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Valuable chemicals are selectively produced from mixed plastic waste by an ORNL-developed plastic deconstruction process. Credit: Tomonori Saito, Md Arifuzzaman and Adam Malin, ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Almost 80% of plastic in the waste stream ends up in landfills or accumulates in the environment. Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed a technology that converts a conventionally unrecyclable mixture of plastic waste into useful chemicals, presenting a new strategy in the toolkit to combat global plastic waste.

Connecting  wires to the interface of the topological insulator and superconductor enables probing of novel electronic properties. Researchers aim for qubits based on theorized Majorana particles. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Quantum computers process information using quantum bits, or qubits, based on fragile, short-lived quantum mechanical states. To make qubits robust and tailor them for applications, researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory sought to create a new material system.

Director of ORNL’s AI Initiative Prasanna Balaprakash addresses attendees at the Generative AI for ORNL Science Workshop. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosted its Smoky Mountains Computational Science and Engineering Conference for the first time in person since the COVID pandemic broke in 2020. The conference, which celebrated its 20th consecutive year, took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Knoxville, Tenn., in late August.

Map of ARM Data Center locations

From the Arctic to the Amazon, understanding the atmosphere is key to understanding our climate and other Earth systems. The ARM Data Center collects and manages global observational and experimental data amassed by the Department of Energy Office of Science’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement user facility. For the past 30 years, it has been making this data accessible to scientists around the world who study and model the Earth’s climate.

Steve Nolan, left, who manages many ORNL facilities for United Cleanup Oak Ridge, and Carl Dukes worked closely together to accommodate bringing members of the public into the Oak Ridge Reservation to collect distant images from overhead for the BRIAR biometric recognition project. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Carl Dukes’ career as an adept communicator got off to a slow start: He was about 5 years old when he spoke for the first time. “I’ve been making up for lost time ever since,” joked Dukes, a technical professional at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Bob Bolton has spent much of his career studying environmental change in Alaska. He recently moved to East Tennessee to join the ORNL-led NGEE Arctic project as deputy for operations. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Bob Bolton may have moved to a southerly latitude at ORNL, but he is still stewarding scientific exploration in the Arctic, along with a project that helps amplify the voices of Alaskans who reside in a landscape on the front lines of climate change.

Conceptual art depicts an atomic nucleus and merging neutron stars, respectively, areas of study in ORNL-led projects called NUCLEI and ENAF within the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing, or SciDAC, program. Credit: Adam Malin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL is leading two nuclear physics research projects within the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing, or SciDAC, program from the Department of Energy Office of Science.

Plutonium oxide is loaded onto a truck for shipping. Adam Parkison/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In June, ORNL hit a milestone not seen in more than three decades: producing a production-quality amount of plutonium-238

Researchers used the open-source Community Earth System Model to simulate the effects that extreme climatic conditions have on processes like land carbon storage. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Northeastern University modeled how extreme conditions in a changing climate affect the land’s ability to absorb atmospheric carbon — a key process for mitigating human-caused emissions. They found that 88% of Earth’s regions could become carbon emitters by the end of the 21st century. 

Using the ultrahigh-vacuum atomic force microscope at DOE’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at ORNL, researchers found unique environmentally induced ferroelectric phase transitions in hafnium zirconium oxide, a material important in developing advanced semiconductors. Credit: Arthur Baddorf/ORNL, Dept. of Energy

A team of scientists with ORNL has investigated the behavior of hafnium oxide, or hafnia, because of its potential for use in novel semiconductor applications.