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Argonne National Laboratory


Argonne Impacts State by State

Argonne’s collaborations in Oregon and across the United States have led to groundbreaking discoveries and development of new technologies that help meet the nation’s needs for sustainable energy, economic prosperity, and security.

Oregon State University scientists develop inorganic compound, advance quantum computing

Osmium atoms in lithium osmium oxide, a new compound, form a lattice that resembles a honeycomb. (Image courtesy of Mas Subramanian, Oregon State University.)

Using an X-ray beamline at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), researchers at Oregon State University, Corvallis, have made an important advancement in the field of quantum computing. The team developed an inorganic compound that adopts a crystal structure capable of sustaining a new state of matter known as quantum spin liquid. The APS is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility.

In the new compound, lithium osmium oxide, osmium atoms form a honeycomb-like lattice, enforcing a phenomenon called magnetic frustration, which could lead to a quantum spin liquid as predicted by condensed matter physics theorists. X-ray measurements collected at the APS showed that the atoms of this new compound remained in a disordered state even at temperatures nearing absolute zero. Scientists say the compound is the first such structure to contain osmium, a hard yet brittle transition metal in the platinum group, found as a trace element in alloys.

The multidisciplinary collaboration involving materials chemists and condensed matter physicists demonstrates the importance of collaboration in pivotal discoveries like this one.

Argonne, national laboratories study wind patterns in Columbia River Gorge

After four years of research, Argonne scientists and colleagues are helping to improve wind forecasting. (Image by Dee Browning/ Shutterstock.)

Three national laboratories, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and representatives from industry recently collaborated with Argonne in a quest to make wind energy a more reliable resource. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy sponsored the four-year, $5 million project, Wind Forecast Improvement Project II. It is the largest deployment of technologies, to date, for measuring wind speed and wind energy generation.

Wind forecasting presents a daily challenge for wind farm operators, particularly those in complex terrain like the Columbia River Gorge, which forms the boundary between Washington and Oregon. Argonne scientists gathered the data, analyzing much of it using supercomputers at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Leading the massive project was atmospheric scientist William Shaw of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Project findings have enabled additional research to improve wind forecasting reliability, bolstering wind’s position as a renewable energy resource and, hopefully, lowering costs for consumers.