Argonne National Laboratory

Science Highlights

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Unlocking the Potential of Lignin

A team of researchers in Argonne’s Biosciences Division is investigating how some microorganisms can promote lignin degradation.

August 15, 2013
The team used the new APS superconducting undulator to obtain a diffraction pattern from an icosahedral Gd-Cd quasicrystal showing 10-fold rotational symmetry.  This diffraction pattern is the cover illustration for the latest issue of Nature Materials.
A New Family of Quasicrystals

Scientists from Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University carrying out research at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne characterized a new family of rare-earth quasicrystals.

August 19, 2013
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory, collaborating with the University of Iowa, Pennsylvania State University and Hamilton College, determined that phosphate bound or occluded within the Fe(III) oxides has a significant impact on minerals produced by the iron-reducing bacterium Shewanella putrefaciens CN32 (a microbe commonly found in aquatic and terrestrial environments). To view a larger version of the image, click on it.
Phosphate influences cycling of iron and carbon in the environment

A new study provides key information for understanding how to use the bacteria to treat contaminated environments efficiently.

August 30, 2013
Utility-scale solar facilities typically occupy large tracts of land, on the order of 2,000 to 3,600 acres for a 400-MW facility. Click to enlarge.
New Environmental Science Division report provides comprehensive information about solar energy impacts and mitigation

Argonne's Environmental Science Division (EVS) recently published a report identifying potential environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic impacts associated with utility-scale solar energy development and potentially applicable mitigation measures.

September 13, 2013
This schematic depicts a new ORNL-developed material that can easily absorb or shed oxygen atoms. Photo courtesy Oak Ride National Laboratory (
A 'sponge' path to better catalysts and energy materials

Scientists from Argonne and Oak Ridge national laboratories, Northwestern University, and Hokkaido University have developed a new oxygen “sponge” that can easily absorb or shed oxygen atoms at low temperatures. Materials with these novel characteristics would be useful in devices such as rechargeable batteries, sensors, gas converters, and fuel cells.

September 13, 2013
Challenges for improving estimates of soil organic carbon stored in permafrost regions

One of the greatest environmental challenges of the 21st century lies in predicting the impacts of anthropogenic activities on Earth’s carbon cycle.

September 30, 2013
Example profiles related to finding AOD (z) for April 15, 2008, obtained by the Micropulse Lidar (MPL). Click to enlarge.
Profiling atmospheric aerosols

For the first time, a long-term average of aerosol optical depth as a function of the height above the ground, using data from Micropulse Lidar observations, has been obtained by Argonne researchers.

October 10, 2013
The structure of the CCR5 cell surface receptor, which most strains of HIV use to enter human immune cells. This image shows the HIV drug maraviroc grabbing hold of CCR5 in an inactive conformation that prevents HIV from using the receptor to enter cells. Click to enlarge. Image credit: Katya Kadyshevskaya, The Scripps Research Institute).
How HIV infects cells

An international team of scientists using high-brightness X-rays from the Advanced Photon Source has determined the high-resolution atomic structure of a cell-surface receptor that most strains of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) use to gain entry to human immune cells.

October 10, 2013
Evolution of temperature, differential stress, strain, and AE rate during experiment D1247 performed at 4 GPa effective mean stress. Click to enlarge.
Simulating deep earthquakes in the laboratory

More than 20 years ago, geologists discovered a high-pressure failure mechanism that they proposed was the long-sought cause of very deep earthquakes occurring at a depth of more than 400 kilometers (or 248 miles). The result was controversial because seismologists could not find a seismic signal in the Earth that could confirm the results. Seismologists have now found the critical evidence.

October 10, 2013
Clearing up concerns about cloud computing and genomics research

Genomics researchers, who produce enormous amounts of data thanks to new DNA sequencing technology, have begun to recognize the potential benefits of moving to the cloud. At the same time, cloud computing raises some concerns.

November 5, 2013