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  • richardmitnick 2:11 pm on October 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , BNL NSLS II, Picotechnology, Taking elements from the periodic table and tinkering with them at the subatomic level to tease out new materials.,   

    From Yale University: “‘Picoscience’ and a plethora of new materials” 

    Yale University bloc

    From Yale University

    1
    This is an element-specific, scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) image of the atoms in a new material developed by Yale in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory. The image shows layered sheets of cobalt (green) and titanium (red) atoms. (Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory)

    October 7, 2019
    Jim Shelton

    The revolutionary tech discoveries of the next few decades, the ones that will change daily life, may come from new materials so small they make nanomaterials look like lumpy behemoths.

    These new materials will be designed and refined at the picometer scale, which is a thousand times smaller than a nanometer and a million times smaller than a micrometer (which itself is smaller than the width of a human hair). In order to do this work, scientists will need training in an array of new equipment that can measure and guide such exquisitely controlled materials. The work involves designing the materials theoretically, fabricating them, and characterizing their properties.

    At Yale University, they have a name for it; they call it “picoscience.”

    “Researchers at Yale are inventing new materials that are small, fast, and can perform in a multitude of ways, such as mimicking neurons in the brain, computing with magnets, and calculating with quantum mechanics,” said Frederick Walker, a senior research scientist in the lab of Charles Ahn, the John C. Malone Professor of Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Physics, and chair of the Department of Applied Physics.

    Ahn is senior author of a new study that moves picoscience in yet another direction: taking elements from the periodic table and tinkering with them at the subatomic level to tease out new materials.

    Sangjae Lee, a graduate student in Ahn’s lab and first author of the study, designed and grew the new material, which is an artificial, layered crystal composed of the elements lanthanum, titanium, cobalt, and oxygen.

    The researchers layered the elements one atomic plane at a time, so that one-atom-thick sheets of titanium oxide transfer an electron to one-atom-thick-sheets of cobalt oxide. This changed the electronic configuration and magnetic properties of the cobalt oxide sheet.

    “We were able to manipulate the constituent atoms with a precision much smaller than the atom itself,” Lee said. “These types of new crystals may form the basis for developing new magnetic materials, where a delicate balance between magnetism and electronic conduction at such small length scales can be manipulated in novel, transistor-like devices that have performance advantages over today’s transistors.”

    Lee trained on a number of instruments that are being developed at the National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.



    BNL NSLS II

    A synchrotron is a machine roughly the size of a football field that speeds up electrons almost to the speed of light. The electrons generate extremely bright x-ray beams that are used by researchers in experiments.

    The new study appears in the journal Physical Review Letters and features co-authors from Yale, Brookhaven, the Flatiron Institute, and Argonne National Laboratory. The Yale co-authors, in addition to Ahn and Lee, are Sohrab Ismail-Beigi, Alex Taekyung Lee, Walker, Ankit Disa, and Yichen Jia.

    In addition to designing and growing the new materials, Sangjae Lee characterized them and analyzed the results. From the theoretical side, Yale colleagues Alex Taekyung Lee and Alexandru Georgescu, who is now at the Center for Computational Quantum Physics at the Flatiron Institute, used quantum mechanical computations to compute the structure of the materials and its effect on their electronic configuration. This work enabled the team to describe the magnetic state of the materials.

    Yale has identified the development of quantum materials as a priority research area, foreseeing their use in new computational systems that will far outstrip today’s computers. The university also has noted the significance of collaborations with Brookhaven, which has some of the most advanced materials characterization facilities in the United States, including the nation’s newest synchrotron.

    “The invention of new materials has been at the heart of technological advances that have transformed our lives,” said co-author Ismail-Beigi, a professor of applied physics at Yale. “New electronic materials have driven the ever-increasing capabilities of cell phones, computers, tablets, smart watches, and medical devices.”

    Co-author Walker stressed the importance of communication between experimentalists and theorists in conducting picoscience research: “A synergistic feedback loop between theoretical design and experimental fabrication is crucial to successfully discovering new materials properties,” he said. “This feedback loop has become a signature of the National Science Foundation’s materials discovery program and was originally developed at Yale.”

    The work was supported by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University Campus

    Yale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:52 am on September 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rice reactor turns greenhouse gas into pure liquid fuel", A common greenhouse gas could be repurposed in an efficient and environmentally friendly way with an electrolyzer that uses renewable electricity to produce pure liquid fuels., , “X-ray absorption spectroscopyenables us to probe the electronic structure of electrocatalysts in operando — that is during the actual chemical process.", BNL NSLS II, , Formic acid is an energy carrier. It’s a fuel-cell fuel that can generate electricity and emit carbon dioxide — which you can grab and recycle again., Formic acid produced by traditional carbon dioxide devices needs costly and energy-intensive purification steps Wang said., https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-019-0451-x, In its latest prototype produces highly purified and high concentrations of formic acid., , , The catalytic reactor developed by the Rice University lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang uses carbon dioxide as its feedstock., The direct production of pure formic acid solutions will help to promote commercial carbon dioxide conversion technologies., The first was his development of a robust two-dimensional bismuth catalyst and the second a solid-state electrolyte that eliminates the need for salt as part of the reaction., The method is detailed in Nature Energy, The Rice lab worked with Brookhaven National Laboratory to view the process in progress., Two advances made the new device possible said lead author and Rice postdoctoral researcher Chuan Xia.   

    From Rice University: “Rice reactor turns greenhouse gas into pure liquid fuel” 

    Rice U bloc

    From Rice University

    September 3, 2019
    Mike Williams
    713-348-6728
    mikewilliams@rice.edu

    Lab’s ‘green’ invention reduces carbon dioxide into valuable fuels.

    1
    Rice postdoctoral researcher Chuan Xia, left, and chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang adjust their electrocatalysis reactor to produce liquid formic acid from carbon dioxide. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

    A common greenhouse gas could be repurposed in an efficient and environmentally friendly way with an electrolyzer that uses renewable electricity to produce pure liquid fuels.

    The catalytic reactor developed by the Rice University lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang uses carbon dioxide as its feedstock and, in its latest prototype, produces highly purified and high concentrations of formic acid.

    Formic acid produced by traditional carbon dioxide devices needs costly and energy-intensive purification steps, Wang said. The direct production of pure formic acid solutions will help to promote commercial carbon dioxide conversion technologies.

    The method is detailed in Nature Energy.

    Wang, who joined Rice’s Brown School of Engineering in January, and his group pursue technologies that turn greenhouse gases into useful products. In tests, the new electrocatalyst reached an energy conversion efficiency of about 42%. That means nearly half of the electrical energy can be stored in formic acid as liquid fuel.

    “Formic acid is an energy carrier,” Wang said. “It’s a fuel-cell fuel that can generate electricity and emit carbon dioxide — which you can grab and recycle again.

    “It’s also fundamental in the chemical engineering industry as a feedstock for other chemicals, and a storage material for hydrogen that can hold nearly 1,000 times the energy of the same volume of hydrogen gas, which is difficult to compress,” he said. “That’s currently a big challenge for hydrogen fuel-cell cars.”

    2
    This schematic shows the electrolyzer developed at Rice to reduce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, to valuable fuels. At left is a catalyst that selects for carbon dioxide and reduces it to a negatively charged formate, which is pulled through a gas diffusion layer (GDL) and the anion exchange membrane (AEM) into the central electrolyte. At the right, an oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst generates positive protons from water and sends them through the cation exchange membrane (CEM). The ions recombine into formic acid or other products that are carried out of the system by deionized (DI) water and gas. Illustration by Chuan Xia and Demin Liu.

    Two advances made the new device possible, said lead author and Rice postdoctoral researcher Chuan Xia. The first was his development of a robust, two-dimensional bismuth catalyst and the second a solid-state electrolyte that eliminates the need for salt as part of the reaction.

    “Bismuth is a very heavy atom, compared to transition metals like copper, iron or cobalt,” Wang said. “Its mobility is much lower, particularly under reaction conditions. So that stabilizes the catalyst.” He noted the reactor is structured to keep water from contacting the catalyst, which also helps preserve it.

    Xia can make the nanomaterials in bulk. “Currently, people produce catalysts on the milligram or gram scales,” he said. “We developed a way to produce them at the kilogram scale. That will make our process easier to scale up for industry.”

    3
    Rice postdoctoral researcher Chuan Xia, left, and chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

    The polymer-based solid electrolyte is coated with sulfonic acid ligands to conduct positive charge or amino functional groups to conduct negative ions. “Usually people reduce carbon dioxide in a traditional liquid electrolyte like salty water,” Wang said. “You want the electricity to be conducted, but pure water electrolyte is too resistant. You need to add salts like sodium chloride or potassium bicarbonate so that ions can move freely in water.

    “But when you generate formic acid that way, it mixes with the salts,” he said. “For a majority of applications you have to remove the salts from the end product, which takes a lot of energy and cost. So we employed solid electrolytes that conduct protons and can be made of insoluble polymers or inorganic compounds, eliminating the need for salts.”

    The rate at which water flows through the product chamber determines the concentration of the solution. Slow throughput with the current setup produces a solution that is nearly 30% formic acid by weight, while faster flows allow the concentration to be customized. The researchers expect to achieve higher concentrations from next-generation reactors that accept gas flow to bring out pure formic acid vapors.

    The Rice lab worked with Brookhaven National Laboratory to view the process in progress. “X-ray absorption spectroscopy, a powerful technique available at the Inner Shell Spectroscopy (ISS) beamline at Brookhaven Lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source II, enables us to probe the electronic structure of electrocatalysts in operando — that is, during the actual chemical process,” said co-author Eli Stavitski, lead beamline scientist at ISS. “In this work, we followed bismuth’s oxidation states at different potentials and were able to identify the catalyst’s active state during carbon dioxide reduction.”


    BNL NSLS II

    With its current reactor, the lab generated formic acid continuously for 100 hours with negligible degradation of the reactor’s components, including the nanoscale catalysts. Wang suggested the reactor could be easily retooled to produce such higher-value products as acetic acid, ethanol or propanol fuels.

    4
    An electrocatalysis reactor built at Rice recycles carbon dioxide to produce pure liquid fuel solutions using electricity. The scientists behind the invention hope it will become an efficient and profitable way to reuse the greenhouse gas and keep it out of the atmosphere. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

    “The big picture is that carbon dioxide reduction is very important for its effect on global warming as well as for green chemical synthesis,” Wang said. “If the electricity comes from renewable sources like the sun or wind, we can create a loop that turns carbon dioxide into something important without emitting more of it.”

    Co-authors are Rice graduate student Peng Zhu; graduate student Qiu Jiang and Husam Alshareef, a professor of material science and engineering, at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia (KAUST); postdoctoral researcher Ying Pan of Harvard University; and staff scientist Wentao Liang of Northeastern University. Wang is the William Marsh Rice Trustee Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Xia is a J. Evans Attwell-Welch Postdoctoral Fellow at Rice.

    Rice and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facilities supported the research.

    5
    Eli Stavitski, lead scientist at the Inner Shell Spectroscopy (ISS) beamline at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s National Synchrotron Light Source II, used the powerful tool to probe bismuth’s oxidation states, part of the process developed at Rice University to recycle carbon dioxide to produce pure liquid fuel solutions using electricity. (Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory)

    See the full article here .


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    Stem Education Coalition

    Rice U campus

    In his 1912 inaugural address, Rice University president Edgar Odell Lovett set forth an ambitious vision for a great research university in Houston, Texas; one dedicated to excellence across the range of human endeavor. With this bold beginning in mind, and with Rice’s centennial approaching, it is time to ask again what we aspire to in a dynamic and shrinking world in which education and the production of knowledge will play an even greater role. What shall our vision be for Rice as we prepare for its second century, and how ought we to advance over the next decade?

    This was the fundamental question posed in the Call to Conversation, a document released to the Rice community in summer 2005. The Call to Conversation asked us to reexamine many aspects of our enterprise, from our fundamental mission and aspirations to the manner in which we define and achieve excellence. It identified the pressures of a constantly changing and increasingly competitive landscape; it asked us to assess honestly Rice’s comparative strengths and weaknesses; and it called on us to define strategic priorities for the future, an effort that will be a focus of the next phase of this process.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:02 am on May 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL NSLS II, , , ,   

    From Brookhaven National Lab:”Ten Years and Nearly a Billion Dollars: How Project Management Made a Massive X-Ray Light Source Possible” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    May 29, 2019
    Shannon Brescher Shea, D.O.E.

    1
    Aerial view of the construction site of the National Synchrotron Light Source II, taken in 2009, four years after the project started.

    Replacing a beloved tool is never easy. Erik Johnson had worked with the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) for nearly 15 years when he and his colleagues began thinking about its replacement. But this switch wasn’t a matter of walking down to the hardware store.

    The NSLS, a Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC) user facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), opened in 1982.

    BNL NSLS

    Over 30 years, scientists — three of whom won Nobel prizes for their work — used its intense beams of light over the course of more than 55,000 visits to study atomic structures and chemical processes. Johnson came to the NSLS in 1985 as a post-doctoral student. By 2000, Johnson and other leaders in the field realized the NSLS would soon be past its glory days.

    They began dreaming up its successor: the NSLS-II.

    BNL NSLS II

    After five years of planning and research, SC approved the project to move forward.
    “There was elation in the hallways,” said Johnson.

    This was just the beginning. Ahead of Johnson and his co-workers stood a project that would take a decade and almost a billion dollars to build.

    SC’s scientists and managers are familiar with this type of challenge. For decades, DOE and its predecessors have been developing federal user facilities for scientists to probe the building blocks of the universe and of life.

    Constructing these user facilities requires immense planning and coordination. Good project management keeps projects on-time and on-budget. The $912-million NSLS-II project put SC’s project management skills to the test.

    A Big Machine Comes with Big Challenges

    With the NSLS reaching its technical limits, scientists needed the next big tool to study incredibly small materials under real-world conditions. To look closer than ever at subjects ranging from batteries’ chemical reactions to viruses’ structures, researchers required an X-ray beam 10,000 times brighter than the original NSLS.

    To make the investment worthwhile, the team needed to design NSLS-II to be so advanced that it could stay at the forefront of science for more than three decades. It took more than 20 different scientific workshops to hammer out the requirements. Participants included both scientists who would use the facility and engineers who would design it.

    “I had gone from 15, 20 years where I knew everybody by first name and what they did to being surrounded by all new people,” said Johnson. “Which was pretty neat.”

    To satisfy as many stakeholders as possible, the team designed the facility to immediately run at full capacity. They then scaled the plans down to what they could build initially. If they finished early or had funding left over, they could add pieces back. To make it possible to adapt the most advanced technologies, the team planned to add more research equipment and capabilities in phases after they finished construction of the main facility.

    “[The process] was 90 percent preplanning and 10 percent execution,” said Robert Caradonna, the DOE Brookhaven Site Office deputy federal project director for the NSLS-II project.

    All of that planning clarified the challenges that awaited them.

    Creating powerful X-rays requires massive machines that accelerate electrons to high energies. These machines use specialized magnets to control the electrons that produce the X-rays. Equipment at experimental stations then harness these X-rays. Most facilities have rings that store the electrons; NSLS-II’s ring needed to be a half-mile around.

    The building needed to meet several other specific requirements. Because temperature changes can influence the magnets’ size and position, the inside of the storage ring could never waver from a balmy 78 F. To ensure the beams would never tremble, the team needed to minimize the effect of vibrations from trucks on the nearby Long Island Expressway and waves from the Atlantic Ocean.

    The project’s sheer complexity was perhaps the biggest challenge of all. The original schedule projected 5,000 separate activities. At the height of the project, the list expanded to 11,000. At some points, the team was managing a million dollars of work each day.

    “We spent so much time with our heads down pushing on this thing that it didn’t really get to be overwhelming,” said Johnson. “We were too damn busy for it to get overwhelming.”

    Prepared for Disaster

    In project management, being a pessimist can pay off. A huge part of ensuring the project ran smoothly was anticipating and managing risks.

    The Office of Science purposely plans for the worst case scenarios. Over the course of the project, the team ran more than 400 separate risk assessments. They also built numerous computer models that pinpointed exactly where every single piece of equipment needed to go.

    One of the biggest areas of uncertainty was manufacturing the massive magnets. Buying 900 magnets anywhere is difficult. Buying 900 extremely high-powered, cutting-edge magnets from one supplier wasn’t going to happen.

    “It would be nice if we could give it to one guy and he could produce all the magnets,” said Caradonna, but, “we knew that was going to be impossible.”

    There are only a handful of places in the world that could produce the magnets and other specialized pieces of equipment. The team developed seven contracts with five different suppliers, several of which were in other countries. The different languages, management cultures, geographic locations, and even measurement units caused conflicts. Some vendors were unresponsive.

    To solve these problems, members of the NSLS-II team flew to the suppliers and consulted with them on site. The hands-on assistance improved communications and quality control. It even allowed NSLS-II staff members to get experience with the components before they arrived to BNL. Despite some early delays, the magnet manufacturing didn’t hold up the process as a whole.

    The team was able to compensate for these delays because of savvy scheduling. In many projects like this, a delay in one step can cascade down to others, creating multiple delays and scheduling conflicts. In contrast, the NSLS-II team designed the project so they could change the order of the steps. For example, they built five identical pieces of the accelerator ring that fit together like LEGOs®. If the magnets weren’t finished for one piece of the ring, they could still finish the others in time.

    This approach also came in handy when the project received $150 million in funding earlier than planned through a special bill to help the country recover from the economic crash in 2008. With this funding and a favorable construction market, they negotiated a lower price with the construction company and finished the laboratory buildings nearly a year ahead of schedule.

    “You never know when fortune is going to smile on you, and you never know when you’re going to do something sooner rather than later,” said Johnson. “It’s all about being ready.”

    Here a Review, There a Review

    Preparation will only get you so far. SC’s regular and strict project reviews by independent experts got the team the rest of the way there. Every step of the process had a review, from the scope and scientific goals to the construction: 54 in total.

    Over the course of the project, the review teams gave more than 1,300 recommendations.

    As the NSLS-II lessons learned document states: “Project reviews are the most important management tool to ensure the project is staying on track. If you are not required to have them, you should inflict them on yourself.”

    NSLS-II is not the only project to benefit from rigorous reviews. The GAO has cited SC’s reviews as a major reason why the majority of SC’s projects are completed on-time and on-budget.

    The project teams aren’t the only ones who learn from the experience. The independent experts are often in charge of similar projects at their own agencies, national laboratories, or universities.

    10 Years Later

    Ten years after DOE approved the idea for NSLS-II, it was finished. SC declared it complete in March 2015, three months before its target date. It opened to users that July.

    Owing to sound project management practices, there was enough funding available for the NSLS-II to include $68 million in optional features beyond the basic construction plan. It had an additional beamline to provide X-rays to another experimental station, a larger building that would make it easier to expand, and extra components to increase reliability. In 2016, the team won both the Project Management Institute’s Project of the Year award and the DOE Secretary’s Award of Excellence, the highest honor that DOE awards to a project.

    “I was immensely proud,” said Johnson, “but fully cognizant of all of the work that needs to be done still to fully realize the potential of this instrument.”

    Since it opened, the team has launched 28 experimental stations, or beamlines, out of a total of 60 stations it can support.

    “Everything from the dreaming to the final delivery is going on at the same time,” said Johnson.

    Despite all of the new machinery, one day the NSLS-II will become obsolete just like its predecessor. One Friday night, Johnson went home and noted that the old NSLS sign was still up. The next Monday, it was gone, replaced by a sign for the lab’s new Computational Science Initiative. To Johnson, that change reinforced the fact that his mission is about more than equipment.

    “Those people who used it, they still have those experiences,” he said. “It’s not the stuff that you build, it’s that what you build that enables other people to do what’s important.”

    See the full article here .
    Original publication by D.O.E.


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    BNL Campus


    BNL Center for Functional Nanomaterials

    BNL NSLS-II


    BNL NSLS II

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
    i1

     
  • richardmitnick 12:45 pm on August 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL NSLS II, , , , Pratt & Whitney tests for jet engines, X-ray absorption spectroscopy,   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: “High-Caliber Research Launches NSLS-II Beamline into Operations” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    August 2, 2018
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman@bnl.gov

    Pratt & Whitney conduct the first experiments at a new National Synchrotron Light Source II beamline.

    1
    Bruce Ravel is the lead scientist at the Beamline for Materials Measurement (BMM), a new, state-of-the-art experimental station at NSLS-II. BMM was constructed and is operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

    A new experimental station (beamline) has begun operations at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. Called the Beamline for Materials Measurement (BMM), it offers scientists state-of-the-art technology for using a classic synchrotron technique: x-ray absorption spectroscopy.

    “There are critical questions in all areas of science that can be solved using x-ray absorption spectroscopy, from energy sciences and catalysis to geochemistry and materials science,” said Bruce Ravel, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which constructed and operates BMM through a partnership with NSLS-II.

    X-ray absorption spectroscopy is a research technique that was developed in the 1980s and, since then, has been at the forefront of scientific discovery.

    “The reason we’ve used this technique for 40 years and the reason why NIST built the BMM beamline is because it adds a great value to the scientific community,” Ravel explained.

    The first group of researchers to conduct experiments at BMM came from jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. Senior Engineer Chris Pelliccione and colleagues used BMM to study the chemistry of jet engines.

    2
    Pratt & Whitney Senior Engineer Chris Pelliccione (left) with NIST’s Bruce Ravel (right) at BMM’s workstation.

    “We investigated the ceramic thermal barrier coatings used in jet engines,” Pelliccione said. “Due to the extreme temperature and pressure that these components operate in, the data from this investigation will help us design for durability. Our experiment at BMM was designed to understand some of the chemical interactions in more detail for today’s programs as well as tomorrow’s new breakthroughs.”

    Coupling BMM’s advanced design with NSLS-II’s ultra-bright x-ray light, the scientists at Pratt & Whitney were able to determine the spatial distribution of chemical interactions in the coating.

    3
    The Beamline for Materials Measurement (BMM) at the National Synchrotron Light Source II.

    “We needed a beamline with a small focused beam size and high flux to obtain the quality of data we were interested in,” Pelliccione said. “BMM offers both of these capabilities and our measurements were very successful. We were able to extract valuable information about the coatings that is not easily accessible through other research techniques.”

    Pratt & Whitney conducted its experiments at BMM during the final “commissioning” stage of the beamline, and the high-caliber research launched BMM into general operations.

    “We hope to take advantage of the fantastic beamlines that are already up and running at NSLS-II, as well as those that are coming online soon,” Pelliccione concluded.

    Ravel added, “It was incredibly gratifying to send Pratt & Whitney home with such valuable data. It is a very important part of NIST’s mission to work with companies and to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness.”

    More about NIST and NSLS-II

    NSLS-II is one of the world’s newest and most advanced synchrotron light sources. NSLS-II currently has 26 beamlines in operations and three in commissioning and construction phases. The facility has space for an additional 30 beamlines to be constructed. With the goal of “seeing” detailed views of chemical reactions, NSLS-II partnered with NIST to develop and operate three beamlines—SST-1, SST -2 and BMM—at NSLS-II.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    BNL Campus

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 2:02 pm on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Atomic Flaws Create Surprising, , , BNL NSLS II, High-Efficiency UV LED Materials,   

    From BNL: “Atomic Flaws Create Surprising, High-Efficiency UV LED Materials” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    February 6, 2018
    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Written by Justin Eure

    1
    The research team, front to back and left to right: Danhua Yan, Mingzhao Liu, Klaus Attenkoffer, Jiajie Cen, Dario Stacciola, Wenrui Zhang, Jerzy Sadowski, Eli Stavitski

    Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) traditionally demand atomic perfection to optimize efficiency. On the nanoscale, where structures span just billionths of a meter, defects should be avoided at all costs—until now.

    A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University has discovered that subtle imperfections can dramatically increase the efficiency and ultraviolet (UV) light output of certain LED materials.

    “The results are surprising and completely counterintuitive,” said Brookhaven Lab scientist Mingzhao Liu, the senior author on the study. “These almost imperceptible flaws, which turned out to be missing oxygen in the surface of zinc oxide nanowires, actually enhance performance. This revelation may inspire new nanomaterial designs far beyond LEDs that would otherwise have been reflexively dismissed.”

    The results, published online Dec. 5, 2017, in Applied Physics Letters, help bring these zinc oxide structures one step closer to use as a UV source in practical applications, including medical sensors, catalysts, and even household lighting.

    “The current LED standard for UV light is gallium nitride, which functions beautifully but is both expensive and is far from being environmentally friendly,” said Brookhaven scientist and study coauthor Dario Stacchiola. “This ‘imperfect’ zinc oxide overcomes those issues.”

    The scientists leveraged the singular instrumentation and expertise available at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) and National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), both DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

    BNL Center for Functional Nanomaterials interior

    BNL NSLS-II

    “Having the capability of exploring materials from synthesis to complex characterization is a unique advantage of Brookhaven Lab,” Stacchiola said. “In fact, the puzzle of zinc-oxide nanowire emission efficiency could only be solved when new instruments came online at NSLS-II.”

    2
    The scientists used a low-temperature approach to grow this nanowire array composed of zinc-oxide crystals. On average, the nanowires have a diameter of 40–50 nanometers (nm) and a length of 500 nm. No image credit.

    Light born on the edge

    The high-performing LEDs exploit a phenomenon called near band edge (NBE) photoluminescence found in semiconducting materials.

    “When electrons in the conduction band recombine with holes in the valence band—crossing the edge of the so-called band gap—they can emit light,” Liu said. “Optimizing that effect, specifically for UV radiation, was our primary goal.”

    The scientists used a relatively simple low-temperature solution-based approach to grow nanowires composed of zinc-oxide crystals. They then applied oxygen plasma to clean the final nanowire structures.

    “By chance, during one test, we executed this plasma step under much lower pressure than usual—and the results were serendipitous and shocking,” Liu said. “That low-pressure plasma treatment is the real game changer here.”

    The unexpected NBE emissions have puzzled scientists for years, but the investigative tools finally advanced enough to shed light on the mystery.

    Bright lights and next-gen nanotechnology

    The key for the breakthrough came through strong synergy between two beamlines at NSLS-II. Data from beamline 8-ID—one of the most intense x-ray absorption sources in the world—combined with the first set of results from a new, state-of-the-art x-ray photoemission electron microscopy (XPEEM) endstation at beamline 21-ID-2. The XPEEM endstation is run as a partnership between CFN and NSLS-II.

    Beamline 8-ID revealed the amount of x-ray absorption, which was then used to deduce the oxidative state of the samples. The measurements at beamline 21-ID-2 complemented that work, bombarding the sample with x-rays to excite electrons and emit photons according to the band levels of the sample. By analyzing that energy, the band positions—and their role in light emission—could be determined with high precision.

    “We found that surface oxygen vacancies create dipoles that confine charge carriers to the core of the nanowire,” said study coauthor and NSLS-II scientist Klaus Attenkofer. “These vacancies appear to drive the highly efficient and pure light emission. And because we know exactly what distinguishes this zinc-oxide structure, we know how to build on it and explore similar materials.”

    The new synthesis technique enables additional structures, such as high-quality, titanium oxide layers, which could be ideal for photocatalysts. Such a material could efficiently act as a water-splitter, providing hydrogen fuel for a host of renewable energy technologies. Future experiments will explore this possibility and even watch the catalytic reactions unfold in real time.

    “The strong synergy between CFN and NSLS-II makes Brookhaven Lab a unique place to do nanomaterials research,” said Chuck Black, the director of the CFN. “Working closely together, the two facilities are developing and offering new research capabilities for the benefit of researchers worldwide. These forefront tools are critical for accelerating nanoscience research, which will enable the advanced materials of tomorrow.”

    See the full article here .

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 4:21 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beamlne 28-ID-2 is one of the few places they could do their experiment, , BNL NSLS II, , , We’re already able to suggest several ways to improve scintillators and samples are being made by our collaborator for our group to study, X-ray imaging, , X-rays can be harmful to patients if they are received in large or multiple doses   

    From BNL: “Scientists Solve Fundamental Puzzle in Medical Imaging” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    October 23, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman

    1
    Researchers from Stony Brook University used the National Synchrotron Light Source II to characterize the physics of how light moves within scintillators. They’re the first group to directly measure this phenomenon. Adrian Howansky (center), a Ph.D. candidate at SBU’s Health Sciences Center, is shown holding one type of scintillator the group studied.

    Scientists from Stony Brook University (SBU) have used a novel technique at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at Brookhaven National Laboratory—to answer longstanding questions in medical imaging.

    BNL NSLS-II

    BNL NSLS-II

    The research team used individual x-rays to characterize the physics of how light moves within scintillators—a component of x-ray detectors—for the very first time. Their findings could aid the development of more efficient x-ray detectors for improved medical diagnoses.

    X-ray imaging is a widespread technique for viewing the internal structures of matter. In the medical field, x-ray imaging is used to generate images of the body’s internal structure for diagnostic and interventional purposes. The method works by projecting x-rays though a patient and capturing them with an x-ray detector to produce a “shadow image” of the patient’s body. While x-ray imaging works similarly across all its applications, it presents a distinct problem to the medical industry.

    “There are competing challenges in medical x-ray imaging,” said Adrian Howansky, a Ph.D. candidate at SBU’s Health Sciences Center. “You want to detect as many x-rays as possible to produce a high-quality image and make the best diagnosis, but you also need to limit the number of x-rays you put through the patient to minimize their safety risk.”

    X-rays can be harmful to patients if they are received in large or multiple doses. That’s why the SBU team sought to optimize x-ray detectors by understanding the physics of how they work. If they could define the exact way these detectors produce an image, the team could identify methods for improving the images without increasing the number of x-rays sent through the patient. To do this, the scientists studied the most crucial component of the x-ray detector, called the scintillator. This material, whose thickness can be as little as 200 micrometers, is responsible for absorbing x-rays and turning them into bursts of visible light.

    “Up until our experiment here at NSLS-II, nobody has been able to precisely describe how light moves within scintillators to form an image,” Howansky said.

    2
    Adrian Howansky is pictured with equipment at NSLS-II’s x-ray powder diffraction beamline, where the Stony Brook group conducted their research. The team’s EMCCD camera is also shown.

    What scientists did know is that when light bounces around a scintillator before it is detected, it produces “blur” that reduces image resolution. Random variations in that blur can also contribute additional noise to the x-ray image. If this phenomenon could be directly observed and understood, scientists could identify ways to improve the performance of x-ray detectors and the quality of the images they produce—and reduce the number of x-rays needed to make usable images.

    The SBU team searched for the sources of this noise by analyzing different types of scintillators at beamline 28-ID-2 at NSLS-II. Using a novel approach, the scientists imaged individual x-rays at known points in the scintillator to eliminate confounding factors.

    “By putting single x-rays at precise depths inside of the scintillators, we were able to characterize exactly how light scatters and gets collected from different points of origin. This allows us to pinpoint each source of noise in the images that scintillators make,” Howansky said. “We’re the first group to be able to directly measure this phenomenon because of the resources at NSLS-II.”

    Rick Lubinsky, an assistant research professor in radiology at SBU, said, “It’s amazing what we are able to do with the help of beamline scientists at NSLS-II. They created the perfect x-ray beam for our research—just the right energy level and just the right shape. The beam was so thin that we could actually move it up and down inside of the scintillator and resolve what was happening. The brightness and intensity of the beam is incredible.”

    NSLS-II was one of the few places the SBU team could find the high spatial resolution and variable high-energy x-rays they needed to conduct their research. “But the proposal this team brought to NSLS-II was not within the scope of the beamline’s scientific program,” said Sanjit Ghose, the beamline scientist at 28-ID-2. “The irony is that this beamline is one of the few places they could do their experiment.” Ghose and Eric Dooryhee—the group leader for the scientific program that includes beamline 28-ID-2—worked hard to ensure the SBU team would be able to conduct this critically important research at NSLS-II. Ghose noted that other scientists whose research does not fit within the scientific programs at NSLS-II beamlines can reach out to the beamline scientists to discuss research opportunities and potentially test the feasibility of their experiments.

    3
    The Stony Brook team studies data with NSLS-II beamline scientist Sanjit Ghose. Pictured from left to right: Adrian Howansy, Rick Lubinsky, Wei Zhao, and Sanjit Ghose.

    “The arrangement of this user facility makes a lot of research possible that otherwise wouldn’t be,” said Wei Zhao, a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at SBU.

    Now that the SBU team has gained fundamental knowledge of the physics of scintillators, they have already begun to research deeper questions, and are working with industry to produce the next generation of x-ray detectors.

    “The study has drawn attention from the medical community and our industrial collaborator that makes high resolution scintillators,” said Zhao. “We’re already able to suggest several ways to improve scintillators, and samples are being made by our collaborator for our group to study.”

    In addition to improving x-ray detectors for medical diagnoses, the results of this study [SPIE] could improve x-ray detectors across the board, including those for dental imaging, security imaging, and synchrotron science.

    See the full article here .

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 3:57 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , BNL NSLS II, ISS-Inner-Shell Spectroscopy beamline, , Scientists have designed a new type of cathode that could make the mass production of sodium batteries more feasible, The ISS beamline was the first operational x-ray spectroscopy beamline at NSLS-II,   

    From BNL: “Scientists Design Promising New Cathode for Sodium-based Batteries” 2017 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 20, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman

    1
    Xiao-Qing Yang (left) and Enyuan Hu (center) of Brookhaven’s Chemistry Department, pictured with beamline physicist Eli Stavitski (right) at the ISS beamline at NSLS-II.

    Scientists have designed a new type of cathode that could make the mass production of sodium batteries more feasible. Batteries based on plentiful and low-cost sodium are of great interest to both scientists and industry as they could facilitate a more cost-efficient production process for grid-scale energy storage systems, consumer electronics and electric vehicles. The discovery was a collaborative effort between researchers at the Institute of Chemistry (IOC) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    Lithium batteries are commonly found in consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptop computers, but in recent years, the electric vehicle industry also began using lithium batteries, significantly increasing the demand on existing lithium resources.

    “Just last year, the price of lithium carbonate tripled, because the Chinese electric vehicle market started booming,” said Xiao-Qing Yang, a physicist at the Chemistry Division of Brookhaven Lab and the lead Brookhaven researcher on this study.

    In addition, the development of new electrical grids that incorporate renewable energy sources like wind and solar is also driving the need for new battery chemistries. Because these energy sources are not always available, grid-scale energy storage systems are needed to store the excess energy produced when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.

    Scientists have been searching for new battery chemistries using materials that are more readily available than lithium. Sodium is one of the most desirable options for researchers because it exists nearly everywhere and is far less toxic to humans than lithium.

    But sodium poses major challenges when incorporated into a traditional battery design. For example, a typical battery’s cathode is made up of metal and oxygen ions arranged in layers. When exposed to air, the metals in a sodium battery’s cathode can be oxidized, decreasing the performance of the battery or even rendering it completely inactive.

    The researchers at IOC of CAS and Jiangxi Normal University sought to resolve this issue by substituting different types of metals in the cathode and increasing the space between these metals. Then, using the Inner-Shell Spectroscopy (ISS) beamline at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a DOE Office of Science User Facility—Brookhaven’s researchers compared the structures of battery materials with unsubstituted materials to these new battery materials with substitute metals.

    “We use the beamline to determine how metals in the cathode material change oxidation states and how it correlates with the efficiency and lifetime of the battery’s structure,” says Eli Stavitski, a physicist at the ISS beamline.”

    The ISS beamline was the first operational x-ray spectroscopy beamline at NSLS-II. Here, researchers shine an ultra-bright x-ray beam through materials to observe how light is absorbed or reemitted. These observations allow researchers to study the structure of different materials, including their chemical and electronic states.

    The ISS beamline, which is specifically designed for high-speed experiments, allowed the researchers to measure real-time changes in the battery during the charge-discharge processes. Based on their observations made at the beamline, Brookhaven’s team discovered that oxidation was suppressed in the sodium batteries with substituted metals, indicating the newly designed sodium batteries were stable when exposed to air. This is a major step forward in enabling future mass production of sodium batteries.

    The researchers say this study[JACS] is the first of many that will use the ISS beamline at NSLS-II to advance the study of batteries.

    This study was supported by several Chinese research organizations, including the National Key R&D Program of China. The work at Brookhaven National Laboratory was supported by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Vehicle Technology Office under Advanced Battery Material Research (BMR). DOE’s Office of Science (BES) also supports operations at NSLS-II.

    See the full article here .

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 3:36 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: -ray photoelectron and infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy, , , , BNL NSLS II, , , , We are the first team to trap a noble gas in a 2D porous structure at room temperature,   

    From BNL: “Studying Argon Gas Trapped in Two-Dimensional Array of Tiny ‘Cages'” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 17, 2017
    Ariana Tantillo
    atantillo@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-2347

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Understanding how individual atoms enter and exit the nanoporous frameworks could help scientists design new materials for gas separation and nuclear waste remediation.

    1
    (Left to right) Anibal Boscoboinik, Jian-Qiang Zhong, Dario Stacchiola, Nusnin Akter, Taejin Kim, Deyu Lu, and Mengen Wang at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN). The team of scientists (including John Kestell and Alejandro Boscoboinik) carried out experiments at CFN, at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source I and II, and in the Lab’s Chemistry Division to study the trapping of individual argon gas atoms (blue prop in Stacchiola’s hand) in two-dimensional (2D) nanoporous frameworks like the one Boscoboinik and Zhong are holding. They had been using these 2D frameworks as analogues to study catalysis in 3D porous materials called zeolites (structural model on the table), which speed up many important reactions such as the conversion of nitrogen-oxide emissions into nitrogen.

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory had just finished an experiment with a two-dimensional (2D) structure they synthesized for catalysis research when, to their surprise, they discovered that atoms of argon gas had gotten trapped inside the structure’s nanosized pores. Argon and other noble gases have previously been trapped in three-dimensional (3D) porous materials, but immobilizing them on surfaces had only been achieved by either cooling the gases to very low temperatures to condense them, or by accelerating gas ions to implant them directly into materials.

    “We are the first team to trap a noble gas in a 2D porous structure at room temperature,” said Anibal Boscoboinik, a materials scientist at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), a DOE Office of Science User Facility where part of the research was conducted.

    This achievement, reported in a paper published today in Nature Communications, will enable scientists to use traditional surface-science tools—such as x-ray photoelectron and infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy—to perform detailed studies of single gas atoms in confinement. The knowledge gained from such research could inform the design, selection, and improvement of adsorbent materials and membranes for capturing gases such as radioactive krypton and xenon generated by nuclear power plants.

    The team of scientists from Brookhaven Lab, Stony Brook University, and the National University of San Luis in Argentina synthesized 2D aluminosilicate (composed of aluminum, silicon, and oxygen) films on top of a ruthenium metal surface. The scientists created this 2D model catalyst material to study the chemical processes happening in the industrially used 3D catalyst (called a zeolite), which has a cage-like structure with open pores and channels the size of small molecules. Because the catalytically active surface is enclosed within these cavities, it is difficult to probe with traditional surface-science tools. The 2D analogue material has the same chemical composition and active site as the 3D porous zeolite but its active site is exposed on a flat surface, which is easier to access with such tools.

    2
    An artistic rendering of an argon (Ar) atom trapped in a nanocage that has a silicon (Si)-oxygen (O) framework.

    To confirm that the argon atoms were trapped in these “nanocages,” the scientists exposed the 2D material to argon gas and measured the kinetic energy and number of electrons ejected from the surface after striking it with an x-ray beam. They performed these studies at the former National Synchrotron Light Source I (NSLS-I) and its successor facility, NSLS-II (both DOE Office of Science User Facilities at Brookhaven), with an instrument developed and operated by the CFN.

    BNL NSLS

    BNL NSLS-II

    BNL NSLS II

    Because the binding energies of core electrons are unique to each chemical element, the resulting spectra reveal the presence and concentration of elements on the surface. In a separate experiment conducted at the CFN, they grazed a beam of infrared light over the surface while introducing argon gas. When atoms absorb light of a specific wavelength, they undergo changes in their vibrational motions that are specific to that element’s molecular structure and chemical bonds.

    To get a better understanding of how the framework itself contributes to caging, the scientists investigated the trapping mechanism with silicate films, which are similar in structure to the aluminosilicates but contain no aluminum. In this case, they discovered that not all of the argon gets trapped in the cages—a small amount goes to the interface between the framework and ruthenium surface. This interface is too compressed in the aluminosilicate films for argon to squeeze in.

    After studying adsorption, the scientists examined the reverse process of desorption by incrementally increasing the temperature until the argon atoms completely released from the surface at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. They corroborated their experimental spectra with theoretical calculations of the amount of energy associated with argon entering and leaving the cages.

    In another infrared spectroscopy experiment conducted in Brookhaven’s Chemistry Division, they explored how the presence of argon in the cages affects the passage of carbon monoxide molecules through the framework. They found that argon restricts the number of molecules that adsorb onto the ruthenium surface.

    “In addition to trapping small atoms, the cages could be used as molecular sieves for filtering carbon monoxide and other small molecules, such as hydrogen and oxygen,” said first author Jian-Qiang Zhong, a CFN research associate.

    While their main goal going forward will be to continue investigating zeolite catalytic processes on the 2D material, the scientists are interested in learning the impact of different pore sizes on the materials’ ability to trap and filter gas molecules.

    “As we seek to better understand the material, interesting and unexpected findings keep coming up,” said Boscoboinik. “The ability to use surface-science methods to understand how a single atom of gas behaves when it is confined in a very small space opens up lots of interesting questions for researchers to answer.”

    This research used resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and was supported by Brookhaven’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) of Argentina.

    NERSC Cray XC40 Cori II supercomputer

    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer


    The Genepool system is a cluster dedicated to the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s computing needs. Denovo is a smaller test system for Genepool that is primarily used by NERSC staff to test new system configurations and software.

    NERSC PDSF


    PDSF is a networked distributed computing cluster designed primarily to meet the detector simulation and data analysis requirements of physics, astrophysics and nuclear science collaborations.

    See the full article here .

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 9:47 am on December 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL NSLS II, , , , , Scientists found that as superconductivity vanishes at higher temperatures powerful waves of electrons begin to curiously uncouple and behave independently—like ocean waves splitting and rippling in, Superconductors carry electricity with perfect efficiency, The puzzling interplay between two key quantum properties of electrons: spin and charge   

    From BNL: “Breaking Electron Waves Provide New Clues to High-Temperature Superconductivity” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    December 5, 2017
    Justin Eure
    jeure@bnl.gov

    Scientists tracked elusive waves of charge and spin that precede and follow the mysterious emergence of superconductivity.

    1
    Brookhaven’s Robert Konik, Genda Gu, Mark Dean, and Hu Miao

    Superconductors carry electricity with perfect efficiency, unlike the inevitable waste inherent in traditional conductors like copper. But that perfection comes at the price of extreme cold—even so-called high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) only emerges well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Discovering the ever-elusive mechanism behind HTS could revolutionize everything from regional power grids to wind turbines.

    Now, a collaboration led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory has discovered a surprising breakdown in the electron interactions that may underpin HTS. The scientists found that as superconductivity vanishes at higher temperatures, powerful waves of electrons begin to curiously uncouple and behave independently—like ocean waves splitting and rippling in different directions.

    “For the first time, we pinpointed these key electron interactions happening after superconductivity subsides,” said first author and Brookhaven Lab research associate Hu Miao. “The portrait is both stranger and more exciting than we expected, and it offers new ways to understand and potentially exploit these remarkable materials.”

    The new study, published November 7 in the journal PNAS, explores the puzzling interplay between two key quantum properties of electrons: spin and charge.

    “We know charge and spin lock together and form waves in copper-oxides cooled down to superconducting temperatures,” said study senior author and Brookhaven Lab physicist Mark Dean. “But we didn’t realize that these electron waves persist but seem to uncouple at higher temperatures.”

    Electronic stripes and waves

    2
    In the RIXS technique, intense x-rays deposit energy into the electron waves of atomically thin layers of high-temperature superconductors. The difference in x-ray energy before and after interaction reveals key information about the fundamental behavior of these exciting and mysterious materials.

    Scientists at Brookhaven Lab discovered in 1995 that spin and charge can lock together and form spatially modulated “stripes” at low temperatures in some HTS materials. Other materials, however, feature correlated electron charges rolling through as charge-density waves that appear to ignore spin entirely. Deepening the HTS mystery, charge and spin can also abandon independence and link together.

    “The role of these ‘stripes’ and correlated waves in high-temperature superconductivity is hotly debated,” Miao said. “Some elements may be essential or just a small piece of the larger puzzle. We needed a clearer picture of electron activity across temperatures, particularly the fleeting signals at warmer temperatures.”

    Imagine knowing the precise chemical structure of ice, for example, but having no idea what happens as it transforms into liquid or vapor. With these copper-oxide superconductors, or cuprates, there is comparable mystery, but hidden within much more complex materials. Still, the scientists essentially needed to take a freezing-cold sample and meticulously warm it to track exactly how its properties change.

    Subtle signals in custom-made materials

    The team turned to a well-established HTS material, lanthanum-barium copper-oxides (LBCO) known for strong stripe formations. Brookhaven Lab scientist Genda Gu painstakingly prepared the samples and customized the electron configurations.

    “We can’t have any structural abnormalities or errant atoms in these cuprates—they must be perfect,” Dean said. “Genda is among the best in the world at creating these materials, and we’re fortunate to have his talent so close at hand.”

    At low temperatures, the electron signals are powerful and easily detected, which is part of why their discovery happened decades ago. To tease out the more elusive signals at higher temperatures, the team needed unprecedented sensitivity.

    “We turned to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France for the key experimental work,” Miao said.


    ESRF. Grenoble, France

    “Our colleagues operate a beamline that carefully tunes the x-ray energy to resonate with specific electrons and detect tiny changes in their behavior.”

    The team used a technique called resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) to track position and charge of the electrons. A focused beam of x-rays strikes the material, deposits some energy, and then bounces off into detectors. Those scattered x-rays carry the signature of the electrons they hit along the way.

    As the temperature rose in the samples, causing superconductivity to fade, the coupled waves of charge and spin began to unlock and move independently.

    “This indicates that their coupling may bolster the stripe formation, or through some unknown mechanism empower high-temperature superconductivity,” Miao said. “It certainly warrants further exploration across other materials to see how prevalent this phenomenon is. It’s a key insight, certainly, but it’s too soon to say how it may unlock the HTS mechanism.”

    That further exploration will include additional HTS materials as well as other synchrotron facilities, notably Brookhaven Lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    BNL NSLS-II

    BNL NSLS II

    “Using new beamlines at NSLS-II, we will have the freedom to rotate the sample and take advantage of significantly better energy resolution,” Dean said. “This will give us a more complete picture of electron correlations throughout the sample. There’s much more discovery to come.”

    Additional collaborators on the study include Yingying Peng, Giacomo Ghiringhelli, and Lucio Braicovich of the Politecnico di Milano, who contributed to the x-ray scattering, as well as José Lorenzana of the University of Rome, Götz Seibold of the Institute for Physics in Cottbus, Germany, and Robert Konik of Brookhaven Lab, who all contributed to the theory work.

    This research was funded by DOE’s Office of Science through Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Emergent Superconductivity.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 4:42 pm on October 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: (DAMA) group - Brookhaven’s Data Acquisition Management and Analysis, Bluesky software, , BNL NSLS II   

    From BNL: “Software Developed at Brookhaven Lab Could Advance Synchrotron Science Worldwide” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    October 2, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman@bnl.gov

    1
    Thomas Caswell (left) and Dan Allan (right), two of Bluesky’s creators.

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed new software to streamline data acquisition (DAQ) at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Called “Bluesky,” the software significantly eases the process of collecting and comparing data at NSLS-II, and could be used to facilitate scientific collaboration between light sources worldwide.

    NSLS-II is one of the most advanced synchrotrons in the nation, and as the facility continues to expand, researchers need dynamic DAQ software to effectively capture and process the large volume and variety of data their experiments produce. Typically at synchrotrons, each beamline (experimental station) uses DAQ software that was developed specifically for that beamline. These beamline-specific types of software are often incompatible with each other, making it difficult for scientists to compare data from different beamlines, as well as other light sources. That’s why Brookhaven’s Data Acquisition, Management and Analysis (DAMA) group developed Bluesky.

    “We wanted to make software that is designed the way scientists think when they are doing an experiment,” said Dan Allan, a member of DAMA. “Bluesky is a language for expressing the steps in a science experiment.”

    2
    From left to right: (Back row) Thomas Caswell, Richard Farnsworth, Arman Arkilic; (Front Row) Yong-Nian Tang, Dan Allan, Stuart Campbell, Li Li

    Allan, alongside DAMA member Thomas Caswell, conceptualized Bluesky as the top “layer” of an existing DAQ system. At the bottom layer is the beamline’s equipment, which works with vendor-supplied software to write electrons onto a disc. The next layer is the Experimental Physics and Industrial Control Software (EPICS).

    “Up to a point, EPICS makes all devices look the same. You can speak a common language to EPICS in the same way you can speak a common language to different websites. It’s the equivalent of the ‘http’ in a web address, but for hardware control,” Allan said. “We’re trying to build a layer up from that.”

    Bluesky stands on the shoulders of EPICS, and provides additional capabilities such as live visualization and data processing tools, and can export data into nearly any file format in real time. Bluesky was developed using “Python,” a common programming language that will make Bluesky simple for future scientists to modify, and to implement at new beamlines and light sources.

    Scientists at NSLS-II are already using Bluesky at the majority of the facility’s beamlines. In particular, Bluesky has benefitted researchers by minimizing the amount of steps involved with DAQ and operating in-line with their experimental protocol.

    “Bluesky is the cruise control for a scientific experiment,” said Richard Farnsworth, the controls program manager at NSLS-II. “Its modular design incorporates a hardware abstraction library called Ophyd and a package for databases called Data Broker, both of which can also be used independently.”

    A version of Bluesky has been operating at NSLS-II since 2015, and ever since, the software has continued to develop smoothly and successfully as DAMA adds new features and upgrades.

    “I think one of the key things that made us successful is that our team wasn’t assigned to one beamline,” Caswell said. “If you’re working on one beamline, it’s very easy to build something tuned to that beamline, and if you ever try to apply it to another, you suddenly discover all sorts of design decisions that were driven by the original beamline. Being facility-wide from the start of our project has been a great advantage.”

    Another important aspect of Bluesky’s success is the fact that it was built for scientists, by scientists.

    “A lot of the beamline scientists don’t see this as the typical customer-client relationship,” said Stuart Campbell, the group leader for DAMA. “They see Bluesky as a collaborative project.”

    As DAMA continues to improve upon Bluesky, the team gives scientists at NSLS-II the opportunity to influence how the software is developed. DAMA tests Bluesky directly on NSLS-II beamlines, and discusses the software with scientists on the experimental floor as they work.

    “I also think it’s very important that Dan and I both have physics PhDs, because that gives us a common language to communicate with the beamline staff,” Caswell said.

    Caswell and Allan first met while they were pursuing their graduate degrees in physics. Through an open source project on the internet, they discovered they each had the missing half to the other’s thesis. Combined, their work formed a project that is still used by research groups around the world, and illustrated the value of building software collaboratively and in the open, as DAMA has done with Bluesky.

    “We were solving the same problem from opposite ends, and I happened to find his project on the internet when we had just about met in the middle,” Allan said. “We both felt satisfaction in creating a tool that we imagined scientists might someday use.”

    Bluesky will be an ongoing project for Campbell, Caswell, Allan, and the rest of the DAMA group, but the software is already being tested at other light sources, including two other DOE Office of Science User Facilities: the Advanced Photon Source at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and the Linac Coherent Light Source at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. DAMA’s goal is to share Bluesky as an open source project with light sources around the world and, gradually, build new layers on top of Bluesky for even more enhanced data visualization and analysis.

    Related Links

    Synchrotron Radiation News: Towards Integrated Facility-Wide Data Acquisition and Analysis at NSLS-IITaylor and Francis online

    See the full article here .

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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