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ORNL researchers have developed a new class of cobalt-free cathodes called NFA that are being investigated for making lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Credit: Andy Sproles/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed a new family of cathodes with the potential to replace the costly cobalt-based cathodes typically found in today’s lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and consumer electronics.

Fungi use signaling molecules called LCOs to communicate with each other and to regulate growth. Credit: Jessy Labbe/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators have discovered that signaling molecules known to trigger symbiosis between plants and soil bacteria are also used by almost all fungi as chemical signals to communicate with each other.


A multi-institutional team, led by a group of investigators at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been studying various SARS-CoV-2 protein targets, including the virus’s main protease. The feat has earned the team a finalist nomination for the Association of Computing Machinery, or ACM, Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research.

ORNL researchers determined lower heat exchange in lithium-ion batteries is caused by the strong non-harmonic forces among ions and weak interaction between layers, providing guidance for high-density battery design. Credit: Tianli Feng/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers proved that the heat transport ability of lithium-ion battery cathodes is much lower than previously determined, a finding that could help explain barriers to increasing energy storage capacity and boosting performance.

ORNL assisted in investigating proteins called porins, one shown in red, which are found in the protective outer membrane of certain disease-causing bacteria and tether the membrane to the cell wall. Credit: Hyea (Sunny) Hwang/Georgia Tech and ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory used high-performance computing to create protein models that helped reveal how the outer membrane is tethered to the cell membrane in certain bacteria.


NellOne Therapeutics has licensed a drug delivery system from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that is designed to transport therapeutics directly to cells infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19.

Sandra Davern performs cell based assays to evaluate cell death and DNA damage in response to radiation in order to gain a better understanding of how radioisotope nanoparticles affect the human body.

When Sandra Davern looks to the future, she sees individualized isotopes sent into the body with a specific target: cancer cells.

The first neutron structure of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease enzyme revealed unexpected electrical charges in the amino acids cysteine (negative) and histidine (positive), providing key data about the virus’s replication. Credit: Jill Hemman/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

To better understand how the novel coronavirus behaves and how it can be stopped, scientists have completed a three-dimensional map that reveals the location of every atom in an enzyme molecule critical to SARS-CoV-2 reproduction.

ORNL’s Ramesh Bhave poses in his lab in March 2019. Bhave developed the Membrane Solvent Extraction process, which can be used to recover cobalt and other metals from spent lithium-ion batteries. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Momentum Technologies Inc., a Dallas, Texas-based materials science company that is focused on extracting critical metals from electronic waste, has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory process for recovering cobalt and other metals from spent lithium-ion batteries.

Shown here is an on-chip carbonized electrode microstructure from a scanning electron microscope. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee designed and demonstrated a method to make carbon-based materials that can be used as electrodes compatible with a specific semiconductor circuitry.