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2015 – A Good Year for Spintronics Research

by Kathy Chambers 19 Jan, 2016 in
The flow of a magnetic property of electrons known as spin current from a magnetic material (blue), to a nonmagnetic material (red). Image courtesy SLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryThe flow of a magnetic property of electrons known as spin current from a magnetic material (blue), to a nonmagnetic material (red). Image courtesy SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Department of Energy (DOE) researchers and their collaborators continued to make significant progress throughout 2015 in the emerging field of spintronics, also known as magnetic electronics.  Spintronics could change conventional electronics by using the spin of electrons to store information in solid state devices rather than, or in addition to, the transport of the electrical charge of electrons.  This new technology addresses many of the challenges of conventional electronics because it allows for transfer of information from one place to another using much less energy, essentially generating no heat, and requiring little space.  The field of spintronics is rapidly advancing and opportunities at the frontiers of spintronics are immense.

Many discoveries made by DOE researchers in 2015 have had critical implications in the field of spintronics.  For example, Argonne National Laboratory's postdoctoral researcher Stephen M. Wu made the significant and unexpectedly discovery that...

Related Topics: OSTIblog


Amazing Aerogels

A red flower constructed from an aerogel displayed on a pedestal.

Aerogels are some of the most fascinating materials on the planet. They were discovered in the 1930s by Stanford University’s Samuel Kistler who proved that he could successfully replace a gel’s liquid with a gas by drying it, thereby creating a substance that was structurally a gel, but without liquid. Since their invention aerogels have primarily been made of silica but can be made of a growing variety of substances including transition metal oxides, organic polymers, biological polymers, semiconductor nanostructures, graphene, carbon, carbon nanotubes and metals as well as aerogel composite materials and the list is growing.

A brief glimpse of beautiful aerogels shows us they are in a class by themselves with combinations of materials properties that no other material possesses. And, these properties can be adjusted by tailoring the production process. Among other characteristics, aerogels are solid, rigid, and dry despite being named gels. They are the lightest known solids in existence and made of almost nothing. Silica aerogels, for example, typically consist of more than 96% air and the remaining 4% is a wispy web of silica. Their looks are also deceiving. You might think you could pass your hand right through a transparent silica aerogel, sometimes nicknamed ‘frozen smoke,’ but think again—it is very solid to the touch. Extraordinarily strong,...

Related Topics: OSTIBLOG, Aerogels, biological, carbon, graphene, metals, oxides, planet, polymers, semiconductor, silica


Enjoy the benefits of LED lighting

Christmas tree lit with LED lights in front of the United States Capitol.

Every day we are bombarded with advertisements in every form and format telling us that our lives will be improved if we buy a particular product because it will save us money, reduce our work effort, save us energy, or benefit the environment. We are justifiably skeptical because we know from experience that if something sounds too good to be true, usually it is. Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is one of the exceptions. LEDs benefits are so powerful that they seem too good to be true; however, they actually do save us money, reduce our work effort, save us energy and benefit our environment.

Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is a type of solid-state lighting that uses a semiconductor to convert electricity to light. LED lighting products are beginning to appear in a wide variety of home, business, and industrial products such as holiday lighting, replacement bulbs for incandescent lamps, street lighting, outdoor area lighting and indoor ambient lighting. The LED lighting industry is on the brink of acceptance because consumers are beginning to realize the truly amazing...

Related Topics: OSTIBLOG, cumulative energy, energy star, LED, Light-emitting diode, lighting, solid-state


The Reverend Thomas Bayes

Reverend Thomas Bayes

During the 1700’s, the Reverend Thomas Bayes was a nonconformist minister at the Mount Sion Chapel in Tunbridge Wells, UK, about 40 miles southeast of central London.  Having studied both theology and logic at the University of Edinburgh, he was also a mathematician and developed a strong interest in probability late in life. He was known to have published only one book on theology and one book on mathematics in his lifetime. A third manuscript he never published about the probability of cause made him famous. After his death, a good friend Richard Price recognized the importance of the paper and, after extensive editing, submitted it for publication. More than 20 years later, the great French mathematician, Pierre-Simon Laplace devised the formula for Bayes’ probability of causes and acknowledged Bayes as the discoverer of what we now know as Bayesian inference

This year is the 250th anniversary of Bayesian inference. During its history, the Bayes theory has been doubted, disproven, defended, and challenged again and again and again.  It has consistently been an important tool in understanding what we really know, given the evidence and other information we have. It helps incorporate "conditional probabilities" into our conclusions. 

Bayesian inference has recently become prominent in many scientific...

Related Topics: OSTIBLOG, Bayesian Inference, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Thomas Bayes


OSTIBlog has a new look

Alternate Text PlaceholderThe redesign of OSTIblog makes it easier to find and view blog articles.  The OSTIblog home screen now displays the title, image and opening paragraph for the last five articles.  Earlier articles can be paged through, again viewing five per page. 

The new menu bar has tabs for Topics, Authors, and Archive. The Topics tab allows users to browse OSTIblog articles assigned to one of four topic areas:  Personal Perspectives, Products and Content, Science Communications, and Technology.  There is also an option to browse by the name of an OSTI database, search tool or other product.  The last choice under the Topics tab is to browse OSTIblog articles by subject tags.  The Authors tab let users search for an author or browse through the list of names of all who have contributed to OSTIblog.  Those looking for articles from a specific time period and use the Archive tab to access articles by month and year, dating back to November 2007.  

If you have not been keeping up with OSTIblog, you might want to take a little time to check out some of the recent OSTIblog posts: 

OSTI R&D Plus News on the Move

by Doug Bales 23 Aug, 2010 in Technology
Mobile Web

Ever wonder what innovations OSTI is developing to keep you informed while you are on the go? No need to ever wonder while you wander.

Now you can get DOE R&D full-text reports, OSTI news, videos and more while you’re on the move.

The new mobile web page allows you to:
• Get full-text DOE R&D from Information Bridge 
• Read the latest news in our RSS feed (see image);
• View our YouTube videos;
• Read our award-winning blog
• Visit us on Facebook and Twitter

Visit to test drive or take it on the road with your mobile device.

Doug Bales

Related Topics: OSTI Youtube Channel, OSTIBLOG, mobile, OSTI news, RSS feeds, videos