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  • Drawing of nitrogenase

    A Cooperative Way to Make Ammonia

    A better understanding of how bacteria fix nitrogen molecules into ammonia could lead to energy savings in industrial processes such as those that produce fertilizer. Researchers are studying the bacterial enzyme that does this, a complicated enzyme called nitrogenase. In new work, researchers discovered essential information about the manner in which nitrogenase produces ammonia, according to work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Artistic representation of SALVI

    Imaging Results Are Ones for the Books

    Scientists now have new insights into solid-liquid interface phenomena that go far beyond the textbook description. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a way to measure this common electrochemical system interface in place and in real time-a previously impossible task. Their work was showcased in the September 21 issue of Chemical Communications and featured on the journal's back cover.

  • Shi

    The Vital Electrical Interplay between Microorganisms and Extracellular Minerals

    Microorganisms with electron-transfer capabilities, such as metal-reducing microorganisms, use specialized systems to exchange electrons between minerals and cells. In this review, Shi et al. summarize the underlying molecular mechanisms, such as cytochromes and nanowires, and the biotechnological applications.

  • TD

    Launching a New Era for NWChem

    NWChemEx: Tackling Chemical, Materials and Biomolecular Challenges in the Exascale Era was recently selected as a four-year project for the national Exascale Computing Project, known as ECP. NWChemEx will enhance the popular computational chemistry code, NWChem, to dramatically improve its scalability, performance, extensibility, and portability to take full advantage of exascale computing technologies. Dr. Thom Dunning, a Battelle Fellow with the University of Washington-PNNL Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing, is NWChemEx’s Project Director.

Our researchers advance the frontiers of science to study, predict, and engineer complex adaptive systems related to Earth, energy, and security. Our investigations inhabit every scale. We study the vast whirl of aerosol-laden clouds; the complex shoreline interfaces of land and sea; the mysterious microbiomes that teem just beneath the Earth’s surface; and the myriad of molecules busy on surfaces just angstroms wide.

We investigate elemental chemical and physical processes, including new catalysts that speed up the efficiency of renewable fuels. We study climate system dynamics to predict the effects of climate change. We design and synthesize the functional and structural materials of the future, including robust metal foils thinner than a human hair.

We are proud to host two unique DOE user facilities. EMSL facilitates molecular-level investigations into the physical, chemical, and biological processes that underlie the Earth’s most critical environmental issues. ARM provides a setting for climate research and instrumentation development, and is strengthened by streaming data from a worldwide complex of sensing stations.

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