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UTK researchers used neutron probes at ORNL to confirm established fundamental chemical rules can also help understand and predict atomic movements and distortions in materials when disorder is introduced, as arrows show. Credit: Eric O’Quinn/UTK

Pauling’s Rules is the standard model used to describe atomic arrangements in ordered materials. Neutron scattering experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory confirmed this approach can also be used to describe highly disordered materials.

four circle diffractometer

A UCLA-led team that discovered the first intrinsic ferromagnetic topological insulator – a quantum material that could revolutionize next-generation electronics – used neutrons at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help verify their finding.

Using the single-crystal diffractometer TOPAZ, Oak Ridge National Laboratory confirmed the exact position of deuterium atoms from selective deuteration of benzene molecules. Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists have found a new method to strategically add deuterium to benzene, an aromatic compound commonly found in crude oil. When applied to the active ingredient of drugs to incorporate deuterium, it could dramatically improve the drugs’ efficacy and safety and even introduce new medicines.

Nuclear — Seeing inside particles

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers working on neutron imaging capabilities for nuclear materials have developed a process for seeing the inside of uranium particles – without cutting them open.

A new computational approach by ORNL can more quickly scan large-scale satellite images, such as these of Puerto Rico, for more accurate mapping of complex infrastructure like buildings. Credit: Maxar Technologies and Dalton Lunga/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A novel approach developed by scientists at ORNL can scan massive datasets of large-scale satellite images to more accurately map infrastructure – such as buildings and roads – in hours versus days. 

Neutrons—Insight into human tissue

Researchers used neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor to better understand how certain cells in human tissue bond together.

Lighting up liquid crystals

Researchers used neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source to probe the structure of a colorful new material that may pave the way for improved sensors and vivid displays.

Neutrons—Mastering magnetism

Researchers have pioneered a new technique using pressure to manipulate magnetism in thin film materials used to enhance performance in electronic devices.

Materials—Engineering heat transport

Scientists have discovered a way to alter heat transport in thermoelectric materials, a finding that may ultimately improve energy efficiency as the materials convert heat flow into electricity.

Neutron scattering allowed direct observation of how aurein induces lateral segregation in the bacteria membranes, which creates instability in the membrane structure. This instability causes the membranes to fail, making harmful bacteria less effective.

As the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs threatens public health, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Shuo Qian and Veerendra Sharma from the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre in India are using neutron scattering to study how an antibacterial peptide interacts with and fights harmful bacteria.