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.

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
July 25, 2016
Modeling Sunlight Harvesting in Nanostructures
Modeling Sunlight Harvesting in Nanostructures
Scientists reviewed electronic structure calculations of light-driven processes in organic and semiconductor nanostructures. They also reviewed how
July 25, 2016
Super-ion-Building-Blocks-lrg
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Super-ion Building Blocks
Solar cell performance of hybrid perovskites has improved from under 4% efficiency in 2009 to over 20% efficiency today. However, perovskite
July 25, 2016
Superacid treatment of semiconductors
Coming to a Monitor near You: Notorious “Perfection”
The photoluminescence efficiency is characterized by the ratio of light emitted to the amount of energy deposited into the system. For advanced
July 25, 2016
Claire
Soft and Small Imaging Breakthrough
Soft matter encompasses a broad swath of materials, including liquids, polymers, gels, foam and—most importantly—biomolecules. At the
July 20, 2016
Invisible Elements
New Imaging Technique Sees Elements that Are “Invisible” to Common Methods
To address the damage caused by scanning transmission electron microscopy, or STEM, a team at the Molecular Foundry developed a new imaging
July 20, 2016
Flexible DNA
Revealing the Fluctuations of Flexible DNA in 3D
Working at the Molecular Foundry using a cutting-edge electron microscope technique coupled with a protein-staining process and sophisticated
July 20, 2016
Boron Boost
Boron Boosts Graphene’s Sensitivity to Noxious Gases
Theory predicts that graphene could be much better at detecting noxious gases if impurities, or dopants, were incorporated into its rigid framework
July 20, 2016
Quantum Computing
New Device Steps Us Towards Quantum Computing
While isolated electrons in a vacuum can store quantum information nearly perfectly, in real materials, the movements of surrounding atoms disturbs
July 20, 2016
CFN
Something Deep Within: Nanocrystals Grown in Nanowires
Semiconducting nanowires have a wide range of existing and potential applications in optoelectronic materials, from single-electron transistors and
July 1, 2016
Separation of  Electron’s Intrinsic Properties Revealed
Separation of Electron’s Intrinsic Properties Revealed
An electron in an atom has three intrinsic properties: charge, spin and orbital angular momentum; the latter characterizes how the electron orbits
July 1, 2016
New Molecule Predicted  that Could Make Safer Batteries
New Molecule Predicted that Could Make Safer Batteries
Powered by the state-of-the art computational tools and inspired by nature, researchers investigated the stability of ionic molecules for their
July 1, 2016
LED Lighting May Now Shine  Brighter
LED Lighting May Now Shine Brighter
The presence of defects in semiconductor materials, such as the missing gallium atoms in the image, were known to drastically decrease the light
June 30, 2016
Characterization of Poplar Budbreak Gene Enhances Understanding of Spring Regrowth
Characterization of Poplar Budbreak Gene Enhances Understanding of Spring Regrowth
A research team at Michigan Technological University and Oregon State University has identified and functionally characterized a gene called
June 30, 2016
New Methods for Investigating Wood Formation
New Methods for Investigating Wood Formation
The first method developed by the researchers, who were funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Genomic Science program, reveals systematic and
June 30, 2016
Elevated Carbon Dioxide Suppresses Dominant Plant Species in a Mixed-Grass Prairie
Elevated Carbon Dioxide Suppresses Dominant Plant Species in a Mixed-Grass Prairie
A large field experiment conducted in a northern U.S. Great Plains mixed-grass prairie was led by a research team from the University of Wyoming.
June 30, 2016
Loosen Up Cell Walls and Get the Sugars Out
Loosen Up Cell Walls and Get the Sugars Out
Researchers at the U.S. Department Energy’s (DOE) BioEnergy Science Center and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center examined samples from
June 30, 2016
Engineering E. coli for Biofuel, Bioproduct Production
Engineering E. coli for Biofuel, Bioproduct Production
As a vital element of metabolism, FAS is stringently regulated in bacteria. To bypass this regulation, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy
June 30, 2016
Closing the Loop: Ionic Liquids from Biomass Waste Could Pretreat Plants Destined for Biofuels
Closing the Loop: Ionic Liquids from Biomass Waste Could Pretreat Plants Destined for Biofuels
Researchers, led by those from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint BioEnergy Institute, sought to decrease the cost of ILs by synthesizing them
June 20, 2016
Stimulate Bacteria to Stop Chromium in Groundwater
Stimulate Bacteria to Stop Chromium in Groundwater
A team of scientists from Miami University and DOE’s EMSL used EMSL’s ultrasensitive microscopy and spectroscopy capabilities to
June 20, 2016
New Understanding of One of Nature’s Best Biocatalysts for Biofuels Production
New Understanding of One of Nature’s Best Biocatalysts for Biofuels Production
Lignocellulosic biomass is the largest source of organic matter on Earth, making it a promising renewable feedstock for producing biofuels and
June 20, 2016
Water Gunks Up Biofuels Production from Bio-Oils
Water Gunks Up Biofuels Production from Bio-Oils
Various catalysts can be used in the hydrodeoxygenation process, which removes oxygen-containing compounds or oxygenates, but the best catalysts
June 20, 2016
How Does Your Garden Grow? Study Identifies Instigators of Plant Growth
How Does Your Garden Grow? Study Identifies Instigators of Plant Growth
In this study, researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy BioEnergy Science Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory identified key enzymes