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Researchers observe T-shaped cluster drives lanthanide separation system during liquid-liquid extraction. Credit: Alex Ivanov/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers at ORNL zoomed in on molecules designed to recover critical materials via liquid-liquid extraction — a method used by industry to separate chemically similar elements.

State and Local Economic Development Award

A partnership of ORNL, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee and TVA that aims to attract nuclear energy-related firms to Oak Ridge has been recognized with a state and local economic development award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

Researchers captured atomic-level insights on the rare-earth mineral monazite to inform future design of flotation collector molecules, illustrated above, that can aid in the recovery of critical materials. Credit: Chad Malone/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Critical Materials Institute researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Arizona State University studied the mineral monazite, an important source of rare-earth elements, to enhance methods of recovering critical materials for energy, defense and manufacturing applications.

The Center for Bioenergy Innovation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has added three new members to its board of directors, from left: Deborah Crawford, vice chancellor for research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Susan Hubbard, deputy for science and technology at ORNL; and Maureen McCann, director of the Biosciences Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Credit: UT Knoxville, ORNL and NREL.

The Department of Energy’s Center for Bioenergy Innovation, led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, recently added three new members to its board of directors: Deborah Crawford of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Susan Hubbard of ORNL; and Maureen McCann of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Merlin Theodore

Merlin Theodore is one of eight new board members announced by President Biden; she will join the 25-member board for a six-year term.

A team of ORNL researchers used neutron diffraction experiments to study the 3D-printed ACMZ alloy and observed a phenomenon called “load shuffling” that could inform the design of stronger, better-performing lightweight materials for vehicles. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL researchers have identified a mechanism in a 3D-printed alloy – termed “load shuffling” — that could enable the design of better-performing lightweight materials for vehicles.

Hybrid poplar trees such as these shown in an ORNL greenhouse were engineered with the REVEILLE1 gene to delay dormancy and produce more biomass. The research was led by the Center for Bioenergy Innovation at ORNL with the Joint Genome Institute, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, the University of Connecticut and other partners. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A team of scientists led by ORNL discovered the gene in agave that governs when the plant goes dormant and used it to create poplar trees that nearly doubled in size, increasing biomass yield for biofuels production

ORNL’s Tyler Spano examines a sample of uranyl nitrate solution that she uses as a precursor to many uranium oxide syntheses. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The word “exotic” may not spark thoughts of uranium, but Tyler Spano’s investigations of exotic phases of uranium are bringing new knowledge to the nuclear nonproliferation industry.

Erica Prates is using her skills as a computational systems biologist to link the smallest molecules to their impact on large ecosystems. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Erica Prates has found a way to help speed the pursuit of healthier ecosystems by linking the function of the smallest molecules to their effects on large-scale processes, leveraging a combination of science, math and computing.

Paul Langan will oversee ORNL's research directorate focused on biological and environmental systems science. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Paul Langan will join ORNL in the spring as associate laboratory director for the Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate.