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Research Highlights

Twin Otter aircraft in RACORO campaign with cloud probe
Full Story | June 2016

Digging into Clouds from the Bottom Up
Researchers created new code commands to compute the cloud droplet number concentration using existing surface measurements

Scientists at PNNL got creative with the data they already have to calculate a cloud property normally acquired by research aircraft flying through it. What is this valuable measurement they seek? The cloud droplet number concentration provides insight into how reflective and long-lasting a cloud is, to understand the amount of sunlight energy that hits Earth's surface.


Confocal micrograph depicting a thermophilic microbial consortium
Full Story | June 2016

A New Way to Model the Complex Metabolism of Microbial Communities
Using community-level data to reconstruct elusive multi-species metabolic networks

A new paper in the Journal of Cellular Physiology proposes a novel way to model and predict the metabolic interactions across species in microbial communities. It is authored by five researchers at the PNNL and two colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory.


Model of metal organic framework
Full Story | June 2016

New Material Has Potential to Cut Costs and Make Nuclear Fuel Recycling Cleaner
Computer modeling helps pinpoint best material out of a hundred thousand options

Researchers are investigating a new material that might help in nuclear fuel recycling and waste reduction by capturing certain gases released during reprocessing. Conventional technologies to remove these radioactive gases operate at extremely low, energy-intensive temperatures. By working at ambient temperature, the new material has the potential to save energy, make reprocessing cleaner and less expensive. The reclaimed materials can also be reused commercially. Appearing in Nature Communications, the work is a collaboration between experimentalists and computer modelers exploring the characteristics of materials known as metal-organic frameworks.


Fission
Full Story | April 2016

A Slow Separation
Novel model illustrates the finer details of nuclear fission

In the first study of its kind, scientists collaborating from the University of Washington, Warsaw University of Technology, Los Alamos National Laboratory and PNNL developed a novel model seeking a more intricate look at what happens during the final stages of the nuclear fission process. Using the model, they determined that fission fragments remain connected far longer than expected before the daughter nuclei split apart, delivering a long-awaited description of real-time fission dynamics within a microscopic framework and opening a pathway to a theoretical method with abundant predictive power. Notably, in addition to its publication, the paper was highlighted as an Editors’ Suggestion by Physical Review Letters.

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