Friday, May 6, 2016

PNNL Research Highlights

Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate
  1. Chongmin Wang Wins Paper of the Year from Scientific Journal
    Congratulations to Dr. Chongmin Wang from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for winning the 2015 Paper of the Year award from the Journal of Materials Research (JMR). Wang won the prestigious honor for his review article, "In situ transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy studies of rechargeable batteries under dynamic operating conditions: A retrospective and perspective view."
  2. Platinum, Puddles, and Water's True Nature
    When ice melts too fast in your drink, you're left with a watered-down mess. When it melts too fast in your scientific experiment, you're left with nothing. At DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists conduct detailed studies on the nature of water, which affects nearly every aspect of life on the planet. But the water disappeared before the experiments that required ultrahigh vacuum could begin. So Dr. Greg Kimmel and his colleagues devised a new method. It lets the water stick around and produces a "stop action movie."
  3. A Slow Separation
    Results: For nearly 80 years, nuclear fission has awaited a description within a microscopic framework. In the first study of its kind, scientists collaborating from the University of Washington, Warsaw University of Technology (Poland), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, developed a novel model to take a more intricate look at what happens during the last stages of the fission process. Using the model, they determined that fission fragments remain connected far longer than expected before the daughter nuclei split apart. Moreover, they noted the predicted kinetic energy agreed with results from experimental observations. This discovery indicates that complex calculations of real-time fission dynamics without physical restrictions are feasible and opens a pathway to a theoretical microscopic framework with abundant predictive power.
  4. A New Model for Simulating DNA's 'Atmosphere' of Ions
    Nucleic acids, large biomolecules essential to life, include the familiar double-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a very stable long molecule that stores genetic information.
  5. The Hard Facts about Soft Landing Ions
    When determining how complex molecules drive, hinder, or halt reactions relevant to fuel production, pollution abatement, and energy storage, scientists often contend with other unrelated molecules that obscure their studies. Some researchers avoid these troublemakers by using ion soft- and reactive-landing techniques. With these methods, molecules are precisely sorted by their mass-to-charge ratio, kinetic energy, and ionic charge state. The scientists can concentrate the purified molecules into a beam and control its size, shape, and position to prepare highly tailored films and structures.
  6. Ghassem Asrar Selected Chair of ERA4CS Expert Panel
    Congratulations to Dr. Ghassem R. Asrar, scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI), on being selected chair of the international European Research Area for Climate Services (ERA4CS) Expert Panel. The JGCRI is a partnership between PNNL and the University of Maryland.
  7. Metal Ions First Sneak In, then Bust Through
    When multiple lithium ions intend to crowd into one empty spot in an electrode's atomic framework, they start competing for the nearby oxygen atoms. They tug on the oxygen, distorting the material and eventually causing it to collapse, according to a team led by scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. They obtained the first atomic-resolution view of this activity with lithium, sodium, and calcium ions.
  8. Unexpected Discovery Leads to a Better Battery
    An unexpected discovery has led to a rechargeable battery that's as inexpensive as conventional car batteries, but has a much higher energy density. The new battery could become a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative for storing renewable energy and supporting the power grid. A team based at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory identified this energy storage gem after realizing the new battery works in a different way than they had assumed. A recent study in the journal Nature Energy describes the battery.
  9. NMR Study Named Among "Most Cited" by Elsevier
    Elsevier, publisher of more than 2,000 academic journals, has named a research article by seven PNNL scientists (and one former PNNL researcher) as one of 25 most-cited solid state nuclear magnetic resonance studies since 2011. Figures were derived from Elsevier's Scopus, the largest database of peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  10. PNNL Team Contributes to Outstanding Project Award at EPA
    Congratulations to researcher Meredydd Evans and her team at PNNL's Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI), including Nazar Kholod and Sha Yu. They contributed the methods and project skills that earned an Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) Award for the Environmental Protection Agency's project on black carbon.