Tuesday, May 31, 2016

PNNL Research Highlights

Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate
  1. ‘Metal’ of Honor
    Members of PNNL Advanced Computing, Mathematics, and Data Division’s Computational Engineering group recently were honored with a 2015 U.S. Council for Automotive Research, or USCAR, Team Award for their work providing predictive modeling tools to improve the cost and performance of new automotive materials. PNNL’s Kyoo Sil Choi, Xiaohua Hu, Guang Cheng, and Xin Sun will share the award for their contributions to the United States Automotive Materials Partnership (USAMP) Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) 3GAHSS team. The award was presented during the USCAR Recognition Luncheon on May 26, 2016 in Detroit.
  2. Ovchinnikov to Join AMS Cloud Physics Committee
    Dr. Mikhail Ovchinnikov, atmospheric research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has recently been appointed to the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Cloud Physics Committee. He will serve for three years.
  3. Chemists Settle Longstanding Debate on How Methane Is Made Biologically
    Like the poet, microbes that make methane are taking chemists on a road less traveled: Of two competing ideas for how microbes make the main component of natural gas, the winning chemical reaction involves a molecule less favored by previous research, something called a methyl radical.
  4. Janet Jansson participates in White House Panel Discussion
    On May 13 Janet K. Jansson, Chief Scientist for biological sciences at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was among federal, academic, business, and citizen-science experts who took part in a three-hour White House webcast that launched the new multi-player, multi-layer National Microbiome Initiative. It is the work of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which organized the webcast; 12 federal agencies involved in energy, health, and agriculture; and the private sector, including universities and foundations. The initiative started with a bang: $400 million in new commitments from non-government entities and $121 million in pledged federal investments starting in Fiscal Year 2016. That includes $10 million in Fiscal Year 2017 for multidisciplinary research at the Department of Energy. "We think," said event moderator Jo Handelsman of OSTP, "it's a microbial future."
  5. PNNL Researcher Ben Kravitz's Opinion Sought on 'Far Out' Climate Solutions
    Some geoengineering scientists are thinking of big—out-of-this-world sized—solutions to cool our warming planet. The BBC article How a giant space umbrella could stop global warming wonders if  the answer might be to create a man-made structure between us and the Sun to cast a shadow on our planet.
  6. Steven Spurgeon Wins Premier Poster Award
    Congratulations to Dr. Steven Spurgeon at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on earning the top poster award at the 2016 Advances in Structural and Chemical Imaging (ASCI) Workshop. Held at Boise State University as part of the PREMIER Network, the workshop brought together experts and users of electron microscopy and related tools. At the workshop's poster session, Spurgeon discussed using and interpreting results from atomic-scale energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. This fairly new approach directs an electron beam over extremely thin samples and measures the resulting x-rays to map atomic structure. Using this approach, Spurgeon examined extremely thin oxides that could help solar cells harvest more light. In his poster, he presented not only the results but also a nuanced view of the instrument's abilities that will guide other researchers. The workshop's four chairs awarded him the top honor for his poster's novelty, technical content, and design.
  7. Krishnamoorthy Named New ACM Senior Member
    This spring, Dr. Sriram Krishnamoorthy, a research scientist and the System Software and Applications Team Leader in PNNL’s High Performance Computing group, was named an Association for Computing Machinery Senior Member. This designation recognizes ACM members for their long-term exceptional performance that “sets them apart from their peers.”
  8. It Takes Two to Make an Electrode Go Right
    With more capacity and fewer safety issues than their lithium counterparts, magnesium batteries are potentially a promising energy storage option, but the electrodes are difficult to produce and quickly fail. Scientists want something better. Inspired by a two-metal electrode, made of tin and antimony, a team at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) delved into the atomic workings of this alloy. They saw the metals separate into antimony- and tin-rich regions. The tin regions worked well; the antimony-rich areas did not. However, the antimony regions were crucial: at the interface, or border, between the two regions, the antimony kept the tin structure from collapsing.
  9. Exploring Today's Research on Tomorrow's Battery
    About 250 of the world's leading energy storage experts will gather at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory next week to discuss the latest battery technologies that are making electric transportation and large-scale renewable energy storage more accessible.
  10. Thinning Out the Carbon Capture Viscosity Problem
    This appeared as a PNNL news release on May 17.