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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Shape-Shifting Plastic

by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
ORNL, Washington State researchers craft recipe for tunable shape-memory polymer.

Researchers Probe Chemistry, Topography and Mechanics with One Instrument

by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
The probe of an atomic force microscope (AFM) scans a surface to reveal details at a resolution 1,000 times greater than that of an optical microscope. That makes AFM the premier tool for analyzing physical features, but it cannot tell scientists anything about chemistry. For that they turn to the mass spectrometer (MS).

Team Demonstrates Desalination with Nanoporous Graphene Membrane

by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Less than 1 percent of Earth’s water is drinkable. Removing salt and other minerals from our biggest available source of water—seawater—may help satisfy a growing global population thirsty for fresh water for drinking, farming, transportation, heating, cooling and industry. But desalination is an energy-intensive process, which concerns those wanting to expand its application.

Graphene ‘Gateway’ Discovery Opens Possibilities for Improved Energy Technologies

by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Graphene, a strong, lightweight carbon honeycombed structure that’s only one atom thick, holds great promise for energy research and development.  Recently scientists with the Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures, and Transport (FIRST) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC), led by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, revealed graphene can serve as a proton-selective permeable membrane, providing a new basis for streamlined and more efficient energy technologies such as improved fuel cells.

Researchers Tune Friction in Ionic Solids at the Nanoscale

by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Friction impacts motion, hence the need to control friction forces. Currently, this is accomplished by mechanistic means or lubrication, but experiments conducted by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uncovered a way of controlling friction on ionic surfaces at the nanoscale using electrical stimulation and ambient water vapor.

"Seeing" Hydrogen Atoms to Unveil Enzyme Catalysts

by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Enzymes are catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in living organisms and control many cellular biological processes by converting a molecule, or substrate, into a product used by the cell. For scientists, understanding details of how enzymes work is essential to the discovery of drugs to cure diseases and treat disorders.