Feature Stories

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The SCU installed at the straight section of Sector 6 of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. To view a larger version of the photo, click on it.

Photo courtesy Argonne National Laboratory.
First light from the first high-energy superconducting undulator

More than eight years of effort by Advanced Photon Source physicists, engineers, and technicians culminated on Jan. 21, 2013, with the production of the first X-rays from the prototype of a novel superconducting undulator.

February 1, 2013
A computer graphic showing a fructose molecule (white, gray and red chain-like structure) within a zirconium oxide nanobowl (at center). Other nanobowls in the array are unoccupied. The red atoms are surface oxygen and the blue atoms are zirconium. Click on the image to view a larger version.

Larry Curtiss, Argonne National Laboratory
Nanoscale 'Goldilocks' phenomenon could improve biofuel production

In a case of the Goldilocks story retold at the molecular level, scientists at Argonne and Northwestern University have discovered a new path to the development of more stable and efficient catalysts.

January 15, 2013
Pictured are inner ear hair cells that convert a mechanical stimulus-like sound or head movement into neural signals. You can see the mechanosensitive cilia bundles of three cells; the rest of each cell is below the visible surface.

Image courtesy Corey Laboratory
Chemical link for hearing and balance found that could aid deafness and vertigo treatments

Researchers have mapped the precise 3-D atomic structure of a thin protein filament critical for cells in the inner ear and calculated the force necessary to pull it apart.

December 6, 2012
A drawing of Chicago Pile-1, where the first man-made nuclear chain reaction took place on Dec. 2, 1942 beneath the stands of the University of Chicago’s football field.
Argonne marks 70th anniversary of first man-made nuclear chain reaction

Seventy years ago today on Dec. 2, 1942, World War II was raging overseas, and Enrico Fermi and 48 other scientists gathered in a squash court beneath the football stadium at the University of Chicago. They were about to witness the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction—soon to be a revolutionary new source of energy.

December 2, 2012
This illustration of a metal-organic framework, or MOF, shows the metal center bound to organic molecules. Each MOF has a specific framework determined by the choice of metal and organic.
New nano trap protects environment

A new type of nanoscale molecular trap makes it possible for industry to store large amounts of hydrogen in small fuel cells or capture, compact and remove volatile radioactive gas from spent nuclear fuel in an affordable, easily commercialized way.

October 31, 2012
A rendering of the human adenovirus, showing the outer capsid proteins (shown in multiple colors).
Chasing a common cold virus

As the cold and flu season makes its annual visit, a team of researchers, using Argonne's Advanced Photon Source, continue to complete a detailed map of the human adenovirus—one of several viruses responsible for the common cold.

October 19, 2012
Songs in the key of sea

Soft horns and a tinkling piano form the backbone of “Fifty Degrees North, Four Degrees West,” a jazz number with two interesting twists: it has no composer and no actual musicians. Unless you count bacteria, that is.

September 27, 2012
Zoomed-in image from the Dark Energy Camera of the center of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, which lies about 17,000 light years from Earth. Credit: Dark Energy Survey Collaboration.
Dark energy: Q&A with Steve Kuhlmann

Why do we care about dark energy in the first place?

September 17, 2012
These drops of solution remain suspended for a long period of time, thanks to the vibrational force of sound waves that keep them stationary in an air column. (Photo by Dan Harris)
No magic show: Real-world levitation to inspire better pharmaceuticals

It’s not a magic trick and it’s not sleight of hand – scientists really are using levitation to improve the drug development process, eventually yielding more effective pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects.

September 12, 2012
Several Art of Science posters are currently displayed at O’Hare International Airport and will remain up through early 2013. The exhibit is located in the hallways connecting Terminals 2 and 3 adjacent to the Rotunda. (Image courtesy of the City of Chicago Department of Aviation.)
Finding a palate for the science palette

Like art, science expands our notion of the universe.It takes us from microcosms to the cosmos. It lets us envision how our planet was born, and how it might eventually die. No wonder, then, that science can beget compelling art — which is what Argonne National Laboratory’s annual “Art of Science” contest is all about.

September 11, 2012