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A more efficient way to make molecular hydrogen

December 9, 2011 3:17 am | News | Comments

When it comes to the industrial production of chemicals, often the most indispensable element is one that you can't see, smell, or even taste. It's hydrogen, the lightest element of all. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have developed an efficient two-step process that electrolyzes hydrogen atoms from water molecules before combining them to make molecular hydrogen.

Unlocking algal secrets may help clean up radioactive isotopes

December 1, 2011 3:33 am | News | Comments

Using the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, a group of Northwestern University and Argonne scientists have figured out the secrets of algae that can preferentially take up strontium over calcium—a task so difficult that it's not easily done even in a laboratory. The algae could form the basis of new technologies to clean up contaminated land or water.

Materials scientists watch electron 'melt'

November 22, 2011 3:30 am | News | Comments

When a skier rushes down a ski slope or a skater glides across an ice rink, a very thin melted layer of liquid water forms on the surface of the ice crystals, which allows for a smooth glide instead of a rough skid. In a recent experiment, scientists have discovered that the interface between the surface and bulk electronic structures of certain crystalline materials can act in much the same way.

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DOE captures fugitives to reduce its carbon emissions

November 16, 2011 10:00 am | News | Comments

In terms of emissions, just one pound of sulfur hexafluoride, a nontoxic gas used in electric insulation, is equivalent to about 11 tons of carbon dioxide. Energy Department experts are hunting down this and other fugitive carbon emissions and have already prevented the release of 600,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent.

Batteries get a quick charge with new anode technology

November 3, 2011 4:55 am | News | Comments

A breakthrough in components for next-generation batteries could come from special materials that transform their structure to perform better over time. A team of researchers at Argonne National Laboratory discovered that nanotubes composed of titanium dioxide can switch their phase as a battery is cycled, gradually boosting their operational capacity.

Solar concentrator increases collection with less loss

November 2, 2011 9:44 am | News | Comments

Converting sunlight into electricity is not economically attractive because of the high cost of solar cells, but a recent, purely optical approach to improving luminescent solar concentrators  may ease the problem, according to researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and Penn State University.

Sodium-ion batteries that are worth their salt

October 25, 2011 5:04 am | News | Comments

Although lithium-ion technology dominates headlines in battery research and development, a new element is making its presence known as a potentially powerful alternative: sodium. Sodium-ion technology possesses a number of benefits that lithium-based energy storage cannot capture, and Argonne National Laboratory is looking to improve the performance of ambient-temperature sodium-based batteries.

NIST measures key property of potential spintronic material

October 20, 2011 3:33 am | News | Comments

An advanced material that could help bring about next-generation "spintronic" computers has revealed one of its fundamental secrets to a team of scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and NIST.

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Miniaturizing nuclear recycling experiments

October 19, 2011 9:36 am | News | Comments

Designing better ways to recycle spent nuclear fuel could make nuclear energy a safer solution to the global energy problem, but there are a lot of gaps in our chemical knowledge—and it's difficult to get those answers when the experiments involve radioactive material. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have one answer: Shrink the whole experiment down—to microliters.

Lab biophysicist invents improvement to Monte Carlo technique

October 18, 2011 4:10 am | News | Comments

Jerome P. Nilmeier, a biophysicist working in computational biology, is willing to bet his new research will provide a breakthrough in the use of the Monte Carlo probability code in biological simulations.

Argonne awarded $1.9 million for hydropower study

October 17, 2011 12:23 pm | News | Comments

New life has been pumped into the study and modeling of hydropower storage plants, thanks to a new $1.9 million Department of Energy grant awarded to a project led by Argonne National Laboratory.

Argonne team helps map Fukushima radiation release

October 11, 2011 1:05 pm | News | Comments

As the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors unfolded in Japan, several employees at Argonne National Laboratory were lacing up their boots. Part of the Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) team, region five, their normal operating ground covers 10 Midwestern states—but this time their expertise was needed abroad.

Dow, Argonne National Laboratory collaborate on new battery materials

October 5, 2011 6:36 am | News | Comments

The Dow Chemical Company and Argonne National Laboratory announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a multi-year research collaboration to jointly develop the next generation of materials for advanced battery technologies.

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Argonne receives grant to create cheaper magnets

October 3, 2011 4:17 am | by Jared Sagoff | News | Comments

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $3 million grant to Argonne National Laboratory to further research in developing better, cheaper, and lighter magnets.

Solar cell technology gives light waves 'amnesia'

September 27, 2011 4:10 am | News | Comments

For years, scientists have dealt with the problem of trying to increase the efficiency and drive down the cost of solar cells. Now researchers have hit upon a new idea—trying to give the light collected by solar cells a bit of "amnesia." At Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have investigated the use of fluorescent plastics called luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) that can be used to lower the cost of electricity from solar cells.

Krypton-81 isotope can help map underground waterways

September 21, 2011 9:44 am | News | Comments

Cataloging underground waterways, some of which extend for thousands of miles, has always been difficult—but scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, with colleagues from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the International Atomic Energy Agency, are mapping them with some unusual equipment: lasers and a rare isotope.

Powering wind energy with superconductivity

September 20, 2011 8:41 am | News | Comments

Argonne National Laboratory is working with Florida-based Advanced Magnet Lab on a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored project to develop the first fully superconducting direct-drive generator for large wind turbines, with the goal of significantly reducing the cost of wind energy.

A new way to go from nanoparticles to supraparticles

September 19, 2011 5:40 am | News | Comments

Controlling the behavior of nanoparticles can be just as difficult trying to wrangle a group of teenagers. However, a new study involving Argonne National Laboratory has given scientists insight into how tweaking a nanoparticle’s attractive electronic qualities can lead to the creation of ordered uniform "supraparticles."

Argonne patents technology that increases safety of Li-ion batteries

September 16, 2011 4:25 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have patented a new, extremely stable, 4-V redox shuttle molecule that provides overcharge protection for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries containing lithium-iron-phosphate-based cathodes across hundreds of charging cycles.

Decoding the proteins behind drug-resistant superbugs

September 15, 2011 8:30 am | News | Comments

Penicillin and its descendants once ruled supreme over bacteria. Then the bugs got stronger, and hospitals have reported bacterial infections so virulent that even powerful antibiotics held in reserve for these cases don't work. To create the next line of defense against the most drug-resistant pathogens, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and Texas A&M University have decoded the structure of a protein that confers drug resistance against our best antibiotics.

New materials engineering labs see early success

September 13, 2011 9:28 am | by Angela Hardin | News | Comments

After only a few months of work, a small group of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has successfully scaled up the production of a new molecule that protects advanced lithium-ion batteries from thermal overcharge.

Nanoscientists invent better etching technique

August 19, 2011 5:19 am | News | Comments

Argonne nanoscientists have invented a better etching technique that combines new tricks with an old technology. The scientists say the technique has the potential to revolutionize how patterns are transferred onto different materials, paving a new approach for the next generation of energy, electronics, and memory technologies.

Ceramic film enables hot capacitors

August 14, 2011 8:00 pm | Award Winners

Engineers at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new type of composite ceramic film capacitor that addresses the thermal limitations of materials currently used in electric vehicles, allowing far higher operating temperatures and volumetric efficiency.

Chemical detection, from a distance

August 14, 2011 8:00 pm | Award Winners

The Photoacoustic Spectroscopy (PAS) System for Remote Detection of Explosives and Chemicals, from Argonne National Laboratory, remotely detects chemicals and explosives using both PAS and open-field acoustic resonator techniques.

Rocks at heart of renewable methane

August 14, 2011 8:00 pm | Award Winners

Argonne National Laboratory and Eurisko Scientific LLC have introduced an Enhanced Renewable Methane Production System for anaerobic digesters that improves methane quality and sequesters carbon dioxide, improving on efficiencies of current technologies.

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