Argonne National Laboratory

Press Releases

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Scientists announced the first observation of a dynamic vortex Mott transition, which experimentally connects the worlds of quantum mechanics and classical physics and could shed light on the poorly understood world of non-equilibrium physics. Image courtesy Valerii Vinokur/Science; click to view larger.
Team announces breakthrough observation of Mott transition in a superconductor

An international team of researchers announced today in Science the observation of a dynamic Mott transition in a superconductor. The discovery experimentally connects the worlds of classical and quantum mechanics and illuminates the mysterious nature of the Mott transition. It also could shed light on non-equilibrium physics, which is poorly understood but governs most of what occurs in our world. The finding may also represent a step towards more efficient electronics based on the Mott transition.

September 11, 2015
A schematic of the pressure chamber of the double-stage diamond anvil cell (dsDAC) for ultra-high pressure generation and a photo of a DAC produced at BGI. Semi-balls made of nanocrystalline diamond of extraordinary strength are attached to the culets of the opposed gem quality diamonds of the DAC. A sample of osmium, shown as a small red dot on the top of the lower semi-ball, has a size of ca. 3 microns. It is compressed between the tips of the semi-balls, which are supported by a pressure-medium (solidified inert gases or paraffin) filling the pressure chamber of the DAC. Ultra-high pressure  is generated on the sample due to the two-stage exertion of a big force on a very small area. The diameter of the semi-balls is about 10 microns. The diameter of culets of the diamonds, to which the semi-balls are attached, is 250 microns. Image courtesy Elena Bykova,  University of Bayreuth. (Click to view larger.)
Extreme pressure causes osmium to change state of matter

An international group of researchers have demonstrated that ultra-high pressures cause core electrons to interplay, which results in experimentally observed anomalies in the compression behavior of the material.

September 10, 2015
The SLLP1 filament viewed along the side with each neighboring monomer colored alternatively. Figure courtesy University of Virginia School of Medicine.
Fertilization discovery: Do sperm carry tiny harpoons?

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That’s the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s discovery, using the Structural Biology Center at the Advanced Photon Source, that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, suggesting that these tiny filaments may lash together the sperm and its target.

September 3, 2015
Photo: Shutterstock.
Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel

Recent experiments at Argonne have afforded researchers a greater understanding of how to manipulate photosynthesis, putting humankind one step closer to harvesting “solar fuel,” a clean energy source that could one day help replace coal and natural gas.

September 1, 2015
Scientists at Argonne National Lab have developed a new fuel cell catalyst using earthly abundant materials with performance that is comparable to platinum in laboratory tests. If commercially viable, the new catalyst could replace platinum in electric cars powered by fuel cells instead of batteries, which would greatly extend the range of electric vehicles and eliminate the need for recharging. This figure shows the microstructural difference between conventional catalysts and the new reduced-platinum catalyst. (Image courtesy Di-Jia Liu; click to view larger).
New catalyst may hasten commercialization of fuel cell vehicles

Supported by DOE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office, scientists at Argonne have developed a new fuel cell catalyst using earthly abundant materials with performance that is comparable to platinum in laboratory tests. If commercially viable, the new catalyst could replace platinum in electric cars powered by fuel cells instead of batteries, which would greatly extend the range of electric vehicles and eliminate the need for recharging.

August 25, 2015
Matthew Tirrell, the Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, has been appointed to an additional scientific leadership role at Argonne, in a move that will strengthen the two institutions’ combined efforts. (Click image to view larger.)
Matthew Tirrell named Deputy Laboratory Director for Science at Argonne National Laboratory

Matthew Tirrell, the Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, has been appointed to an additional scientific leadership role at Argonne, in a move that will strengthen the two institutions’ combined efforts.

August 24, 2015
Argonne principal mechanical engineer Sibendu Som (left) and computational scientist Raymond Bair discuss combustion engine simulations conducted by the Virtual Engine Research Institute and Fuels Initiative (VERIFI). The initiative will be running massive simulations on Argonne’s Mira supercomputer to gain further insight into the inner workings of combustion engines. (Click image to view larger.)
Argonne pushing boundaries of computing in engine simulations

Researchers at Argonne will be testing the limits of computing horsepower this year with a new simulation project from the Virtual Engine Research Institute and Fuels Initiative that will harness 60 million computer core hours to dispel uncertainties and pave the way to more effective engine simulations.

August 24, 2015
One of the metallic samples studied, niobium diselenide, is seen here–the square in the center–as prepared for an X-ray diffraction experiment. Credit: University of Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory. Click image to view larger.
Caltech announces discovery in fundamental physics

Scientists recently used the Advanced Photon Source to investigate the existence of instabilities in the arrangement of the electrons in metals as a function of both temperature and pressure, and to pinpoint, for the first time, how those instabilities arise.

August 18, 2015
From left to right: Mark Keenum, President, Mississippi State University, and Peter Littlewood, director of Argonne National Laboratory, sign a memorandum of understanding for a collaboration to develop new technologies that address next-generation energy storage challenges. (Click image to view larger.)
Argonne and Mississippi State University partner to create energy storage technology solutions for southeast region

Argonne National Laboratory and Mississippi State University are collaborating to develop new technologies that address next-generation energy storage challenges. New discoveries could enhance the load-balancing capabilities of the electric grid in the Southeast region.

August 13, 2015
The unit cell of the nickelate NdNiO3 is shown with Nd represented by blue, O by red and Ni by green. The Ni electron density (green) is believed to transfer to the Nd (blue) during the metal-insulator transition. (Image courtesy Mary Upton; click to view larger.)
Insight into obscure transition uncovered by X-rays

The list of potential mechanisms that underlie an unusual metal-insulator transition has been narrowed by a team of scientists using a combination of X-ray techniques. This transition has ramifications for material design for electronics and sensors.

August 12, 2015