Science Highlights

Researchers are exploring the use of ionic liquids as a biomass pretreatment.06.30.16Science Highlight

Closing the Loop: Ionic Liquids from Biomass Waste Could Pretreat Plants Destined for Biofuels

Recycling waste from biofuel production could lower cost for future biorefineries. Read More »

A jar of bio-oil, an alternate “crude oil” for transportation fuels currently made from petroleum, is created by first rapidly heating plant matter in a process called pyrolysis.06.20.16Science Highlight

Water Gunks Up Biofuels Production from Bio-Oils

New findings will help extend the lifetime of catalysts used to process bio-oils in liquid systems. Read More »

A snapshot from a large quantum molecular dynamics simulation of the production of hydrogen molecules (green) from an aluminum-lithium alloy nanoparticle containing 16,661 atoms (represented by the silver contour of charge density) and dissolved charged lithium atoms (red).06.09.16Science Highlight

Towards Eco-friendly Industrial-Scale Hydrogen Production

Atomic-scale simulations predict how to use nanoparticles to increase hydrogen production. Read More »

Absorption of sunlight in silicon solar cells results in losses due to heat from “hot” photo-excited electrons.06.09.16Science Highlight

Taking on the Heat in Solar Cells: New Calculations Show Atomic Vibrations Hurt Efficiency

Theoretical modeling of energy loss in solar cells may lead to more efficient materials to convert sunlight to electricity. Read More »

The crystallized oxide (lighter regions) spelling the word “small” was “printed” on a non-crystallized layer (darker gray) by a well-controlled beam in an electron microscope.06.07.16Science Highlight

Atomic Sculpting with a Microscope

A new tool allows atomic 3D printing. Read More »

Confined in droplets, exotic phases of liquid crystals have been simulated (left) and experimentally observed (right).06.07.16Science Highlight

Tiny Droplets… Lead to Exotic Properties

Chameleon-like color changes are observed by confining liquid crystals within small drops. Read More »

Snakes on a plane: This atomic-resolution simulation of a peptoid nanosheet reveals a snake-like structure never seen before. The nanosheet’s layers include a water-repelling core (yellow), peptoid backbones (white), and charged sidechains (magenta and cyan). The right corner of the nanosheet’s top layer has been “removed” to show how the backbone’s alternating rotational states give the backbones a snake-like appearance (red and blue ribbons). Surrounding water molecules are red and white.06.06.16Science Highlight

Understanding and Predicting Self-Assembly

Newly discovered “design rule” brings nature-inspired nanostructures one step closer. Read More »

A high-resolution photo shows the inside of the Alcator C-Mod tokamak with a representative cross-section of a fusion plasma superimposed.05.20.16Science Highlight

Supercomputers Predict New Turbulent Interactions in Fusion Plasmas

Cutting-edge simulations provide an explanation for a mystery over half a century old. Read More »

Selective etching of palladium (blue) from palladium-platinum core-shell nanoparticles (left) yields hollow platinum (grey) nanocages with high activity for the oxygen reduction reaction.04.30.16Science Highlight

Hollow and Filled with Potential

Hollow shape-selected platinum nanocages represent a new class of highly active catalysts. Read More »

The orange carotenoid protein of cyanobacteria binds a single carotenoid pigment molecule that may dissipate excess light energy when it moves within the protein.04.30.16Science Highlight

Changing Colors for Built-in Sunblock

Molecular movements triggered by light redirect the flow of energy through photosynthetic cells to protect them from sun damage. Read More »

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