Sandia's Greg Nielson Greg Nielson's photovoltaic innovation brings accolades

Greg Nielson has been selected by Popular Science magazine for one of its 2012 “Brilliant 10” awards — “a roundup of the 10 most promising young scientists working today [in North America].” Winners of this designation have gone on to win the Fields Medal (considered the Nobel prize of mathematics) and MacArthur ‘genius’ awards, according to a congratulatory note from the magazine’s editor.

Greg, a former Truman Fellow, was selected for helping lead the effort at DOE's Sandia National Laboratories to create solar cells the size of glitter. Said Sandia Labs Director Paul Hommert, “This recognition of Greg’s groundbreaking contributions is testimony to his innovative spirit. It also reflects our broader Laboratory commitment to nurturing outstanding scientific achievement.”

Said Steve Rottler, Science and Technology VP 1000 and Chief Technology Officer, “This award confirms what those of us who work with Greg already know — he is an incredibly gifted engineer who is developing an innovative solution to a complex challenge facing society. We are very proud of Greg and the accomplishments of his team.”

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The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.SRNL, PNNL respond to Fukushima cleanup challenge

For Dr. Jeff Griffin of DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station represents “almost every remediation challenge we’ve seen in the Environmental Management complex, all within three and a half square kilometers.”

Griffin, SRNL’s Associate Laboratory Director for Environmental Management, along with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Wayne Johnson, are leading a joint SRNL/PNNL effort to provide the Tokyo Electric Power Company – owner of the tsunami-damaged plant – with recommendations related to many of the highest priority technical issues associated with the initial cleanup process in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 377  |
  • December 3, 2012
  • LHC experiment confirms existence of odd particle

    CMS experiment. Credit: CERN Scientists working on the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider have confirmed the existence of an odd, puzzling particle first observed a few years ago at DOE’s Tevatron particle collider. Members of the CMS collaboration announced on Nov. 14 that they had spotted the curious object, dubbed Y(4140), which scientists had discovered at the CDF experiment at Fermilab.

    The particle has a mass of 4.1 billion electronvolts (GeV) and seems to be related to a handful of X and Y particles previously found at other laboratories. These particles are well measured but poorly understood. They don’t fit the common pattern in which quarks and antiquarks bind together to form protons, neutrons, pions and other particles.

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  • Scientists capture lithium-ion batteries in nanoscale action

    This diagram shows the spread of positively charged lithium ions across the custom-built FeF2 nanoparticle. The conversion reaction swept rapidly across the surface before proceeding more slowly through the bulk of the particle. The cherished portability of many popular electronics, from smart phones to laptops, mostly comes courtesy of lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, these dense and lightweight energy storage devices degrade over time, steadily losing total capacity even when sitting idle on the shelf.

    Now, researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborating institutions have developed methods of examining lithium-ion reactions in real-time with nanoscale (billionths of a meter) precision, offering unprecedented insights into these crucial materials. The technique uses a novel electrochemical cell and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to track lithium conversion and precisely expose subtle changes that occur in batteries’ electrodes over time.

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  • Magnetic idea: Rare-earth recycling

    Rare-earth recycling. Recycling keeps paper, plastics, and even jeans out of landfills. Could recycling rare-earth magnets do the same? Perhaps, if the recycling process can be improved.

    Scientists at DOE's Ames Laboratory are working to more effectively remove the neodymium, a rare earth element, from the mix of other materials in a magnet. Initial results show recycled materials maintain the properties that make rare-earth magnets useful.

    The current rare earth recycling research builds on Ames Laboratory’s decades of rare-earth processing experience. In the 1990s, Ames Lab scientists developed a process that uses molten magnesium to remove rare earths from neodymium-iron-boron magnet scrap. But rare earth prices increased tenfold between 2009 and 2011 and supplies are in question. Therefore, the goal of today’s rare-earth recycling research takes the process one step farther to actually recovering the rare-earth metals.

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  • New nano trap protects environment

    A new type of nanoscale molecular trap makes it possible for industry to store large amounts of hydrogen in small fuel cells or capture, compact and remove volatile radioactive gas from spent nuclear fuel in an affordable, easily commercialized way.

    The ability to adjust the size of the trap openings to select for specific molecules or to alter how molecules are released at industrially accessible pressures makes the trap uniquely versatile.  The trap is constructed of commercially available material and made possible through collaborative work at DOE's Argonne and Sandia national laboratories.

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