Science Highlights

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Each year, scientists with the Office of Science, at our national laboratories, and supported by the Office of Science at the nation’s colleges and universities, publish thousands of research findings in the scientific literature. About 200 of these are selected annually by their respective program areas in the Office of Science as publication highlights of special note.

For the archive of past publication highlights, click here.

May 22, 2019
Two-dimensional images of a neutrino interaction in MicroBooNE shown at different stages of signal processing reveal cleaner and cleaner signals.
Extracting Signs of the Elusive Neutrino
Scientists use software to "develop" images that trace neutrinos' interactions in a bath of cold liquid argon.
May 22, 2019
Artist rendering of genome standards being applied to deciphering the extensive diversity of viruses.
Revealing Viruses’ Hidden Influence
Researchers are finding new ways to analyze microbial data, allowing them to better understand viruses’ genes and role in the environment.
April 22, 2019
Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Accelerate Efforts to Develop Clean, Virtually Limitless Fusion Energy
Nuclear fusion power delivered by magnetic confinement tokamak reactors carries the promise of sustainable and clean energy for the future.
April 19, 2019
Slow Charge Generation Plays Big Role in Model Material for Solar Cells
To design molecular solar cells, sensors, etc., researchers need to know how light creates electricity on an atomic scale. This isn’t easy
April 19, 2019
Splitting Water Fast! Catalyst Works Faster than Mother Nature
Water oxidation provides the electrons and protons required in natural photosynthesis to convert solar energy into chemical energy that it is
April 18, 2019
Driving Chemical Reactions by Remote Control
Some chemical bonds are tough to re-arrange because it’s hard to access them. This aligns with the conventional wisdom that to make and break
April 18, 2019
Capturing Energy Flow in a Plasma by Measuring Scattered Light
In diverse fields of plasma physics including astrophysics, inertial confinement fusion, and magnetohydrodynamics, classical thermal transport (for
April 18, 2019
Spin Flipper Upends Protons
The spin of high-energy proton beams is strongly coupled to their orbit direction: a one-degree orbit deflection will also rotate the spin of a 255
April 18, 2019
Sea Quark Spin Surprise!
Since the 1980s, scientists have known that quark and antiquark spins within a proton account for, at best, a quarter of the overall proton spin.
April 17, 2019
The Weak Side of the Proton
The weak force’s effects can be observed in our everyday world: it initiates the chain of reactions that power the sun, and it provides a
April 15, 2019
Fast-Moving Pairs May Solve 35-Year-Old Mystery
The European Muon Collaboration discovered the EMC Effect in data taken at CERN. The collaboration found that quarks inside a nucleus appeared
April 15, 2019
Team Takes Fluoride from Taps and Toothpaste to Batteries
Researchers discovered a new liquid electrolyte named BTFE. The electrolyte could replace the molten salt currently used in fluoride-based
April 12, 2019
Quarks Under Pressure in the Proton
Inside every proton in every atom in the universe is a pressure cooker environment that surpasses the atom-crushing heart of a neutron star. That
April 12, 2019
Magnetic Levitation of Ultracold Neutrons Yields New Measurement of the Neutron Lifetime
To measure the neutron lifetime, the experiment used ultracold neutrons from the Los Alamos National Laboratory ultracold neutron source, currently
April 9, 2019
New Molecular Blueprint Aids Study of Photosynthesis
Discovered decades ago, a large protein complex called NAD(P)H dehydrogenase-like complex (NDH) helps regulate the steps of photosynthesis where
April 9, 2019
Catching Fast Changes in Excited Molecules
Scientists often employ nonlinear spectroscopies in the optical, infrared, and radiofrequency regimes to probe ultrafast molecular dynamics and
April 8, 2019
Atomic Maps Reveal How Iron Rusts
Both underneath our feet and in the skyscrapers towering above, iron is constantly reacting. In the soil, these reactions can affect both nutrient
April 8, 2019
Strain and Defects Grow in Tiny Magnetite Crystals When Oxidized
Solid-water interfaces are primary sites for physiochemical phenomena in natural and technological systems, especially for reactions that occur at
April 8, 2019
A New View on a Very Old Problem: Evolution of the Photochemical Reaction Centers
All available evidence supports the hypothesis that the reaction center, the pigment-protein complex that uses light to produce chemicals that
March 21, 2019
How Does Mother Nature Tackle the Tough Triple Bond Found in Nitrogen?
For every molecule of nitrogen transformed to ammonia, nitrogenase makes at least one molecule of hydrogen (H2), which has been a
March 21, 2019
A Detailed View of the Ancestor of Photosynthesis
By studying photosynthesis, scientists can uncover key details about how organisms use light to drive their metabolism. This fundamental
March 21, 2019
Some Bacteria Make a Big Difference in Dryland Wheat Farming
Researchers set out to discover the mechanisms that control the accumulation of PCA under dryland conditions. Led by Melissa LeTourneau, an Office
March 14, 2019
Sampling Guts of Live Moose to Understand How They Break Down Biomass
While previous studies used hunter-killed animals, this study sampled live free-ranging Alaska moose grazing in the wild. By equipping these moose
March 14, 2019
How Injected Microbes Persist in Hydraulically Fractured Shale
The team re-created a shale microbial community in the laboratory. This allowed them to measure microbial activity and fluid chemistry under
March 14, 2019
Fitting a Square Peg in a Round Hole: The Surprising Structure of Uranium Bound in Hematite
While scientists have been studying the binding of uranium to iron-bearing minerals for some time using X-ray spectroscopy, different researchers