News: Features


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L-R, Researchers Nils Stenvig, Isabelle Snyder and Travis Smith are developing tools and deploying sensors to aid decision-making as Puerto Rico rebuilds and modernizes its power grid.
November 8, 2018 — As Puerto Rico works to restore and modernize its power grid after last year’s devastating hurricane season, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have stepped up to provide unique analysis, sensing and modeling tools to better inform decisions.
Researchers with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered that communities of microbes living in and around poplar tree roots are ten times more diverse than the human microbiome
October 25, 2018 - Researchers with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered that communities of microbes living in and around poplar tree roots are ten times more diverse than the human microbiome and produce novel molecules that could be useful as antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, or for agricultural applications.
October 9, 2018—A novel technique that nudges single atoms to switch places within an atomically thin material could bring scientists another step closer to realizing theoretical physicist Richard Feynman’s vision of building tiny machines from the atom up.
Brad Rearden
October 2, 2018 — In support of industry’s development of advanced reactor designs, the US Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy has named Brad Rearden as the national technical director of its new Nuclear Data and Benchmarking Program.
A GRIDSMART traffic camera installed at an intersection in Leesburg, Virginia. Photo courtesy of GRIDSMART.
September 28, 2018 — In a project leveraging computer vision, machine learning, and sensors, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists are working with private company GRIDSMART Technologies, Inc. to demonstrate how stop lights can be programmed to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.
Jay Jay Billings and Alex McCaskey observe visualizations of ICE simulation data on ORNL’s Exploratory Visualization Environment for Research in Science and Technology facility. Credit: Jason Richards/ORNL
September 14, 2018 — Since designing and launching a specialized workflow management system in 2010, a research team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has continuously updated the technology to help computational scientists develop software, visualize data and solve problems.
SmartTruck, a small business in Greenville, SC, recently completed its first detailed unsteady analysis using modeling and simulation at the OLCF and became the first company to request certification from the EPA through CFD. Image Credit: SmartTruck
August 29, 2018 — Long-haul tractor trailers, often referred to as “18-wheelers,” transport everything from household goods to supermarket foodstuffs across the United States every year. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, these trucks moved more than 10 billion tons of goods—70.6 percent of the nation’s total freight shipments—in 2016.
ORNL cybersecurity researchers Jared Smith (left) and Elliot Greenlee (right) participate in a demonstration day event to showcase how Akatosh, a new security analysis tool, quickly sorts through data to identify potential threats.
August 28, 2018 – As technology continues to evolve, cybersecurity threats do as well.
August 13, 2018—A new approach to find unmarked gravesites could help narrow the scope and potentially speed up the search for clues during crime scene investigations.
Schematic drawing of the boron nitride cell. Credit: University of Illinois at Chicago.
August 3, 2018 — A new microscopy technique developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago allows researchers to visualize liquids at the nanoscale level — about 10 times more resolution than with traditional transmission electron microscopy — for the first time.
A stream classification system developed by ORNL researchers shows the influence of human activity on streams in the Eastern U.S. The map shows streams classified by their alteration status, highlighting the extent of networks that are impounded (magenta)
​July 25, 2018 — A stream classification system developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory can help assess physical changes to United States streams and rivers from human influences and aid in more effective management of water resources.
Rose Ruther and Jagjit Nanda have been collaborating to develop a membrane for a low-cost redox flow battery for grid-scale energy storage.
July 24, 2018 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed a crucial component for a new kind of low-cost stationary battery system utilizing common materials and designed for grid-scale electricity storage.
Ryan Kerekes is leader of the RF, Communications, and Cyber-Physical Security Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Photos by Genevieve Martin, ORNL.
July 23, 2018 — As leader of the RF, Communications, and Cyber-Physical Security Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Kerekes heads an accelerated lab-directed research program to build virtual models of critical infrastructure systems like the power grid that can be used to develop ways to detect and repel cyber-intrusion and to make the network resilient when disruption occurs.
A 3D visualization of the HZDR team’s final simulation of their expanded plastic target. The protons (blue) can be seen traveling along the laser axis from left to right (laser not shown). A particle bunch (red) of high-density protons can be seen at the
July 17, 2018 — Along with surgery and chemotherapy, radiation therapy is one of the most widely accepted forms of cancer therapy today. Current radiation beams for cancer treatments employ photons (light particles), positively charged protons, or negatively charged electrons to target tumors in the body.
Representatives from the US Air Force met with DOE and ORNL computing and global security team members on July 10 to kick off the collaboration.
July 17, 2018 — For the US military, accurate weather prediction is vital to both the planning and execution of worldwide missions.
Lu Huang, USS industrial research engineer prepares a lightweighted advanced high strength steel component for neutron research at the Spallation Neutron Source’s VULCAN instrument.
July 16, 2018 - The demand for lighter, stronger, and more durable materials for use in vehicles has never been higher. Companies are looking at new and advanced materials such as lightweight advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) to develop automotive components that help increase gas efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, and save lives.
The electromagnetic isotope separator system operates by vaporizing an element such as ruthenium into the gas phase, converting the molecules into an ion beam, and then channeling the beam through magnets to separate out the different isotopes.
June 28, 2018—A tiny vial of gray powder produced at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the backbone of a new experiment to study the intense magnetic fields created in nuclear collisions.
ORNL marks 75th anniversary with Lab Day
June 13, 2018 - The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory welcomed the public to its Lab Day on Saturday, marking the laboratory's 75th anniversary with exhibits, science talks, tours, music and food.
Photons of Light
May 25, 2018 — The votes are in, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) Art of Science contest has three award winners: People’s Choice, Director’s Choice, and Director’s Choice honorable mention.
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.