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.

October 23, 2017
Tree Mortality and Droughts: A Global Perspective
Tree Mortality and Droughts: A Global Perspective
About half of carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by plants, but this service is threatened by the increasing frequency of hot droughts. One of
October 23, 2017
Plenty of Room at the Top: Breaking through the Sunlight-to-Electricity Conversion Limit
Plenty of Room at the Top: Breaking through the Sunlight-to-Electricity Conversion Limit
Hybrid organic-inorganic lead halide perovskites (HOIP) are promising new materials for use in low-cost solar cells. HOIPs have already been
October 23, 2017
Imperfections Show “Swimming”  Particles the Way to Self-Healing and Shape-Changing
Imperfections Show “Swimming” Particles the Way to Self-Healing and Shape-Changing
Bird flocks, fish schools and self-propelling fluid mixtures that cooperatively organize and move in response to internal or external cues are all
October 23, 2017
Bending the Laws of Thermodynamics for Enhanced Material Design
Bending the Laws of Thermodynamics for Enhanced Material Design
Structure and composition control the properties of materials. For semiconductors, the historically successful approach for such control has been
October 19, 2017
Designer Binders Protect Silicon Battery Electrodes
Designer Binders Protect Silicon Battery Electrodes
Lithium-ion batteries with silicon anodes have a theoretical capacity 10 times higher than the most commonly used anodes. However, silicon
October 19, 2017
Nanoribbons Enable “On–Off” Switch for Graphene
Nanoribbons Enable “On–Off” Switch for Graphene
A new way to grow narrow ribbons of graphene, a lightweight and strong structure made of a layer — just a single atom thick — of carbon
October 19, 2017
On-Demand 3-D Printing of Tiny Magic Wands
On-Demand 3-D Printing of Tiny Magic Wands
Structures on the scale of nanometers—much smaller than wavelengths of light—may improve transmission of plasmons, or small waves of
October 19, 2017
Watching Catalysts Evolve in 3-D
Watching Catalysts Evolve in 3-D
Because bimetallic catalysts are widely employed in batteries and fuel cells, a full understanding of their oxidation (electron loss) mechanisms is
October 19, 2017
Hybrid Material Glows Like Jellyfish
Hybrid Material Glows Like Jellyfish
Improving the efficiency of nanoscale energy transfer in quantum dot or quantum rod based systems requires the ability to fine tune variables
October 18, 2017
Tiny Tornados at the Dawn of the Universe
Tiny Tornados at the Dawn of the Universe
Up until now, the big story in characterizing the quark-gluon plasma is that it’s a hot fluid that expands explosively and flows easily. But
October 18, 2017
Heavy Quarks Probe the Early Universe
Heavy Quarks Probe the Early Universe
Quarks are the fundamental building blocks of matter and have family members with different masses. The up and down quarks, which make up neutrons
October 8, 2017
Discovering the Genetic Timekeepers in Bioenergy Crops
Discovering the Genetic Timekeepers in Bioenergy Crops
The timing of flowering is a key trait for biomass yield. A requirement for vernalization, the process by which prolonged cold exposure provides
October 8, 2017
New Technology Illuminates Microbial Dark Matter
New Technology Illuminates Microbial Dark Matter
There are more than 50,000 microbial genome sequences in the DOE JGI’s Integrated Microbial Genomes publicly accessible database, and many of
October 8, 2017
Tiny Green Algae Reveal Large Genomic Variation
Tiny Green Algae Reveal Large Genomic Variation
Picophytoplankton such as Ostreococcus are so small they are invisible to the naked eye. Despite their size, their global abundance means
October 8, 2017
A Complex Little Alga that Lives by the Sea
A Complex Little Alga that Lives by the Sea
The intertidal zone is the area between land and sea that is sometimes concealed by high tide or revealed by low tide. As this ecosystem is in
October 8, 2017
Understanding the Rice Genome for Bioenergy Research
Understanding the Rice Genome for Bioenergy Research
For more than half of the world’s population, rice is the primary staple crop. As a grass, it is a close relative of the candidate bioenergy
October 6, 2017
Precise Radioactivity Measurements: A Controversy Settled
Precise Radioactivity Measurements: A Controversy Settled
The probability of electron emission relative to that of gamma-ray emission is called the internal conversion coefficient (ICC). The new ICC
October 6, 2017
OLYMPUS Experiment Sheds Light on Inner Workings of Protons
OLYMPUS Experiment Sheds Light on Inner Workings of Protons
The OLYMPUS experiment was conceived at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2007 and carried out by an international collaboration
October 6, 2017
Explorations of the Universal Glue
Explorations of the Universal Glue
The first experimental result has been published from the newly upgraded Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF). The 12-GeV CEBAF
October 2, 2017
Bringing  Visual “Magic” to Light
Bringing Visual “Magic” to Light
Scientists from mixed reality technology company Magic Leap Inc., working with researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley
October 2, 2017
Speeding Materials Discovery Puts Solar Fuels on the Fast Track to Commercial Viability
Speeding Materials Discovery Puts Solar Fuels on the Fast Track to Commercial Viability
Pure hydrogen is highly flammable, making it an ideal fuel. If you could find a way to extract that hydrogen from water using sunlight, then, you
October 2, 2017
Water in One Dimension
Water in One Dimension
While scientists have known that molecules confined within single-walled nanotubes behave differently than their bulk counterparts, it has
October 2, 2017
Adding Stress Boosts Performance, Stability for Fuel Cells
Adding Stress Boosts Performance, Stability for Fuel Cells
Electric vehicles powered by proton exchange membrane fuel cells, which use hydrogen gas as fuel and produce water as exhaust, have entered
October 2, 2017
Drawing at the One-Nanometer Length Scale
Drawing at the One-Nanometer Length Scale
The ability to pattern materials at ever-smaller sizes — using electron-beam lithography, in which an electron-sensitive material is exposed
October 2, 2017
Blurring the Line  between Animate and Inanimate: “Active” Matter Drives Self-Propelled Fluid
Blurring the Line between Animate and Inanimate: “Active” Matter Drives Self-Propelled Fluid
Many technologies require expensive external energy to move fluids. In contrast, cells and other microscopic biological materials move fluids using