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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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Lighting up liquid crystals

Researchers used neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source to probe the structure of a colorful new material that may pave the way for improved sensors and vivid displays.

Researchers explore the surface chemistry of a copper-chromium-iron oxide catalyst used to generate and purify hydrogen for industrial applications. Credit: Michelle Lehman and Adam Malin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory; U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Collaborators at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and U.S. universities used neutron scattering and other advanced characterization techniques to study how a prominent catalyst enables the “water-gas shift” reaction to purify and generate hydrogen at industrial scale.

ORNL’s Kate Page, left, received a PECASE citation from Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Credit: Donica Payne/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Two researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received a 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE.

Neutrons—Mastering magnetism

Researchers have pioneered a new technique using pressure to manipulate magnetism in thin film materials used to enhance performance in electronic devices.

Materials—Engineering heat transport

Scientists have discovered a way to alter heat transport in thermoelectric materials, a finding that may ultimately improve energy efficiency as the materials convert heat flow into electricity.

Snowflakes indicate phases of super-cold ice

An ORNL-led team's observation of certain crystalline ice phases challenges accepted theories about super-cooled water and non-crystalline ice. Their findings, reported in the journal Nature, will also lead to better understanding of ice and its various phases found on other planets, moons and elsewhere in space.

Samples of 70% dark chocolate prepared for study with the USANS instrument at the Spallation Neutron Source. (Credit: ORNL/Genevieve Martin)

Tempering, the heating process that gives chocolate its appealing sheen and creamy texture, is a crucial part of crafting quality chocolate. But, at the molecular level, it gets a little tricky, and when done incorrectly, can render entire batches of chocolate gritty and unappetizing.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory develops liquid helium auto-fill technology

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 14, 2019—Advanced Research Systems, Inc., has licensed a technology designed to automatically refill liquid helium used in laboratory equipment for low-temperature scientific experiments, which will reduce downtime, recover more helium and increase overall efficiency.

ORNL collaborator Hsiu-Wen Wang led the neutron scattering experiments at the Spallation Neutron Source to probe complex electrolyte solutions that challenge nuclear waste processing at Hanford and other sites. Credit: Genevieve Martin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State University teamed up to investigate the complex dynamics of low-water liquids that challenge nuclear waste processing at federal cleanup sites.

The illustrations show how the correlation between lattice distortion and proton binding energy in a material affects proton conduction in different environments. Mitigating this interaction could help researchers improve the ionic conductivity of solid materials.

Ionic conduction involves the movement of ions from one location to another inside a material. The ions travel through point defects, which are irregularities in the otherwise consistent arrangement of atoms known as the crystal lattice. This sometimes sluggish process can limit the performance and efficiency of fuel cells, batteries, and other energy storage technologies.