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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.

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.

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.

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.

Scientists design self-assembled microrobots

August 9, 2011 5:22 am | by Louise Lerner | News | Comments

Physicists at the Argonne National Laboratory have coaxed microrobots to do their bidding. The robots, just half a millimeter wide, are composed of microparticles. Confined between two liquids, they assemble themselves into star shapes when an alternating magnetic field is applied.

Scientists to assemble Kbase to aid U.S. biofuel, environment efforts

July 18, 2011 9:40 am | News | Comments

A multi-institutional team has been awarded government funding to create out of many separate streams of biological information a single, integrated cyber-"knowledgebase" (called Kbase) focused specifically on two fundamentally important forms of life.

Diagnosing advanced batteries for a longer life

July 14, 2011 5:31 am | News | Comments

Imagine a battery that truly does keep on going and going—and not for just a few years, but close to decades. At Argonne National Laboratory, materials scientist Daniel Abraham works to do just that for lithium-ion batteries.

Plutonium tricks cells by 'pretending' to be iron

July 11, 2011 5:23 am | News | Comments

Plutonium gets taken up by our cells much as iron does, even though there's far less of it to go around. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University have identified a new biological pathway by which plutonium finds its way into mammalian cells. The researchers learned that, to get into cells, plutonium acts like a "Trojan horse," duping a special membrane protein that is typically responsible for taking up iron.

Using sound to mount microcrystals for X-ray diffraction

July 7, 2011 4:56 am | News | Comments

Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers are using high-frequency sound waves in conjunction with extremely bright X-rays to get a look at the atomic structures of the complex biological molecules that make our bodies work.

Argonne electrifies energy storage research

June 30, 2011 4:18 am | News | Comments

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Argonne National Laboratory is working to develop advanced energy storage technologies to aid the growth of a nascent U.S. battery manufacturing industry, help transition the U.S. automotive fleet to one dominated by plug-in hybrid and electric passenger vehicles, and enable greater use of renewable energy technologies.

Putting the 'fuel' in biofuels

May 26, 2011 5:07 am | News | Comments

Recent discussions of methods by which biomass—grasses, trees, and other vegetation—could be turned into fuel makes a lot of sense in theory. Plant matter is composed of energy-intensive carbohydrates, but even now scientists still don't have the perfect solution for converting plant sugars into combustible fuels.

Nanoparticles help scientists harvest light with solar fuels

May 19, 2011 7:58 am | News | Comments

The humble alga, hated by boaters and pool owners, may someday help provide us with the raw machinery to power our appliances. A group of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory, led by chemist Lisa Utschig, has linked platinum nanoparticles with algae proteins, commandeering photosynthesis to produce hydrogen instead. The system produces hydrogen at a rate five times greater than the previous record-setting method.

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