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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.

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.

ORNL astrophysicist Raph Hix models the inner workings of supernovae on the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

More than 1800 years ago, Chinese astronomers puzzled over the sudden appearance of a bright “guest star” in the sky, unaware that they were witnessing the cosmic forge of a supernova, an event repeated countless times scattered across the universe.

Leah Broussard leads a study of neutron decay to understand correlations between electrons and antineutrinos as well as subtle distortions in the electron energy spectrum.

Leah Broussard, a physicist at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has so much fun exploring the neutron that she alternates between calling it her “laboratory” and “playground” for understanding the universe. “The neutron is special,” she said of the sub...

Sergei Kalinin, director of the Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, convenes experts in microscopy and computing to gain scientific insights that will inform design of advanced materials for energy and informati

Sergei Kalinin of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory knows that seeing something is not the same as understanding it. As director of ORNL’s Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials, he convenes experts in microscopy and computing to gain scientific insigh...