Argonne National Laboratory

Feature Stories

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Argonne and Berkeley national laboratories have collaborated to design, build and test two superconducting undulator devices that could make X-ray lasers more powerful, versatile, compact and durable. Above: Argonne Accelerator Systems Division engineer Matt Kasa checks the instrumentation of the undulator. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)
New prototypes for superconducting undulators show promise for more powerful, versatile X-ray beams

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Argonne National Laboratory have collaborated to design, build and test two devices that utilize different superconducting materials and could make X-ray lasers more powerful, versatile, compact and durable.

June 20, 2017
The giant synchrotron at Argonne never sleeps, even when the rest of the lab's inhabitants go home at night. Illustration by Rich Lo; click to view larger.
All-nighters for Science

The giant synchrotron at Argonne never sleeps.

April 3, 2017
Inside an engine is a harsh place: the intense heat and pressure cause the parts to wear away and break down. But this new coating, which rebuilds itself as soon as it begins to break down, could protect engine parts (and more) for much longer.
9 cool science & tech stories from Argonne in 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, we’re looking back at just a few of the many cool stories that came out of research conducted by Argonne scientists and engineers this year. These discoveries are just a tiny sample of how Argonne researchers help address energy challenges, boost the economy through new discoveries and technologies, and expand scientific knowledge.

December 22, 2016
Building project managers and scientific leads confer at the site of a new clean room under construction at Argonne National Laboratory. When completed, the lab will enable scientists and engineers to build extremely sensitive detectors — such as those capable of detecting light from the early days of the universe. (Image by Mark Lopez/Argonne National Laboratory.)
Building a room clean enough to make sensors to find light from the birth of the universe

Work is underway at Argonne on an expansion of its “clean room.” The new lab will be specially suited for building parts for ultra-sensitive detectors — such as those to carry out improved X-ray research, or for the South Pole Telescope to search for light from the early days of the universe.

October 17, 2016
SUE the Dinosaur’s forearm came to the Advanced Photon Source for its most detailed scan ever, which could shed light on why the large dinosaur had such small arms. (Image courtesy Field Museum)
Why did T. rex have such small arms? SUE arrives at Advanced Photon Source for its most detailed scan ever

SUE the Dinosaur’s forearm came to the Advanced Photon Source for its most detailed scan ever, which could shed light on why the large dinosaur had such small arms.

October 12, 2016
Neuqua Valley High School  students Anna Thomas, Vanessa Cai, Nadia Young and Natalie Ferguson discuss an experiment at Sector 20 of the Advanced Photon Source, a large synchrotron at Argonne National Laboratory. The students used X-rays to study ancient pottery. (Photo by Mark Lopez, Argonne National Laboratory)
High schoolers study ancient pottery at Advanced Photon Source

The experimental facilities of a typical high school physics classroom don’t usually include a synchrotron. But Natalie Ferguson and more than 60 of her schoolmates not only got to see the Advanced Photon Source: they used it to do research.

June 16, 2016
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.

May 27, 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 28, 2016
Argonne researcher Yuelin Li holds a sample holder containing a single gold nanorod in water. Li and colleagues discovered that nanorods melt in three distinct phases when grouped in large ensembles. Their research will inform the creation of next-generation technologies such as water purification systems, battery materials and cancer research. Photo by Mark Lopez/Argonne National Laboratory. (Click to enlarge.)
Shape-shifting groups of nanorods release heat differently

Researchers at Argonne have revealed previously unobserved behaviors that show how the transfer of heat at the nanoscale causes nanoparticles to change shape in groups.

February 18, 2015
This 3D structural model of the SemiSWEET protein was based on data collected at the NE-CAT beamline at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source . The two colors (green and purple) represent two copies of the protein molecules that, when joined, function as a single unit to allow sugar molecules across the membrane. Credit: Feng et al. (Click image to enlarge)
X-rays unlock a protein’s SWEET side

Sugar is a vital source of energy for both plants and animals alike. Understanding just how sugar makes its way into the cell could lead to the design of better drugs for diabetes patients and an increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables farmers are able to grow. Stanford University researchers have recently uncovered one of these “pathways” into the cell by piecing together proteins slightly wider than the diameter of a strand of spider silk.

September 12, 2014