Getting the blues is rarely a desirable experience—unless you’re a solar cell, that is. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and the Univ. of Texas at Austin have together developed a new, inexpensive material that has the potential to capture and convert solar energy—particularly from the bluer part of the spectrum—much more efficiently than ever before.
Humans have for ages taken cues from nature to build their own devices, but duplicating the steps in the complicated electronic dance of photosynthesis remains one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for chemists. Currently, the most efficient methods we have for making fuel from sunlight and water involve rare and expensive metal catalysts. However, that is about to change.
New recommendations for using x-rays promise to speed investigations aimed at understanding the structure of biologically important proteins. In their study, the scientists evaluated options to remedy problems affecting data collection. Scientists who use x-ray beams to study protein crystals face a dilemma: The beams provide the best tool for understanding a protein's structure and biological function, but they often damage the crystal.
A unique solar panel design made with a new ceramic material points the way to potentially providing sustainable power cheaper, more efficiently, and requiring less manufacturing time. It also reaches a four-decade-old goal of discovering a bulk photovoltaic material that can harness energy from visible and infrared light, not just ultraviolet light.
Researchers have made inroads into tackling a bacterium that plagues hospitals and is highly resistant to most antibiotics. They determined the 3-D structure and likely function of a new protein in this common bacterium that attacks those with compromised immune systems.
Leaders in the petascale computing arena in the U.S. and Japan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishing a cooperative relationship in support of projects aimed at expanding the use of petascale computing in the scientific and engineering communities. The MOU was signed at SC13.
The universe is a vast and mysterious place, but thanks to high-performance computing technology scientists around the world are beginning to understand it better. They are using supercomputers to simulate how the Big Bang generated the seeds that led to the formation of galaxies such as the Milky Way.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.