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What holds energy tech back? The infernal battery

January 23, 2013 10:10 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

As 21st century technology strains to become ever faster, cleaner and cheaper, an invention from more than 200 years ago keeps holding it back. It's why electric cars aren't clogging the roads and why Boeing's new ultra-efficient 787 Dreamliners aren't flying high. And chances are you have this little invention next to you right now and probably have cursed it recently: the infernal battery.

Nanoscale “Goldilocks” phenomenon could improve biofuel production

January 15, 2013 4:37 pm | News | Comments

In a case of the Goldilocks story retold at the molecular level, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University have discovered a new path to the development of more stable and efficient catalysts. The research team sought to create "nanobowls"—nanosized bowl shapes that allow inorganic catalysts to operate selectively on particular molecules.

Chaotic “spin vortices” could lead to new computer memories

January 3, 2013 7:56 am | News | Comments

In science, just like in life, sometimes creating the most effective organization depends on being able to handle just a bit of chaos first. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have used alternating magnetic fields to control the behavior of "spin vortices" trapped in small dots made from iron and nickel that can be magnetized in two separate ways.

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Dark Clouds, But Bright Outlook for R&D

December 14, 2012 11:27 am | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

Changes in the R&D environment are driving research managers to look at different ways to support and grow their organizations.

Bubble study could improve industrial splash control

December 13, 2012 9:24 am | News | Comments

For the first time, scientists witnessed the details of the full, ultrafast process of liquid droplets evolving into a bubble when they strike a surface. Their research determined that surface wetness affects the bubble's fate. This research could one day help eliminate bubbles formed during spray coating, metal casting, and inkjet printing.

Chemical link for hearing, balance found

December 7, 2012 11:25 am | News | Comments

Researchers have mapped the precise 3D atomic structure of a thin protein filament critical for cells in the inner ear and calculated the force necessary to pull it apart. Their findings open avenues for research in fields related to noise-induced hearing loss and certain genetic diseases.

DOE awards up to $120 million for battery hub

December 3, 2012 8:25 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that a multipartner team led by Argonne National Laboratory has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. The Hub will combine the R&D firepower of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving advances in battery performance.

High-pressure science gets super-sized

October 24, 2012 7:47 am | News | Comments

The study of materials at extreme conditions took a giant leap forward with the discovery of a way to generate super high pressures without using shock waves whose accompanying heat turns solids to liquid. This discovery will allow scientists, for the first time, to reach static pressure levels exceeding four million atmospheres, a high-pressure environment where new compounds could be formed, materials change their chemical and physical properties, and metals become insulators.

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The minimal microbe

October 19, 2012 1:27 pm | News | Comments

To study microbes and the complex communities they form in the environment, Argonne National Laboratory and three other national laboratories are collaborating to build a research tool called the Systems Biology Knowledgebase, or KBase. KBase aims to help with current data issues facing systems biology, but its goal is larger than data integration. The team seeks to advance research in two broad, important areas: plants and microbes.

An affordable way to generate medical isotopes

October 15, 2012 11:49 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a safe and affordable way to ensure a reliable U.S. supply of certain medical isotopes. Although the invention is at a conceptual stage, it has the potential to provide critical medical diagnostic material for small regional hospitals.

Synchrotrons play role in Nobel prize research

October 12, 2012 12:04 pm | by Glenn Roberts Jr., SLAC | News | Comments

The winners of the 2012 Chemistry Nobel Prize won for their work in revealing the structure and functioning of a key protein complex on the surface of human cells that has been a target for drug development. Their main tool for this research was X-ray crystallography, which is performed with X-ray synchrotrons. But as the researchers would discover, not all synchrotrons are created equal.   

X-ray diffraction method observes thin films without damaging them

October 10, 2012 5:08 pm | News | Comments

The theoretical and experimental framework of a new coherent diffraction strain imaging approach was recently developed by scientists at IBM and Argonne National Laboratory. The new technique is capable of imaging lattice distortions in thin films nondestructively at spatial resolutions of less than 20 nm using coherent nanofocused hard X-rays.

Scientists study bridge over troubled water

October 8, 2012 7:58 am | News | Comments

Over a hundred years ago, English aristocrat William Armstrong used electricity to build a bridge out of water. It was only an inch or so across, but the physics behind it has entranced scientists for the past century and more. Fortunately, a new experiment at Argonne National Laboratory may shed light on the properties of the "flowing water bridge" and perhaps help resolve an old dispute about the physical nature of water.

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Ames Laboratory finds ordered atoms in metallic glasses

October 3, 2012 4:50 am | News | Comments

Glass materials may have a far less randomly arranged structure than formerly thought. Over the years, the ideas of how metallic glasses form have been evolving, from just a random packing, to very small ordered clusters, to realizing that longer range chemical and topological order exists. A team of scientists at the Ames Laboratory has been able to show for the first time there is some organization to these structures.

Yearlong climate study launches

October 1, 2012 9:50 am | News | Comments

A Horizon Lines container ship outfitted with meteorological and atmospheric instruments installed by scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory will begin taking data for a yearlong mission aimed at improving the representation of clouds in climate models.

Novel materials become multifunctional at ultimate quantum limit

September 25, 2012 9:17 am | News | Comments

A University of Arkansas physicist and his colleagues have examined the lower limits of novel materials called complex oxides and discovered that unlike conventional semiconductors the materials not only conduct electricity, but also develop unusual magnetic properties.

Experiments reveal dynamics of polymer chains on substrates

September 25, 2012 7:58 am | News | Comments

New technologies in microelectronics and lithography typically require the presence of nanoscale polymer films in contact with a substrate. Successful engineering of these structures requires an understanding of the interplay between the dynamics of the thin film and the underlying substrate, and recent experiments at the Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source have produced new insights into these compositions.

Real-world levitation to inspire better pharmaceuticals

September 13, 2012 5:15 am | News | Comments

It's not a magic trick and it's not sleight of hand—scientists really are using levitation to improve the drug development process, eventually yielding more effective pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to use sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing different pharmaceuticals.

Imaging metals within cells

September 10, 2012 5:38 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Argonne National Laboratory carrying out research at the Advanced Photon Source have developed a new experimental approach that not only detects and distinguishes metals in proteins, but also characterizes the proteins that bind the metals, without removing them.

New nanoparticle to turn yard waste into biofuel

September 5, 2012 4:43 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers has recently been successful in synthesizing and characterizing monodisperse gold-core silver-shell nanoparticles utilizing a bio-template that has potential as a water soluble catalyst for converting biomass such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps, yard clippings, wood chips, and even municipal solid waste into fuels.

Strain in silver nanoparticles creates unusual 'twinning'

August 28, 2012 4:26 am | News | Comments

When twins are forced to share, it can put a significant strain on their relationship. While this observation is perhaps unsurprising in the behavior of children, it is less obvious when it comes to nanoparticles. After spending close to a decade examining the structure of nanowires made of pure silver, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a set of unusual behaviors in nanocrystals with a strained, five-fold symmetry formed by "twinning" in the crystal structure.

Mobile climate observatory prepares for campaign aboard ship

August 16, 2012 9:38 am | News | Comments

Following a six-month land-based campaign in the Maldives to study tropical convective clouds, the U.S. Department of Energy's second Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) mobile facility, called AMF2, is being readied for its first marine-based research campaign aboard a cargo container ship in the Pacific Ocean.

An intriguing twist in the structure of a cobalt oxide catalyst

August 15, 2012 5:41 am | by David Lindley | News | Comments

Hydrogen is a clean fuel, producing only water vapor when it burns. But generating hydrogen in large quantities and in a "green" fashion is not straightforward. Biological photosynthesis includes an efficient reaction step that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen with the help of catalysts that have been used as models for synthetic catalysts. Working at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, a team of scientists has determined the structure of one such catalyst, a complex cobalt oxide.

Argonne, Evigia finalize licensing agreement

July 16, 2012 10:52 am | News | Comments

Evigia Systems and Argonne National Laboratory announced that they have finalized a licensing agreement under which Argonne's patented, application-specific radio-frequency identification sensor/seal technology and its custom-developed ARG-US software suite will be further developed and marketed by Evigia as a comprehensive nuclear and hazardous material handling solution.

Graphene decoupling of organic, inorganic interfaces

June 19, 2012 6:50 am | News | Comments

Cryogenic ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) was employed by researchers in the Center for Nanoscale Materials Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices Group at Argonne National Laboratory to uncover exceptionally weak molecule-surface interactions between fullerene C 60 deposited onto epitaxially grown graphene on silicon carbide substrates.

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