College of William and Mary Graduate Student Matthew Burton with a cavity deposition system at Jefferson Lab that Burton is using in his research to improve superconducting radiofrequency thin-film capabilities.Grad student's award provides opportunity to make major SRF advancements

For as long as Matthew Burton can remember, he has been into science. When asked how far back, he readily recalls trying to bend a laser with magnets for an elementary school science fair project. Now, he's working with superconducting technologies at DOE's Jefferson Lab to design better accelerator materials, thanks to a DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research award.

The young researcher has always been excited by technology, and physics, he says, gave him a path into that.

After high school, he headed to James Madison University on a (science, technology, engineering and math) STEM scholarship to study fundamental physics, and then he went to The College of William and Mary for its Ph.D. physics program.

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Critical Materials Institute scientist Ikenna Nlebedim has developed a new technique to recover valuable rare-earth magnetic material from manufacturing waste.New Critical Materials Institute process recycles magnets from factory floor

A new recycling method developed by scientists at the Critical Materials Institute recovers valuable rare-earth magnetic material from manufacturing waste and creates useful magnets out of it. Efficient waste-recovery methods for rare-earth metals are one way to reduce demand for these limited mined resources. The Critical Materials Institute is an U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub including DOE's Ames Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a number of university and industry partners.

The process, which inexpensively processes and directly reuses samarium-cobalt waste powders as raw material, can be used to create polymer-bonded magnets that are comparable in performance to commercial bonded magnets made from new materials. It can also be used to make sintered magnets (formed by pressure compaction and heat).

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See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 447  |
  • September 7, 2015
  • Scientists propose an explanation for puzzling electron heat loss in fusion plasmas

    Elena Belova of DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) Creating controlled fusion energy entails many challenges, but one of the most basic is heating plasma – hot gas composed of electrons and charged atoms – to extremely high temperatures and then maintaining those temperatures. Now scientist Elena Belova of DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and a team of collaborators have proposed an explanation for why the hot plasma within fusion facilities called tokamaks sometimes fails to reach the required temperature, even as researchers pump beams of fast-moving neutral atoms into the plasma in an effort to make it hotter.

    The results, published in June in Physical Review Letters, could lead to improved control of temperature in future fusion devices, including ITER, the international fusion facility under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power.

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  • Antimatter catches a wave at SLAC

    Future particle colliders will require highly efficient acceleration methods for both electrons and positrons. Plasma wakefield acceleration of both particle types, as shown in this simulation, could lead to smaller and more powerful colliders than today’s machines. (F. Tsung/W. An/UCLA/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) A study led by researchers from DOE's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of California, Los Angeles, has demonstrated a new, efficient way to accelerate positrons, the antimatter opposites of electrons. The method may help boost the energy and shrink the size of future linear particle colliders – powerful accelerators that could be used to unravel the properties of nature’s fundamental building blocks.

    The scientists had previously shown that boosting the energy of charged particles by having them “surf” a wave of ionized gas, or plasma, works well for electrons. While this method by itself could lead to smaller accelerators, electrons are only half the equation for future colliders. Now the researchers have hit another milestone by applying the technique to positrons at SLAC’s Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests (FACET), a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

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  • Scientists discover precise location of active sites on popular catalyst

    Experimental work with vanadium oxide catalysts relied on sophisticated spectroscopy and chemical structure calculations to establish a relationship between specific sites on the catalysts and the degree of activity they bring out in a reaction. If you want to change a situation, it's often best to get to the heart of the matter. For chemists working to improve commercially important reactions, this means delving into the active sites on catalysts that speed the reactions behind billions of dollars’ worth of chemicals and other products. Active sites are where the reaction actually happens.

    If active sites work slowly or fail quickly, the result is higher costs and lower production rates. To make better active sites, scientists need to see them. For the first time, a team led by researchers at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory saw the active sites on well-known vanadium-based catalysts that are important in commercial processes for manufacturing such products as polyesters, sulfuric acid, synthetic resins, epoxy coatings and others.

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  • Biological tools create nerve-like polymer network

    Sandia National Laboratories researchers George Bachand and Wally Paxton at a confocal microscope illuminating the first biomolecular machines to assemble complex polymer structures. (Photo by Randy Montoya) Using a succession of biological mechanisms, researchers at DOE's Sandia National Laboratories have created linkages of polymer nanotubes that resemble the structure of a nerve, with many out-thrust filaments poised to gather or send electrical impulses.

    “This is the first demonstration of naturally occurring proteins assembling chemically created polymers into complex structures that modern machinery can’t duplicate,” said Sandia National Laboratories researcher George Bachand.

    Sandia co-researcher Wally Paxton said, “This is foundational science, but one possibility we see, way down the road, is to use soft artificial structures like these to painlessly interface with the body’s nerve structures.”

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