Accelerating Science Discovery - Join the Discussion

Published by Kathy Chambers

X-ray imaging shows how memristors work at  an atomic scale
X-ray imaging shows how memristors work at
an atomic scale.  Image credit:  SLAC National
Accelerator Laboratory

A tiny device called a memristor holds great promise for a new era of electronics.  Unlike a conventional resistor, its resistance can be reset, and it remembers its resistance.  It functions in a way that is similar to synapses in the human brain, where neurons pass and receive information.  A memristor is a two-terminal device whose resistance depends on the voltages applied to it in the past.  When the voltage is turned off, the resistance remains or remembers where it was previously.  This little device actually learns.  A commercially viable memristor could enable us to move away from flash memory and silicon-based computing to smart energy-efficient computers that operate similarly to the human brain, with the capability to comprehend speech and images, and with highly advanced memory retention.

Published by Kathy Chambers

Albert Migliori
Image credit: Los Alamos
National Laboratory

Condensed matter physicist Albert Migliori has been solving scientific mysteries for national security throughout his career.  Migliori is a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) fellow, the Director of the Seaborg Institute for Actinide Science, and a member of the Science Advisory Council at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.  He is best known for leading development of a technique called resonant ultrasound spectroscopy (RUS), a powerful tool that uses acoustic tones to determine important measurements in condensed matter physics, including superconductivity. 

Migliori recently wrote about his love of physics and fascinating career in an “In Their Own Words” column in LANL’s 1663 magazine.  Migliori grew up in the 1950s on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, where he learned to rewire lamps and fix everything as a young child.  He became interested in physics at a science magnet high school in New York City and received his B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois.  He became hooked on what he calls, “hard-core, hands-dirty experimental physics.” 

Published by Kathy Chambers

Blue Ocean
Image Credit: DOE Water Power Program

Movements of waves, tides, and currents in the ocean carry kinetic energy that can be harnessed and converted to electricity.  There is vast potential for using this ocean resource to provide clean, renewable energy to communities and cities in coastal areas, and it could impact the nearly half of the U.S. population that lives within 50 miles of the coastlines. 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Program supports the design, development, testing, and demonstration of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies that can capture energy from waves, tides, and currents.  This program also funds the creation of instrumentation, modeling, and simulation tools to enable real-condition testing of technologies.  DOE recently announced $20 million in funding for projects that advance and monitor marine and hydrokinetic energy systems and will contribute to the development of a commercially viable MHK industry.

The Water Power Program also sponsored the $2.25 million, 20-month Wave Energy Prize challenge.  This public contest was designed to encourage the development of more efficient wave energy converter (WEC) devices that would double the energy absorption base line captured from ocean waves, making wave energy more competitive with traditional energy solutions. 

Published by Erin Dominick Anderson

Besides having a passion for serving our country and its citizens through broad dissemination of Department of Energy R&D results, Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) employees are also committed to giving back to their local, national, and global communities in other ways.

Similar to many employer-supported charitable giving campaigns, there is an annual effort across the U.S. Federal Government known as the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).  OSTI has participated for many years, with a high percentage of employees donating each campaign season.  The CFC was created in 1961 to coordinate the fundraising efforts of various charitable organizations, which must demonstrate standards of transparency and effectiveness in order to participate in the campaign.  Federal employees continue to make the CFC the largest and most successful workplace philanthropic fundraiser in the world.  The CFC is structured with 125 local campaigns that organize the annual fundraising effort.  OSTI is part of the Smoky Mountain Region Combined Federal Campaign.  In 2016, OSTI employees donated thousands of dollars to local, national, and international organizations.

Published by Kathy Chambers

David Mandrus shows a model of the  perovskite crystal structure
David Mandrus shows a model of the
perovskite crystal structure.  Image Credit:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

An exciting race is underway in the field of solar energy to develop a commercially viable material for solar cells to capture the sun’s rays and produce cheap, abundant solar energy for the planet.  A class of materials called perovskites has recently emerged that researchers believe promises to be the winner in this solar energy race.  According to scientists at Ames Laboratory, perovskites are, “optically active, semiconducting compounds that are known to display intriguing electronic, light-emitting and chemical properties,” with lead-halide perovskites now one of the most favorable semiconductors for solar cells because of their, “low cost, easier processability and high power conversion efficiencies.”  Perovskite materials are now considered to be the future of solar cells and are playing a role in next-generation electric batteries, sensors, lasers, fuel cells, memory devices, spintronics, and other applications.