Argonne National Laboratory

Feature Stories

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Researchers are using Argonne's supercomputer Mira to model how explosives detonate, hoping to understand and prevent disasters like this 2005 event, when a semi-truck hauling 35,000 pounds of explosives through the Spanish Fork Canyon in Utah crashed and caught fire, causing a dramatic explosion that left a 30- by-70-foot crater in the highway. Photo courtesy Utah Department of Transportation; click to view larger.
Simulations aimed at safer transport of explosives

In 2005, a semi-truck hauling 35,000 pounds of explosives through the Spanish Fork Canyon in Utah crashed and caught fire, causing a dramatic explosion that left a 30- by-70-foot crater in the highway.

January 7, 2015
The mercury capture system significantly reduces the amount of vaporized mercury produced by gold shops. Pictured here: the approximate cost for the entire system is approximately $500 and uses materials already available in remote locations. Image credit: Habegger et. al. (Click image to enlarge)
Argonne/EPA system captures mercury from air in gold shops

To decrease the accumulation of mercury in the environment, Argonne, in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, created a prototype mercury capture system.

December 22, 2014
A team of scientists clarified the definition of the Earth's most abundant mineral – a high-density form of magnesium iron silicate, now called Bridgmanite – using Argonne National Laboratory's Advanced Photon Source. Above: Scanning electron microscope image of a bridgmanite-akimotoite aggregate. The backscatter electron image reveals an aggregate of submicrometer-sized crystals of bridgmanite and akimotoite enclosed in (Mg,Fe)SiO3 glass and within a Tenham shock-melt vein. Image credit: Tschauner et et al, Science (2014). (Click image to enlarge)
Earth’s most abundant mineral finally has a name

An ancient meteorite and high-energy X-rays have helped scientists conclude a half century of effort to find, identify and characterize a mineral that makes up 38 percent of the Earth.

December 11, 2014
The Chicago Innovation Exchange campus is located on 53rd St. on the University of Chicago campus. The facilities include a coffee bar, classrooms and open work and event areas. The space can support the collaborations of up to 300 innovators, mentors and partners surrounded by a community where restaurants, retail stores, hotels and bars all serve as areas to sit, collaborate and innovate. (Click image to enlarge)
Manufacturing serendipity: Chicago Innovation Exchange enhancing regional vitality through researcher/investor collaboration

The Chicago Innovation Exchange leverages the combined expertise of Argonne, Fermilab and the University of Chicago to create and support small businesses originating from discoveries and ideas developed in the lab.

December 1, 2014
Set in Northern Illinois University’s 10,000-seat Convocation Center, STEMfest features dozens of museums, educators, national labs and corporations presenting hundreds of displays, activities and performances, all aimed at educating, entertaining and inspiring the thousands of students and adults in attendance. (Click image to enlarge)
Argonne joins in the fun at Northern Illinois University’s popular STEMfest

Northern Illinois University's fifth annual STEMfest was held on Oct. 18, and Argonne National Laboratory once again joined in the fun.

November 4, 2014
Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory modeled several scenarios to add more solar power to the electric grid, using real-world data from the southwestern power utility Arizona Public Service Company. Credit: Shutterstock. (Click image to enlarge)
Argonne researchers use real-world data to model the effect of more solar on the grid

As we add more electricity from renewable sources that can only make electricity when the sun shines or the wind blows, researchers from Argonne have been modeling the power system to help utilities adjust their operations to make sure they can maintain high levels of electricity reliability.

October 10, 2014
LakeSim is an Argonne-developed tool that merges urban design with scientific analysis to aid in the design of 21st century cities. To address the uncertainty of large-scale planning with so many complex variables, LakeSim creators have prototyped a new platform that seeks to help developers plan at massive scales while anticipating the ability to build in future scenarios such as climate change, improved efficiency in buildings and transportation systems, and increased renewable energy and/or micro-grid applications. Image by Mitch Romanowski & Mary Jo Koelbl/Argonne National Laboratory. (Click image to enlarge).
Designing future cities

LakeSim is an Argonne-developed tool that merges urban design with scientific analysis to aid in the design of 21st century cities. LakeSim uses current architectural and energy data to make forecasts for designers on long-term large-scale developments.

October 7, 2014
Argonne researchers produce trace amounts of hydrogen with visible light by merging light-collecting proteins from a single-celled organism with a graphene platform. Both graphene and protein absorb the light and re-direct electrons towards the titanium dioxide. Electrons interact with protons at the site of the platinum nanoparticles to produce hydrogen. Credit: John Lambert. (Click image to enlarge)
A nanosized hydrogen generator

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale “hydrogen generator” that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element.

September 19, 2014
Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman (left), Argonne Lab Director Peter Littlewood (middle), Congressman Dan Lipinski (right), and birthday boy and fundraiser Milo Greenspon (middle, front) pose at the Fire's Toyota Park stadium on Sept. 13, 2014. Photo credit: Justin H.S. Breaux. (Click image to enlarge)
Director Littlewood takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Peter Littlewood, Director of Argonne National Laboratory, joined the ranks of the charitably frigid by participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Saturday night at the Chicago Fire’s Toyota Par

September 17, 2014
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