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Catherine Schuman during Hour of Code

ORNL computer scientist Catherine Schuman returned to her alma mater, Harriman High School, to lead Hour of Code activities and talk to students about her job as a researcher.

Argon pellet injection text

As scientists study approaches to best sustain a fusion reactor, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigated injecting shattered argon pellets into a super-hot plasma, when needed, to protect the reactor’s interior wall from high-energy runaway electrons.

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. 

quantum mechanics to advance a range of technologies including computing, fiber optics and network communication

Three researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will lead or participate in collaborative research projects aimed at harnessing the power of quantum mechanics to advance a range of technologies including computing, fiber optics and network communication.

Quantum—Widening the net

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory studying quantum communications have discovered a more practical way to share secret messages among three parties, which could ultimately lead to better cybersecurity for the electric grid 

Quantum—Squeezed light cuts noise

Oak Ridge National Laboratory physicists studying quantum sensing, which could impact a wide range of potential applications from airport security scanning to gravitational wave measurements, have outlined in ACS Photonics the dramatic advances in the field.

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.

Nuclear—Deep space travel

By automating the production of neptunium oxide-aluminum pellets, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have eliminated a key bottleneck when producing plutonium-238 used by NASA to fuel deep space exploration.