Discoveries
For more than 65 years, the men and women of Argonne have carried out basic and applied science and engineering aimed at solving the nation's pressing scientific and technological challenges.
  • Robert Fischetti and Janet Smith developed the first micro X-ray beam for structural biology at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source. This beam enabled the research that earned the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and lays the groundwork for countless new pharmaceuticals.
     
  • GlaxoSmithKline developed the drug Votrient at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source. It was approved in 2009 to fight advanced kidney cancer and then approved in 2012 to also fight soft tissue sarcoma.
     
  • Research at the Advanced Photon Source played an important role in the development of the world’s first solar shingles, which are made by Dow Chemical.
     
  • Argonne physicist Philip Ryan has developed a new method for controlling magnetic order in a particular class of materials known as "magnetoelectrics." This new approach to cross-coupling magnetoelectricity could prove a key step toward the development of next-generation memory storage, improved magnetic field sensors, and more.
     
  • Vitali Prakapenka and an international team of scientists used a new high-pressure anvil design and technique along with high-energy X-rays to create 640 gigapascals of pressure. This is 50 percent more pressure than previously demonstrated and 150 percent more pressure than accessible by typical high-pressure experiments. Pressures at this level have vast ramifications for earth science, cosmology, chemistry, shock physics and material science.
     
  • With the help of Zhonghou Xai,  an international team of scientists used Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source to develop smart, synthetic nanopores with selective mass transport, which opens up a wider range of applications for water purification, chemical separation and fighting disease.
     
  • With help from very bright X-rays at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source, Plexxikon Inc. developed the drug Zelboraf, which can halt the progression of malignant and inoperable skin cancer.
     
  • Kaletra, one of the most successful drugs used to stop the progression of the HIV virus into AIDs got its start at the Advanced Photon Source X-ray facility through research done by Abbott Laboratories.
     
  • John Noonan and other Argonne scientists developed an improved super-conducting radio-frequency cage cavity that performs as well as its full-bodied cousins. The cavity can power particle accelerators used in nuclear and particle physics research and to generate medical isotopes used for imaging and cancer treatment. Improved SRF cavities also hold promise for development of the next generation of X-ray free-electron laser light sources and military lasers for use on naval vessels.
     
  • Argonne X-ray scientists Tao Sun and Jin Wang combined high-resolution imaging with 3-D viewing of the surface layer of material using X-rays in a way that does not damage the sample. This new technique expands the range of X-ray research possible for biology and many aspects of nanotechnology, particularly nanofilms, photonics and micro- and nano-electronics.
  • Argonne Leadership Computing Facility resources are being used by a University of Southern California research team led by Priya Vashishta and Aiichiro Nakano to study the complex electrochemical processes leading to the degradation of nickel- based alloys and silicate glass. This research will aid in the design of safe, next-generation nuclear reactors and nuclear waste containers.
     
  • Argonne Leadership Computing Facility supercomputing resources are helping University of Chicago researcher Alexei Khokhlov to perform first-principles, reactive flow fluid dynamic simulations of deflagration-to-detonation transition to study how hydrogen burns. This knowledge may lead to alternative fuels, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and improving the environment.
     
  • Using Argonne Leadership Computing Facility supercomputing resources, William George of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is modeling the flow of concrete and developing new tools to accurately and reliably measure its viscosity and load bearing characteristics. This work will advance the material and measurement science of concrete.
     
  • Argonne computational physicists Salman Habib and Katrin Heitmann and their research team are running high-resolution simulations of the distribution of matter in the universe. Simulations on Argonne Leadership Computing Facility computing resources are allowing them to make theoretical predictions that can be tested against data gathered by powerful telescopes and space probes.
     
  • An Argonne and University of Chicago research team led by Andrew Binkowski is using Argonne supercomputing resources to conduct a comprehensive analysis of protein binding domain and small molecule interactions through an automated system, including receptor analysis, protein- ligand docking and binding free energy calculations, to improve the predictive power of biomolecular simulation in drug research.
     
  • Argonne Leadership Computing Facility computing resources are helping a GE Global Research team led by Umesh Paliath to study airflow in jet exhaust nozzles and wind turbine airfoils. This research is being done to improve the prediction and design capabilities for next-generation aircraft engines and wind turbines.
     
  • The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility is being used by University of Washington biophysicist David Baker to develop high-resolution protein structure prediction tools to build models of proteins with atomic-level accuracy and to computationally engineer both proteins and enzymes with new functions for applications ranging from basic research to therapeutics to bioremediation. The team is now also attempting to design new macromolecules with new and useful functions in biomedicine and biotechnology.
     
  • A team led by Tom LeCompte, James Proudfoot, and Rikutaro Yoshida played a key role in the discovery of the Higgs boson by the Large Hadron Collider collaborative research team.
     
  • Sreenath Gupta and his team invented and have two patents for vehicle laser ignition, which uses lasers instead of spark plugs in natural gas and gasoline engines.
     
  • Sreenath Gupta patented a laser-induced incandescence technique and instrumentation to measure transient particulate emissions from engines and vehicles.
     
  • Raj Sekar and other Argonne scientists pioneered the use of air separation membranes for emissions reduction and emissions control in diesel and gasoline engines. Sekar holds 4 patents for these inventions.
     
  • Munidhar Biruduganti patented membrane system for natural gas engine emissions reduction.
     
  • Raj Sekar and Robert Larsen used ceramic components in race car engines to increase power and win races. This invention won an Federal Lab Consortium award.
     
  • A team led by Yung Liu has developed and tested an innovative, award-winning radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking and monitoring technology, ARG-US, that will modernize the management of nuclear and radioactive materials and other sensitive items in storage, transportation, and disposition.  The Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) selected Argonne as its 2013 Active RFID Award Recipient for this invention.
  • John Christiansen and an international team of researchers developed a computer model to study the integrated impacts of environmental factors and cultural dynamics affecting the rise and fall of Ancient Mesopotamia.
     
  • A team led by Aymeric Rousseau developed Autonomie, software designed to support the rapid evaluation of vehicle powertrain/propulsion technologies for improving fuel economy.