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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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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.

Strain-tolerant, triangular, monolayer crystals of WS2 were grown on SiO2 substrates patterned with donut-shaped pillars, as shown in scanning electron microscope (bottom) and atomic force microscope (middle) image elements.

A team led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory explored how atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) crystals can grow over 3D objects and how the curvature of those objects can stretch and strain the 

Pictured in this early conceptual drawing, the Translational Research Capability planned for Oak Ridge National Laboratory will follow the design of research facilities constructed during the laboratory’s modernization campaign.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 7, 2019—Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and lab officials today broke ground on a multipurpose research facility that will provide state-of-the-art laboratory space 

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.

In this MXene electrode, choosing the appropriate solvent for the electrolyte can increase energy density significantly. This scanning electron microscopy image shows fine features of a film only 5 microns thick—approximately 10 times narrower than a human hair. Credit: Drexel University; image by Tyler Mathis

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 4, 2019—Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Drexel University and their partners have discovered a way to improve the energy density of promising energy-storage materials, conductive two-dimensional ceramics called MXenes. The findings are published in Nature Energy.

To develop complex materials with superior properties, Vera Bocharova uses diverse methods including broadband dielectric spectroscopy. Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy; photographer Jason Richards

Vera Bocharova at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigates the structure and dynamics of soft materials—polymer nanocomposites, polymer electrolytes and biological macromolecules—to advance materials and technologies for energy, medicine and other applications.

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Jan. 31, 2019—A new electron microscopy technique that detects the subtle changes in the weight of proteins at the nanoscale—while keeping the sample intact—could open a new pathway for deeper, more comprehensive studies of the basic building blocks of life. 

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists studying fuel cells as a potential alternative to internal combustion engines used sophisticated electron microscopy to investigate the benefits of replacing high-cost platinum with a lower cost, carbon-nitrogen-manganese-based catalyst.

From left, Amit Naskar, Ngoc Nguyen and Christopher Bowland in ORNL’s Carbon and Composites Group bring a new capability—structural health monitoring—to strong, lightweight materials promising for transportation applications.

Carbon fiber composites—lightweight and strong—are great structural materials for automobiles, aircraft and other transportation vehicles. They consist of a polymer matrix, such as epoxy, into which reinforcing carbon fibers have been embedded. Because of differences in the mecha...

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Physicists turned to the “doubly magic” tin isotope Sn-132, colliding it with a target at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to assess its properties as it lost a neutron to become Sn-131.