ORNL, partners launch first experiments using new facility to make cosmic isotopes on Earth

Two decades in the making, a new flagship facility for nuclear physics opened on May 2, and scientists from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have a hand in 10 of its first 34 experiments. ORNL researchers and their partners at other national laboratories and universities launched the first experiment on May 11.

Microscopy — Beyond Moore’s Law

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University are using advanced microscopy to nanoengineer promising materials for computing and electronics in a beyond-Moore era.

Historically, computers have become faster and more powerful by Moore’s Law, an observation that technology advances as transistor sizes shrink. Today’s nanometer-scale transistors are reaching practical limits and new approaches are needed to scale existing technology.

Materials — Tailor-made molecules

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are using state-of-the-art methods to shed light on chemical separations needed to recover rare-earth elements and secure critical materials for clean energy technologies.

Polymers — Better battery electrolytes

New polymer materials under development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory could enable safer, more stable batteries needed for electric vehicles and grid energy storage.

Polymers are promising electrolytes for solid-state lithium batteries for their low cost, flexibility and processability, but performance needs to be improved.

“Typically, you can increase flexibility to enhance conductivity, but you sacrifice strength. Our approach bypasses this trade-off by adding flexibility selectively in ion-conducting blocks,” said ORNL’s Guang Yang.

Climate — Improving model accuracy

study led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers promises to help sharpen accuracy for climate-change models and enable more reliable predictions of extreme weather.