Teresa Mathews Teresa Mathews combats historical contamination with modern science

She is a biologist who has studied coastal contamination in New York and radioactive contamination in France. Teresa Mathews, a researcher at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, now finds herself monitoring mercury contamination in creeks that run through DOE's Oak Ridge Reservation.

Mercury discharged into streams that ran through the federal site came mostly as a result of Cold War-era nuclear weapons production and research. Fast-forward to today, and researchers like Mathews are monitoring levels of mercury contamination in an attempt to reduce the effects of this toxic metal on the environment, including fish and humans.

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The NDCX-II acceleratorA three-lab "virtual laboratory" to study heavy-ion fusion

DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is home to the second-generation Neutralized Drift Compression Experiment, NDCX-II, designed and built by the Heavy Ion Fusion Science Virtual National Laboratory (HIFS VNL), whose member institutions also include DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

NDCX-II’s aim is to deliver enough concentrated power to boost a metal target into the regime of so-called warm dense matter. “Warm” describes temperatures in the thousands of degrees Kelvin as found in the cores of giant planets like Jupiter and other astrophysical objects, but warm dense matter is also a transient state on the path to self-sustaining nuclear fusion, measured in millions of kelvins and decidedly hot.

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See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 368  |
  • July 30, 2012
  • Ionic liquid improves speed and efficiency of hydrogen-producing catalyst

    Combined with an acidic ionic liquid, this catalyst can make hydrogen gas fast and efficiently. The design of a nature-inspired material that can make energy-storing hydrogen gas has gone holistic. Usually, tweaking the design of this particular catalyst—a work in progress for cheaper, better fuel cells—results in either faster or more energy-efficient production but not both. Now, researchers at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have taken a holistic approach that allows the creation of hydrogen faster without a loss in efficiency.

    This new approach requires the entire system—the hydrogen-producing catalyst and the liquid environment in which it works—to overcome the speed-efficiency tradeoff. The results, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide insights into making better materials for energy production.

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  • Field-proven meter rapidly determines carbon dioxide levels in groundwater

    Water sample being injected into the tested carbonation meter using a 140-mL syringe and an in-line 0.45-μm filter. DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and West Virginia University collaborators discovered that a standard beverage industry carbonation meter used with a modified field protocol accurately determined the amount of CO2 dissolved in natural springs and mine waters within the range of 0.2 - 35 millimole (a mole is a measurement for chemicals, thus a millimole is one thousandth of a mole) of CO2. The meter, which measures dissolved CO2 based on temperature and pressure changes determined during sample volume expansion, offers a new way to measure dissolved CO2 rapidly and reproducibly in a wide range of natural waters, which is critical when investigating possible leakage from carbon sequestration sites.

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  • Artificial pores mimic key features of natural pores

    art: anl_nanotubes

    Scientists have overcome key design hurdles to expand the potential uses of nanopores and nanotubes. The creation of smart nanotubes with selective mass transport opens up a wider range of applications for water purification, chemical separation and fighting disease.

    Nanopores and their rolled up version, nanotubes, consist of atoms bonded to each other in a hexagonal pattern to create an array of nanometer-scale openings or channels. This structure creates a filter that can be sized to select which molecules and ions pass into drinking water or into a cell. The same filter technique can limit the release of chemical by-products from industrial processes.

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  • DataONE portal streamlines access to environmental data

    Easier access to data through a new search software from DataONE promises to aid data-intensive research projects such as eBird, which combined multiple data layers to make predictions about bird migration patterns.

    Environmental researchers who investigate climate change, invasive species, infectious diseases, and other data-intensive topics can now benefit from easy access to diverse datasets through technology released by the Data Observation Network for Earth, or DataONE.

    Understanding broad and complex environmental issues increasingly relies on the discovery and analysis of massive datasets. But the amount of collected data – from historical field notes to real-time satellite data – means that researchers are now faced with an onslaught of options to locate and integrate information relevant to the issue at hand.

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