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ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to news@ornl.gov.

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Eight ORNL scientists are among the world’s most highly cited researchers, Credit: Butch Newton/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Eight ORNL scientists are among the world’s most highly cited researchers, according to a bibliometric analysis conducted by the scientific publication analytics firm Clarivate.

ORNL’s Tomás Rush explores the secret lives of fungi and plants for insights into the interactions that determine plant health. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Tomás Rush began studying the mysteries of fungi in fifth grade and spent his college intern days tromping through forests, swamps and agricultural lands searching for signs of fungal plant pathogens causing disease on host plants.

Scientists at ORNL have created a rhizosphere-on-a-chip research platform, a miniaturized environment to study the ecosystem around poplar tree roots for insights into plant health and soil carbon sequestration. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at ORNL have created a miniaturized environment to study the ecosystem around poplar tree roots for insights into plant health and soil carbon sequestration.

Samarthya Bhagia examines a sample of a thermoplastic composite material additively manufactured using poplar wood and polylactic acid. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Chemical and environmental engineer Samarthya Bhagia is focused on achieving carbon neutrality and a circular economy by designing new plant-based materials for a range of applications from energy storage devices and sensors to environmentally friendly bioplastics.

These images show increasing levels of magnification of phytoliths in the leaves of poplar trees, a key biofuel crop, imaged using ORNL’s specialized microscopy-spectroscopy. Credit: Elizabeth Herndon/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are closer to unlocking the secrets to better soil carbon sequestration by studying the tiny, sand-like silicon deposits called phytoliths in plants.

Scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy, a nondestructive technique in which the tip of the probe of a microscope scatters pulses of light to generate a picture of a sample, allowed the team to obtain insights into the composition of plant cell walls. Credit: Ali Passian/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

To optimize biomaterials for reliable, cost-effective paper production, building construction, and biofuel development, researchers often study the structure of plant cells using techniques such as freezing plant samples or placing them in a vacuum.

Jim Szybist, Propulsion Science section head at ORNL, is applying his years of alternative fuel combustion and thermodynamics research to the challenge of cleaning up the hard-to-decarbonize, heavy-duty mobility sector. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

What’s getting Jim Szybist fired up these days? It’s the opportunity to apply his years of alternative fuel combustion and thermodynamics research to the challenge of cleaning up the hard-to-decarbonize, heavy-duty mobility sector — from airplanes to locomotives to ships and massive farm combines.

Earth Day

Tackling the climate crisis and achieving an equitable clean energy future are among the biggest challenges of our time. 

ORNL scientists created a new microbial trait mapping process that improves on classical protoplast fusion techniques to identify the genes that trigger desirable genetic traits like improved biomass processing. Credit: Nathan Armistead/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy. Reprinted with the permission of Oxford University Press, publisher of Nucleic Acids Research

ORNL scientists had a problem mapping the genomes of bacteria to better understand the origins of their physical traits and improve their function for bioenergy production.

The ORNL-developed AquaBOT measures a range of water quality indicators, providing data for studies focused on clean water and sustainable energy. Credit: Natalie Griffiths/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Measuring water quality throughout river networks with precision, speed and at lower cost than traditional methods is now possible with AquaBOT, an aquatic drone developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.