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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Catching some rays: Organic solar cells make a leap forward

June 14, 2012 4:37 am | News | Comments

Drawn together by the force of nature, but pulled apart by the force of man—it sounds like the setting for a love story, but it is also a basic description of how scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have begun to make more efficient organic solar cells.

New nanomaterials method answers tough challenges

June 8, 2012 9:42 am | News | Comments

When searching for the technology to boost computer speeds and improve memory density, the best things come in the smallest packages. A relentless move toward smaller and more precisely defined semiconductors has prompted researchers at Argonne National Laboratory to develop a new technique that can dramatically improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of preparing different classes of semiconducting materials.

Argonne sets sights on natural gas cars, trucks

June 5, 2012 12:23 pm | News | Comments

As the United States' natural gas reserves have sparked an interest in natural gas-powered vehicles, Argonne National Laboratory is hoping to use its automotive research facilities to lead the way in natural-gas vehicle testing.

Grid realities cancel out some of wind power's carbon savings

May 30, 2012 7:08 am | News | Comments

Wind energy lowers carbon emissions, but adding turbines to the current grid system does not eliminate emissions proportionally, according to a report by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory. To test how wind energy affects carbon dioxide emissions, Argonne scientists modeled the Illinois electric grid and tested how more wind power would affect the system.

Scientists uncover a photosynthetic puzzle

May 21, 2012 12:54 pm | News | Comments

Quantum physics and plant biology seem like two branches of science that could not be more different, but surprisingly they may in fact be intimately tied. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame used ultrafast spectroscopy to see what happens at the subatomic level during the very first stage of photosynthesis.

Argonne, universities partner to design advanced materials

May 16, 2012 9:24 am | News | Comments

Argonne National Laboratory announced major new efforts with Northwestern University and the University of Chicago to advance the research and development of new materials to help solve the nation’s challenges in the fields of energy, health, and security.

Researchers identify potential target for anthrax drug

May 9, 2012 6:10 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified new targets for drugs that could potentially treat anthrax, the deadly infection caused by Bacillus anthracis . The team found a new way to block the bacteria's ability to capture iron, which is vital to its survival and its disease-causing properties.

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