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Researchers tackle new lithium battery challenge

September 30, 2013 9:36 am | News | Comments

The creation of the next generation of batteries depends on finding materials that provide greater storage capacity. One variety, known as lithium-air (Li-air) batteries, are particularly appealing to researchers because they have a significantly higher theoretical capacity than conventional lithium-ion batteries.

X-ray science taps bug biology to design better materials, reduce pollution

September 18, 2013 8:01 am | News | Comments

Bug spray, citronella candles, mosquito netting—most people will do anything they can to stay away from insects during the warmer months. But those creepy crawlers we try so hard to avoid may offer substantial solutions to some of life’s problems. Researchers using x-ray technology at the Advanced Photon Source were able to take an inside look at several insects, gathering results that go beyond learning about insect physiology and biology.

A material’s multiple personalities

September 12, 2013 7:57 am | News | Comments

Just like people, materials can sometimes exhibit “multiple personalities.” This kind of unusual behavior in a certain class of materials has compelled researchers at Argonne National Laboratory to take a closer look at the precise mechanisms that govern the relationships between superconductivity and magnetism.

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Breakthrough technique could make electronics smaller, better

September 4, 2013 7:15 am | News | Comments

An international group of researchers from the U.S. and South Korea have discovered a groundbreaking technique in manufacturing nanostructures that has the potential to make electrical and optical devices smaller. The new patterning technology, called atomic layer lithography, based on a layering technique at the atomic level and relies on a surprising low-tech tool: Scotch Magic tape.

Diamond Sets Sights on Silicon

August 29, 2013 1:29 pm | Award Winners

Silicon is the material of choice for most semiconductor applications, but experts have also long recognized an end point for silicon-based technology because of high-temperature degradation and limited electron mobility at increasingly small feature sizes. Diamond is among the next-generation wide band gap (WBG) semiconductor platforms under investigation. However, its superior performance comes at great cost. Argonne National Laboratory and AKHAN Technologies Inc. have developed an alternative called the Miraj Diamond Platform.

Coatings Quash Harmful Charges

August 29, 2013 1:23 pm | Award Winners

Electrostatic charging can be an annoyance at the macroscale; but in development of ion- and electron-optical devices, as well as microelectromechanical systems, this phenomenon can be severely detrimental to performance. In response, Argonne National Laboratory and KLA-Tencor Inc. have designed thin films that can prevent electrostatic charge from accumulating on virtually any surface.

Bacteria Express Themselves

August 29, 2013 9:19 am | Award Winners

Historically, large-scale production of functional membrane proteins has been an arduous task. The overexpression of membrane proteins has been fraught with unique challenges; foremost is that expressed membrane proteins are hydrophobic and require a lipid environment for stability and function. To address this requirement, Argonne National Laboratory has exploited the physiology of the Rhodobacter species of photosynthetic bacteria.

Q-glasses could be a new class of solids

August 7, 2013 10:13 am | News | Comments

There may be more kinds of stuff than we thought. A team of researchers has reported possible evidence for a new category of solids, things that are neither pure glasses, crystals nor even exotic quasicrystals. Something else. The research team analyzed a solid alloy that they discovered in small discrete patches of a rapidly cooled mixture of aluminum, iron and silicon.

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Picosecond photodetectors push timing envelope

August 6, 2013 12:15 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers within the Large Area Picosecond Photodetectors collaboration developed an advanced facility for testing large area photodetectors. The new facility, situated at Argonne National Laboratory, offers a level of spatial precision measured in micrometers and time resolutions at or below a picosecond.

A high-pressure nanoimaging breakthrough

July 22, 2013 1:51 pm | News | Comments

Bragg coherent x-ray diffraction imaging (CXDI) is a promising tool to probe the internal strains of nanometer-sized crystals.  But for high-pressure studies the x-ray beam must pass through a component of the diamond anvil cell, which can significantly affect the coherence properties of the beam. Argonne National Laboratory researchers have developed a technique to handle this problem.

50-year-old assumptions about strength muscled aside

July 12, 2013 7:29 am | News | Comments

Doctors have a new way of thinking about how to treat heart and skeletal muscle diseases. Body builders have a new way of thinking about how they maximize their power. Both owe their new insight to high-energy x-rays, a moth and cloud computing. The basics of how a muscle generates power remain the same, but the power doesn't just come from what's happening straight up and down the length of the muscle, as has been assumed for 50 years.

AKHAN Technologies, Argonne win prestigious 2013 R&D 100 Award

July 9, 2013 12:01 pm | News | Comments

AKHAN Technologies Inc. announced that its Miraj Diamond Platform, developed in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, has received a 2013 R&D 100 Award. The Miraj Diamond Platform (CMOS compatible N-type nanocrystalline diamond thin-film technology), represents the combination of two recently enabled diamond technologies—low-temperature nanocrystalline diamond deposition technology and an efficient n-type doping process.

Argonne claims four 2013 R&D 100 Awards

July 9, 2013 11:48 am | News | Comments

Four innovative technologies have won 2013 R&D 100 Awards, regarded as the “Oscars of invention,” for the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. The awards recognize the top scientific and technological innovations of the past year as judged by a team of independent experts for R&D Magazine. Argonne scientists have won 120 R&D 100 awards since they were first introduced in 1964.

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Questions rise about seeding for ocean carbon dioxide sequestration

June 12, 2013 6:27 pm | by Tona Kunz, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study on the feeding habits of ocean microbes calls into question the potential use of algal blooms to trap carbon dioxide and offset rising global levels. These blooms contain iron-eating microscopic phytoplankton that absorb C02 from the air. But one type of phytoplankton, a diatom, is using more iron that it needs, which is reducing the amount of iron left over to support the carbon-eating plankton.

New family of quasicrystals discovered

June 11, 2013 7:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Ames Laboratory have discovered a new family of rare-earth quasicrystals using an algorithm they developed to help pinpoint them. Quasicrystalline materials may be found close to crystalline phases that contain similar atomic motifs, called crystalline approximants. And just like fishing experts know how to hook a big catch, the scientists used their knowledge to hone in on the right spot for their discovery.

Study shows possible expanded use of cancer drug

June 6, 2013 3:21 pm | News | Comments

A cancer drug developed at the Advanced Photon Source may be following a local tradition and going for a Chicago Bulls-like three-peat. The drug Votrient, or Pazopanib, was approved in 2009 to fight advanced kidney cancer and in 2012 to fight advanced soft tissue sarcoma. Now, according to a New York Times article, a new study shows the drug may delay ovarian cancer relapses.

The formula for turning cement into metal

May 28, 2013 7:27 am | News | Comments

In a move that would make the alchemists of King Arthur’s time green with envy, scientists have unraveled the formula for turning liquid cement into liquid metal. This makes cement a semiconductor and opens up its use in the profitable consumer electronics marketplace for thin films, protective coatings, and computer chips.

X-ray method shows how frog embryos could help thwart disease

May 20, 2013 9:25 am | News | Comments

An international team of scientists using a new X-ray method recorded the internal structure and cell movement inside a living frog embryo in greater detail than ever before. This result showcases a new method to advance biological research and the search for new treatments for genetic diseases.

Imaging nanoscale polarization in ferroelectrics with coherent X-rays

May 7, 2013 11:19 am | News | Comments

An international team working to image ferroelectric thin films have reported the development of a new X-ray imaging technique, coherent X-ray Bragg projection ptychography. Under certain conditions, these thin films, which are used in computer memory, form networks of nanoscale domains with distinct local polarizations that are normally difficult to image.

Scientists detect residue hindering efficiency of solar cells

May 6, 2013 7:32 am | News | Comments

A team from Argonne National Laboratory has worked for years to develop a new type of solar cell known as organic photovoltaics (OPVs). Because of their potential to reduce costs for both fabrication and materials, OPVs could be much cheaper to manufacture than conventional solar cells and have a smaller environmental impact as well. However, they aren’t as efficient as conventional solar cells due to one limitation.

Graphene layers reduce wear, friction on sliding steel surfaces

April 26, 2013 8:48 am | News | Comments

Sometimes, all it takes is an extremely small amount of material to make a big difference. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have recently discovered that they could substitute one-atom-thick graphene layers for oil-based lubricants on sliding steel surfaces, enabling a dramatic reduction in the amount of wear and friction.

Scientists see nanoparticles form larger structure in real time

April 22, 2013 7:57 am | News | Comments

In a new study performed at Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have, for the first time, seen the self-assembly of nanoparticle chains in situ, that is, in place as it occurs in real time. The scientists exposed a tiny liquid “cell” or pouch that contained gold nanoparticles covered with a positively charged coating to an intense beam of electrons generated with a transmission electron microscope.

High-pressure imaging breakthrough a boon for nanotechnology

April 9, 2013 11:18 pm | News | Comments

The study of nanoscale material just got much easier, and the design of nanoscale technology could get much more efficient, thanks to an advance in X-ray analysis. Nanomaterials develop new physical and chemical properties, such as superconductivity and enhanced strength, when exposed to extreme pressure. A better understanding of how and when those changes occur can guide the design of better products that use nanotechnology.

Antibody evolution could guide HIV vaccine development

April 6, 2013 3:25 pm | News | Comments

Observing the evolution of a particular type of antibody in an infected HIV-1 patient has provided insights that will enable vaccination strategies that mimic the actual antibody development within the body. Spearheaded by Duke University, the multi-institution study included analysis from Los Alamos National Laboratory and used high-energy X-rays from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.

Study reveals potential for deep cuts to petroleum use, emissions

March 19, 2013 4:16 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory this week announced the release of the Transportation Energy Futures study, an assessment of avenues to reach deep cuts in petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. The project suggests opportunities for 80% reductions by 2050

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