Feature Stories

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Argonne materials scientist Seungbum Hong studies the internal structure of piezoelectric materials. These are certain types of crystals that generate electricity when you squeeze them.
Batteries not needed?

The day is coming when heartbeats power pacemakers, sneakers charge cell phones during a jog, and tires power their own pressure sensors as they rotate.

September 13, 2013
The grid of the future

What will the electric grid look like in 10 years?

September 13, 2013
Argonne researchers put together a system of sensors called PROTECT to provide early warning in case of a chemical attack in a subway. This is just one part of the work done at Argonne to help communities respond quickly and safely to threats from terrorism to hurricanes, floods or chemical spills. Photo by Ricardo Cabrera Letelier.
A true sense of security

Five men got on the Tokyo subway on a March morning in 1995. It was the peak of morning rush hour. They all carried packets of a tremendously toxic nerve agent called sarin.

September 13, 2013
Argonne biologist Rosemarie Wilton works on ways to stabilize antibodies, which tend to degrade over time.
Antibody builders

Because antibodies are naturally so good at recognizing a host of different pathogens, Argonne biologist Rosemarie Wilton has spent much of her career working to better stabilize antibodies and prevent them from degrading over time.

September 13, 2013
Forrest Jehlik, Argonne mechanical engineer
Ask a scientist: Ethanol & car performance

Does ethanol extend or decrease your gas mileage?

September 13, 2013
Scientists wanted to discover why some bird feathers look blue—without any blue pigments. Instead, X-rays at the Advanced Photon Source helped reveal they use tiny nanoscale-level structures on the feathers that only reflect light in the blue wavelength. 

The top image is what we see: a Plum-throated Cotinga.

The second image is what an electron microscope sees.
Electron microscopes shoot a beam of electrons at the feather and measure how they interact with them to get an image of the structure. But electron microscopes can only see down to the nanometer level. To go even further, to the atomic level, you need X-rays.

The bottom image is what the X-rays see. 
Scientists focus an X-ray beam on one tiny spot. When it hits, the photons scatter symmetrically around the beam (highlighted in different colors). Then they can piece together the scattering information to reconstruct how the feather’s atoms are arranged.

Collage by Vinod Saranathan (University of Oxford); X-ray scattering at the Advanced Photon Source; photo of Plum-throated Cotinga by Thomas Valqui. From V. Saranathan et al., J. R. Soc. Interface. ©2012 The Royal Society.
7 things you may not know about X-rays

At Argonne's massive synchrotron, X-rays are used for a lot more than checking for broken bones.

September 13, 2013
The structure of hemagglutinin, a molecule on the flu virus, lets it invade your body’s cells.  It mutates frequently, so vaccines trying to block the protein only work on a few strains—for now. Image by the Wilson Lab/The Scripps Research Institute.
Universal influenza vaccine potentially in sight

The fall ritual of getting an annual influenza shot could join castor oil on the list of bygone remedies within a decade, some scientists say. During research over the last several years at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne, two teams of scientists closed on what they suspect is the virus’s Achilles’ heel.

September 13, 2013
Argonne nanoscientist Seth Darling is using a new 95-kilowatt array at Argonne to study how various types of solar panels perform in the Midwest region.
Something new under the sun: Argonne makes sustainability strides

Argonne grew a fine crop of solar panels last summer.

September 13, 2013
This visualization, part of a 1.1-trillion-particle simulation run on Argonne’s supercomputer Mira, shows the complexity of cosmological structure formation. (Image by H. Finkel, S. Habib, K. Heitmann, K. Kumaran, V. Morozov, T. Peterka, A. Pope, T. Williams, M. E. Papka, M. Hereld, and J. Insley, Argonne National Laboratory; D. Daniel, P. Fasel, N. Frontiere, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Z. Lukic, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.)
Exploring the dark universe at the speed of petaflops

An astonishing 95% of our universe is made of up dark energy and dark matter. Understanding the physics of this sector is the foremost challenge in cosmology today. Sophisticated simulations of the evolution of the universe play a crucial role.

September 13, 2013
Argonne scientist Anil Mane inspects a microchannel plate developed by Argonne and Incom, Inc. Microchannel plates are used in many imaging and sensing technologies.
Argonne in the marketplace: Microchannel plates with ALD

Think of an eight-inch square honeycomb structure made of glass whose pores are just a few tens of microns thick—the size of a single bacterium. In your mind’s eye, you hold the beginnings of a breakthrough technology.

September 13, 2013