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 21, 2018
Flying Focus: Controlling Lasers over Long Distances
Flying Focus: Controlling Lasers over Long Distances
A novel focusing scheme, called a flying focus, uses a chromatic focusing system combined with chirped laser pulses to enable a small-diameter
August 13, 2018
Deep Learning Stretches Up to Scientific Supercomputers
Deep Learning Stretches Up to Scientific Supercomputers
Machine learning techniques hold potential for enabling scientists to extract valuable insights from large, complex data sets being produced by
August 9, 2018
Complex Networks Identify Genes for Biofuel Crops
Complex Networks Identify Genes for Biofuel Crops
Biological organisms are complex systems composed of functional networks of interacting molecules and macromolecules. Complex traits (phenotypes)
August 6, 2018
Quantum Computing of an Atomic Nucleus
Quantum Computing of an Atomic Nucleus
Quantum computers promise to solve “exponentially hard” problems, such as computing the structure of molecules, atoms, or atomic nuclei
July 18, 2018
Sugar-Coated Sheets Selectively Target Pathogens
Sugar-Coated Sheets Selectively Target Pathogens
In nature, multivalency, or the ability to bind to multiple sites at once, is important for selective binding and plays a significant role in a
July 18, 2018
Steering Light with Dynamic Lens-on-MEMS
Steering Light with Dynamic Lens-on-MEMS
An optical metasurface is a designer interface that packs together multiple materials carefully selected for their ability to control light. The
June 22, 2018
Predicting Magnetic Explosions: From Plasma Current Sheet Disruption to Fast Magnetic Reconnection
Predicting Magnetic Explosions: From Plasma Current Sheet Disruption to Fast Magnetic Reconnection
The computer simulations are fully corroborated by the theoretical predictions of a new phenomenological theory, putting the conclusions on a solid
June 20, 2018
Is Nature Exclusively Left Handed? Using Chilled Atoms to Find Out
Is Nature Exclusively Left Handed? Using Chilled Atoms to Find Out
Using the TRIUMF Neutral Atom Trap (TRINAT) facility, a collaboration from Texas A&M University, TRIUMF (Canada's national particle accelerator
June 19, 2018
As Future Batteries, Hybrid Supercapacitors Are Super-Charged
As Future Batteries, Hybrid Supercapacitors Are Super-Charged
Capacitors are electrical components that store energy and are widely used in electronic devices. Typical supercapacitors, named for their ability
June 19, 2018
Forever Young Catalyst Reduces Diesel Emissions
Forever Young Catalyst Reduces Diesel Emissions
Decreasing fuel consumption and emissions in diesel vehicles requires end-of-tailpipe technologies. To reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide
June 19, 2018
Sense Like a Shark: Saltwater-Submersible Films
Sense Like a Shark: Saltwater-Submersible Films
Designing materials for sensors that function at peak performance in relatively harsh environments, such as saltwater, is of interest to
June 18, 2018
A Bit of Quantum Logic—What Did the Atom Say to the Quantum Dot?
A Bit of Quantum Logic—What Did the Atom Say to the Quantum Dot?
Qubits form the basis of quantum computation. Building a practical quantum computer demands two important features: the maintenance of coherent
June 18, 2018
Can You See the  Invisible Glass?
Can You See the Invisible Glass?
Most optoelectronic components and consumer display devices require glass or plastic covers for protection against the environment. Optical
June 18, 2018
New Tech Uses Isomeric Beams to Study How and Where the Galaxy Makes One of Its Most Common Elements
New Tech Uses Isomeric Beams to Study How and Where the Galaxy Makes One of Its Most Common Elements
Satellites equipped with gamma-ray telescopes have proven to be powerful tools for finding evidence that elements are continually being produced in
June 1, 2018
Simulations of Magnetically Confined Plasmas Reveal a Self-Regulating Stabilizing Mechanism
Simulations of Magnetically Confined Plasmas Reveal a Self-Regulating Stabilizing Mechanism
The mechanism behind the magnetic flux pumping in the numerical simulations works as follows: if the central current profile is flat and if the
June 1, 2018
Seeing All the Colors of the Plasma Wind
Seeing All the Colors of the Plasma Wind
Coherence imaging measures red- and blue-shifted emission from ions radiating in the visible spectrum by combining an interferometer with a fast
June 1, 2018
Scientists Studying Nuclear Spin Make a Surprising Discovery
Scientists Studying Nuclear Spin Make a Surprising Discovery
When RHIC physicists first collided spin-aligned protons with much larger gold nuclei in 2015, they expected to see neutrons emerging along the
June 1, 2018
Renewable Solvents Derived From Lignin Lower Waste in Biofuel Production
Renewable Solvents Derived From Lignin Lower Waste in Biofuel Production
Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) represent a new class of renewable solvents derived from the conversion of lignin-derived compounds. Naturally found
June 1, 2018
Simulating Turbulent Bubbly Flows in Nuclear Reactors
Simulating Turbulent Bubbly Flows in Nuclear Reactors
Researchers are shedding light on boiling phenomena, bubble formation, and turbulent liquid/gas flows in nuclear reactor geometries. Using ALCF
May 30, 2018
How to Draw a Line Narrower Than a Cold Virus
How to Draw a Line Narrower Than a Cold Virus
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences rastered a highly focused helium-ion beam through a
May 30, 2018
Changing the Surroundings Improves Catalysis
Changing the Surroundings Improves Catalysis
What if carbon dioxide could be used as a feedstock for valuable chemicals? The molecule would be turned into a hydrocarbon building block. How? By
May 23, 2018
Powering Up With a Smart Window
Powering Up With a Smart Window
Smart windows were developed in the 1970s. They are used to reduce building energy consumption by minimizing unwanted solar heating. Typically,
May 22, 2018
Remnant Superconductivity From Invisible Stripes
Remnant Superconductivity From Invisible Stripes
In the 1980s, scientists discovered that copper-oxide compounds exhibit superconductivity at higher temperatures than traditional superconductors,
May 22, 2018
Cracking the Code of Superconductivity and Magnetism
Cracking the Code of Superconductivity and Magnetism
Strongly correlated electron systems have been studied for over five decades. Scientists predicted that at high temperatures, electrons in
May 16, 2018
How to Cope with Cases of Mistaken Identity: MINERvA’s Tale of Pions and Neutrinos
How to Cope with Cases of Mistaken Identity: MINERvA’s Tale of Pions and Neutrinos
Scientists are working to resolve a case of mistaken identity in the world of physics. They want to disambiguate two types of neutrinos.