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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.

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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

Obama wants research to wean vehicles off oil

March 15, 2013 6:01 am | by MATTHEW DALY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to authorize more federally funded research into clean energy technologies that can wean automobiles off oil. Obama proposed the idea of an energy security trust last month in his State of the Union address, but he was putting a price tag on the idea during a trip Friday to the Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago—$2 billion over 10 years.

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Argonne, CalBattery strike deal

February 26, 2013 8:08 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and California Lithium Battery Inc. (CalBattery), a Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator portfolio company, announced that they have signed a licensing agreement for an Argonne-developed, silicon-graphene composite anode material for high-energy lithium batteries.

Vortex pinning could lead to superconducting breakthroughs

February 13, 2013 8:15 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers announced findings last week that may represent a breakthrough in applications of superconductivity. The team discovered a way to efficiently stabilize tiny magnetic vortices that interfere with superconductivity—a problem that has plagued scientists trying to engineer real-world applications for decades. The discovery could remove one of the most significant roadblocks to advances in superconductor technology.

New magnetoelectric materials classes may improve computing

February 8, 2013 8:12 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

Research by an international team of physicists has produced new methods for controlling magnetic order in a particular class of materials known as "magnetoelectrics", which have their magnetic and electric properties couple to each other. This link offers the possibility of controlling electric behavior with a magnetic signal, or vice versa. Scientists recently demonstrated this ability in europium-titanium oxide.

X-rays shine light on mystery of Picasso's paints

February 6, 2013 3:23 pm | News | Comments

The Art Institute of Chicago teamed up with Argonne National Laboratory to help unravel a decades-long debate among art scholars about what kind of paint Picasso used to create his masterpieces. The results add significant weight to the widely held theory that Picasso was one of the first master painters to use common house paint rather than traditional artists' paint.

First light from the first high-energy superconducting undulator

February 4, 2013 7:44 am | News | Comments

More than eight years of effort by Advanced Photon Source (APS) physicists, engineers, and technicians culminated on Jan. 21, 2013, with the production of the first X-rays from the prototype of a novel superconducting undulator (SCU), which has been installed in the APS electron accelerator and storage ring at Argonne National Laboratory. It is the first such SCU operated at a third-generation synchrotron X-ray facility.

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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.

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.

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.

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