching capabilities to produce a transparent superhydrophobic coating technology. The highly durable, thin coating technology was licensed by Carlex Glass America, aimed initially at advancing superhydrophob

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 13, 2018—Carlex Glass America LLC has exclusively licensed optically clear, superhydrophobic coating technology from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory aimed initially at advancing glass products for the automotive sector. 

ORNL’s development of a water-repellent, transparent coating that carries away dust and dirt, reduces light reflection and resists fingerprints and smudges resulted from more than three years of research on superhydrophobic glass-based coatings.

Robust MOF material exhibits selective, fully reversible and repeatable capture of toxic atmospheric gas

Illustration of a nitrogen dioxide molecule (depicted in red and gold) confined within a nano-size pore of an MFM-300(Al) metal-organic framework material as characterized using neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 11, 2018 — Led by the University of Manchester, an international team of scientists has developed a metal-organic framework material (MOF) that exhibits a selective, fully reversible and repeatable capability to remove nitrogen dioxide gas from the atmosphere in ambient conditions.

Kaushik Biswas: Making self-healing building materials a reality

June 6, 2018 – Inspiration often strikes in the unlikeliest of places and for Kaushik Biswas, a mechanical engineer in ORNL’s Building Envelope & Urban Systems Research Group, a moment spent enjoying entertainment led to the idea of developing self-healing vacuum panels for buildings.

“I was watching a movie in which tires on a presidential limousine could self-repair or inflate when damaged,” he recalled. “This intrigued me, and I thought, if tires can repair themselves, why not vacuum insulation panels?”