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.

April 6, 2018
Tubular Science Improves Polymer Solar Cells
Tubular Science Improves Polymer Solar Cells
Low-cost, large-area scalability by solution processing is an important advantage of organic polymer solar cells. Typical organic solar cells,
April 6, 2018
Fast! Hard X-Ray Flash Breaks Speed Record
Fast! Hard X-Ray Flash Breaks Speed Record
To capture the fast motions of electrons that govern many chemical processes, x-ray pulses in the attosecond range are required. Two methods have
March 26, 2018
Rewriting Resistance: Genetic Changes Increase Crops’ Biomass and Sugar Release
Rewriting Resistance: Genetic Changes Increase Crops’ Biomass and Sugar Release
Scientists at the BioEnergy Science Center used targeted engineering of plant cell wall polymers to genetically modify switchgrass and poplar,
March 26, 2018
Measuring the Glow of Plants from Below
Measuring the Glow of Plants from Below
Quantifying gross primary production (GPP) remains a major challenge in global carbon cycle research. Space-borne monitoring of solar-induced
March 26, 2018
Scientists Have Overestimated Meteor Sizes
Scientists Have Overestimated Meteor Sizes
Using the high brightness, short-pulse X-ray free-electron laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the team measured the speed at which
March 20, 2018
Small Poke—Huge Unexpected Response
Small Poke—Huge Unexpected Response
Weyl fermions are novel particles that were predicted to be seen in high-energy physics experiments but have not been observed. However, scientists
March 19, 2018
Scaling Plant Traits Stymied by Uncertainty in Measured Global Photosynthesis
Scaling Plant Traits Stymied by Uncertainty in Measured Global Photosynthesis
An international team of researchers investigated the impact of four trait-scaling hypotheses (plant functional type, nutrient limitation,
March 19, 2018
Turning Up the Heat on Remote Research Plots Without Electricity
Turning Up the Heat on Remote Research Plots Without Electricity
The zero power warming chamber requires no electrical power for fully autonomous operation. It uses a novel system of internal and external heat
March 19, 2018
Engineering Yeast Tolerance to a Promising Biomass Deconstruction Solvent
Engineering Yeast Tolerance to a Promising Biomass Deconstruction Solvent
Biomass deconstruction using the solvent GVL has several advantages over more traditional deconstruction methods; however, biological conversion to
March 19, 2018
Saplings Survive Droughts via Storage
Saplings Survive Droughts via Storage
To test the ability of different species of tropical tree saplings to avoid dehydration during severe droughts, scientists subjected potted
March 14, 2018
Predicting a New Phase of Superionic Ice
Predicting a New Phase of Superionic Ice
Possibly residing on ice-rich planets in our solar system and beyond, superionic ice is an exotic type of ice that exists at high temperature and
March 14, 2018
Unlocking On-Package Memory’s Effects on High-Performance Computing’s Scientific Kernels
Unlocking On-Package Memory’s Effects on High-Performance Computing’s Scientific Kernels
The researchers conducted a thorough experimental evaluation to discern how modern OPMs affected the performance and power efficiency of important
March 14, 2018
The Secret Lives of Cells
The Secret Lives of Cells
This work and the FoldME model provide a comprehensive, genome-scale understanding of how cells adapt under environmental stress, with statistical
March 14, 2018
Chasing Storms through Terabytes of Data
Chasing Storms through Terabytes of Data
Climate simulations create massive amounts of data (“big data”), requiring sophisticated pattern recognition. Simulations that today
March 14, 2018
Data Dive: How Microbes Handle Poor Nutrition in Tropical Soil
Data Dive: How Microbes Handle Poor Nutrition in Tropical Soil
Applying metagenomics and metaproteomics techniques along with high-performance computing at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, the team
March 9, 2018
Not Part of the Problem
It’s Not Part of the Problem, but Part of the Solution
Rationally designed metal-binding ligands, such as bis-triazine phenanthrolines, have shown great promise for separating actinides over other
February 28, 2018
Buckyball Marries Graphene
Buckyball Marries Graphene
Charge transfer at the interface between dissimilar materials is at the heart of almost all electronic technologies such as transistors and
February 28, 2018
Atomic Movies Explain Why Perovskite Solar Cells Are More Efficient
Atomic Movies Explain Why Perovskite Solar Cells Are More Efficient
Although perovskite solar cell efficiencies have climbed above the 20 percent mark, the fundamental mechanism responsible for these efficiencies is
February 28, 2018
Catalysts: High Performance Lies on the Edge
Catalysts: High Performance Lies on the Edge
In fuel cells, promotion of the reaction of oxygen and hydrogenat the cathode (the oxygen reduction reaction) currently requires the use of
February 28, 2018
The Shape of Things to Come for Quantum Materials?
The Shape of Things to Come for Quantum Materials?
Most 2-D crystals studied to date are a lattice of hexagons—for example, graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides, and black phosphorus
February 28, 2018
Modified Switchgrass Has No Negative Effect on Soils
Modified Switchgrass Has No Negative Effect on Soils
Scientists at the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) genetically modified switchgrass, a promising bioenergy crop, to produce less lignin resulting in
February 28, 2018
Discovery of a New Microbe that Produces Methane in Oxygenated Soils
Discovery of a New Microbe that Produces Methane in Oxygenated Soils
A group of scientists set out to sample microbes living in Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve, a wetland of Lake Erie, in an
February 27, 2018
CUORE Constrains Neutrino Properties
CUORE Constrains Neutrino Properties
Many questions about the fundamental nature of neutrinos remain open, including whether or not a neutrino is its own antiparticle. If so,
February 20, 2018
Sunlight Stimulates Microbial Respiration of Carbon in Surface Waters
Sunlight Stimulates Microbial Respiration of Carbon in Surface Waters
Photochemical processing of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) likely supplies about one-third of the carbon dioxide released from surface waters in
February 20, 2018
Nanocrystals Lock-In the Correct Phase
Nanocrystals Lock-In the Correct Phase
Hybrid organic-inorganic halide perovskites have emerged as an exciting new material for solar cells with the promise of high efficiency and