2011 News & Highlights
Seven things you may not know about catalysis
December 14, 2011 -- Catalysts are one of those things that few people think much about, beyond perhaps in high school chemistry, but they make the world tick. Almost everything in your daily life depends on catalysts: cars, Post-It notes, laundry detergent, beer. Read the story.
Making molecular hydrogen more efficiently
December 8, 2011 --
When it comes to the industrial production of chemicals, often the most indispensable element is one that you can't see, smell, or even taste. It's hydrogen, the lightest element of all. Read the story.
Materials scientists watch electrons "melt"
November 21, 2011 -- When a skier rushes down a ski slope or a skater glides across an ice rink, a very thin melted layer of liquid water forms on the surface of the ice crystals, which allows for a smooth glide instead of a rough skid. In a recent experiment, scientists have discovered that the interface between the surface and bulk electronic structures of certain crystalline materials can act in much the same way. Read the story.
Two Argonne scientists elected Materials Research Society officers
November 3, 2011 -- Two scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have been elected to serve as officers of the Materials Research Society: Orlando Auciello will be the organization's 2012 vice president, set to become president in 2013, and Stephen Streiffer will be a member of the board of directors. Read the story.
Batteries get quick charge with new anode technology
November 2, 2011 -- A breakthrough in components for next-generation batteries could come from special materials that transform their structure to perform better over time. Read the story.
Argonne's Jun Lu receives EERE Postdoctoral Research Award
November 2, 2011 -- Jun Lu, a postdoctoral researcher in Argonne's Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, has been honored with an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Postdoctoral Research Award by the Vehicles Technologies Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. Read the story.
BatPaC: A Lithium-Ion Battery Performance and Cost Model for Electric-Drive Vehicles
November 1, 2011 -- This first version of the model, the battery performance and cost (BatPaC) model, represents the only public domain model that captures the interplay between design and cost of Li-ion batteries for transportation applications. Read the story and visit the BatPaC site.
Making sodium-ion batteries that are worth their salt
October 24, 2011 -- Although lithium-ion technology dominates headlines in battery research and development, a new element is making its presence known as a potentially powerful alternative: sodium. Read the story.
Miniaturizing nuclear recycling experiments
October 19, 2011 -- Designing better ways to recycle spent nuclear fuel could make nuclear energy a safer solution to the global energy problem, but there are a lot of gaps in our chemical knowledge—and it's difficult to get those answers when the experiments involve radioactive material. Read the story.
Don Hillebrand and Jeff Chamberlain on TEDxUIllinois
October 11, 2011 -- Argonne experts discuss the laboratory's efforts to develop advanced batteries in a talk titled "A Little Can of Sunshine." Watch the video.
Argonne team helps map Fukushima radiation release
October 10, 2011 -- As the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors unfolded in Japan, several employees at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory were lacing up their boots. Read the story.
Argonne, Western Lithium to develop lithium carbonate for multiple battery applications
October 5, 2011 -- Western Lithium USA Corporation is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory as a step toward the commercialization of lithium carbonate from the Company’s Kings Valley Lithium Project located in Humboldt County, Nevada, USA. Read the story.
Dow and Argonne National Laboratory collaborating on new battery materials
October 4, 2011 -- The Dow Chemical Company and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a multi-year research collaboration to jointly develop the next generation of materials for advanced battery technologies. Read the story.
New solar cell technology gives light waves “amnesia”
September 26, 2011 -- For years, scientists have dealt with the problem of trying to increase the efficiency and drive down the cost of solar cells. Now researchers have hit upon a new idea—trying to give the light collected by solar cells a bit of “amnesia.” Read the story.
Revealing Reaction Mechanisms by Combining Raman Spectroscopy and Quantum Chemistry
September 22, 2011 -- Using Raman spectroscopy and density functional methods, an experimental and theoretical research team at Argonne National Laboratory led by Dr. Christopher L. Marshall have identified the molecular intermediates and reaction mechanisms during the polymerization of furfuryl alcohol (ChemCatChem, Cover story, September 19, 2011, vol. 3, issue 9, 1451-1458). Read the story.
Krypton-81 isotope can help map underground waterways
September 20, 2011 -- Cataloguing underground waterways, some of which extend for thousands of miles, has always been difficult—but scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, with colleagues from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the International Atomic Energy Agency, are mapping them with some unusual equipment: lasers and a rare isotope. Read the story.
Powering wind energy with superconductivity
September 19, 2011 -- Energy prices and environmental concerns are driving the United States to rethink its energy mix and to develop domestic sources of clean, renewable energy. Read the story.
Argonne patents technology that increases safety of Li-ion batteries
September 15, 2011-- Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have patented a new, extremely stable, 4-volt redox shuttle molecule that provides overcharge protection for lithium-ion batteries containing lithium-iron-phosphate based cathodes across hundreds of charging cycles. Read the story.
New materials engineering labs see early success
September 13, 2011 -- After only a few months of work, a small group of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has successfully scaled up the production of a new molecule that protects advanced lithium-ion batteries from thermal overcharge. Read the story.
10 Questions for a Nanoscientist: Seth Darling
September 8, 2011 -- Seth Darling is a scientist at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials. He builds new materials for solar energy, with the aim of creating cheaper and more efficient solar cells. Read the story.
Argonne nanoscientists invent better etching technique
August 18, 2011 -- Imagine yourself nano-sized, standing on the edge of a soon-to-be computer chip. Down shoots a beam of electrons, carving precise topography that is then etched the depth of the Grand Canyon into the chip. From the perspective of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory, this improved form of etching could open the door to new technologies. Read the story.
10 Questions for a Batteries Expert: Daniel Abraham
August 11, 2011 -- Daniel Abraham, a leading scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, shares his work on lithium-ion batteries and why he feels this work is important, and gives us a look into his melodic commitments outside of the lab. Read the story.
Argonne scientists design self-assembled "micro-robots"
August 8, 2011 -- Alexey Snezhko and Igor Aronson, physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, have coaxed "micro-robots" to do their bidding. Read the story.
Diagnosing advanced batteries for a longer life
July 13, 2011 -- Imagine a battery that truly does keep on going and going—and not for just a few years, but close to decades. At the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, materials scientist Daniel Abraham works to do just that for lithium-ion batteries. Read the story.
Plutonium tricks cells by "pretending" to be iron
July 8, 2011 -- Plutonium gets taken up by our cells much as iron does, even though there's far less of it to go around. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University have identified a new biological pathway by which plutonium finds its way into mammalian cells. Read the story.
Argonne electrifies battery storage research
June 29, 2011 -- A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Argonne National Laboratory is working in overdrive to develop advanced energy storage technologies to aid the growth of a nascent U.S. battery manufacturing industry, help transition the U.S. automotive fleet to one dominated by plug-in hybrid and electric passenger vehicles, and enable greater use of renewable energy technologies. Read the story.
Argonne wins four 'Oscars of Innovation' from R&D Magazine
June 22, 2011 -- Four technologies developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have won R&D 100 awards. Read the story.
Battery research gets extra juice with research center
June 21, 2011 -- The Center for Electrical Energy Storage (CEES) is one of three Argonne-led Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) that were established in 2009 thanks to a special block grant from the U.S. Department of Energy that sought to establish five-year interdisciplinary programs focused around discrete scientific challenges. Read the story.
Kawtar Hafidi wins 2011 AWIS Innovator Award
June 13, 2011 -- Argonne physicist Kawtar Hafidi was named winner of the 2011 Innovator Award winner by the Chicago chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). Kawtar Hafidi is an experimental nuclear physicist, working in the medium energy physics group at Argonne. Her work focuses on how quarks are formed, how they combine and how they interact to better understand the structure and interactions of protons and neutrons, the basic building blocks of everyday matter. Read the story.
Argonne physicist Paul Fenter wins Warren Award for X-ray diffraction studies
June 10, 2011 -- Paul Fenter, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, has been named the next recipient of the American Crystallographic Association's (ACA) Bertram E. Warren Award, which recognizes contributions to the physics of solids through the use of diffraction-based techniques. Read the story.
Chu, Durbin break ground for new Energy Sciences Building
June 3, 2011 -- U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin joined officials from Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago at a groundbreaking event Friday, June 3, for a new Energy Sciences Building at Argonne. Read the story.
Video: ESB Fly-Through
June 3, 2011 -- The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Energy Sciences Building was attended by DOE Secretary Chu. View fly-though video showing interior of new building.
New inorganic semiconductor layers hold promise for solar energy
June 1, 2011 -- A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has demonstrated a method that could produce cheaper semiconductor layers for solar cells. Read the story.
Putting the 'fuel' in biofuels
May 25, 2011
-- Recent discussions of methods by which biomass—grasses, trees, and other vegetation—could be turned into fuel makes a lot of sense in theory.
Plant matter is composed of energy-intensive carbohydrates, but even now scientists still don't have the perfect solution for converting plant sugars into combustible fuels. Read the story.
Argonne on Jeopardy!
May 20, 2011 -- Argonne returned to Jeopardy! with five clues in the "Cars of Today" category. Watch the video.
Early Career Award Recipients
May 19, 2011 -- Four Argonne scientists received funding to further their research as part of the Early Career Research Program: Jeffrey Greeley (CNM), assistant materials nanoscientist; Peter Mueller (PHY), assistant experimental physicist; Thomas Prolier (MSD), assistant physicist, and Jinlong Zhang (HEP), assistant physicist. The Early Career Research Program supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the areas supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science. Read the story.
Nanoparticles help scientists harvest light with solar fuels
May 18, 2011 -- The humble alga, hated by boaters and pool owners, may someday help provide us with the raw machinery to power our appliances. Read the story.
Peter Littlewood named Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences and Engineering
May 17, 2011 -- Peter B. Littlewood, formerly the head of the Cavendish Laboratory and the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge, has been named the new Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences and Engineering at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. Read the story.
Video on the Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT)
May 16, 2011 -- The Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT) is an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. IACT focuses on advancing the science of catalysis to improve the efficiency of producing fuels from biomass and coal. Watch the video.
Jim Miller and Nenad Markovic Receive DOE Awards
May 11, 2011 -- A Department of Energy award was given to Dr. Jim Miller jointly by EERE's Vehicle Technologies and Fuel Cell Technologies programs for his support and leadership over the last two decades across both programs. Another DOE award recognizes Nenad Markovic for his work on reducing the content of platinum group metals in oxygen reduction catalysts in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Read Miller story. Read Markovic story.
Argonne researchers find new isotope for climatological dating
May 11, 2011 -- Radioactive dating is used to determine everything from the age of dinosaur fossils to Native American arrowheads. A new technique recently developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory may give researchers another tool for radioactive dating that could be of particular use in studying the history of climate change. Read the story.
Researcher wins UChicago Award
April 29, 2011 -- Giselle Sandi-Tapia wins UChicago Pinnacle of Education Award. Read the story.
The magnetism—and mystery—of superconductors
April 8, 2011 -- Exactly 100 years ago today, physicist Kamerlingh Onnes cooled mercury to 4.2 degrees Kelvin, or -450 Fahrenheit, and discovered that it conducted an electric current perfectly—no electricity was lost as heat or friction. This phenomenon is called superconductivity. An electric current in a loop of a superconductor could, theoretically, last forever; in experiments they have been observed to last for years. Read the story.
Thin Sheet of Diamond Has Worlds of Uses
April 1, 2011 -- A new technique from Argonne National Laboratory creates thin diamond films that are helping industry save energy and could even be used in heart and eye implants. Read the story.
Argonne Researcher named top-5 materials scientist of 2000s
April 1, 2011 -- Argonne scientist Yugang Sun has been recognized as the one of the five top materials scientists in the world over the past decade, according to a new ranking recently released by Thomson Reuters. Read the story.
Argonne's CARIBU facility opens to study rare nuclei
March 31, 2011 -- Last week, a stream of highly unusual ions shot through a tiny nozzle at 76 million miles per hour—and CARIBU, a facility designed to study special nuclei normally only created in stars, officially opened for business. Read the story.
The Breakthrough Behind the Chevy Volt Battery
March 28, 2011 -- A revolutionary breakthrough cathode for lithium-ion batteries—the kind in your cell phone, laptop and new hybrid cars—makes them longer, run more safely and perform better than batteries currently on the market. Read the story.
Scientists use light to join nanoparticles into new materials
March 16, 2011 -- For many years, scientists have searched for ways to assemble nanoparticles—tiny bits of matter less than a millionth of an inch across—into larger structures of any desired shape and form at will. Read the story.
DOE Blog: 10 Questions for a Materials Scientist - Vilas Pol
March 10, 2011 -- Can innovations in materials science help make our world a cleaner place? Argonne National Lab’s Vilas Pol was recently featured on the PBS NOVA series Making Stuff, where he shared his innovative approach of converting plastic bags into rechargeable battery components. Read the story.
Argonne image recognized as one of best science pictures of 2010
February 21, 2011 -- Seth Darling of Argonne National Laboratory and Steven Sibener of the University of Chicago won first place in photography from Science Magazine for a micrograph image. It appears on the cover of the February issue. Read the story.
DOE Blog: Argonne Lab’s Breakthrough Cathode Technology Powers Electric Vehicles of Today
February 14, 2011 -- The Department of Energy has been investing in vehicle electrification for more than a decade, with results that speak for themselves. Argonne's Jeff Chamberlain is interviewed. Read the story.
DOE Report: 1 Million Electric Vehicles
February 11, 2011 -- Status report on President Obama's plan. Read the report.
New, balanced approach calculates lifetime solar energy cost
February 7, 2011 -- Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory in partnership with an analyst at Gartner, Inc. have developed a new and more instructive approach to calculate the lifetime cost for a solar-generated energy system for comparison to other energy systems. Read the story.
Argonne's Vilas Pol featured on NOVA's "Making Stuff: Cleaner" episode
February 2, 2011 -- Can innovations in materials science help clean up our world? In "Making Stuff: Cleaner," David Pogue explores the rapidly developing science and business of clean energy and examines alternative ways to generate it, store it, and distribute it. Watch the episode.
Kawtar Hafidi named AWIS February 2011 Scientist of the Month
February 1, 2011 -- In a world where women remain underrepresented in computational math and physics fields, Dr. Kawtar Hafidi has been breaking all the rules. Read the story.
Argonne, Envia strike deal to license advanced battery technology
January 26, 2011 -- Argonne National Laboratory has licensed its cathode technology to Envia Systems, based in Newark, Calif. The deal marks the fifth licensing agreement for the Argonne-developed cathode technology. Read the story.
Two Argonne scientists, including Walter Henning, inducted into AAAS
January 17, 2011 -- Two Argonne scientists have been inducted into the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as part of its newest class of fellows. Walter Henning was honored "for his vision in developing facilities for antiproton and heavy ion research and for his distinguished leadership of major scientific facilities both in the U.S. and Germany." Read the story.
Argonne strikes licensing deals with LG Chem, GM for advanced battery technology
January 6, 2011 -- General Motors Co., LG Chem, Ltd. and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory announced today they have reached a licensing agreement to use Argonne's patented composite cathode material to make advanced lithium-ion batteries that last longer between charges and can charge at higher voltages. Read the story.
Argonne's Wei Gai leads positron source efforts for ILC
January 6, 2011 -- Scientists at the ILC who deal in matters positively charged have a new go-to guy: Wei Gai. This month, Gai assumes the role of the ILC's Positron Technical Area Group Leader (Positron TAGL). Read the story.
Argonne's SAMM facility receives LEED Gold award
January 4, 2011 -- An environmental gold star has been awarded to a facility at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory that studies nature’s smallest creations. Read the story.