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New process improves catalytic rate of enzymes by 3,000%

April 18, 2012 5:21 am | News | Comments

According to recent research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, light of specific wavelengths can be used to boost an enzyme's function by as much as 30-fold, potentially establishing a path to less expensive biofuels, detergents and a host of other products.

Electron microscopy research furthers flexoelectric theory

April 16, 2012 3:43 am | News | Comments

Materials such as bismuth samarium ferrite and lead zirconium titanate are often called "materials on the brink" in reference to their enigmatic behavior, which is closely tied to the transition between two different phases. Recent electron microscopy sponsored by Oak Ridge National Laboratory has helped build knowledge about these materials and related flexoelectric theory, which describes materials that change polarization when bent.

First message transmitted via neutrinos

April 11, 2012 11:30 am | by Kurt Riesselmann | News | Comments

Scientists have for decades contemplated communicating via neutrinos when other methods won’t do. For the first time, physicists and engineers at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s MINERvA detector have successfully transmitted a message through 240 m of rock using these ghost-like particles.


Neutron scattering unlocks milk protein

April 4, 2012 6:05 pm | by Agatha Bardoel | News | Comments

Small-angle neutron scattering instrument at the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory can be used for a surprising variety of biological studies. Recently, researchers in The Netherlands successfully analyzed and characterized the internal protein structure and composite particles of a cow named Martha.

Neutrons uncover new density waves in fermion liquids

March 29, 2012 4:14 am | News | Comments

Scientists have recently carried out the first investigation of 2D fermion liquids using neutron scattering, and discovered a new type of very short wavelength density wave. The team believes their discovery will interest researchers looking at electronic systems, since high temperature superconductivity could result from this type of density fluctuations.

ORNL process converts polyethylene into carbon fiber

March 27, 2012 10:35 am | News | Comments

Common material such as polyethylene used in plastic bags could be turned into something far more valuable through a process being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In a recently published paper, a team led by Amit Naskar of the Materials Science and Technology Division outlined a method that allows not only for production of carbon fiber but also the ability to tailor the final product to specific applications.

New software tool to assess global freshwater stress

March 23, 2012 8:39 am | News | Comments

While several recent studies suggest that much of the world is likely to experience freshwater shortages as the population increases and temperatures rise, determining the relative impact of each has been difficult. A recent Oak Ridge National Laboratory paper outlines a process that might help.

Standoff sensing enters new realm with dual-laser technique

March 22, 2012 12:36 pm | News | Comments

Identifying chemicals from a distance could take a step forward with the introduction of a two-laser system being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The technique uses a quantum cascade laser to "pump," or strike, a target, and another laser to monitor the material's response as a result of temperature-induced changes. That information allows for the rapid identification of chemicals and biological agents.


Performing under pressure

March 15, 2012 7:29 am | News | Comments

Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Spallation Neutron Source's Spallation Neutrons and Pressure Diffractometer (SNAP) puts the squeeze on methane hydrate cages, unraveling their high-pressure structure.

ORNL-led team advances science of carbon accounting

March 6, 2012 9:43 am | News | Comments

Determining with precision the carbon balance of North America is complicated, but researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method that considerably advances the science. In developing their approach, the team took advantage of inventory records from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that track changes in the amount of carbon in various reservoirs such as plants, soils, and wood.

ORNL completes first phase of Titan supercomputer transition

March 1, 2012 7:04 am | News | Comments

Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar supercomputer has completed the first phase of an upgrade that will keep it among the most powerful scientific computing systems in the world. When the upgrade process is completed this autumn, the system will be renamed Titan and will be capable of 10 to 20 petaflops.

Tool puts spotlight on nation's electricity generation capacity

February 28, 2012 6:30 am | News | Comments

A technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory could streamline and strengthen the process for siting power plants while potentially enhancing the nation's energy security.

Climate scientists improve detail by computing in concert

February 27, 2012 5:29 pm | by Eric Gedenk | News | Comments

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are sharing computational resources and expertise to improve the detail and performance of the Community Earth System Model, a  scientific application code that is the product of one of the world's largest collaborations of climate researchers.


Mysterious electron acceleration explained

February 27, 2012 2:48 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A mysterious phenomenon detected by space probes has finally been explained, thanks to a massive computer simulation that was able to precisely align with details of spacecraft observations. The finding could not only solve an astrophysical puzzle, but might also lead to a better ability to predict high-energy electron streams in space that could damage satellites.

Showing Their Metal

February 15, 2012 7:22 am | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

Inventing new metal products is tough. R&D finds out how recent R&D 100 Award-winning technologies have fared in the marketplace.

Microscopy explores nanowires' weakest link

February 13, 2012 8:33 am | News | Comments

Individual atoms can make or break electronic properties in one of the world's smallest known conductors—quantum nanowires. Microscopic analysis at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is delivering a rare glimpse into how the atomic structure of the conducting nanowires affects their electronic behavior.

Searching for a solid that flows like a liquid

February 2, 2012 8:06 am | News | Comments

A series of neutron scattering experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other research centers is exploring the key question about a long-sought quantum state of matter called supersolidity: Does it exist?

ORNL microscopy reveals atomic antenna behavior in graphene

January 31, 2012 7:12 am | News | Comments

Atomic-level defects in graphene could be a path forward to smaller and faster electronic devices, according to a study led by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The study suggests that point defects, composed of silicon atoms that replace individual carbon atoms in graphene, could aid attempts to transfer data on an atomic scale by coupling light with electrons.

Metadynamics technique offers insight into mineral growth and dissolution

January 24, 2012 3:42 am | News | Comments

By using a novel technique to better understand mineral growth and dissolution, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are improving predictions of mineral reactions and laying the groundwork for applications ranging from keeping oil pipes clear to sequestering radium.

Neutron scattering provides window into surface interactions

January 17, 2012 10:36 am | News | Comments

To better understand the fundamental behavior of molecules at surfaces, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are combining the powers of neutron scattering with chemical analysis. Scientists have a fundamental interest in how molecules behave at solid surfaces because surface interactions influence chemistry. Understanding these interactions allows researchers to tailor materials for a specific desirable outcome.

ORNL experiments prove nanoscale metallic conductivity in ferroelectrics

January 9, 2012 10:00 am | News | Comments

The prospect of electronics at the nanoscale may be even more promising with the first observation of metallic conductance in ferroelectric nanodomains by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

ORNL technology could mean improved prosthesis design

January 3, 2012 8:37 am | News | Comments

Soldiers returning from war who have lost a leg could lead a more active lifestyle with the help of a technology being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers. The researchers are perfecting a portable, wearable system to measure walking patterns that can be applied to real-world activities in a variety of settings.

Supercomputer reveals details behind drug-processing protein model

December 7, 2011 4:22 am | News | Comments

Supercomputer simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are giving scientists access to a key class of proteins involved in drug detoxification. Researchers have performed simulations to observe the motions of water molecules in a class of enzymes called P450s, which are responsible for processing a large fraction of drugs taken by humans.

Carbon dioxide emissions rebound quickly after global financial crisis

December 5, 2011 8:09 am | News | Comments

The sharp decrease in global carbon dioxide emissions attributed to the worldwide financial crisis in 2009 quickly rebounded in 2010, according to research supported by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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.

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