Argonne National Laboratory

Feature Stories

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Maria Chan, scientist within Argonne’s Nanoscience and Technology Division, uses funds from the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program to study the causes of solar cell degradation. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)
The quest for longer-lasting solar cells

An Argonne researcher is collaborating with a user of the laboratory’s Center for Nanoscale Materials to study what makes silicon solar cells degrade. The answers may help lead to more durable solar cells and more affordable solar power.

July 30, 2018
This shows the study’s crossbar array design — vertical and horizontal electrodes with red memory cells where they intersect. “Flying out” of a single memory cell is a model of its molecular structure with tin (gold sphere) diffusing through the insulating HfO<sub>2</sub> layer (blue and white matrix). Each component is essential in forming the filament across the metal-insulator-metal stack in this resistive switching architecture. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)
Tin type

Argonne researchers find that tin is a silicon-friendly alternative for production of solid-state memory components.

July 26, 2018
Oleo Sponge can be wrung out, the oil collected, and the material reused — it has stood up to dozens of cycles so far without exhibiting any degradation in performance. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory; click to view larger.)
Argonne seeks partners to commercialize Oleo Sponge technology

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory seeks partners to commercialize the Oleo Sponge, its award-winning, patent pending oil-sorbent technology.

July 18, 2018
Electrons in some oxides can experience an “unconventional slowing down” of their response to a light pulse, according to Argonne material scientists and their collaborators. This surprising behavior may result in useful properties related to magnetism, conductivity or even superconductivity. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)
Electrons slowing down at critical moments

Argonne scientists have determined that electrons in some oxides can experience an “unconventional slowing down” of their response to a light pulse. This behavior may result in potentially useful properties related to magnetism, conductivity or even superconductivity.

July 6, 2018
Best-selling science fiction writer Andy Weir visited Argonne in June to inspire next-generation scientists and learn about the laboratory’s world-class facilities and talent. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)
Argonne welcomes The Martian author Andy Weir

Best-selling science fiction author Andy Weir visited Argonne to give a series of standing-room-only talks, inspiring students and scientists alike.

June 29, 2018
Argonne nanoscientist Xiao-Min Lin works with the shear cell device that enabled the new discovery in shear-thickening fluids. The polycarbonate cell holds the nanoparticle suspension and the mechanical response of the fluid is measured by the transducer in the rheometer above. The X-ray beam is focused on the sample from the left. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)
Through thick and thin

Researchers solve a decades-old question: Is particle ordering responsible for the thickening of some industrial products when stirred rapidly? The answer brings us one step closer to solving complex industrial production problems.

April 13, 2018
This shows a strand of magnetic molecules atop a dense bed of “armchair” graphene nanoribbons — which appear as a series of closely spaced strings — grown on a gold crystal surface. The image was taken on a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy tool at Argonne’s <a href="">Center for Nanoscale Materials</a>. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)
Opening windows for new spintronic studies

A surprising discovery could potentially offer major advantages in speed, heat dissipation and power consumption in electronic devices.

February 22, 2018
Summer interns Cayla Hamann (background) and Cheng Chang (foreground) help install a water sensor on the UChicago campus. (Image courtesy of The University of Chicago/ Xufeng Zhang.)
IME scientists dig deep in soil for data to improve agriculture, pollution

Soil is incredibly complex — full of organisms, microbes and chemicals that move and change constantly — and it all feeds into crop health and the Earth’s nutrient cycles in ways that aren’t fully understood. Recent advances in wireless data communications and the growing revolution of portable, cheap sensors have made it possible for scientists, including Profs. Monisha Ghosh and Supratik Guha, to start a pilot program to take real-time soil measurements.

January 12, 2018
Oleo Sponge picks up oil during tests at Argonne. (Image by Mark Lopez/Argonne National Laboratory.)
Nine ways Argonne advanced science and technology in 2017

As 2018 approaches, Argonne looks back at nine cool stories that came out of research projects and collaborations at the laboratory.

December 21, 2017
The figure in the foreground shows near-infrared and broadband light pulses (squiggly lines at top) striking a silver nanocube measuring 150 nanometers square. The near-infrared pulse excites electrons in the nanostructure, while the broadband pulse monitors their optical response. An aluminum oxide spacer separates the nanocube from a gold film with a thickness of 50 nanometers. The spacer measures between 1 and 25 nanometers thick. A water molecule, by comparison, is approximately 1.5 nanometers in diameter. (Image courtesy of Matthew Sykes, Argonne National Laboratory, Shutterstock / Triff and Shutterstock / siro46.)
‘Hot’ electrons heat up solar energy research

Argonne research has shown how hybrid nanomaterials may be used to convert light energy more efficiently for applications in photocatalysis, photovoltaics and ultrafast optics.

December 20, 2017