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Welcome to Currents


Welcome to Currents. Every six to eight weeks, this e-newsletter will feature the latest research from PNNL, discuss how we are working with other labs and universities, and highlight opportunities for colleagues, postdocs and students to partner with our research teams. The purpose of this newsletter is to profile the breadth of research at PNNL - and to highlight opportunities for collaboration. In this way, Currents is our way of starting conversations. Please if you have any questions or are interested in learning more about PNNL's science and technology. Thank you.

Dr. Steven Ashby
Laboratory Director

In this issue — May 2016

A Less-Common Form of Uranium May Hold Key to Remediation Efforts

Collaborators: University of Chicago; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis; University of Michigan; Los Alamos National Laboratory; Negev Nuclear Research Center (Israel)

In unprecedented detail, a recent study by an international research team examined the structural and thermodynamic properties of uranium (U(V)) containing compounds called metal monouranates. These compounds are of considerable interest due to their relevance to nuclear technology. Published in Dalton Transactions, the new findings on this understudied form of uranium help complete the picture of uranium solid-state chemistry and could improve models of and strategies for minimizing the environmental impact of uranium contamination. Read more.

Better Fuel Economy, Lower Emissions

Collaborators: Texas A&M University; Advanced Materials Products, Inc. (ADMA)

Scientists knew the titanium alloy made from a low-cost process they had previously pioneered had very good mechanical properties, but they wanted to make it even stronger. Using powerful electron microscopes and a unique atom probe imaging approach, they were able to peer deep inside the alloy's nanostructure ... and gain the understanding to create the strongest commercial titanium alloy currently on the market. This work was published in Nature Communications. Read more.

Atomic-Scale Analysis in Soft Biological Materials

Collaborators: Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute

HIn research published in Scientific Reports, scientists examined the chemical identity and 3-D position of atoms in soft biological materials with a new approach using atom probe tomography, or APT. An extension of this new specimen preparation technique enables atomic-scale analysis in soft biological materials. It can enhance the study of organic and inorganic materials and nanoparticles relevant to energy and the environment. Read more.

A Surprise Source of Fine Particles in the Atmosphere

Collaborators: University of Massachusetts; University of California, Berkeley; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science (China); Carl Zeiss X-ray Microscopy Inc.

That sweet, sweet smell after a rainstorm ... Most of us think of that fresh scent as the aftereffect of rain rinsing the air of pollutants and dust. But, it turns out, rain also triggers the release of particles from wet soils into the atmosphere. It's a finding with consequences for modeling our planet's climate and future. This research was published in Nature Geoscience. Read more.

Scientists Explore Climate Impact as Rivers Ebb and Flow

Collaborators: The Ohio State University

When rivers rise, an area known as the "river's liver" cleanses the rising waters of pollutants ... and alters the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. A paper published in Nature Communications presents evidence that rising waters deliver a feast of carbon to hungry microbes where water meets land. The microbes, in turn, boost emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. These findings are important as scientists work to better understand the planet's carbon cycle. Read more.

Improving Battery Capacity and Lifespan

Collaborators: University of Oregon; State Key Laboratory of Marine and Environmental Science (China)

Hybrid batteries that charge faster than conventional batteries could have significantly better electrical capacity and long-term stability when prepared with ion soft-landing. This high-precision technique, reported in Nature Communications, resulted in electrodes that could store a third more energy with twice the lifespan compared to those prepared by a conventional method. This method could eventually lead to cheaper, more powerful, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries. Read more.

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