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Research Highlights


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Origin of anomalous atomic vibrations in efficient thermoelectrics revealed
— Thermoelectric SnTe and PbTe compounds were investigated with inelastic neutron scattering (INS) and first-principles calculations to understand the basis of their anharmonic lattice dynamics. The phonon anharmonicity of these materials is of both fundamental importance and of practical interest.

Phonon localization drives nanoregions in a relaxor ferroelectric
— Neutron scattering measurements reveal that phonon localization drives the generation of polar nanoregions (PNRs) in a relaxor ferroelectric. PNRs facilitate the ability of relaxor ferroelectrics to convert between electrical and mechanical forms of energy, which is used in applications ranging from medical ultrasound to military sonar devices.

Neutron Sciences Staff Give Back, Teach US Particle Accelerator School Courses
— About 50 students from around the world toured the Spallation Neutron Source accelerator tunnel at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as part of United States Particle Accelerator School last month.

Using neutrons to probe and understand battery interfaces
— Neutron reflectometry at the Spallation Neutron Source has revealed the composition and growth characteristics of the spontaneous chemical reaction layer formed between a silicon battery anode and an organic electrolyte that ultimately limits the capacity of the battery. We determined that a 3.

Eighth Shull Fellow to Focus on Biochemistry and Crystallography
— Biochemist and molecular biologist Mayank Aggarwal has been awarded this year’s Clifford G. Shull Fellowship. Aggarwal is the eighth fellow to join the Neutron Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory since the program began in 2006.

Comprehensive phonon “map” offers direction for engineering new thermoelectric devices
— To understand how to design better thermoelectric materials, researchers are using neutron scattering at SNS and HFIR to study how a compound known as AgSbTe2, or silver antimony telluride, is able to effectively prevent heat from propagating through it on the microscopic level.

Neutron Imaging Explored as Complementary Technique for Improving Cancer Detection
— Today’s range of techniques for detection of breast and other cancers include mammography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, positron emission tomography (PET), and optical imaging. Each technology has advantages and disadvantages, with limitations either in spatial resolution or sensitivity.

Neutron Imaging Reveals Lithium Distribution in Lithium-Air Electrodes
— Using neutron-computed tomography, researchers at the CG-1D neutron imaging instrument at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) have successfully mapped the three-dimensional spatial distribution of lithium products in electrochemically discharged lithium-air cathodes.

Neutron scattering characterizes dynamics in polymer family
— Understanding the interplay between structure and dynamics is the key to obtaining tailor-made materials. In the last few years, a large effort has been devoted to characterizing and relating the structure and dynamic properties in families of polymers with alkyl side groups.

 
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