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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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Parans Paranthaman, a researcher in the Chemical Sciences Division at ORNL, coordinated research efforts to study the filter efficiency of the N95 material. His published results represent one of the first studies on polypropylene as it relates to COVID-19. Credit: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Parans Paranthaman suddenly found himself working from home like millions of others.

Technicians John Dyer and T. Dyer use a manipulator arm in a shielded cave in ORNL’s Radiochemical Engineering Development Center to separate concentrated Pm-147 from byproducts generated through the production of Pu-238.

A new method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory proves one effort’s trash is another’s valuable isotope. One of the byproducts of the lab’s national plutonium-238 production program is promethium-147, a rare isotope used in nuclear batteries and to measure the thickness of materials.

Verónica Melesse Vergara speaks with third and fourth graders at East Side Intermediate School in Brownsville. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Twenty-seven ORNL researchers Zoomed into 11 middle schools across Tennessee during the annual Engineers Week in February. East Tennessee schools throughout Oak Ridge and Roane, Sevier, Blount and Loudon counties participated, with three West Tennessee schools joining in.

The Perseverance rover

On Feb. 18, the world will be watching as NASA’s Perseverance rover makes its final descent into Jezero Crater on the surface of Mars. Mars 2020 is the first NASA mission that uses plutonium-238 produced at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In situ monitoring to evaluate nickel-based superalloys as they are printing gave Mike Kirka, an ORNL materials scientist, the ability to see potential weaknesses that could lead to part failure. Credit: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Growing up in the heart of the American automobile industry near Detroit, Oak Ridge National Laboratory materials scientist Mike Kirka was no stranger to manufacturing.

ORNL’s Xiahan Sang unambiguously resolved the atomic structure of MXene, a 2D material promising for energy storage, catalysis and electronic conductivity. Image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy; photographer Carlos Jones

Researchers have long sought electrically conductive materials for economical energy-storage devices. Two-dimensional (2D) ceramics called MXenes are contenders. Unlike most 2D ceramics, MXenes have inherently good conductivity because they are molecular sheets made from the carbides ...

Advanced materials take flight in the LEAP engine, featuring ceramic matrix composites developed over a quarter-century by GE with help from DOE and ORNL. Image credit: General Electric

Ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials are made of coated ceramic fibers surrounded by a ceramic matrix. They are tough, lightweight and capable of withstanding temperatures 300–400 degrees F hotter than metal alloys can endure. If certain components were made with CMCs instead o...