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Currents Newsletter

Welcome to Currents


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

Dr. Steven Ashby
Laboratory Director

In this issue — April 2014

Improving Long-Term Battery Performance

A new hybrid anode design may improve the long-term performance of batteries. Published in Nature Communications, this research reveals a new lithium-sulfur electrode design that minimizes degradation and improves a battery's efficiency and ability to store electrical charge. Read more

Krypton Reporter Uncovers Oxygen Behavior

Using krypton reporter atoms, PNNL scientists found that oxygen adatoms on a titanium oxide catalyst respond to UV light — an unexpected result that answers basic questions about the behavior of oxygen adatoms and other forms of chemisorbed oxygen. Published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, this fundamental research could lead to innovations in catalysis and energy production technologies. Read more

Asian Pollution Makes Pacific Storms More Intense

Collaborators: Texas A&M University; University of California at San Diego; NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Collaborative research that simulates the effects of Asian pollution on the Pacific storm track shows how Asian pollution can influence weather over much of the world. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the research team compared the effects of pollution emissions between 1850 the present day by embedding highly detailed cloud simulations within the lower resolution grid cells of a global model. Read more

Uncovering Details of Proton Relays

Wind is a sustainable, carbon-neutral energy source, but its use is limited unless the resulting electricity can be stored for days without wind. One option is to store energy in chemical bonds, which requires understanding how protons flow. In an invited review in Chemical Communications, PNNL scientists R. Morris Bullock, Aaron Appel and Monte Helm describe how proton relays influence the catalysts that produce the desired bonds. Read more

Understanding Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria

Collaborators: University of Missouri; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; ENIGMA

Sulfate-reducing bacteria can have harmful industrial and health effects as well as beneficial environmental effects. Working at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL, scientists — including Dr. Judy D. Wall of the University of Missouri — examined the biochemical pathways used by these microbes to convert sulfate to hydrogen sulfide. The findings, published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, could be used to increase the effectiveness of environmental remediation efforts and to control health and industrial problems caused by these bacteria. Read more

Imaging a Single Layer of Proteins

Collaborators: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Using exceptionally bright and fast X-rays, scientists illuminated and captured an image of a sheet of protein crystals just one molecule thick. The technique, which uses X-ray free electron laser technology, may allow researchers to better understand how proteins change their shape as they interact with other proteins or molecules in their environment. This research was published in International Union of Crystallography Journal. Read more

Turning Hydrocarbons into Electron Attractors

Collaborators: Colorado State University

To understand the fundamental behavior of materials, scientists need a simple, quick way to build designer molecules. A new one-pot method transforms polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, into ones that now have an affinity for electrons. The resulting molecules and those to follow will provide insights needed to design tailored materials — free of expensive metals — for use in catalysts, energy production and other devices. This research was published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Read more

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