Argonne National Laboratory

Feature Stories

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Researchers from the University of Guelph have visited the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory for the past three years to use the facility’s bright X-rays to study the structure of edible fats, present in foods like oils, milk fat, cheese and much more. In this photo, Braulio Macias Rodriguez, a University of Guelph graduate student, left, and Fernanda Peyronel, research associate, examine a sample of anhydrous milk fat at beamline 9ID-D, the ultra-small-angle scattering facility.
Tasty fat: X-rays finding the blueprint of why fat is yummy

Over three years, a University of Guelph team has brought increasingly complex samples of edible fat to the Advanced Photon Source for research. They are using data from the facility to characterize the nanoscale structure of different kinds of edible fats and applying the data to a model that predicts the effect of processes like heating and mixing on fat structure. If food manufacturers understand the unique structures of different fat compositions, they can better mimic the desirable tastes and textures of unhealthy fats with healthier alternatives, potentially affecting diseases closely tied to diet.

May 27, 2016
Several different remediation processes are available to clean up soil, varying in efficiency, cost and sustainability for specific site conditions. When officials suspect a site is contaminated, they conduct an assessment to determine the pollutant, the extent of contamination and the appropriate method to remediate the soil. (Click image to enlarge.)
Five ways scientists can make soil less dirty

Argonne;s Applied Geosciences and Environment Management Program evaluates potentially contaminated sites and applies remediation methods that are both efficient and environmentally friendly by reducing secondary impacts, such as emissions from trucks that transport soil to a treatment facility.

May 23, 2016
A row of tanker trucks transport water from Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota's Bakken region to oil well production sites. The water is injected under high pressure into a wellbore to fracture deep rock formations in order to release the flow of natural gas and petroleum in a process call hydraulic fracturing.
Temporary oilfield workers are major factor in increased water use in N. Dakota Bakken region

Increased water use in the rapidly growing oil industry in North Dakota's Bakken oil shale region, or play, is surprisingly due not only to oil well development but also to people, according to a recent study. Increased oil development in that region has attracted thousands of oilfield employees.

May 19, 2016
The EcoSpec reflectance sensors in position among young soybean plants at the beginning of the 2015 growing season. (image courtesy of Yuki Hamada)
Bringing climate down to earth

The EcoSpec Project at Argonne seeks to inject indirect measurements of terrestrial ecosystems into climate models.

May 11, 2016
Members of the Red Team strategize new ways to attack the systems of teams at the first annual Argonne Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition this weekend. The Red Team included, from left, Mississippi State University student William Showalter, Argonne software engineer Qizhi Zhang, Argonne Cyber Security Operations Manager Matt Kwiatkowski and Evan McBroom, also from Mississippi State.
Cyber Defense Competition Draws Students to Argonne

More than 75 aspiring cyber defenders from across Illinois and Iowa converged Saturday on Argonne National Laboratory to take on the challenge of the first Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

April 26, 2016
No one has yet imaged an entire brain down to the level of individual cells; but Bobby Kasthuri has a plan to do just that using intensive computing and imaging resources at Argonne. Above is a simulation showing an unusual configuration of a neuron: one axon (blue) connected to multiple points on a dendrite (green). The total image is smaller than the diameter of a single human hair. (Click to view larger.)
Adventures of the first neuroscientist at Argonne

Bobby Kasthuri wants to map the human brain. Unlike most brain researchers, he wants a literal map: a 3D picture of every single neuron inside a brain. All 100 billion of them — or maybe 80 billion. Or maybe 120 billion?

March 16, 2016
How Things Break (And Why Scientists Want to Know)

Breaking things can help scientists answer both the most elemental and the most everyday questions.

March 7, 2016
Many experts are increasingly interested in making electricity a local affair. This idea, useful for both cost savings and for backup power, moves the main source of electricity away from remote large-scale plants to smaller local ones. This approach is called distributed energy.
Personalized energy

The local food movement is booming. Can we do the same for electricity?

March 7, 2016
Ask a Scientist: Ask a battery scientist

Jeff Chamberlain, head of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS) and external integration officer of the Joint Center for Energy Storage (JCESR) at Argonne, dishes on the next generation of batteries, why new inventions take so long to get to market, and clean room suits for dogs (they exist!).

March 7, 2016
Sibendu Som (left) and computational scientist Raymond Bair discuss combustion engine simulations conducted on Argonne’s Mira supercomputer, with the aim of gaining further insight into the inner workings of combustion engines. (Click image to view larger.)
The complex chemistry of combustion

Your car is powered by a series of tiny explosions. Scientists think they could make them cleaner and more efficient.

March 7, 2016