New, but already part of the family: Anja Mudring joins Ames Laboratory and Critical Materials Institute to study ionic liquids after long-time Ames Lab connections.Anja Mudring joins Ames Lab to study ionic liquids

Anja Mudring is new to the Ames Laboratory as a full-time scientist, but her ties to the Lab date back to 1997 when she first came for a 2-week fellowship trip as a graduate student.

“I read in my chemistry text book about molten salts and ionic liquids and I thought it was so interesting. And a name kept popping up: John Corbett, here at Ames Laboratory. So, I wrote to John and he invited me to come here to Ames for my fellowship trip.”

Mudring returned as a postdoctoral research associate from 2001-2003, and, even after she returned to Germany to start her own research group, she continued to visit Ames Laboratory for about a month each year.

“Always in the winter. I’ve always liked the quietness in Ames in the winter. The summer feels too hot to me, so I vowed to always only come in winter.”

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Illustration of Jefferson Lab's CEBAF Large Acceptance Spectrometer, along with an event reconstructed from the data. In this experiment, an incident 5 GeV electron scatters from a nucleon that has briefly paired up with another in a short-range correlation. Jefferson Lab's CEBAF Large Acceptance Spectrometer completely surrounds an experimental target and is roughly spherical, measuring 30 feet across. As particles flying out of the target enter the detector, their paths are bent by a magnet and are measured by successive layers of different types of particle detectors.Protons hog the momentum in neutron-rich nuclei

Like dancers swirling on the dance floor with bystanders looking on, protons and neutrons that have briefly paired up in the nucleus have higher-average momentum, leaving less for non-paired nucleons. Using data from nuclear physics experiments carried out at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, researchers have now shown for the first time that this phenomenon exists in nuclei heavier than carbon, including aluminum, iron and lead.

The phenomenon also surprisingly allows a greater fraction of the protons than neutrons to have high momentum in these relatively neutron-rich nuclei, which is contrary to long-accepted theories of the nucleus and has implications for ultra-cold atomic gas systems and neutron stars. The results were published online by the journal Science.

The research builds on earlier work featured in Science that found that protons and neutrons in light nuclei pair up briefly in the nucleus, a phenomenon called a short-range correlation. Nucleons prefer pairing up with nucleons of a different type (proton preferred neutrons to other protons) by 20 to 1, and nucleons involved in a short-range correlation carry higher momentum than unpaired ones.

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See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 429  |
  • December 22, 2014
  • Salinity matters when it comes to sea level changes

    Lined with bottles triggered at different levels of the ocean, this conductivity, temperature and depth profiler bearing a suite of sampling bottles is a mainstay of oceanography. It can be deployed to depths of 6,000 meters to study changes in ocean temperature and salinity. Photo courtesy of Ann Thresher/CSIRO Using ocean observations and a large suite of climate models, scientists at DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have found that long-term salinity changes have a stronger influence on regional sea level changes than previously thought.

    “By using long-term observed estimates of ocean salinity and temperature changes across the globe, and contrasting these with model simulations, we have uncovered the unexpectedly large influence of salinity changes on ocean basin-scale sea level patterns,” said LLNL oceanographer Paul Durack, lead author of a paper appearing a recent issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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  • Crystal Solar and NREL team up to cut costs

    The monocrystalline silicon solar cells made by Crystal Solar are much closer to true squares than most other silicon solar cells. The shape is one of the reasons the wafers can be stacked vertically during the gas-deposition process—and one of the reasons that the cells can be produced at about 100 times the typical rate. Photo from Crystal Solar A faster, cheaper way to manufacture silicon solar cells, partially funded by the Energy Department and fine-tuned at its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has won a coveted R&D 100 award as a top technology innovation.

    Crystal Solar's approach to growing high-quality, high-efficiency silicon wafers at 100 times the usual throughput and half the cost could be a game-changer, creating American jobs and stemming the flow of solar cell manufacturing overseas, says T.S. Ravi, chief executive officer of the Santa Clara, California-based company.

    Even before he founded Crystal Solar, Ravi set a goal to speed up the manufacturing process. In 2011, his nascent company applied for the Energy Department's SunShot Initiative's Photovoltaic (PV) Incubator Program, which at that time was run out of NREL. The PV Incubator Program has a very competitive selection process, searching for ideas that are truly disruptive in terms of lowering costs.

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  • Laser technology aids CO2 storage capabilities

    NETL researchers Christian Goueguel (left) and Cantwell Carson align and operate NETL’s laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) equipment in a lab experiment. DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory is attracting private industry attention and winning innovation awards for harnessing the power of lasers to monitor the safe and permanent underground storage of CO2 resulting from fossil fuel combustion in power plants.

    Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and byproduct of burning coal, oil, and natural gas. There are increasing calls to isolate CO2 from the atmosphere to reduce its impact on global climate change. Once captured from a power plant, the CO2 can be piped into underground geologic formations for permanent storage. NETL experts are developing a technique, laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), that can be used to validate that a storage site is not emitting CO2, or provide early detection of leaks when they do occur. Early leak detection will enable site operators to implement a faster mitigation response to stop the leak.

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  • Fast and rigorous: Finding surface reflectivity by looking up at clouds

    The Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer and other instruments help scientists understand the amount and type of light that hits Earth’s surface. Photo courtesy of the ARM Climate Research Facility. Understanding climate change begins with measuring important energy factors affecting the Earth. One of these factors is the amount of sunlight reflected by the Earth's surface. The surface's reflectivity or surface albedo—a measure of how mirror-like the Earth's surface is—greatly influences the amount of sunlight coming into and leaving the atmosphere. Researchers at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a new way to measure surface albedo by capturing sunlight bounced back to Earth by the clouds. With scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and University of Colorado, the researchers showed how the method has potential for capturing the surface albedo.

    "Previously, retrieving surface albedo from incoming sunlight measurements required substantial computational power and complementary information that was often limited or unavailable," said Dr. Evgueni Kassianov, the study's lead author. "Our method is based on a one-line equation and is simple, fast, and requires only a few inputs."

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