Thursday, May 28, 2015

PNNL Research Highlights

Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate
  1. Could Computers Reach Light Speed?
    Results: Light waves trapped on a metal's surface travel nearly as fast as light through the air, and new research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory shows these waves, called surface plasmons, travel far enough to possibly be useful for ultra-fast electronic circuit interconnects. The PNNL team captured, on video, surface plasmons moving at least 250 microns (or about 1/100th of an inch) across the surface.
  2. From Fire to Ice
    Results: When tons of ash spewed into the atmosphere from a 2010 Icelandic volcano it caused havoc for vacationers across Europe. But did it also dramatically change clouds? Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that volcanic ash is not as efficient as common dust in birthing clouds' ice particles. Using a novel laboratory testing chamber they formed cloud ice, a process called ice nucleation, around particles of dust and volcanic ash. Their results revealed the importance of optimal particle structure to efficiently attract super cold water vapor to nucleate ice.
  3. EMSL Integration 2015 Explores Advanced Batteries and Catalysis Research
    Registration is now open for "EMSL Integration 2015: Energy Materials and Processes for Advanced Batteries and Catalysis." The annual user meeting will be held September 15-17 at EMSL in Richland, Wash.
  4. Hailong Wang, Editor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
    Congratulations to Dr. Hailong Wang, atmospheric scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, who was appointed to the editorial board of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) in May 2015. As an editor, Wang will use his expertise in atmospheric aerosols, cloud physics and dynamics,aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions and climate change to handle the review of manuscripts submitted to the journal.
  5. Clouds' Role in Sunlight Stopping
    Results: Clouds are energy traffic cops, controlling how much sunlight reaches Earth. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers used long-term observations to show that the sunlight stopping power of each type of typical tropical cloud and how frequently they occur must be accurately simulated in climate models. Otherwise, understanding of the true impact of clouds on the Earth's energy balance will be uncertain. Their research was published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.
  6. Five DOE Award Winners Pursuing Ph.D. Research at PNNL
    Congratulations to five graduate students who have won DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) awards to supplement part of their Ph.D. thesis research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 2015.
  7. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oregon Health & Science University Team up to Accelerate Biomedical Discovery
    RICHLAND, Wash. - The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon, are joining forces to answer some of the world's most complex biomedical questions. Through a memorandum of understanding, the institutions have formed the OHSU-PNNL Northwest Co-Laboratory for Integrated 'Omics, sharing their research programs and leading-edge technology for biological mass spectrometry in pursuit of disease markers for new therapies. 
  8. Mehdi Receives Post-Doctoral Researcher Award
    Congratulations to Dr. B. Layla Mehdi, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory materials postdoctoral researcher, who is receiving a 2015 M&M Post-Doctoral Researcher Award from the Microscopy Society of America (MSA). She earned the award for her paper entitled “Quantification of Electrochemical Nanoscale Processes in Lithium Batteries by Operando ec-(S)TEM.”
  9. Dongsheng Li and David Heldebrant Receive DOE Early Career Research Program Awards
    Congratulations to Dr. Dongsheng Li and Dr. David Heldebrant at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on being selected to receive 2015 Early Career Research Program research grants. They are two of just 44 recipients nationwide -- including 17 at national laboratories -- to receive the annual research awards, and were selected from more than 600 applications. Under the program, they will receive five-year research grants that fund work designed to create new materials for energy storage and reduce carbon emissions.
  10. Finding the Missing Particles
    For the past 20 years, a large portion of the particles measured in the atmosphere were missing from models. At best, models were able to explain one-tenth of the carbon-rich secondary organic aerosols, or SOA, measured in the air. The problem turned out to be a series of fundamental assumptions used in the models due to a lack of experimental data. The models assumed the particles were liquids that responded to changes in the surrounding atmosphere by rapid condensation or evaporation and in-particle mixing. The models predicted the particles, especially the small ones, were rather short-lived on their journey away from their sources. All of these assumptions and more were proven false by Dr. Alla Zelenyuk and her colleagues at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Imre Consulting, University of Washington, and University of California at Irvine.