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 30, 2019
Optical images of sodium deposited from an electrolyte as electrical current of 1 mA/cm2 (seeded with blue particles for visualizing the associated flow of electrolyte).
Weighty Polymers Impact Battery Stability and Safety
Materials prevent battery failure by inhibiting tree-like growths.
May 30, 2019
Radiochemical technicians David Denton and Karen Murphy use hot cell manipulators at Oak Ridge National Laboratory during the production of actinium-227.
Improving Isotope Supply for a Cancer-Fighting Drug
Production of actinium-227 ramps up for use in a drug to fight prostate cancer that has spread to bone.
May 30, 2019
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory researchers suggest taking advantage of the random spikes inherent in X-ray free electron laser pulses to study the pulses’ interactions with matter. The method is called pump-probe ghost imaging.
Ghostly Images Could Ease Tracking of Fleeting Reactions
New method could enable studying the fastest interactions of ultrabright X-rays with matter, a vital way of learning about chemical reactions.
May 30, 2019
Titan supercomputer tells origin story of nanoparticle size distributions with large-scale simulations.
Laser Focus Shines Light on How Nanoparticles Form
Titan supercomputer tells origin story of nanoparticle size distributions with large-scale simulations.
May 30, 2019
Color changes in this experimental snapshot track velocities of magnetic rollers comprising an emergent vortex. The fastest particles are located toward the center. Velocity scale is in centimeter/second. Scale bar is 2 μm.
Tiny Vortices Could One Day Haul Microscopic Cargo
The behavior of active magnetic liquids suggests new pathways to transport particles across surfaces and build materials that self-heal.
May 30, 2019
Charge radii of calcium isotopes. Scientists obtained new data from a laser spectroscopy technique. The graphs shows the data (red squares) compared with theoretical values. As shown, calcium-39 is consistent with previous measurements.
Why Are These Extremely Light Calcium Isotopes So Small?
The radii of three proton-rich calcium isotopes are smaller than previously predicted because models didn’t account for two nuclear interactions.
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.
April 22, 2019
Princeton’s Fusion Recurrent Neural Network code uses convolutional & recurrent neural network components to integrate spatial & temporal information for predicting disruptions in tokamak (central structure) plasmas with unprecedented accuracy and speed.
Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Accelerate Efforts to Develop Clean, Virtually Limitless Fusion Energy
The Fusion Recurrent Neural Network reliably forecasts disruptive and destructive events in tokamaks.
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
The latest data from the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider reveal that the quark spin contribution (green puzzle piece)—specifically the contribution from a “sea” of antiquarks—is more complex than previously thought.
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