Research Highlights

Key to mechanical reinforcement of glassy polymer nanocomposites has been unraveled

Scientists have unraveled details of the mechanism of mechanical reinforcement in glassy polymer nanocomposites.1 Measurements in the interfacial layer ~2–4 nm around nanoparticles revealed that Young’s modulus, which defines the relationship between stress and strain in a...

Strategy shown for novel tire-derived carbon anodes for sodium-ion batteries

Researchers have demonstrated a process to prepare morphologically tailored carbon materials with good electrochemical capacity Shown are scanning transmission electron microscopy of sulfonated tire-derived carbon treated at 1,100oC (left) and data from a long-...

Quantum Tunneling of Ultraconfined Water

Scientific Achievement

Found that, when confined in the ~ 5 Å wide channels in a beryl crystal, the water molecule undergoes quantum tunneling between six symmetrically equivalent positions around the c-axis in the structure.

Significance and Impact

First evidence of a new...

Synthesis of two-dimensional GaSe/MoSe2 misfit heterojunctions by van der Waals epitaxy

Misfit heterojunctions formed by van der Waals (vdW) epitaxial growth of one crystalline metal chalcogenide monolayer on anotherwas demonstrated for the first time to form p-n junctions that exhibit a photovoltaic response.  Such heterojunction bilayers that display Moiré...

Integrated Molecular Simulations and Neutron Scattering Reveal the Energetics of Hydrogen Bonds at a Mineral Surface

Scientific Achievement

Inelastic neutron scattering (INS) studies of water sorbed on tin oxide (SnO2, cassiterite) nanoparticle surfaces at low humidity and ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) simulations were independently analyzed to extract the vibrational density of states (VDOS)...

Nanoscale Molecular Cartography of Materials

The advancement of a hybrid atomic force microscopy/mass spectrometry imaging platform demonstrating, for the first time, co-registered topographical, band excitation nanomechanical, and mass spectral imaging of a surface using a single instrument is reported.  The mass spectrometry-...

Selective Crystallization of Sulfate-Water Clusters

An effective approach to sulfate separation from aqueous solutions was developed based on crystallization of sulfate-water clusters with a simple ligand self-assembled in situ from water-soluble subcomponents. 

With a free energy of hydration of –1080 kJ/mol, sulfate is one of...

Textural Engineering of Phenolic Polymers with a Robust Mesoporous Framework

A hypercrosslinked polymer was synthesized by a Friedel-Crafts alkylation of a phenolic resin with a robust mesoporous framework to avoid framework shrinkage and maximize retention of organic functional groups.

ORNL researchers successfully developed a soft chemistry synthetic...

Spatially Resolving the Coexistence of Photoexcitations in Complex Materials

Spatial localization of distinct photoexcited species were identified in light harvesting perovskite based materials using ultrafast transient absorption microscopy (TAM). 

Organometal halide perovskite-based solar cells represent a major breakthrough in emerging photovoltaic...

Doping strengthens magnetism in an iron-based crystal

Thallium-doping (5%) of BaFe2As2 crystal causes a surprising rise of the antiferromagnetic transition temperature (TN), related to Temperature-dependent heat capacity for Ba1-xTlxFe2As2shows an increase in magneto-elastic anomaly at...

Single axis strain provides a new level of control over optical bandgap

Helium implantation allows for continuous control of optical band gaps in semiconducting films through the resultant strain — an impossibility Inserting helium atoms into a crystalline film allows for fine control over the elongation of the out-of-plane axis. This is shown...

Single axis strain provides a new level of control over optical bandgap

Helium implantation allows for continuous control of optical band gaps in semiconducting films through the resultant strain — an impossibility Inserting helium atoms into a crystalline film allows for fine control over the elongation of the out-of-plane axis. This is shown...

Dramatic Compositional Effects on Transport in Concentrated Solid Solution Alloys

Compositional complexity is found to strongly affect electrical, thermal, and magnetic properties of nickel-containing face-centered (Left) Increasing compositional complexity (especially when alloying with Cr) enhances the electrical resistivity. (Right) The thermal...

Compositional Complexity Effectively Modifies Defect Migration Barriers

Compared to pure nickel, tuning chemical composition in binary alloys has altered migration barriers of defects, and significantly affected  Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy images of Ni, NiCo and NiFe showing irradiation-induced damage is much deeper in Ni...

Listening to Materials at the Nanoscale

The detection of local phase transitions remains challenging, and to date most techniques can detect properties that change at macroscopic The resonant frequency of the tip-surface contact is tracked as a function of time, to monitor bias-induced changes in the elastic...

Epitaxial Strain Activates Oxygen in Complex Oxides

Researchers demonstrated that straining the crystal lattice of strontium cobaltite reduces oxygen content even under highly oxidizing conditions, The schematic represents strain control of oxygen stoichiometry in a SrCoO3-δ epitaxial thin film. Tensile strain is found to...

Controlling the Stiffness of a Material at the Nanoscale

Giant elastic tunabilty—the Young’s modulus changes reversibly over 30% under applied electric fields—was discovered in BiFeO3 epitaxial thin films Measured spectrograph (elastic stiffness/ piezoresponse versus tip bias) tracking local bias-induced rhombohedral...

Giant Spin-Driven Electric Polarization is Revealed in Promising Multiferroic

Multiferroic materials are important because their electrical and magnetic properties are coupled.  Because BiFeO3 magnetically Comparison between the predicted and observed spin-driven polarization (above) and of the octahedral rotation angle AFD (below) are...

Single-atom catalysts may cut costs for green technologies

Researchers discovered that isolated platinum atoms in copper surfaces efficiently catalyze the selective hydrogenation of 1,3 butadiene, a reaction important for many industrial applications.1 A new generation of catalysts with one Pt atom for approximately every 100 Cu...

Precipitation in Pores: A Geochemical Frontier

Scientific Achievement The effects of porous media on precipitation reactions are shown to be important, but poorly understood. Significance and Impact Geochemical reactions within rocks and soils occur in pores.  Yet, there is not agreement on how the pores affect the...

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