The shrinking size and increasing capacity of batteries in the past few decades has made possible devices that have transformed everyday life. But small isn't the only frontier for battery technology. As the world enters its most energy-intensive era, the search is on for bigger, cheaper, and safer batteries that can capture, store, and efficiently use sustainable energy on a large scale. To determine how best to meet those large-scale energy needs, researchers are probing small-scale, off-the-shelf D-cell batteries.
The term "survival of the fittest" refers to natural selection in biological systems, but Darwin's theory may apply more broadly than that. New research from Brookhaven National Laboratory shows that this evolutionary theory also applies to technological systems. The team worked to compare that frequency with which components "survive" in two complex systems: bacterial genomes and operating systems on Linux computers.
Pinning down one of the possible explanations for the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductors—fleeting fluctuations called charge-density waves (CDWs)—could help pave the way for technological advances. Researchers report that they have combined two state-of-the-art experimental techniques to study those electron waves with unprecedented precision in two-dimensional, custom-grown materials.
At present, a key step to achieving superconductivity is to substitute a different kind of atom into some positions of the “parent” material’s crystal framework. Until now, scientists thought this doping process simply added more electrons or other charge carriers, thereby rendering the electronic environment more conducive to the formation of electron pairs that could move with no energy loss if the material is held at a certain chilly temperature. Now, new studies of an iron-based superconductor suggest that the story is somewhat more complicated.
Scientists studying an enzyme that naturally produces alkanes—long carbon-chain molecules that could be a direct replacement for the hydrocarbons in gasoline—have figured out why the natural reaction typically stops after three to five cycles. Armed with that knowledge, they’ve devised a strategy to keep the reaction going.
A technology invented at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for manufacturing copper-oxide-based high-temperature superconducting materials has been used to make an iron-based superconducting wire capable of carrying very high electrical currents under exceptionally high magnetic fields.
A collaboration led by scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory has created a high-performance iron-based superconducting wire that opens new pathways for some of the most essential and energy-intensive technologies in the world. These custom-grown materials carry tremendous current under exceptionally high magnetic fields. The results demonstrate a unique layered structure that outperforms competing low-temperature superconducting wires while avoiding the high manufacturing costs associated with high-temperature superconductor alternatives.
The human genome is like a roadmap for the body, but our understanding of the road signs that point some people toward a long life and others to an early death is still limited. Now, research from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine finds that genes involved in regulating personality may also be keys to longevity.
Researchers using X-rays to study graphene have learned new information about its atomic bonding and electronic properties when the material is doped with nitrogen atoms. They show that synchrotron X-ray techniques can be excellent tools to study and better understand the behavior of doped graphene, which is being eyed for use as a promising contact material in electronic devices due to its many desirable traits.
In the first-ever experiment of its kind, researchers have demonstrated that clean energy hydrogen can be produced from water splitting by using very small metal particles that are exposed to sunlight. Researchers from Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory found that the use of gold particles smaller than 1 nm resulted in greater hydrogen production than other co-catalysts tested.
The next generation of sustainable energy systems hinges in part on high-temperature superconductors (HTS), which can carry current with zero loss and perfect efficiency. Unfortunately, that loss-free behavior comes at the cost of extreme and inefficient cooling, and the fundamental physics that governs the behavior of these materials remains mysterious. Now, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory and other collaborating institutions have discovered unexpected behavior that could be key to solving the HTS puzzle.
Using a computational model they designed to incorporate detailed information about plants' interconnected metabolic processes, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have identified key pathways that appear to "favor" the production of either oils or proteins. The research may point the way to new strategies to tip the balance and increase plant oil production.
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.
For several years, experts in nanotechnology have suspected—but not proven—that quantum interference effects make the conductance of a circuit with two paths up to four times higher than the conductance of a circuit with a single path. By constructing their own controllable, molecular-scale circuits, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have confirmed an increase in conductance. But not as large as was anticipated.
Physicists working at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Switzerland's Paul Scherrer Institute have revealed key quantum characteristics of high-temperature superconductors, demonstrating new experimental methods and breaking fundamental ground on these mysterious materials.
Spintronic devices use electron spin, a subtle quantum characteristic, to write and read information. But to mobilize this emerging technology, scientists must understand exactly how to manipulate spin as a reliable carrier of computer code. Now, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have precisely measured a key parameter of electron interactions called non-adiabatic spin torque that is essential to the future development of spintronic devices.
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.
A new energy scan study at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider has revealed the first hints of a possible boundary separating ordinary nuclear matter, composed of protons and neutrons, from the seething soup of their constituent quarks and gluons that permeated the universe 14 billion years ago.
A team of researchers at Columbia Engineering, in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory, has succeeded in performing the first quantitative characterization of van der Waals interactions at metal/organic interfaces at the single-molecule level.
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have been awarded processing time on a new supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to study how proteins fold into their 3D shapes.
Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists recently used a technique called electron holography to capture images of the electric fields created by atomic displacement in exotic ferroelectric materials. The technique can resolve to the picometer scale, allowing them to observe unprecedented details about the atomic structure and behavior of these materials.
As scientists learn to manipulate little-understood nanoscale materials, they are laying the foundation for a future of more compact and efficient devices. In new research, scientists at Brookhaven and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories and other collaborating institutions describe one such advance—a technique, called electron holography, revealing unprecedented details about the atomic structure and behavior of exotic ferroelectric materials. The research could guide the scaling up of these materials.
Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) smashes particles together to recreate the incredible conditions that only existed at the dawn of time. The 2.4-mile underground atomic "racetrack" at RHIC produces fundamental insights about the laws underlying all visible matter. But along the way, its particles also smashed a world record.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation have committed up to $27 million to Open Science Grid, a nine-member partnership extending the reach of distributed high-throughput computing networks.
Even at the nanoscale, hybrids show promise—as evidenced by new efforts to pair inorganic nanoparticles with conductive polymers to convert sunlight into electricity or build better biosensors. To make the most of these molecular matchups, however, scientists need to understand the small-scale details of charge transfer—and how to control it.