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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.

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.

Researchers explore the surface chemistry of a copper-chromium-iron oxide catalyst used to generate and purify hydrogen for industrial applications. Credit: Michelle Lehman and Adam Malin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory; U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Collaborators at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and U.S. universities used neutron scattering and other advanced characterization techniques to study how a prominent catalyst enables the “water-gas shift” reaction to purify and generate hydrogen at industrial scale.

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 and other energy assets.

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.

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.

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.

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 

Snowflakes indicate phases of super-cold ice

An ORNL-led team's observation of certain crystalline ice phases challenges accepted theories about super-cooled water and non-crystalline ice. Their findings, reported in the journal Nature, will also lead to better understanding of ice and its various phases found on other planets, moons and elsewhere in space.

Samples of 70% dark chocolate prepared for study with the USANS instrument at the Spallation Neutron Source. (Credit: ORNL/Genevieve Martin)

Tempering, the heating process that gives chocolate its appealing sheen and creamy texture, is a crucial part of crafting quality chocolate. But, at the molecular level, it gets a little tricky, and when done incorrectly, can render entire batches of chocolate gritty and unappetizing.