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 7, 2016
Finding a Needle in a Crystalline Haystack
Conventional transmission electron microscopy and metallography techniques survey a limited amount of material in samples. Consequently, these
June 6, 2016
Bacteria Hairs Make Excellent Electrical Wires
Direct measurement of multiple physical properties of Geobacter sulfurreducens pili have demonstrated that they possess metallic-like
June 6, 2016
Confirmed: Heavy Barium Nuclei Prefer a Pear Shape
For decades, nuclear theorists have predicted that the neutron-rich barium isotopes near mass number 144 are centered in one of only two or three
June 6, 2016
New High-Capability Solid-State Electron Microscope Detector Enables Novel Studies of Materials
At Cornell University, we developed and tested a new detector for electron microscopes that enables quantitative measurements of electric and
June 6, 2016
Zooming in on Gluons' Contribution to Proton Spin
RHIC physicists collide two beams of protons with their spins aligned in the same direction, and then “antialigned.” The PHENIX
June 6, 2016
Understanding and Predicting Self-Assembly
Scientists aspire to build nanostructures that mimic the complexity and function of nature’s proteins, but are made of durable and synthetic
May 20, 2016
Hotter All The Way: Lithium Wall Contains Plasma Without Cooling It
In large tokamaks with tungsten walls, the edge plasma must be cooled to low temperatures before it contacts the wall. This reduces sputtering of
May 20, 2016
Supercomputers Predict New Turbulent Interactions in Fusion Plasmas
A collaboration of researchers from MIT, University of California at San Diego, and General Atomics have performed the first set of realistic
May 17, 2016
DOE Isotope Program Provides Target Material for the Discovery of Superheavy Elements
New elements and nuclei establishing the existence of the Island of Stability and expanding the Periodic Table of Elements were produced in hot
May 2, 2016
Creating a Better Way to Find Out “When”
A team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Northwestern University, and the University of Hamburg have demonstrated a
April 30, 2016
Changing Colors for Built-in Sunblock
The development of artificial photosynthetic systems for making chemical fuels from solar energy is a long-term research objective that spans many
April 30, 2016
Capturing Molecular Motion with Relativistic Electrons
An important step in understanding chemical reactivity is determining how molecular structure changes during a reaction. The ability to image
April 30, 2016
New Insight on a Familiar Glow
Green fluorescent protein (GFP) was first collected from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria off the western coast of North America and has
April 30, 2016
Hollow and Filled with Potential
Improving the efficiency of catalysts could enhance many chemical reactions used in industry and research laboratories. To improve efficiency,
April 30, 2016
Small and Powerful: Pushing the Boundaries of Nano-Magnets
Van Vleck’s Nobel-prize winning explanation of the quantum origin of magnetism dates back to 1937. However it was not until 1999 that
March 31, 2016
Rare Meets Common: Reacting Protactinium with Ubiquitous Water Explains an Elemental Oddity
Scientists found that gas-phase oxo-exchange of the positively charged protactinium ion, PaO2+, with water was substantially
March 31, 2016
Artificial Moth Eyes Enhance Silicon Solar Cells
Using block copolymer self-assembly, CFN scientists have mimicked the texture found on the highly antireflective surfaces of the compound eyes of
March 31, 2016
Silver Ants Stay Cool in the Saharan Heat
Saharan silver ants (Cataglyphis bombycina) forage in the Saharan desert in the full midday sun when surface temperatures reach up to 70
March 31, 2016
Using Nanotubes to Create Single Photons for Quantum Communication
Single photon generation requires an isolated, quantum mechanical, two-level system that can emit only one photon in one excitation-emission cycle.
March 31, 2016
Janus-like Nanoparticle Membranes
Membranes made from nanoparticles offer versatility because both the inorganic core and the organic ligand shell composition can be tuned
March 31, 2016
New Microwave Synthesis Technique Produces More - Affordable Hydrogen
The blueprint for the “hydrogen (H2) economy” is to convert energy from renewable sources, such as sunlight or wind, and
March 31, 2016
Problem Turned Into Performance for Solar Cells
Organometallic halide perovskites are under development as solution-processed solar cells that are less costly and more flexible than silicon.
March 9, 2016
Nuclear Physics Accelerator Technology Yields New Process for Producing Boron-Nitride Nanotubes
In 1994, researchers affiliated with DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab theorized that it should be possible to produce nanotubes from a white
February 29, 2016
What Is the Size of the Atomic Nucleus?
The “neutron skin” of the nucleus of a calcium-48 atom is much thinner than thought. An international team of nuclear physicists led by
February 29, 2016
Don’t Touch: How Scientists Study the Reactions inside Stars
Measurements of ANCs over the past decade have provided new information about rates of many stellar reactions that involve capturing a proton by