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Oak Ridge National Laboratory Articles

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Optoelectronics
29th March 2017
Scientists create a detailed 3D map of Earth's interior

Using advanced modeling and simulation, seismic data generated by earthquakes, and one of the world's fastest supercomputers, a team led by Jeroen Tromp of Princeton University is creating a detailed 3D picture of Earth's interior. Currently, the team is focused on imaging the entire globe from the surface to the core-mantle boundary, a depth of 1,800 miles.

Component Management
14th March 2017
Two-dimensional MXene materials get their close-up

  Researchers have long sought electrically conductive materials for economical energy-storage devices. Two-dimensional (2D) ceramics called MXenes are contenders. Unlike most 2D ceramics, MXenes have inherently good conductivity because they are molecular sheets made from the carbides and nitrides of transition metals like titanium.

Medical
18th November 2016
Supercomputer simulations help fight antibiotic resistance

Supercomputer simulations at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have played a key role in discovering a new class of drug candidates that hold promise to combat antibiotic resistance. In a study led by the University of Oklahoma with ORNL, the University of Tennessee and Saint Louis University, lab experiments were combined with supercomputer modeling to identify molecules that boost antibiotics' effect on disease-causing ba...

Component Management
16th November 2016
Accidental result could improve materials synthesis

  Unexpected results from a neutron scattering experiment at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory could open a new pathway for the synthesis of novel materials and also help explain the formation of complex organic structures observed in interstellar space.

3D Printing
2nd November 2016
3D-printed magnets outperform conventional versions

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated that permanent magnets produced by additive manufacturing can outperform bonded magnets made using traditional techniques while conserving critical materials. Scientists fabricated isotropic, near-net-shape, neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) bonded magnets at DOE's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) ...

Renewables
13th October 2016
Catalysts convert carbon dioxide directly into ethanol

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed an electrochemical process that uses tiny spikes of carbon and copper to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol. Their finding, which involves nanofabrication and catalysis science, was serendipitous. "We discovered somewhat by accident that this material worked," said ORNL's Adam Rondinone, lead author of the team's study published in Chemistr...

Component Management
5th October 2016
STEM writes tiny patterns in metallic "ink"

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are the first to harness a STEM to directly write tiny patterns in metallic "ink," forming features in liquid that are finer than half the width of a human hair. The automated process is controlled by weaving a STEM instrument's electron beam through a liquid-filled cell to spur deposition of metal onto a silicon microchip. The patterns created are "nanoscale," or on the ...

Component Management
15th September 2016
Complex materials may form basis for multifunction chips

Researchers studying the behaviour of nanoscale materials at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uncovered remarkable behaviour that could advance microprocessors beyond today's silicon-based chips. The study, featured on the cover of Advanced Electronic Materials, shows that a single crystal complex oxide material, when confined to micro- and nanoscales, can act like a multi-component electrical circuit.

3D Printing
8th August 2016
Drafting process aids nanoscale 3D printing

Designing a 3D printed structure is hard enough when the product is inches or feet in size. Imagine shrinking it smaller than a drop of water, smaller even than a human hair, until it is dwarfed by a common bacterium. This impossibly small structure can be made a reality with focused electron beam induced deposition, or FEBID, to essentially 3D print at the nanoscale. FEBID uses an electron beam from a scanning electron m...

Component Management
26th July 2016
Nontoxic process makes larger sheets of 2D nanomaterials

A team of scientists led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a novel way to produce 2D nanosheets by separating bulk materials with nontoxic liquid nitrogen. The environmentally friendly process generates a 20-fold increase in surface area per sheet, which could expand the nanomaterials' commercial applications. "It's actually a very simple procedure," said ORNL chemist Huiyuan Zhu, who co-authored a stu...

Analysis
13th June 2016
Process creates junctions for ultrathin devices

Making faster, more powerful electronics requires smaller but still uniform connections, or junctions, between different materials. For the first time, researchers created extremely small, 5-nm-wide junctions, which were made in a specific pattern using two different planar, or flat, semiconductors. The simple process to create these two-dimensional junctions involved selective exposure of the semiconductor to laser-vaporised material and could b...

Analysis
8th June 2016
Massless particle could exist in magnetic crystal structure

An elusive massless particle could exist in a magnetic crystal structure, revealed by neutron and X-ray research from a team of scientists led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee. In a paper published in Nature Communications, the research team studied a material containing the dense element osmium and documented two conditions required for the presence of Weyl fermions -- massless...

Component Management
6th June 2016
Alloy promises to improve energy efficiency of engines

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and partners Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Wisconsin-based Eck Industries have developed aluminum alloys that are both easier to work with and more heat tolerant than existing products. What may be more important, however, is that the alloys - which contain cerium - have the potential to jump-start the United States' production of rare earth elements.

Power
31st May 2016
Better combustion for power generation

In 2015, the search for efficiency gains led GE to tackle one of the most complex problems in science and engineering—instabilities in gas turbine combustors. The journey led the company to the Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Analysis
23rd May 2016
Method produces quantum dots

A method to produce significant amounts of semiconducting nanoparticles for light-emitting displays, sensors, solar panels and biomedical applications has gained momentum with a demonstration by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. While zinc sulfide nanoparticles - a type of quantum dot that is a semiconductor - have many potential applications, high cost and limited availability have been obstacles to their w...

Analysis
22nd April 2016
JENSA system will take physicists to infinity and beyond

Physicists studying stellar explosions, the origin of life and just about everything in between could gain light years in precision because of a system inspired by a team led by Kelly Chipps of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. As the sophistication of radioactive ion beam facilities around the world increases, there is pressure to ensure that the targets and detectors necessary to perform experiments maintain the pace.

Analysis
18th April 2016
Scientists create atomically thin solar cell

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory synthesised a stack of atomically thin monolayers of two lattice-mismatched semiconductors. One, gallium selenide, is a "p-type" semiconductor, rich in charge carriers called "holes." The other, molybdenum diselenide, is an "n-type" semiconductor, rich in electron charge carriers.

Component Management
23rd March 2016
Tougher plastic has 50% renewable content

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have made a better thermoplastic by replacing styrene with lignin, a brittle, rigid polymer that, with cellulose, forms the woody cell walls of plants. In doing so, they have invented a solvent-free production process that interconnects equal parts of nanoscale lignin dispersed in a synthetic rubber matrix to produce a meltable, moldable, ductile material that's at least ten ...

Component Management
18th March 2016
Replacement for silicon devices looms big with latest discovery

Two-dimensional electronic devices could inch closer to their ultimate promise of low power, high efficiency and mechanical flexibility with a processing technique developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A team led by Olga Ovchinnikova of ORNL's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences Division used a helium ion microscope, an atomic-scale "sandblaster," on a layered ferroelectric surface of a bulk copper indium thio...

Renewables
16th March 2016
Energy storage material gets nanoscale analysis

  Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have combined advanced in-situ microscopy and theoretical calculations to uncover important clues to the properties of a promising next-gen energy storage material for supercapacitors and batteries.

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