Science Highlights

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An atomic diagram of an organometallic agostic interaction. Click image to enlarge.
Argonne researchers make new study of special type of chemical bond

Scientists have known for some time about the presence of agostic interactions involving lithium, carbon, and hydrogen atoms, but Argonne scientists wanted to determine what happened when an aluminum-containing fragment was appended to one of these organolithium complexes to form a lithium-aluminate compound.

September 29, 2014
New insight into how the Ebola virus evades the human immune system will aid the search for improved treatments for this deadly infection. The micrograph above shows individual Ebola viral particles. Click to enlarge. Image credit: CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith.
Study reveals how Ebola blocks immune system

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have identified one way the Ebola virus dodges the body's antiviral defenses, providing important insight that could lead to new therapies, in research results published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

August 15, 2014
The expected atomic structure of film based on the growth sequence and layer swap that occurs in the real growth. Click to enlarge.
Argonne scientists pioneer strategy for creating new materials

A recent article in Nature Materials describes how Argonne researchers used X-ray scattering during a process called molecular beam epitaxy to observe the behavior of atoms during the formation of a type of material known as layered oxides. These observations were then used as data for computational predictions of new materials, leading to insights on how to best combine atoms to form new, stable structures.

August 14, 2014
Side view (left) and top view (right) of interfacial atomic structures of (LaMnO3+δ)2/(SrTiO3)2 (N=2) and (LaMnO3+δ)6/(SrTiO3)6 (N=6) superlattices. A large octahedral rotation along c axis (γ) is observed for N=2 superlattice (right top), contributing to its suppressed ferromagnetism (cyan arrow). Such rotation is absent in N=6 superlattice (right bottom), which has strong ferromagnetism. Click to enlarge.
Bridging interfacial magnetism with octahedral rotation

Recently, a group of researchers led by University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Argonne National Lab and Southeast University (China), used BM 33 at Advanced Photon Source to probe the correlation between the structural distortion and ferromagnetism at the interface between LaMnO3 and SrTiO3.

August 4, 2014
Argonne Distinguished Fellow Nenad Markovic and his colleagues used Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source to get a “fingerprint” of the electronic structure of the material.  They noticed that the stability of the material was closely related to the tendency of its electrons to form certain kinds of bonds. This image shows the incident X-rays on the sample during the oxygen evolution reaction. Image courtesy Nenad Markovic; click to enlarge.
For catalysts, balance is the key

Researchers at Argonne have started to investigate the basic principles that govern the function of a group of catalysts involved in a number of different electrochemical technologies, and have found the most effective ones combine high catalytic activity with molecular stability.

July 21, 2014
Argonne researchers discovered that iridate oxides display some of the same characteristics as high-temperature superconductors, an interesting find that may lead to better understanding of superconductivity theory and possibly the discovery of additional superconductors. One of those characteristics is Fermi arcs, shown above in an iridate oxide doped with potassium ions. As the potassium added goes from 0.5 ML to 1.0 ML, the arc extends and makes a complete Fermi surface. Image courtesy B.J. Kim/John Mitchell; click to enlarge.
Iridates and cuprate superconductors: the similarities are more than skin deep

Researchers at Argonne found that a class of materials called iridate oxides expresses characteristics that may shed light on the physics underlying an important class of superconductors.

July 11, 2014
Argonne scientist Yugang Sun has been recognized as a leader in materials science and chemistry. Click to enlarge.
Two Argonne scientists recognized for their influence

Argonne scientists Yugang Sun and David Streets were recognized as being in the top one percent of the most highly cited scientists in their respective fields.

June 23, 2014
Figure 1: Aquatic and terrestrial environments are dynamic systems where coupled microbiological, geochemical, and hydrological processes define the complex interactions that drive the biogeochemical cycling of the major and minor elements. For example, microbial iron and sulfate reduction profoundly affect the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, iron, and sulfur in natural systems; however, the dynamics of microbial iron and sulfate reduction in the presence of both iron(III) oxides (i.e., “rust”) and sulfate (forms of iron and sulfur commonly found in nature) are not well-understood in systems with mixed microbial populations. Click to enlarge.
Effects of dissimilatory sulfate reduction on iron (hydr)oxide reduction and microbial community development

Aquatic and terrestrial environments are dynamic systems where coupled microbiological, geochemical, and hydrological processes define the complex interactions that drive the biogeochemical cycling

May 14, 2014
Researchers have identified a new way to synthesize inexpensive, transition metal-based catalysts as an alternative to platinum. These new catalysts offer the promise of substantially reducing the fuel cell cost. Click to enlarge.
Finding a suitable platinum substitute for fuel cells

In a new study led by Argonne National Laboratory chemist Di-Jia Liu, researchers have identified a new way to synthesize inexpensive, transition metal-based catalysts as an alternative to platinum. These new catalysts offer the promise of substantially reducing the fuel cell cost.

April 2, 2014
Major heat contributors americium (Am) and curium (Cm) are separated out using the water-soluble molecule DTPA, which attracts the two elements. The family of lanthanides (Ln) comprises 15 rare earth elements considered waste in a closed nuclear fuel cycle. These are separated out with the acidic extractant (HEH[EHP]). Once separated, americium and curium can be reused in advanced nuclear reactors. Click to enlarge. Image credit: Artem V. Gelis
Universal method makes used nuclear fuel reprocessing cooler and safer

A technique developed by scientists at Argonne and Pacific Northwest National laboratory separates the most radioactive elements of used nuclear fuel in one step.

March 13, 2014