Science Highlights

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Kawtar Hafidi facilitated an American Physical Society Committee on the Status of Women in Physics visit to Argonne, and she initiated the laboratory’s Strategic Hiring, Advancement and Retention Program.
Physicist honored with Argonne’s 2013 WIST Diversity Award

Physicist Kawtar Hafidi is the recipient of Argonne’s 2013 Women in Science and Technology Diversity Award. The annual award acknowledges employees who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to diversity in an inclusive workplace.

January 28, 2014
Middle-school students compete to build and race cars at the Argonne-hosted Science Bowl.
Area middle schools place in Argonne's Science Bowl

Teams of sixth, seventh and eighth graders engaged in a match of wits and speed by answering tough science and engineering questions in the recent Middle School Science Bowl competition held at Argonne National Laboratory on February 7th and 8th, 2014.

February 19, 2014
 Argonne physicist Kawtar Hafidi speaks to the students. “It’s a great opportunity to encourage and help prepare young women in the field of physics,” Hafidi said. Click to enlarge.
Argonne hosts next generation of female physicists

Eighty-five undergraduate women in the physics field toured Argonne National Laboratory on January 17 as part of the 2014 Midwest Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics.

February 24, 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
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
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
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
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 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
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