News: Features


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Assembly of the PROSPECT neutrino detector. (Credit: PROSPECT collaboration / Mara Lavitt)
May 18, 2018 – The Precision Reactor Oscillation and Spectrum Experiment (PROSPECT) has completed the installation of a novel antineutrino detector that will probe the possible existence of a new form of matter.
Kevin Robb, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is taking what he learned from developing the Liquid Salt Test Loop—a key tool in deploying molten salt technology applications
May 15, 2018 — Thanks in large part to developing and operating a facility for testing molten salt reactor (MSR) technologies, nuclear experts at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are now tackling the next generation of another type of clean energy—concentrating solar thermal power (CSP).
From left, ORNL’s Rick Lowden, Chris Bryan and Jim Kiggans were troubled that target discs of a material needed to produce Mo-99 using an accelerator could deform after irradiation and get stuck in their holder.
May 14, 2018 – “Made in the USA.” That can now be said of the radioactive isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), last made in the United States in the late 1980s. Its short-lived decay product, technetium-99m (Tc-99m), is the most widely used radioisotope in medical diagnostic imaging.
May 10, 2018 — For the past six years, some 140 scientists from five institutions have traveled to the Arctic Circle and beyond to gather field data as part of the Department of Energy-sponsored NGEE Arctic project. 
May 9, 2018 – When whistler waves are present in a fusion plasma, runaway electrons pay attention.  A research team led by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the first to directly observe the elusive waves inside a highly energized magnetic field as electrons zoom around the plasma.
New exascale earth modeling system for energy
April 24, 2018 – A new earth modeling system will use advanced computers and have weather scale resolution to simulate aspects of Earth’s variability and anticipate decadal changes that will critically impact the United States’ energy sector.
Dane Morgan and Ryan Jacobs opened up new windows into how strain alters the superconducting properties of a class of materials called Ruddelsden-Popper oxides.
April 23, 2018 – University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers have added a new dimension to our understanding of why straining a particular group of materials, called Ruddlesden-Popper oxides, tampers with their superconducting properties.
April 23, 2018 - Using novel machine learning techniques, a research team from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is teaching electronic devices how to speak for themselves.
Uppsala University researcher Marvin Seibert is using neutrons to study RuBisCO, an abundant enzyme essential to life on earth.
April 18, 2018 -- Plants, algae, and other organisms produce the RuBisCO enzyme to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into energy-rich molecules, like glucose, that form carbohydrates and other organic carbon compounds essential to life on earth.
L-R: ORNL’s Arvind Ramanathan, Hugh O’Neill, and Paul Gilna inside the Summit supercomputer room. Photo courtesy: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
April 18, 2018—Nearly a dozen scientists across Oak Ridge National Laboratory are teaming with medical researchers and leveraging ORNL’s biggest science tools to solve a modern-day biology grand challenge: unlocking the secrets of disordered proteins.
Academic researchers look to Argonne’s Mira supercomputer to better understand boiling phenomena, bubble formation and two-phase bubbly flow inside nuclear reactors. Credit: Igor Bolotnov/North Carolina State University
April 6, 2018 – The intrinsic beauty of bubbles—those thin watery spheres filled with air or other gases—has long captured the imagination of children and adults alike.
A tetradentate ligand selects americium (Am, depicted by green spheres) over europium (Eu, blue spheres). Red indicates oxygen atoms and purple, nitrogen atoms that are the key to the ligand’s selectivity. Image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S.
March 28, 2018 – After used nuclear fuel is removed from a reactor, it emits heat for decades and remains radioactive for thousands of years. The used fuel is a mixture of major actinides (uranium, plutonium), fission products (mainly assorted metals, including lanthanides) and minor actinides (i.e., americium, curium and neptunium).
Eugene Dumitrescu, Ben Lawrie, Matthew Feldman, and Jordan Hachtel (from left) have conducted investigations aimed at controlling the dissipative nature of quantum systems and materials. The cathodoluminescence microscope used in their work appears at rig
March 27, 2018 – Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are conducting fundamental physics research that will lead to more control over mercurial quantum systems and materials. Their studies will enable advancements in quantum computing, sensing, simulation, and materials development.
A newly discovered material called BiMn3Cr4O12, represented by the crystal structure, exhibits a rare combination of magnetic and electrical properties. The arrows illustrate the spin moments for the elements chromium (Cr) in yellow and manganese (Mn) in
March 20, 2018 – Materials used in electronic devices are typically chosen because they possess either special magnetic or special electrical properties. However, an international team of researchers using neutron scattering recently identified a rare material that has both.
ORNL’s Hong-Jun Yoon, Mohammed Alawad and Gina Tourassi have developed a novel method for more efficiently training large numbers of networks capable of solving complex science problems.
March 14, 2018 – An Oak Ridge National Laboratory method to improve the energy efficiency of scientific artificial intelligence is showing early promise in efforts to parse insights from volumes of cancer data.
ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia (center, seated) visited Robertsville Middle School to present a check in support of the school’s CubeSat efforts.
March 9, 2018 – Last November a team of students and educators from Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge and scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory submitted a proposal to NASA for their Cube Satellite Launch Initiative in hopes of sending a student-designed nanosatellite named RamSat into space.
Juan Carlos Idrobo
March 6, 2018 – For Juan Carlos Idrobo, the scientist’s journey is like taking a test that is only two pages long. You start reading the first page, but you don’t understand any of the questions. You keep reading and after a while a light turns on and you begin to understand.
Shown as green spheres, microcapsules containing the polymer manganoporphyrin, a newly developed antioxidant (green), the natural antioxidant tannic acid (yellow), and a binding material (blue), can be analyzed for stability and efficiency with neutrons.
February 26, 2018 – Many natural and synthetic antioxidants help defend the body against oxidative stress—a biochemical imbalance that can damage cells and lead to illnesses such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer. However, these materials can become unstable and less effective over time.
Researcher Rob Schmidt and his team are using neutrons at HFIR’s CG-1D imaging instrument to study the development of dendrites with hope of improving the design of next-generation lithium ion batteries. Dendrites are thin microscopic fibers that can carr
February 22, 2018 – Researchers are using neutrons to study a battery material that could offer a safer alternative to the flammable liquid component found in most types of lithium-ion batteries.
The Weyl semimetal state is induced when the opposing motions of the electrons cause the Dirac cones to split in two (illustrated on the left by outward facing electrons, opposite the inward facing electrons on the right).
February 19, 2018 – The observation of an abnormal state of matter in a two-dimensional magnetic material is the latest development in the race to harness novel electronic properties for more robust and efficient next-generation devices.
ORNL researchers Todd Toops, Charles Finney, and Melanie DeBusk (left to right) hold an example of a particulate filter used to collect harmful emissions in vehicles.
February 14, 2018 – Researchers are looking to neutrons for new ways to save fuel during the operation of filters that clean the soot, or carbon and ash-based particulate matter, emitted by vehicles.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory bioinformatics researcher Dan Jacobson plugs AI, deep learning into biosystems.
February 12, 2018 – Dan Jacobson is illuminating the workings of biological systems from the molecular scale up by leveraging Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s supercomputing resources to create machine- and deep-learning techniques more easily understood by humans—an evolving field called explainable artificial intelligence (AI).
Germina Ilas (left) and Ian Gauld review spent fuel data entries in the SFCOMPO 2.0 database.
February 9, 2018 – Oak Ridge National Laboratory provided significant contributions and coordination in the development of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s (NEA’s) recently released Spent Fuel Isotopic Composition (SFCOMPO) 2.0—the world’s large
A conceptual illustration of proton-proton fusion in which two protons fuse to form a deuteron. Image courtesy of William Detmold.
February 8, 2018 – Nuclear physicists are using the nation’s most powerful supercomputer, Titan, at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility to study particle interactions important to energy production in the Sun and stars and to propel the search for new physics discoveries
In a model of a 1.6 liter engine cylinder, liquid fuel (shown in red and orange) is converted to fuel vapor under high temperatures during ignition. Image courtesy of Ronald Grover.
February 8, 2018 – Most car owners in the United States do not think twice about passing over the diesel pump at the gas station.