News: Features


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The Weyl semimetal state is induced when the opposing motions of the electrons cause the Dirac cones to split in two (illustrated on the left by outward facing electrons, opposite the inward facing electrons on the right).
February 19, 2018 – The observation of an abnormal state of matter in a two-dimensional magnetic material is the latest development in the race to harness novel electronic properties for more robust and efficient next-generation devices.
ORNL researchers Todd Toops, Charles Finney, and Melanie DeBusk (left to right) hold an example of a particulate filter used to collect harmful emissions in vehicles.
February 14, 2018 – Researchers are looking to neutrons for new ways to save fuel during the operation of filters that clean the soot, or carbon and ash-based particulate matter, emitted by vehicles.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory bioinformatics researcher Dan Jacobson plugs AI, deep learning into biosystems.
February 12, 2018 – Dan Jacobson is illuminating the workings of biological systems from the molecular scale up by leveraging Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s supercomputing resources to create machine- and deep-learning techniques more easily understood by humans—an evolving field called explainable artificial intelligence (AI).
Germina Ilas (left) and Ian Gauld review spent fuel data entries in the SFCOMPO 2.0 database.
February 9, 2018 – Oak Ridge National Laboratory provided significant contributions and coordination in the development of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s (NEA’s) recently released Spent Fuel Isotopic Composition (SFCOMPO) 2.0—the world’s large
A conceptual illustration of proton-proton fusion in which two protons fuse to form a deuteron. Image courtesy of William Detmold.
February 8, 2018 – Nuclear physicists are using the nation’s most powerful supercomputer, Titan, at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility to study particle interactions important to energy production in the Sun and stars and to propel the search for new physics discoveries
In a model of a 1.6 liter engine cylinder, liquid fuel (shown in red and orange) is converted to fuel vapor under high temperatures during ignition. Image courtesy of Ronald Grover.
February 8, 2018 – Most car owners in the United States do not think twice about passing over the diesel pump at the gas station.
ORNL’s Larry Allard used high-resolution aberration-corrected electron microscopy methods to image single atoms of rhodium in a zeolite catalyst material, which aided in the development of a breakthrough process that directly converts methane to methanol.
MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE (Nov. 30, 2017) – The direct oxidation of methane—found in natural gas—into methanol at low temperatures has long been a holy grail.
Lianhong Gu is an environmental scientist in the Ecosystem Science Group at ORNL.
November 28, 2017 — Photosynthesis is one of the most important processes on Earth. Without it the food chain would collapse, and we would lose a primary source of oxygen for all life. Yet it is a process that is still poorly understood outside the laboratory.
Scientists peer inside materials used to clean automotive exhaust to understand why one works better than the other. Red and blue dots represent positions of copper and aluminum atoms, respectively, for two zeolite catalysts (SSZ-13 and ZSM-5) used in a d
Diesel vehicles today emit far fewer pollutants than older vehicles, thanks to a zeolite (hydrous silicate) catalytic converter that was invented around 10 years ago to reduce pollutants that cause the formation of acid rain and smog.
Inspired by the brain’s web of neurons, deep neural networks consist of thousands or millions of simple computational units.
November 28, 2017 — Deep neural networks—a form of artificial intelligence—have demonstrated mastery of tasks once thought uniquely human.
Fidget spinner
November 27, 2017 – One drop of liquid, a cutting-edge laser 3D-printer and a few hours are all it takes to make a fidget spinner smaller than the width of a human hair. The tiny whirligig was created by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences to illustrate the facility’s unique resources and expertise available to scientists across the world.
Chlorite dismutase - Journal cover art reprinted with permission from ACS Catalysis, vol. 7, issue 11, November 3, 2017. Further permissions related to the material excerpted should be directed to the ACS.
November 13, 2017 - A new study sheds light on a unique enzyme that could provide an eco-friendly treatment for chlorite-contaminated water supplies and improve water quality worldwide.
Bacteria containing enzymes called beta-lactamases, illustrated by the light blue cluster, break down antibiotics and allow bacterial infections to develop and spread through human cells (orange). A team from ORNL’s Neutron Sciences Directorate is using n
November 6, 2017 – The discovery of penicillin almost 90 years ago ushered in the age of modern antibiotics, but the growth of antibiotic resistance means bacterial infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis are becoming more difficult to treat.
Professors Zhenzhen Yu (left) and Michael Joachim Andreassen use neutrons at HFIR’s NRSF2 to investigate residual stresses expected to occur in the welds of offshore underwater wind turbine foundations. (Credit: ORNL/Genevieve Martin)
October 26, 2017 – Massive offshore structures like oil rigs and wind turbines are designed to withstand the myriad punishments oceans tend to mete out. However, over time, just the saltwater itself can significantly decrease the durability of a structure’s welds.
The interior of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Alcator C-Mod tokamak. A team led by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s C.S. Chang recently used the Titan supercomputer
October 16, 2017 – The same fusion reactions that power the sun also occur inside a tokamak, a device that uses magnetic fields to confine and control plasmas of 100-plus million degrees. Under extreme temperatures and pressure, hydrogen atoms can fuse together, creating new helium atoms and simultaneously releasing energy.
An image of a complete 7HA.02 gas turbine. The new GE turbine is capable of achieving an overall efficiency of more than 62 percent in a combined-cycle power plant and is projected to exceed world-record efficiency marks set by GE’s 9HA turbine model.
October 12, 2017– In 2017, US-based General Electric (GE) delivered its newest heavy-duty gas turbine, the 7HA.02, to two power plants in Texas. The installations marked a milestone in natural gas–derived electricity generation, setting new marks in efficiency and emissions for utility-scale turbomachinery.
When a neutron star forms, compression creates heat that generates neutrinos. When the star’s core collapses, a shock wave propagates around the star but stalls. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy; created by J.A. Harris.
October 6, 2017 – The Big Bang began the formation and organization of the matter that makes up ourselves and our world.
ORNL’s 2017 Molten Salt Reactor Workshop offered a wide range of talks on advanced reactors, including modeling and simulation techniques, commercial licensing strategies and the Department of Energy’s efforts to work with industry on developing designs.
October 5, 2017 – The third annual Molten Salt Reactor Workshop allowed leading voices on advanced reactors—including scientists from the national laboratory system, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, reactor design firms and universities—to discuss current efforts in molten salt reactor work and purs
conventional sedan
September 28, 2017 –  It’s common knowledge that driving aggressively can dent gas mileage, but it’s difficult to determine exactly how much gas drivers waste. A new study by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has quantified the impact speeding and slamming on the brakes has on fuel economy and consumption. They found that aggressive behavior behind the wheel can lower gas mileage in light-duty vehicles by about 10 to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic and roughly 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds. This can equate to losing about $0.25 to $1 per gallon.
Former University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer (right) helps ORNL celebrate $858,000 of contributions to this year’s United Way campaign.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sept. 27, 2017 -- Former University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer praised UT-Battelle employees at Oak Ridge National Laboratory during a Leadership Givers Breakfast for contributing $858,000 to this year’s United Way campaign.
Ctherm on Biomass CSLM
September 27, 2017 - With the licensing to Enchi Corporation of a microbe custom-designed to produce ethanol efficiently, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) mark the culmination of 10 years’ research into ways to improve biofuels production.
Arjun Shankar
September 5, 2017 — The field of “Big Data” has exploded in the blink of an eye, growing exponentially into almost every branch of science in just a few decades.
Scientists will use ORNL’s computing resources such as the Titan supercomputer to develop deep learning solutions for data analysis. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.
August 25, 2017 – A team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been awarded nearly $2 million over three years from the Department of Energy to explore the potential of machine learning in revolutionizing scientific data analysis.
2017 GEM Fellows
August 25, 2017 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) hosted eight graduate students as part of the National GEM Consortium summer fellowship program this year—seven in the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate and one in the Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate.
Particles collide and stream through ALICE’s detectors, such as the time-projection chamber shown here, and leave tracks that reveal their velocities, momenta and energies. Image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy; photographer Ja
August 23, 2017 – The world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), began running at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in 2009.