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An artist rendering of the SKA’s low-frequency, cone-shaped antennas in Western Australia. Credit: SKA Project Office.

For nearly three decades, scientists and engineers across the globe have worked on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a project focused on designing and building the world’s largest radio telescope. Although the SKA will collect enormous amounts of precise astronomical data in record time, scientific breakthroughs will only be possible with systems able to efficiently process that data.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed an experiment for testing potential materials for use in interplanetary travel. The experiment exposes prototype materials to temperatures over 2,400 degrees Celsius with only 300 watts of input electrical power. Credit: Carlos Jones, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

If humankind reaches Mars this century, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory-developed experiment testing advanced materials for spacecraft may play a key role. 

New wireless charging coil designs, created and tested by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, include a three-phase system that features rotating magnetic fields between layers of coils. The layered coils transfer power in a more uniform way, allowing for an increase in power density. Credit: Jason Pries/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL researchers created and tested new wireless charging designs that may double the power density, resulting in a lighter weight system compared with existing technologies.

Snapshot of total temperature distribution at supersonic speed of mach 2.4. Total temperature allows the team to visualize the extent of the exhaust plumes as the temperature of the plumes is much greater than that of the surrounding atmosphere. Credit: NASA

The type of vehicle that will carry people to the Red Planet is shaping up to be “like a two-story house you’re trying to land on another planet. 

As part of DOE’s HPC4Mobility initiative ORNL researchers developed machine learning algorithms that can control smart traffic lights at intersections to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic and increase fuel efficiency.

A modern, healthy transportation system is vital to the nation’s economic security and the American standard of living. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is engaged in a broad portfolio of scientific research for improved mobility

Salting the gears

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory proved that a certain class of ionic liquids, when mixed with commercially available oils, can make gears run more efficiently with less noise and better durability.

Galactic wind simulation

Using the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a team of astrophysicists created a set of galactic wind simulations of the highest resolution ever performed. The simulations will allow researchers to gather and interpret more accurate, detailed data that elucidates how galactic winds affect the formation and evolution of galaxies.

Hong Wang, a senior distinguished researcher at the National Transportation Research Center, uses applied mathematics and modeling to improve transportation systems.

In Hong Wang’s world, nothing is beyond control. Before joining Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a senior distinguished researcher in transportation systems, he spent more than three decades studying the control of complex industrial systems in the United Kingdom. 

Batteries—Polymers that bind

A team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated that designed synthetic polymers can serve as a high-performance binding material for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.

Alex Johs at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source

Sometimes solutions to the biggest problems can be found in the smallest details. The work of biochemist Alex Johs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory bears this out, as he focuses on understanding protein structures and molecular interactions to resolve complex global problems like the spread of mercury pollution in waterways and the food supply.