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Research Highlights

night lights over Greater Beijing Metropolitan Area
Full Story | April 2016

Beijing's Growing Urban Area Spells Rain Change
Urbanization increases atmospheric particles enough to impact clouds and change precipitation patterns

Atmospheric researchers at PNNL found that the impact of urbanization around Beijing, China, creates two opposite regional effects, one of which dictates seasonal rainfall in the area. Urbanization increases particle emissions from combustion that impact clouds and suppress rainfall in the upwind area while increasing it in the downwind area. The urban heat island effect to increase regional temperatures had less of an impact on rainfall.


James Schematic of hyporheic zone
Full Story | April 2016

Microbes Take Center Stage in Workings of "the River's Liver"
Scientists explore climate impact as rivers ebb and flow

A team of researchers at PNNL are studying the hyporheic zone, a riverine biogeochemical hotspot, where hungry microbes may boost emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases. Understanding what occurs when surface water and groundwater meet and mix is critical for understanding our planet's carbon cycle


Artistic interpretation of soft landing review paper
Full Story | April 2016

The Hard Facts about Soft Landing Ions
Scientists review cutting-edge techniques that offer insights into processes of interest for energy production, storage, and catalysis

When determining how complex molecules drive reactions relevant to fuel production, pollution abatement, and energy storage, scientists often contend with unrelated molecules that obscure their studies. Some researchers avoid these troublemakers by using ion soft- and reactive-landing techniques that sort the molecules by their mass-to-charge ratio, kinetic energy, and ionic charge state. The scientists can concentrate the purified molecules into a beam and control its size, shape, and position to prepare highly tailored films and structures. At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Dr. Julia Laskin, Dr. Grant Johnson, and Dr. Don Gunaratne took on the challenge of reviewing these techniques. Their article covers hundreds of studies.


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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