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Researchers at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL developed a reusable face mask prototype with injection molding that will enable industry to rapidly manufacture. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a race against the clock not only to find a vaccine but also to supply healthcare workers with life-saving equipment such as face shields, masks and test kits.

Prospecting for deformations in exotic isotopes of ruthenium and molybdenum, Allmond found they displayed a deflated-football morphology. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In the Physics Division of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, James (“Mitch”) Allmond conducts experiments and uses theoretical models to advance our understanding of the structure of atomic nuclei, which are made of various combinations of protons and neutrons (nucleons).

Coronavirus graphic

In the race to identify solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are joining the fight by applying expertise in computational science, advanced manufacturing, data science and neutron science.

Kat Royston

As a teenager, Kat Royston had a lot of questions. Then an advanced-placement class in physics convinced her all the answers were out there.

ORNL scientists are combining their expertise in environmental science, physics, sensors and additive manufacturing to create model fish for use in testing of hydropower turbine designs. The project supports healthy ecosystems and hydropower—the nation’s largest renewable energy resource. Photo credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Hydropower developers must consider many factors when it comes time to license a new project or renew an existing one: How can environmental impacts be mitigated, including to fish populations?

Scientists created a novel polymer that is as effective as natural proteins in transporting protons through a membrane. Credit: ORNL/Jill Hemman

Biological membranes, such as the “walls” of most types of living cells, primarily consist of a double layer of lipids, or “lipid bilayer,” that forms the structure, and a variety of embedded and attached proteins with highly specialized functions, including proteins that rapidly and selectively transport ions and molecules in and out of the cell.

Starch granules

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new method to peer deep into the nanostructure of biomaterials without damaging the sample. This novel technique can confirm structural features in starch, a carbohydrate important in biofuel production.

Edge computing is both dependent on and greatly influencing a host of promising technologies including (clockwise from top left): quantum computing; high-performance computing; neuromorphic computing; and carbon nanotubes.

We have a data problem. Humanity is now generating more data than it can handle; more sensors, smartphones, and devices of all types are coming online every day and contributing to the ever-growing global dataset.

microscope lens and lithium battery prototype

The formation of lithium dendrites is still a mystery, but materials engineers study the conditions that enable dendrites and how to stop them.

Scanning probe microscopes use an atom-sharp tip—only a few nanometers thick—to image materials on a nanometer length scale. The probe tip, invisible to the eye, is attached to a cantilever (pictured) that moves across material surfaces like the tone arm on a record player. Credit: Genevieve Martin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory; U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Liam Collins was drawn to study physics to understand “hidden things” and honed his expertise in microscopy so that he could bring them to light.