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.

January 23, 2017
Supercomputers for Quantum Computers
One of the leading methods for creating qubits involves exploiting specific structural atomic defects in diamonds. Using diamonds is both
January 23, 2017
Bacteria’s Secret Weapon
Microbes such as fungi and bacteria produce enzymes, called glycoside hydrolases, to acquire nutrients through the degradation of cellulose&mdash
January 23, 2017
Methylmercury Sleuths Armed with New Spotlight
Two genes, hgcA and hgcB, are essential for microbial mercury methylation. Detecting and estimating their abundance in microbes
January 23, 2017
A New World Discovered Underground
The subterranean world hosts up to one fifth of all biomass, including microbial communities that drive transformations central to Earth’s
January 23, 2017
Extending the Life of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are common in portable electronics and in today’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. One of the most
January 9, 2017
Seashell Formation Provides Understanding of Historic Oceanographic Conditions
Foraminifera are a group of marine protozoans with a fossil record that extends back to the earliest Cambrian period, offering one of the most
January 9, 2017
Light Strikes Gold
Gold is highly stable and has other attractive features suitable for various industrial and medical applications, but controlling the size and
January 9, 2017
How Moisture Affects the Way Soil Microbes Breathe
Moisture conditions in soil affect the respiration rate of heterotrophic microbes. A heterotrophic organism obtains its food and energy by taking
January 1, 2017
Rare Earth Recycling
Rare earth elements are crucial materials in many consumer products, such as electronics and automobiles. These elements currently have a
January 1, 2017
Ion–Electron Collisions Can Heal Material Defects
Typically, exposure of a material to energetic particles, such as ions or neutrons, creates many defects that result in damage to the structure.
December 14, 2016
Surrounded by Water
Scientists understand the macroscopic behavior of the interaction between water and acid, yet the microscopic behavior and the specific structures
December 14, 2016
New Properties Discovered in Atom-Wide Troughs
In the world of semiconductors, impurities and defects can be a good thing. They modify the properties of materials such as silicon, and scientists
December 14, 2016
Spinning the (X-ray) Light Fantastic
At the LCLS, researchers have demonstrated the generation of X-ray pulses with polarization control at photon energies from 280 eV to 1200 eV, by
December 14, 2016
Translating Basic Biological Research to Cancer Drug Discovery
First-generation BRAF inhibitors vemurafenib (PLX4032) and dabrafenib have demonstrated clinical efficacy in treating metastatic melanoma harboring
December 14, 2016
Not Your Typical “Cut Glass Crystal”
Using a focused laser beam, researchers demonstrated for the first time that single crystals could be written into a solid glass matrix as dots,
December 14, 2016
How to Convince Molecules to Self-Assemble into Precise Hollow Nanotubes
The self-assembly of complex molecules containing water-attracting (hydrophilic) and water-repelling (hydrophobic) segments in water is important
December 13, 2016
Polarized Partners: Spinning Electrons Yield Spinning Positrons
Researchers use accelerators to coax the electron into performing a wide range of tricks to enable medical tests and treatments, improve product
December 13, 2016
Helium: When You Must be Sure it’s Ultra-Pure
Answering difficult scientific questions about the nature of the universe requires isotopically purified helium (4He). The isotope 3
December 6, 2016
Shattering Protons in High-Energy Collisions Confirms Higgs Boson Production
The 2012 discovery of a Higgs boson by two of the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC’s) experiments—ATLAS (for ‎A Toroidal LHC
December 5, 2016
New Limits in the Search for Sterile Neutrinos
The detection of neutrino oscillations, a discovery that garnered the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, is a proof that neutrinos have mass –
November 30, 2016
Giving Friction the Slip with New Carbon Films
Tribology—the study of friction, wear, and lubrication—is critical to the efficiency and durability of engines and other moving metal
November 30, 2016
How to 3D Print on the Nanoscale
Precision control of nanometer scale 3D fabrication has been a longstanding research goal. Now, researchers have developed a 3D simulation that
November 30, 2016
Lining up for New High-Density Memory Devices
Scientists grew a vertically aligned nanocomposites lattice matched on a SrTiO3 (STO) substrate using laser deposition. These micrometer-thick
November 30, 2016
DNA + Nanoparticles = Self-Assembled “Diamond”
For the first time, scientists devised ordered arrays (superlattices) of nanoparticles, which organize in the same way that carbon atoms do within
November 29, 2016
Make No Assumptions in Building a Better Battery
Zinc-manganese oxide rechargeable batteries have been studied for more than 20 years, but the batteries usually stop working after a limited number