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Photo of glowing, pink diamond-shaped figure. This is illuminated with light, encircled with a wreath of around 70 blue tube-like shapes.

Scientists have uncovered the properties of a rare earth element that was first discovered 80 years ago at the very same laboratory, opening a new pathway for the exploration of elements critical in modern technology, from medicine to space travel.

ORNL researcher Felicia Gilliland loads experiment samples into position for the newly installed UR5E robotic arm at the BIO-SANS instrument. The industrial-grade robot changes samples automatically, reducing the need for human assistance and improving sample throughput. Credit: Jeremy Rumsey/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The BIO-SANS instrument, located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor, is the latest neutron scattering instrument to be retrofitted with state-of-the-art robotics and custom software. The sophisticated upgrade quadruples the number of samples the instrument can measure automatically and significantly reduces the need for human assistance.

Hood Whitson, chief executive officer of Element3, and Cynthia Jenks, associate laboratory director for the Physical Sciences Directorate, shake hands during the Element3 licensing event at ORNL on May 3, 2024. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A collection of seven technologies for lithium recovery developed by scientists from ORNL has been licensed to Element3, a Texas-based company focused on extracting lithium from wastewater produced by oil and gas production. 

The Linac Coherent Light Source at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California reveals the structural dynamics of atoms and molecules through X-ray snapshots at ultrafast timescales. Pictured here is the LCLS-II tunnel. Credit: Jim Gensheimer/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Plans to unite the capabilities of two cutting-edge technological facilities funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science promise to usher in a new era of dynamic structural biology. Through DOE’s Integrated Research Infrastructure, or IRI, initiative, the facilities will complement each other’s technologies in the pursuit of science despite being nearly 2,500 miles apart.

Testing with ORNL tribology equipment found that new ionic liquid-based lubricant additives developed for water turbines significantly reduced friction and equipment wear. Credit: Genevieve Martin, ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed lubricant additives that protect both water turbine equipment and the surrounding environment.

The transportation and industrial sectors together account for more than 50% of the country’s carbon footprint. Defossilization could help reduce new emissions from these and other difficult-to-electrify segments of the U.S. economy.

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and six other Department of Energy national laboratories have developed a United States-based perspective for achieving net-zero carbon emissions. 

The EPA approved the registration and use of a renewable gasoline blendstock developed by Vertimass LLC and Oak Ridge National Laboratory that can significantly reduce vehicle emissions when added to conventional fuels. Credit: Adam Malin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the registration and use of a renewable gasoline blendstock developed by Vertimass LLC and ORNL that can significantly reduce the emissions profile of vehicles when added to conventional fuels.


Three ORNL intellectual property projects with industry partners have advanced in DOE's Office of Technology Transitions Making Advanced Technology Commercialization Harmonized, or Lab MATCH, prize, which encourages entrepreneurs to find actionable pathways that bring lab-developed intellectual property to market. 


Two different teams that included Oak Ridge National Laboratory employees were honored Feb. 20 with Secretary’s Honor Achievement Awards from the Department of Energy. This is DOE's highest form of employee recognition. 

Chelsea Chen, polymer physicist at ORNL, stands in front of an eight-channel potentiostat and temperature chamber used for battery and electrochemical testing. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Chelsea Chen, a polymer physicist at ORNL, is studying ion transport in solid electrolytes that could help electric vehicle battery charges last longer.