Press Releases

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Harry Weerts has been named the associate laboratory director for Argonne's Physical Sciences and Engineering directorate. (Click image to view larger.)
Weerts to lead Physical Sciences and Engineering directorate

Hendrik (Harry) Joseph Weerts has been named the associate laboratory director for the Physical Sciences and Engineering directorate at Argonne National Laboratory.

August 10, 2015
A copper tetramer catalyst created by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory may help capture and convert carbon dioxide in a way that ultimately saves energy. It consists of small clusters of four copper atoms each, supported on a thin film of aluminum oxide. These catalysts work by binding to carbon dioxide molecules, orienting them in a way that is ideal for chemical reactions. The structure of the copper tetramer is such that most of its binding sites are open, which means it can attach more strongly to carbon dioxide and can better accelerate the conversion. (Image courtesy Larry Curtiss; click to view larger.)
Copper clusters capture and convert carbon dioxide to make fuel

The chemical reactions that make methanol from carbon dioxide rely on a catalyst to speed up the conversion, and Argonne scientists identified a new material that could fill this role. With its unique structure, this catalyst can capture and convert carbon dioxide in a way that ultimately saves energy.

August 6, 2015
Argonne researchers are able to fold gold nanoparticle membranes in a specific direction using an electron beam because two sides of the membrane are different. Image credit: Xiao-Min Lin et. al, taken at Argonne’s Electron Microscopy Center. (Click image to view larger.)
Bend me, shape me, any way you want me: Scientists curve nanoparticle sheets into complex forms

Scientists have been making nanoparticles for more than two decades in two-dimensional sheets, three-dimensional crystals and random clusters. But they have never been able to get a sheet of nanoparticles to curve or fold into a complex three-dimensional structure. Now researchers from the University of Chicago, the University of Missouri and Argonne have found a simple way to do exactly that.

July 31, 2015
Typically when referring to electrical current, an image of electrons moving through a metallic wire is conjured. Using the spin Seebeck effect (SSE), it is possible to create a current of pure spin (a quantum property of electrons related to its magnetic moment) in magnetic insulators. However, this work demonstrates that the SSE is not limited to magnetic insulators but also occurs in a class of materials known as paramagnets. Since magnetic moments within paramagnets do not interact with each other like in conventional ferromagnets, and thus do not hold their magnetization when an external magnetic field is removed, this discovery is unexpected and challenges current theories for the SSE. New ways of generating spin currents may be important for low-power high-speed spin based computing (spintronics), and is also an area of great fundamental interest. The paramagnetic SSE changes the way we think about thermally driven spintronics, allowing for the creation of new devices and architectures where spin currents are generated without ferromagnetic materials, which have been the centerpiece of all spin-based electronic devices up until this point. (Click image to view larger.)
Young scientist discovers magnetic material unnecessary to create spin current

Research at Argonne indicates that you don't need a magnetic material to create spin current from insulators—with important implications for the field of spintronics and the development of high-speed, low-power electronics that use electron spin rather than charge to carry information.

July 23, 2015
This graphic shows the semi-cubic structure of perovskite materials, and how they would fit into a solar power device. An Argonne-Northwestern study found that perovskite-based solar technology has the quickest energy payback time of all current solar technologies. Image by Seth Darling. (Click image to view larger.)
Perovskite solar technology shows quick energy returns

Silicon-based solar panels, which dominate the market for solar power, usually need about two years to “pay back” the energy used to make them. But for technology made with perovskites—a class of materials causing quite a buzz in the solar research community—the energy payback time is only two to three months.

July 17, 2015
Supratik Guha has been named the next director of the Nanoscience and Technology Division at Argonne National Laboratory, as well as director of Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials. (Click image to view larger.)
Supratik Guha to direct nanoscience and technology at Argonne National Laboratory

Supratik Guha has been named the next director of the Nanoscience and Technology Division at Argonne National Laboratory, as well as director of Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials.

June 18, 2015
From left to right: Argonne researchers Wanjun Jiang, Suzanne G.E. te Velthuis, and Axel Hoffman published a new way to make magnetic skyrmion bubbles at room temperature. Photo by Mark Lopez/Argonne National Laboratory. (Click image to view larger.)
Argonne scientists announce first room-temperature magnetic skyrmion bubbles

Researchers at UCLA and Argonne announced today a new method for creating magnetic skyrmion bubbles at room temperature. The bubbles, a physics phenomenon thought to be an option for more energy-efficient and compact electronics, can be created with simple equipment and common materials.

June 12, 2015
From left, researchers Ani Sumant, Ali Erdemir, Subramanian Sankaranarayanan, Sanket Deshmukh, and Diana Berman combined diamond, graphene, and carbon to achieve superlubricity. (Click image to view larger.)
Slip sliding away: Graphene and diamonds prove a slippery combination

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have found a way to use tiny diamonds and graphene to give friction the slip, creating a new material combination that demonstrates the rare phenomenon of “superlubricity.”

May 22, 2015
Scientists at Argonne have created a new way of manipulating high-intensity X-rays, which will allow researchers to select extremely brief but precise X-ray bursts for their experiments.  This schematic of their microelectromechanical device consisting of a small oscillating mirror illustrates the reflection of an incoming X-ray at a particular critical angle. Image courtesy Daniel Lopez. (Click photo to view larger.)
Scientists tune X-rays with tiny mirrors

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a new way of manipulating high-intensity X-rays, which will allow researchers to select extremely brief but precise X-ray bursts for their experiments.

May 5, 2015
This picture combines a transmission electron microscope image of a nanodumbbell with a gold domain oriented in  direction. The seed and gold domains in the dumbbell in the image on the right are identified by geometric phase analysis. Image credit: Soon Gu Kwon. (Click image to enlarge)
Atomic 'mismatch' creates nano 'dumbbells'

Thanks to a new study from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, researchers are closer to understanding the process by which nanoparticles made of more than one material – called heterostructured nanoparticles – form.

December 4, 2014