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Brian Sanders is focused on impactful, multidisciplinary science at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, developing solutions for everything from improved imaging of plant-microbe interactions that influence ecosystem health to advancing new treatments for cancer and viral infections. 

Ariel view of Oak Ridge National Lab with mountains in the background and buildings and a pond in the foreground

Advanced materials research to enable energy-efficient, cost-competitive and environmentally friendly technologies for the United States and Japan is the goal of a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, between the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Japan’s National Institute of Materials Science.

A tan and black cylinder that is made up of three long tubes vertically with a black line horizontally going across the bottom and the top. There is a piece laying on the floor that says ORNL.

ORNL researchers used electron-beam additive manufacturing to 3D-print the first complex, defect-free tungsten parts with complex geometries. 

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. 

Researchers at Corning have found that understanding the stability of the rings of atoms in glass materials can help predict the performance of glass products.

Corning uses neutron scattering to study the stability of different types of glass. Recently, researchers for the company have found that understanding the stability of the rings of atoms in glass materials can help predict the performance of glass products.

Alexey Serov researches ways to improve hydrogen fuel cells and materials and the electrolysis process. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

It would be a challenge for any scientist to match Alexey Serov’s rate of inventions related to green hydrogen fuel. But this researcher at ORNL has 84 patents with at least 35 more under review, so his electrifying pace is unlikely to slow down any time soon.

Naval Academy midshipmen look at tiny particle fuels while touring ORNL. Credit: Lena Shoemaker/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Nuclear engineering students from the United States Military Academy and United States Naval Academy are working with researchers at ORNL to complete design concepts for a nuclear propulsion rocket to go to space in 2027 as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DRACO program.

Ramesh Bhave in lab

Caldera Holding, the owner and developer of Missouri’s Pea Ridge iron mine, has entered a nonexclusive research and development licensing agreement with ORNL to apply a membrane solvent extraction technique, or MSX, developed by ORNL researchers to mined ores.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory discovered a tug-of-war strategy to enhance chemical separations needed to recover critical materials. Credit: Alex Ivanov/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL scientists combined two ligands, or metal-binding molecules, to target light and heavy lanthanides simultaneously for exceptionally efficient separation.

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.