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.

June 14, 2017
Mountaintop Plants and Soils to Become Out of Sync
Despite interest in how climate warming affects ecological processes, remarkably little is known about whether similar types of ecosystems respond
June 13, 2017
New Perspectives into Arctic Cloud Phases
Many Arctic clouds are mixed phase. Correctly predicting the partitioning of mass and transitions between these two phases is vital for
June 13, 2017
If a Tree Falls in the Amazon
Gaps or broken trees, known as windthrows, are a common form of tree mortality in Amazonia. Windthrows affect forest dynamics and carbon storage,
June 13, 2017
Turning Waste into Fuels, Microbial Style
Almost all life on Earth relies directly or indirectly on the conversion of inorganic compounds in the environment into organic compounds that
June 7, 2017
Nothing Boring about the Thinnest Boron Ever
Boron is widely known as an element with unique chemistry, often in regards to the octet rule. However, boron is also of great interest to many
June 7, 2017
One Step Closer to Practical Fast Charging Batteries
New battery electrodes based on nanostructured molybdenum disulfide combine the ability to charge in seconds with high capacity and long cycle life
June 7, 2017
Electrifying Magnetism
It is rare to find materials that operate at room temperature and display strong “multiferroic coupling” — a property that allows
June 7, 2017
Discovering the Ultimate Limit of Heat Transport: Measurements across a Single-Atom Junction
Scientists at the University of Michigan overcame several long-standing technical challenges by developing custom-nanofabricated calorimeters (an
June 7, 2017
Glass for Solar Cells and Phone Screens Resists Light Degradation
A critical property of any material used in solar cells, cell phones, or other electronics that are exposed to sunlight is photostability, a
June 7, 2017
Jagged Platinum Nanowires Double the Record for Reaction Critical to Fuel Cell Performance
Platinum is an essential element for catalyzing the oxygen reduction reaction critical for fuel cell operations, a technology that generates
June 7, 2017
Amazing Spintronics!
An important obstacle to realizing spintronics is the amplification of small spin signals. In conventional electronics, amplification of an
June 1, 2017
Shining Light on Antimatter
The big bang should have yielded equal amounts of matter and antimatter, yet observations suggest that there is very little antimatter in the
June 1, 2017
Understanding Tungsten “Fuzz”
Under helium plasma exposure in tokamak-relevant conditions, nanotendril “fuzz” will grow on tungsten plasma-facing components in a
June 1, 2017
An X-Ray Laser’s New Corrective “Eyeglasses”
Various optical elements are routinely used in modern synchrotron sources and X-ray free-electron lasers to confine the X-ray beam and focus it
May 31, 2017
Green Light for Cool Electrons
Keeping ion beams cool keeps the particles tightly packed, so more ions collide to generate data. RHIC physicists will use relatively cool
May 31, 2017
When Is a Nucleus Not a Nucleus?
To make 5H, the researchers used a reaction that removed a single proton from energetic 6He nuclei produced by the National
May 30, 2017
Scientists See Electron Bottleneck in Simulated Battery
An international team of scientists working at the Molecular Foundry has revealed how interactions between electrons and ions can slow down the
May 30, 2017
Seeing Below the Surface of Solar Cells
Next-generation solar cells made of super-thin films of semiconducting material hold promise because they’re relatively inexpensive and
May 30, 2017
Nearly Ideal Performing Regions in Perovskite Films Could Boost Solar Cells
A multidisciplinary team discovered a possible secret to dramatically boosting the efficiency of methylammonium lead iodide perovskite solar cells
May 30, 2017
X-rays: More Colorful and More Powerful
A “dechirper” system designed by SLAC and RadiaBeam has been recently installed at the Linac Coherent Light Source to control the
May 30, 2017
Squeezing Molecules Guides Chemistry
Extreme pressure can determine the chemical evolution of inorganic and organic carbon-based molecules. Neutron scattering experiments combined with
May 30, 2017
A Catalystic Shock
Researchers arranged common materials in a catalyst containing nano-spikes of carbon and nitrogen embedded with copper nanoparticles. When this
May 30, 2017
Reusable Sponge for Mitigating Oil Spills
The Exxon Valdez, Deepwater Horizon, and other events highlight the devastating effects of uncontrolled releases of petroleum into oceans and other
May 30, 2017
Well-Aligned and Densely Packed
Inside an individual carbon nanotube, electrons, phonons and excitons can travel in only one dimension. This property enables the tube to have
May 26, 2017
Changing the Nature of Optics in One Step
Scientists demonstrated a self-assembly approach to fabricating nanoscale metamaterials that are built on vertically aligned conducting metallic