Argonne National Laboratory

Science Highlights

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Shedding Light on Nature's Nanoscale Control of Solar Energy

Nature's process for storing solar energy occurs in light-absorbing protein complexes called photosynthetic reaction centers (RCs). Across billions of years of evolution, Nature has retained a common light-absorbing hexameric cofactor core for carrying out the very first chemical reaction of photosynthesis, the light-induced electron transfer across approximately 3 nm. This process has direct analogies to light-driven charge separation in photovoltaic devices.

April 4, 2012
All-Inorganic Nanocrystals Boost Infrared Emission

New chemistry has been developed to integrate lead chalcogenide nanocrystals into continuous inorganic matrices of chalcogenide glasses. Inorganic capping, rather than conventional organic capping ligands, allows simple and low-temperature encapsulation of these nanocrystals into solution-cast infrared (IR)-transparent amorphous As2S3 chalcogenide matrices. The resulting all-inorganic thin films display stable infrared luminescence in the technologically important near-IR region. The research team was composed of scientists from the Center for Nanoscale Materials' NanoBio Interfaces and Nanophotonics groups, as well as the University of Chicago and the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

March 7, 2012
CNM Awarded Prestigious LEED Green Building Certification

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory recently received a green building designation for the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), specifically the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Constructed in 2007, CNM was designed and built to meet LEED standards. The building uses water efficient fixtures, resulting in 32.9% less water usage, and it has energy savings of 27.5%, partly as a result of waste heat recovery and use — heat that is generated by scientific equipment is reused to heat the CNM facility.

March 1, 2012
Capitol Hill to Hear from User Facilities

Three Argonne user facilities are participating in the User Science Exhibition on Capitol Hill March 28-29, 2012, to highlight the significant and important role that scientific user facilities play in science education, economic competitiveness, fundamental knowledge, and scientific achievements in the United States.

March 1, 2012
Nanostructured Electrodes for Rechargeable Sodium-Ion Batteries

Highly efficient 3V cathodes for rechargeable sodium-ion batteries have been developed by users from Argonne National Laboratory's Materials Science, Chemical Sciences & Engineering, and X-ray Sciences Divisions, as well as the University of Chicago, together with the Center for Nanoscale Materials NanoBio Interfaces Group. With a near-theoretical capacity of 250 mAh/g, excellent rate capability and cycle life, and high energy and power densities of 760 Wh/kg and 1200 W/kg, respectively, these bilayered V2O5 systems can be used in applications at ambient temperature.

February 3, 2012
Study of Ferroelectric Domain Walls Offers a New Nanoscale Conduction Path

Facility users from Rutgers University together with the Center for Nanoscale Materials' Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices Group have identified two-dimensional sheets of charge formed at the boundaries of ferroelectric domains in a multiferroic material. These two-dimensional charged sheets are not pinned by unstable defects, chemical dopants, or structural interface, but are formed naturally as the inevitable by-products of topological vortices. This discovery is an important step in understanding the semiconducting properties of the domains and domain walls in small-gap ferroelectrics.

February 2, 2012
Developing Smarter STM Tips

Scientists from the Center for Nanoscale Materials X-Ray Microscopy and Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices groups, in collaboration with Argonne's Electron Microscopy Center and X-Ray Science Division, have used CNM's Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe to obtain for the first time an important three-dimensional view of insulator-coated smart tips that in the future can be utilized in synchrotron X-ray scanning tunneling microscopy (SXSTM).

January 2, 2012
Mapping Deformation in Buried Semiconductor Structures using the Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe

Scientists from IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center and Columbia University, working with the X-Ray Microscopy Group, have mapped rotation and strain fields across a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) structure that included a liner of stressed Si3N4 using X-ray nanodiffraction (nano-XRD) at the CNM/APS Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe beamline.

May 1, 2011
Handcrafting nanoparticles into superstructures with light

One of the Holy Grails of modern nanoscience is to assemble nanoparticles—tiny pieces of matter with diameters in the billionth of a yard range—into larger structures of any desired shape and form

March 1, 2011
High density, high-aspect-ratio precision polyimide nanofilters

Collaborative users from Creatv MicroTech, Inc. and Los Alamos National Laboratory, working with CNM's Nanofabrication & Devices Group, have demonstrated a novel fabrication process that produces high-porosity polymer nanofilters with smooth, uniform. and straight pores and high aspect ratios.

December 1, 2009