Olufemi OmitaomuOlufemi Omitaomu: Paper boats to energy efficiency

Lawyer, doctor or business professional never seemed fitting for Olufemi Omitaomu—he didn’t talk enough for lawyer shoes, chose to leave medicine for his peers and figured business life lacked flair.

Scraping his knees playing street soccer in his seaside hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, marked a daily ritual, but what really captivated Omitaomu was the construction yard full of shipbuilders down the block.

Full Story


Up in flames: Evidence confirms combustion theoryUp in flames: Evidence confirms combustion theory

Researchers at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) and the University of Hawaii have uncovered the first step in the process that transforms gas-phase molecules into solid particles like soot and other carbon-based compounds.

The finding could help combustion chemists make more-efficient, less-polluting fuels and help materials scientists fine-tune their carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets for faster, smaller electronics. In addition, the results could have implications for the burgeoning field of astrochemistry, potentially establishing the chemical process for how gaseous outflows from stars turn into carbon-based matter in space.

Full Story

See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 419  |
  • August 4, 2014
  • Supercomputers reveal strange, stress-induced transformations in world's thinnest materials

    Top and side views of soft mode instabilities in strained monolayer materials. In graphene, boron nitride, and graphane the backbone distorts towards isolated six-atom rings, while molybdenum disulfide undergoes a distinct distortion towards trigonal pyramidal coordination. Interested in an ultra-fast, unbreakable, and flexible smart phone that recharges in a matter of seconds? Monolayer materials may make it possible. These atom-thin sheets—including the famed super material graphene—feature exceptional and untapped mechanical and electronic properties. But to fully exploit these atomically tailored wonder materials, scientists must pry free the secrets of how and why they bend and break under stress.

    Fortunately, researchers have now pinpointed the breaking mechanism of several monolayer materials hundreds of times stronger than steel with exotic properties that could revolutionize everything from armor to electronics. A Columbia University team used supercomputers at Brookhaven Lab to simulate and probe quantum mechanical processes that would be extremely difficult to explore experimentally.

    Full Story

  • Peering into giant planets from in and out of this world

    The interior of the target chamber at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The object entering from the left is the target positioner, on which a millimeter-scale target is mounted. Researchers recently used NIF to study the interior state of giant planets. Image by Damien Jemison/LLNL Scientists from DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system.

    Researchers can now re-create and accurately measure material properties that control how these planets evolve over time, information essential for understanding how these massive objects form. This study focused on carbon, the fourth most abundant element in the cosmos (after hydrogen, helium and oxygen), which has an important role in many types of planets within and outside our solar system. The research appears in the July 17 edition of the journal, Nature.

    Full Story

  • Study reveals new characteristics of complex oxide surfaces

    “Distortion maps” (right) bring into view structural areas called domains that are not easily identified in raw images (left). A novel combination of microscopy and data processing has given researchers at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory an unprecedented look at the surface of a material known for its unusual physical and electrochemical properties.

    The research team led by ORNL’s Zheng Gai examined how oxygen affects the surface of a perovskite manganite, a complex material that exhibits dramatic magnetic and electronic behavior. The new avenue to understand surface behavior could benefit researchers who are interested in using a wide range of correlated oxide materials for applications such as solid fuel cells or oxygen sensors.

    Full Story

  • Giant electromagnet completes its journey at Fermilab

    This 50-foot-wide electromagnet is the centerpiece of the first of two muon experiments planned at Fermilab. One year ago, the 50-foot-wide Muon g-2 electromagnet arrived at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois after traveling 3,200 miles over land and sea from Long Island, New York. This week, the magnet took the final few steps of that journey, moving across the Fermilab site and into the new building that now houses it.

    The gigantic electromagnet is the centerpiece of Fermilab’s Muon g-2 experiment, which will investigate the properties of an elusive subatomic particle called the muon to search for the presence of heavy, undiscovered particles or hidden subatomic forces.

    Full Story