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.

August 7, 2016
Finding Where the Missing Proton Goes in Water
Finding Where the Missing Proton Goes in Water
Electrically charged molecules or atoms, called ions, are the key species formed when salts (such as NaCl or table salt) or acids (such as acetic
August 7, 2016
Unmasking the Molecule
Unmasking the Molecule
The arrangement of atoms and bonds in a molecule influences its physical and chemical properties. With this in mind, a number of techniques have
August 7, 2016
The Controlling Light
The Controlling Light
Researchers at JILA, a joint research institute of the University of Colorado and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, have
August 5, 2016
New X-Ray Matter Interaction Observed at Ultra-High Intensity
New X-Ray Matter Interaction Observed at Ultra-High Intensity
The basis for atomic‐scale structure determination involves the scattering of single x‐ray photons, one at a time, from the electrons that make up
August 5, 2016
Photoelectrodes Revealed!
Photoelectrochemical cells use semiconductor photoelectrodes to convert energy directly from sunlight into storable chemical fuels. Semiconductor
August 5, 2016
Inducing Separation
Inducing Separation
Developing methods and technology to harness sunlight for energy is one of the most important tasks of researchers at the forefront of the energy
August 4, 2016
Nature-Inspired Nanotubes that Assemble Themselves, with Precision
Nature-Inspired Nanotubes that Assemble Themselves, with Precision
Scientists discovered a family of nature-inspired polymers that, when placed in water, spontaneously assemble into crystalline nanotubes. The
August 4, 2016
Making a One-Way Street for Electricity
Making a One-Way Street for Electricity
More than forty years after the original proposal of organic molecular diodes, the electrical performance of such devices remains several orders of
August 2, 2016
Estimating Global Energy Use for Water-Related Processes
Despite substantial efforts to quantify the interdependence of the water and energy sectors, global requirements of energy for water transport,
July 29, 2016
Demonstrating Strong Electric Fields in Liquid Helium for Tests of Matter-Antimatter Symmetry
Demonstrating Strong Electric Fields in Liquid Helium for Tests of Matter-Antimatter Symmetry
As part of the research and development effort for the neutron EDM experiment, which is led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a multi-institutional
July 29, 2016
Jet Tomography of Hot Matter
Jet Tomography of Hot Matter
Heavy nuclei are accelerated to nearly the speed of light and collide with each other to create a new state of matter called QGP that only existed
July 29, 2016
Estimating Rainfall
New Radars for Estimating Rainfall Installed at ARM Sites
High-quality rainfall accumulation maps are important variables used to provide initial conditions for numerical model simulations and to evaluate
July 29, 2016
Modeling Water Runoff
Modeling Choices and the Effects of Water Runoff on Plant Productivity
A team of scientists, led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is seeking to learn how soil moisture influences climate. The investigators
July 29, 2016
Graber New Technique
New Technique Shows Protein Changes in Intact Microbial Communities
In a study of PTM-based regulation, a collaborative team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Oak Ridge National
July 28, 2016
Microbial Activity in the Subsurface Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Fluxes
While carbon dioxide fluxes from microbial activity within shallow soils (< 1-m (3 ft) depth) are well studied, relatively little is known about
July 27, 2016
Climate Study Finds Human Fingerprint in Northern Hemisphere
Significant northern-extratropical latitude (30 to 75 degrees north) land greening has been documented through satellite observations during the
July 26, 2016
A New Family Member for 2D Nanomaterials
A New Family Member for 2D Nanomaterials
Scientists created a new form of hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites in atomically thin 2D sheets. These hybrid perovskites have shown promise as
July 26, 2016
Battery with a Built-in Bouncer
Only the Good Shall Pass: Battery with a Built-in Bouncer
The membrane separators in-between the electrodes of a redox-flow battery must allow the working ion to shuttle between the electrodes while
July 26, 2016
More Efficient Conversion of Water to Hydrogen Fuels
More Efficient Conversion of Water to Hydrogen Fuels
Biology assembles and uses discrete spaces such as organelles and protein-based compartments to localize and exquisitely control chemical processes
July 26, 2016
“Electrolyte Balloons” Make Rechargeable Batteries Safer
“Electrolyte Balloons” Make Rechargeable Batteries Safer
A common failure mechanism in lithium-metal batteries is the growth of tree-like lithium metal dendrites, resulting in short-circuiting. The growth
July 26, 2016
Graphene Rewrites the Rules of Engagement
Graphene Rewrites the Rules of Engagement
Silicon has been successful because it is an electronically tunable semiconductor material that can be used in electronic devices. Graphene has
July 26, 2016
Novel Porous Materials
Novel Porous Materials Made from Flexible “Spaghetti-like” Molecules
It was believed that the scaffolding nature of MOFs could only be prepared from rigid starting materials. The preparation of such porous materials
July 26, 2016
Getting Light in Shape with Metamaterials
Getting Light in Shape with Metamaterials
This new concept involves arrays of optical nano-cavities called metamaterials, which are added to thin-layered semiconductors (heterostructures)
July 26, 2016
Atomic Blimp Stretches a Crystal
Atomic Blimp Stretches a Crystal
Scientists believed that changing only one dimension of the crystal lattice structure was impossible. Now researchers led by scientists from Oak
July 26, 2016
Next-Generation Electric Switches
Moving Beyond Semiconductors for Next-Generation Electric Switches
In the quantum mechanical phenomenon called resonant tunneling, electrons that are in a well-defined quantum well (or quantum state) can move to an