Feature Stories

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Fenter has spent much of his career at Argonne studying “interface dynamics”—the particular physical and chemical processes that occur at the boundaries between different materials.
Argonne physicist Fenter wins Warren Award for X-ray diffraction studies

Paul Fenter, a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, has been named the next recipient of the American Crystallographic Association's Bertram E. Warren Award, which recognizes contributions to the physics of solids through the use of diffraction-based techniques.

June 10, 2011
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, joined Senator Richard Durbin, University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer and Argonne Director Eric Isaacs to break ground for Argonne's new Energy Sciences building.
Chu, Durbin break ground for new Energy Sciences Building

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin joined officials from Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago at a groundbreaking event Friday, June 3, for a new Energy Sciences Building at Argonne.

June 3, 2011
Inorganic surface ligands enable facile electron transport between quantum dots and opened novel opportunities for using nanostructures in solar cells.
New inorganic semiconductor layers hold promise for solar energy

A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory has demonstrated a method that could produce cheaper semiconductor layers for solar cells.

June 1, 2011
This molecular schematic of “nanobowls” illustrates an example of a new catalytic paradigm that may help in the development of new biofuels.
Putting the 'fuel' in biofuels

Recent discussions of methods by which biomass—grasses, trees, and other vegetation—could be turned into fuel makes a lot of sense in theory. Plant matter is composed of energy-intensive carbohydrates, but even now scientists still don't have the perfect solution for converting plant sugars into combustible fuels.

May 25, 2011
Chemist Lisa Utschig tests a container of photosynthetic proteins linked with platinum nanoparticles, which can produce hydrogen from sunlight. Tiny bubbles of hydrogen are visible in the container at right.
Nanoparticles help scientists harvest light with solar fuels

A group of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory, led by chemist Lisa Utschig, has linked platinum nanoparticles with algae proteins, commandeering photosynthesis to produce hydrogen instead. The system produces hydrogen at a rate five times greater than the previous record-setting method.

May 18, 2011
Two views of the atom trap used in the experiment.  On the left, the signal indicates that the trap is empty, while the picture on the right shows a “hot spot” indicating that an atom of argon-39 is contained within the trap.
Argonne researchers develop new tool for climatological dating

A new technique recently developed at Argonne National Laboratory may give researchers another tool for radioactive dating that could be of particular use in studying the history of climate change.

May 11, 2011
Steve Ciatti, Argonne engineer, works on the gas-diesel hybrid engine.
Combining gas and diesel engines could yield best of both worlds

It may be hard to believe, but the beloved gasoline engine that powers more than 200 million cars across America every day didn't get its status because it's the most efficient engine. Diesel engines can be more than twice as efficient, but they spew soot and pollutants into the air. Could researchers at Argonne National Laboratory engineer a union between the two—combining the best of both?

May 4, 2011
Argonne's energy research seeks ways to make our energy cleaner.
Argonne highlights green research in honor of Earth Day

The lab's research seeks both cleaner energy—solar cells, batteries and biofuels, among others—and ways to reduce man's environmental footprint, including reducing agricultural runoff and ways to safely clean up contaminated land.

April 21, 2011
Newer, faster supercomputers have allowed scientists to create detailed models of blood flow that help doctors understand what happens at the molecular level.
Blood vessel simulation probes secrets of brain

Zoom down to one artery in your body, and the commotion is constant: blood cells hurtle down the passage with hundreds of their kin, bumping against other cells and the walls as they go. The many variables—and the sheer immensity of the human circulatory system—have kept scientists from closely documenting the rough-and-tumble life inside blood vessels.

April 13, 2011
Students apply science and engineering principles to real-world applications.
Model Fuel Cell Car Competition: Fueling future scientists and engineers

Fuel cells have been used to power spacecrafts for years and on Saturday, April 16, 2011, Chicago-area middle school students will use fuel cells to power model cars at equipment manufacturer Case New Holland in Burr Ridge, Ill., as part of the Chicago Regional Science Bowl, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory.

April 11, 2011