- Number 402 |
- December 2, 2013
James Bond used a laser beam to cut through windows and walls, but scientists with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) at DOE's Idaho National Laboratory are using a new laser that can melt metal.
Scientists are evaluating a system called Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS), which uses a high-power laser to discern the contents of used nuclear fuel.
LIBS could provide real-time analysis of used nuclear fuel during recycling, a capability useful for both industry and government agencies. Knowing the element ratios throughout the recycling procedure can also prevent plutonium diversion for illicit use.
Sometimes big change comes from small beginnings. That’s especially true in the research of Anatoly Frenkel, a professor of physics at Yeshiva University, who is working with materials scientist Eric Stach and others at DOE's Brookhaven Lab to reinvent the way we use and produce energy by unlocking the potential of nanoparticles. Their aim is to develop a new “micro-reactor” to study how nanoparticles behave in catalysts—the “kick-starters” of chemical reactions that convert fuels to useable forms of energy and transform raw materials to industrial products.
The new micro-reactor will employ multiple techniques including microscopy, spectroscopy, and diffraction at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), the soon-to-be-completed NSLS-II, and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) to examine different properties of catalysts simultaneously under operating conditions.
Neutrinos are a great tool to learn more about the subatomic structure of matter and the nature of our universe. Results from the MiniBooNE experiment at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory now help scientists better understand the nuclear structure of protons and neutrons, explore the nature of neutrino oscillations and search for dark matter.
Neutrinos interact with other building blocks of matter only via the weak force, mediated by two types of particles: the charged W boson and the electrically neutral Z boson. Each type of boson weighs almost 100 times more than a proton, and the origin of their masses is closely connected to the existence of the famous Higgs boson.
To determine if the common assumption – changes in specific messenger RNA (mRNA) levels are always accompanied by commensurate changes in the encoded proteins – is true, scientists at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory examined Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 grown under steady state conditions at either 20% or 8.5% oxygen. Using a combination of quantitative proteomics and a next-generation sequencing technology, they generated high-confidence data on more than 1000 mRNA and protein pairs. Surprisingly, they found that changes in the expression of proteins in response to altered oxygen levels were caused primarily by differences in the translational efficiency of the mRNAs rather than changes in the mRNA levels.
For example, when oxygen levels were lowered, 28% of the detected proteins showed at least a twofold change in expression. Altered transcription levels appeared responsible for 26% of the protein changes, altered translational efficiency appeared responsible for 46%, and a combination of both were responsible for the remaining 28%.