Gaming the Research: Reinforcement Learning Changing Data Evaluation Challenges

Advances in artificial intelligence, specifically reinforcement learning, are proving beneficial to accelerating the pace of data-intensive challenges. The methods used by researchers with RL are techniques often used in video games, and by applying gamification to scientific processes, RL agents can learn as they are used in experiments, in effect, leveling up their rates of discovery as they work. Researchers are using trained RL agents at NSLS-II to accelerate the analysis of data-heavy measurements.

Automatically Steering Experiments Toward Scientific Discovery

Scientists at Brookhaven and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories have been developing an automated experimental setup of data collection, analysis, and decision making.

Virtual Summer Sundays Return

Every year, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory opens its gates to thousands of community members for open house events called Summer Sundays. Visitors get to meet the Lab’s scientists and tour a different world-class science facility each week, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)—all DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

Exploring the Electrochemistry of Water-Based Batteries

Researchers at Stony Brook University (SBU) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have identified the primary reaction mechanism that occurs in a rechargeable, water-based battery made from zinc and manganese oxide. The findings, published in Energy and Environmental Science, provide new insight for developing grid-scale energy storage.

Alex Harris Named Energy Sciences Director at Brookhaven Lab

UPTON, NY—The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has named Alex Harris as Director of the Lab’s Energy Sciences Department, effective May 1, 2021. In his new position, Harris will manage several divisions of the Laboratory, including the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the Chemistry Division, and the Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Division.

Scientists Discover New Approach to Stabilize Cathode Materials

UPTON, NY—A team of researchers led by chemists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has studied an elusive property in cathode materials, called a valence gradient, to understand its effect on battery performance. The findings, published in Nature Communications, demonstrated that the valence gradient can serve as a new approach for stabilizing the structure of high-nickel-content cathodes against degradation and safety issues.

Chemists Settle Battery Debate, Propel Research Forward

UPTON, NY—A team of researchers led by chemists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has identified new details of the reaction mechanism that takes place in batteries with lithium metal anodes. The findings, published today in Nature Nanotechnology, are a major step towards developing smaller, lighter, and less expensive batteries for electric vehicles.

Light-induced twisting of Weyl nodes switches on giant electron current

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and collaborators at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Alabama at Birmingham have discovered a new light-induced switch that twists the crystal lattice of the material, switching on a giant electron current that appears to be nearly dissipationless. The discovery was made in a category of topological materials that holds great promise for spintronics, topological effect transistors, and quantum computing.

DNA Origami Enables Fabricating Superconducting Nanowires

In AIP Advances, researchers describe how to exploit DNA origami as a platform to build superconducting nanoarchitectures. The structures they built are addressable with nanometric precision that can be used as a template for 3D architectures that are not possible today via conventional fabrication techniques. Inspired by previous works using the DNA molecule as a template for superconducting nanowires, the group took advantage of a recent bioengineering advance known as DNA origami to fold DNA into arbitrary shapes.

Scientists Streamline Process for Controlling Spin Dynamics

UPTON, NY—Marking a major achievement in the field of spintronics, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Yale University have demonstrated the ability to control spin dynamics in magnetic materials by altering their thickness. The study, published today in Nature Materials, could lead to smaller, more energy-efficient electronic devices.

Scientists Say Farewell to Daya Bay Site, Proceed with Final Data Analysis

The Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment collaboration – which made a precise measurement of an important neutrino property eight years ago, setting the stage for a new round of experiments and discoveries about these hard-to-study particles – has finished taking data. Though the experiment is formally shutting down, the collaboration will continue to analyze its complete dataset to improve upon the precision of findings based on earlier measurements.

Batteries Mimic Mammal Bones for Stability

Sodium-ion batteries offer several advantages over lithium-ion batteries; however, it is difficult to develop sodium cathodes, materials through which electrons can enter a battery. Many candidate materials are unstable or cannot withstand high voltages. To find a solution, researchers turned to nature. They created a porous system of NVP structures, surrounded by a dense shell of reduced graphene oxide. They describe the mammal bone-inspired sodium cathode in the journal Applied Physics Reviews.

Quantum X-ray Microscope Underway at Brookhaven Lab

UPTON, NY—Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have begun building a quantum-enhanced x-ray microscope at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II). This groundbreaking microscope, supported by the Biological and Environmental Research progam at DOE’s Office of Science, will enable researchers to image biomolecules like never before.

ATLAS Experiment Upgrade Wins DOE Project Management Award

In recognition of project management excellence, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the U.S. ATLAS Phase I Detector Upgrade team, led by DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University, with the Secretary’s Achievement Award. The upgrade is one of only three projects to be honored with a DOE project management award this year.

IBM Investigates Microelectronics at NSLS-II

From smartphones to laptops, the demand for smaller and faster electronics is ever increasing. And as more everyday activities move to virtual formats, making consumer electronics more powerful and widely available is more important than ever. IBM is one company at the forefront of this movement, researching ways to shrink and redesign their microelectronics—the transistors and other semiconductor devices that make up the small but mighty chips at the heart of all consumer electronics.

NSLS-II User Profile: Joshua Carter, CEO of Helix BioStructures

Joshua Carter is a co-founder and the CEO of Helix BioStructures, a contract research organization serving the pharmaceutical industry in early-phase drug discovery. Since starting Helix Biostructures in 2017, Carter has leveraged the fast-paced, industrial capabilities of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a U.

Drones Help Calibrate Radio Telescope at Brookhaven Lab

Cosmologists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory are experimenting with a prototype radio telescope, called the Baryon Mapping Experiment (BMX). Built at the Lab in 2017, the prototype serves as a testbed for managing radio interference and developing calibration techniques. Lessons learned from the prototype could pave the way for Brookhaven to develop a much larger radio telescope in collaboration with other national Labs, universities, and international partners.

Major upgrades of particle detectors and electronics prepare CERN experiment to stream a data tsunami

For an experiment that will generate big data at unprecedented rates, physicists led design, development, mass production and delivery of an upgrade of novel particle detectors and state-of-the art electronics.

Cell Membrane Proteins Imaged in 3-D

A team of scientists including researchers at the National Synchrotron Light Source II have demonstrated a new technique for imaging proteins in 3-D with nanoscale resolution. Their work, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, enables researchers to identify the precise location of proteins within individual cells, reaching the resolution of the cell membrane and the smallest subcellular organelles.

Great Neck South Wins Long Island Regional Science Bowls

UPTON, NY—On Thursday, Jan. 30 and Friday, Jan. 31, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory held two back-to-back installments of the Long Island Science Bowl, a regional branch of DOE’s 30th annual National Science Bowl® (NSB). In this fast-paced question-and-answer showdown, teams of students from across Long Island were tested on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math.

Cathode ‘Defects’ Improve Battery Performance

Chemists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have made a new finding about battery performance that points to a different strategy for optimizing cathode materials. Their research, published in Chemistry of Materials and featured in ACS Editors’ Choice, focuses on controlling the amount of structural defects in the cathode material.

Meet Liguo Wang, Scientific Operations Director of LBMS

This spring, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory will open its new cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) center, the Laboratory for BioMolecular Structure (LBMS). A state-of-the-art research center for life sciences imaging, LBMS will offer two advanced cryo-electron microscopes for studying complex proteins, as well as the architecture of cells and tissues.

Department of Energy Selects Site for Electron-Ion Collider

UPTON, NY— Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) named Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island in New York as the site for building an Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), a one-of-a-kind nuclear physics research facility. This announcement, following DOE’s approval of “mission need” (known as Critical Decision 0) on December 19, 2019, enables work to begin on R&D and the conceptual design for this next-generation collider at Brookhaven Lab.

Top-10 Science and Technology Achievements of 2019

In 2019, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory dove deeper into proton spin, took a leap in quantum communication, and uncovered new details of plant biochemistry, battery cathodes, catalysts, superconductors, and more. Here, in no particular order, are the biggest advances of the year.