News: Story Tips

Story Tips

ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to

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May 1, 2018 – An Oak Ridge National Laboratory-led team has observed how a prolific class of antibiotics may be losing its effectiveness as certain bacteria develop drug resistance by acquiring enzymes known as aminoglycoside modifying enzymes.
May 1, 2018 – Algorithms designed to parse data gathered by roadside sensors could make it easier to identify vehicles sought in AMBER Alerts and to assist researchers studying traffic patterns.
May 1, 2018 – A study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory detailed the response and recovery of certain tree species after short-term, extreme weather events such as heat waves. Scientists exposed sets of four different saplings to dramatic temperature swings that peaked above 120 F, or around 50 C, in a climate-controlled test chamber.
May 1, 2018 – Researchers from the Max Planck Institute, renowned for advances in nonmetallic catalysis, leveraged computational modeling suppor
May 1, 2018 – A shield assembly that protects an instrument measuring ion and electron fluxes for a NASA mission to touch the Sun was tested in extreme experimental environments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory—and passed with flying colors.
April 2, 2018 - An Oak Ridge National Laboratory-led team cultivated a novel oral microbe, Desulfobulbus oralis, present in adults with periodontitis, an advanced gum disease that affects nearly half of all adults worldwide.
April 2, 2018 - Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have conducted a series of breakthrough experimental and computational studies that cast doubt on a 40-year-old theory describing how polymers in plastic materials behave during processing. 
April 2, 2018 - Oak Ridge National Laboratory has partnered with FCA US LLC and casting manufacturer Nemak to develop a new cast aluminum alloy for engine cylinder heads, which could lead to more fuel-efficient internal combustion engines.
Over time, algae biofilms accumulated on glass washers affixed to a plastic pegboard submerged in East Fork Poplar Creek in Oak Ridge, Tenn. ORNL researchers further analyzed the samples in the laboratory to determine the production of methylmercury.
March 1, 2018 – Analyses of creek algae informed a new model that can more accurately predict the presence of the neurotoxin methylmercury in small headwater ecosystems.
ORNL uses supercomputers to simulate radiation transport in small modular reactors using Monte Carlo codes. Credit: Steven Hamilton/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy
March 1, 2018 – Nuclear scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are retooling existing software used to simulate radiation transport in small modular reactors, or SMRs, to run more efficiently on next-generation supercomputers.
ORNL researchers married helium-ion microscopy with a liquid cell from North Carolina-based Protochips Inc., to fabricate exceedingly pure, precise platinum structures. Credit: Stephen Jesse/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy
March 1, 2018 – Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have directly written high-purity metallic structures narrower than a cold virus—which could open nanofabrication opportunities in electronics, drug delivery, catalysis and chemical separations.
ORNL’s Jim Szybist works with a multi-cylinder engine at the lab’s National Transportation Research Center. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy
March 1, 2018 – Gasoline-powered automobiles could achieve an 8 percent or greater fuel efficiency gain through a new combustion strategy developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Scientists have demonstrated a new method for reforming fuel over a catalyst, a process that chemically converts fuel into a hydrogen-rich blend.
Using neutrons, an ORNL research team studied the protein structure of bacteria-produced enzymes called beta-lactamases by examining one of them to better understand how resistant bacteria behave.
March 1, 2018 – New insights into certain catalytic enzymes formed by bacteria to break down antibiotics may lead to the design of drugs better equipped to combat resistant bacteria.
ORNL scientists estimated quantum computing energy usage from a detailed modeling technique. In a study, the team found that quantum computers could reduce energy usage by more than 20 orders of magnitude compared to conventional computers.
February 1, 2018 – New research from Oak Ridge National Laboratory indicates that quantum computers will use dramatically less energy than current supercomputers, which could lead to cost savings for computing equipment manufacturers and data centers.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher Halil Tekinalp combines silanes and polylactic acid to create supertough renewable plastic.
February 1, 2018 – A novel method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory creates supertough renewable plastic with improved manufacturability.
An ORNL-led team conducts moisture durability simulations on construction materials, which will add real-world data to a new system developed to help builders and home designers make informed decisions. Credit: Rachel Brooks/Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
February 1, 2018 – A new system being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will help builders and home designers select the best construction materials for long-term moisture durability.
January 3, 2018 - A novel approach for studying magnetic behavior in a material called alpha-ruthenium trichloride may have implications for quantum computing.
shape-memory conductors
January 3, 2018 - A novel approach that creates a renewable, leathery material—programmed to remember its shape—may offer a low-cost alternative to conventional conductors for applications in sensors and robotics. To make the bio-based, shape-memory material, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists streamlined a solvent-free process that mixes rubber with lignin—the by-product of woody plants used to make biofuels.
An example of a spiking neural network shows how data can be classified using the neuromorphic device. Credit: Catherine Schuman and Margaret Drouhard/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy
January 3, 2018 - For smarter data management and analysis, researchers have developed a low-power neuromorphic device based on spiking neural networks that can quickly and more efficiently analyze and classify data. 
California charging EV station map
January 3, 2018 - Officials responsible for anticipating the demand for electric vehicle charging stations could get help through a sophisticated new method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
January 3, 2018 - A new process to identify certain microbes in women could be used to diagnose endometriosis without invasive surgery, even before symptoms start. A collaborative research team including Oak Ridge National Laboratory analyzed bacteria from a small sample of premenopausal women undergoing laparoscopic surgery for suspected endometriosis.
January 3, 2018 - To improve models for drilling, hydraulic fracturing and underground storage of carbon dioxide, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists used neutrons to understand how water flows through fractured rock. 
An ORNL-led team developed a variable control mechanism to enable precision de-icing on urban roads, using roadway data from the City of Knoxville in Tennessee. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy
December 4, 2017 – A precision approach to treating snow- and ice-covered roads, developed by an Oak Ridge National Laboratory-led research team, aims to help cities effectively allocate resources and expand coverage on roadways. The combined software and hardware technology analyzes existing city data and uses high-resolution modeling to identify areas most vulnerable to drivers during hazardous weather conditions.
A research team, including scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ames Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, illuminated the mechanisms that create stability and strength in a new class of aluminum alloys. Credit: Orlando R. Rios,
​December 4, 2017 – A multi-laboratory research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutrons, x-rays and computational modeling to “see” the atomic structures inside a new class of aluminum-cerium alloys created for automotive and aerospace applications. 
A bacterial species known as Desulfitobacterium hafniense uses unsubstituted purine to form purinyl-cobamide, a “helper molecule” required to enzymatically break down environmental toxins. Credit: Frank Löffler/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of
December 4, 2017 – An Oak Ridge National Laboratory-led team discovered a function of certain microbes that produces a new derivative of vitamin B12, which is crucial to a cell’s ability to perform life-sustaining metabolic activities. Their findings could ultimately open avenues for novel environmental and water clean-up strategies.