Science Highlights

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U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu presented the 2012 Secretary’s Achievement Award to Argonne Environmental Engineer Greg Barrett for the Fugitive Emissions Working Group’s exceptional SF6 recovery efforts.
Argonne recognized by Energy Secretary Chu for greenhouse gas reductions

Argonne National Laboratory is leading the way in greenhouse gas reductions, particularly with the recapture and recycling of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). SF6 is a gas used in industry as an anti-arcing agent. It is an extremely potent greenhouse gas — one pound of SF6 is equivalent to 12 tons of carbon dioxide.

May 30, 2012
A 3-D map of nanopyramids in materials for LED lights. Credit: Nestor Zaluzec, Robert Colby and Eric Stach.
Shedding new light on LEDs

LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are the secret behind your iPhone screen, flatscreen TVs, Christmas lights and crosswalk signals. They can last longer and save more energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. But there is one thing they aren’t very good at: efficiently emitting light in the yellow-green spectrum.

April 18, 2012
Finding functionals for fission

Understanding of the fission process is crucial for many areas of science and technology—for example, for deploying safe and efficient advanced nuclear reactors. Accurately estimating the stability of a heavy nucleus against fission in its ground state is, however, a complex mathematical problem involving hundreds of strongly interacting protons and neutrons moving in a splitting nucleus.

April 10, 2012
An image of coupled magnetic discs, courtesy of Kyoto University, Japan.
Unconventional topological spin structure in coupled magnetic discs

Argonne's Materials Science Division researchers have fabricated an artificially-confined system of magnetic discs coupled antiferromagnetically through a spacer layer, and demonstrated for the first time that this system forms an unconventional topological spin structure.

March 12, 2012
Scientists at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source investigated nanoscale confinement on the local viscosity of entangled polystyrene films at high temperatures.
Peering into the interfaces of nanoscale polymeric materials

The development of polymer nanostructures and nano-devices for a wide variety of applications could emerge from new information about the interplay between nanoscale interfaces in polymeric materials.

March 12, 2012
New Process for Synthesizing Robust Catalysts

The two main routes for the deactivation of catalysts consisting of metal nanoparticles are coking (the accumulation of carbon on the metal that blocks the catalytic sites) and sintering (the formation of larger metal particles that lowers the activity).

March 9, 2012
Visualization of a molecule. Image: Mark J. Winter/Science Photo Library
Rapid procedure for the exploration of chemical compound space

By combining quantum chemistry with artificial intelligence (machine learning), researchers at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA achieved a scientific breakthrough expected to

February 27, 2012
A New Discovery Answers an Old Question

The transition-metal monoxide FeO is an archetypal example of a Mott insulator—a material that should conduct electricity under conventional band theories but becomes an insulator when measured, es

February 20, 2012
Understanding the processes controlling the chemical speciation of radionuclide contaminants is key for predicting their fate and transport in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Photo courtesy of Carolina Biological Supply Company.
Microbes influence the movement of uranium contaminants in the environment

Understanding the processes controlling the chemical speciation of radionuclide contaminants is key for predicting their fate and transport in aquatic and terrestrial environments.

January 20, 2012
The assemblies, just half a millimeter wide, are composed of microparticles. Confined between two liquids, they assemble themselves into star shapes when an alternating magnetic field is applied.
Smart Colloids Perform Simple Robotic Functions

An innovative approach for the directed formation and manipulation of colloidal assemblies that perform elaborate mechanical functions such as grasping, transporting and releasing cargo has been developed by scientists at Argonne.

January 13, 2012