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Latest Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences Stories

2012-12-03 11:34:07

Turning lignin, a plant's structural "glue" and a byproduct of the paper and pulp industry, into something considerably more valuable is driving a research effort headed by Amit Naskar of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In a cover article published in Green Chemistry, the research team describes a process that ultimately transforms the lignin byproduct into a thermoplastic - a polymer that becomes pliable above a specific temperature. Researchers accomplished this by reconstructing larger...

2012-09-20 17:12:30

A team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Ho Nyung Lee has discovered a strain relaxation phenomenon in cobaltites that has eluded researchers for decades and may lead to advances in fuel cells, magnetic sensors and a host of energy-related materials. The finding, published in Nano Letters, could change the conventional wisdom that accommodating the strain inherent during the formation of epitaxial thin films necessarily involves structural defects, said Lee, a member of the Department...

2012-04-19 21:01:17

The boundary between electronics and biology is blurring with the first detection by researchers at Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory of ferroelectric properties in an amino acid called glycine. A multi-institutional research team led by Andrei Kholkin of the University of Aveiro, Portugal, used a combination of experiments and modeling to identify and explain the presence of ferroelectricity, a property where materials switch their polarization when an electric field is...

Microscopy Explores Nanowires' Weakest Link
2012-02-14 04:54:25

Individual atoms can make or break electronic properties in one of the world's smallest known conductors–quantum nanowires. Microscopic analysis at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is delivering a rare glimpse into how the atomic structure of the conducting nanowires affects their electronic behavior. The ORNL team's microscopy confirmed that deliberately introduced defects, which are only the size of a single atom, could turn a conducting nanowire into an...

Nanoscale Metallic Conductivity In Ferroelectrics
2012-01-10 07:09:41

ORNL experiments prove nanoscale metallic conductivity in ferroelectrics The prospect of electronics at the nanoscale may be even more promising with the first observation of metallic conductance in ferroelectric nanodomains by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ferroelectric materials, which switch their polarization with the application of an electric field, have long been used in devices such as ultrasound machines and sensors. Now, discoveries about ferroelectrics'...

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2011-08-16 08:55:37

A novel microscopy method at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping scientists probe the reactions that limit widespread deployment of fuel cell technologies. ORNL researchers applied a technique called electrochemical strain microscopy that enables them to examine the dynamics of oxygen reduction/evolution reactions in fuel cell materials, which may reveal ways to redesign or cut the costs of the energy devices. The team's findings were published in Nature...

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2011-07-19 09:20:39

A new approach to growing graphene greatly reduces problems that have plagued researchers in the past and clears a path to the crystalline form of graphite's use in sophisticated electronic devices of tomorrow. Findings of researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrate that hydrogen rather than carbon dictates the graphene grain shape and size, according to a team led by ORNL's Ivan Vlassiouk, a Eugene Wigner Fellow, and Sergei Smirnov, a professor of...

2011-04-25 16:42:21

Novel properties of ferroelectric materials discovered at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are moving scientists one step closer to realizing a new paradigm of electronic memory storage. A new study led by ORNL's Peter Maksymovych and published in the American Chemical Society's Nano Letters revealed that contrary to previous assumptions, domain walls in ferroelectric materials act as dynamic conductors instead of static ones. Domain walls, the separation zones only a...

2010-11-23 21:09:58

A systematic study of phase changes in vanadium dioxide has solved a mystery that has puzzled scientists for decades, according to researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Scientists have known that vanadium dioxide exhibits several competing phases when it acts as an insulator at lower temperatures. However, the exact nature of the phase behavior has not been understood since research began on vanadium dioxide in the early 1960s. Alexander Tselev, a research...

2010-11-09 15:00:52

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers Jeremy Busby, De-en Jiang and Sergei Kalinin are among 13 Department of Energy scientists to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE. The PECASE, one of the nation's top honors for young scientists, was designed to recognize some of the finest researchers who show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge. "Science and technology have long been at the core of America's...


Word of the Day
penuche
  • A fudgelike confection of brown sugar, cream or milk, and chopped nuts.
'Penuche' is a variant of 'panocha,' a coarse grade of sugar made in Mexico. 'Panocha' probably comes from the Spanish 'panoja, panocha,' ear of grain.
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