Spallation Neutron Source

Even Superalloys Get Creeped Out From Stress

Researchers design superalloys by embedding particles in a metal matrix. The particles and matrix can deform differently under stress, causing components to fail. Researchers used neutrons to probe the internal stresses in two superalloys at high temperatures and loads to obtain new insights on deformation and validate mathematical models. This will lead to components with longer life and higher reliability.

St. Jude Research uses neutrons to shine light on shutting down cancer cells

To investigate what happens inside cells when they are at risk of becoming cancerous, scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have been using neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The team is searching to better understand the altered state of the nucleolus—a membrane-less organelle inside the cell—when the cell is compromised. Novel insights into cell behavior at the atomic and molecular scales will enable better detection and treatment of cancer in its many forms.

Some Like It Hot: Boosting Efficiency in Solar Cells

Novel hot-carrier solar cells convert sunlight to electricity more efficiently than conventional solar cells by harnessing charge carriers before they lose their energy to heat. A key to keeping electric charges hot longer is to slow the phonons that transport heat. Recent research shows that thermal transport—and thus performance—in hot-carrier solar cells can be reduced by replacing hydrogen atoms with heavier deuterium atoms.

X-ray study explores potential of hepatitis C drugs to treat COVID-19

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigated the binding properties of several hepatitis C drugs to determine how well they inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 main protease, a crucial protein enzyme that enables the novel coronavirus to reproduce. Inhibiting, or blocking, the protease from functioning is vital to stopping the virus from spreading in patients with COVID-19.

X-rays size up protein structure at the ‘heart’ of COVID-19 virus

Researchers have performed the first room temperature X-ray measurements on the SARS-CoV-2 main protease—the enzyme that enables the virus to reproduce. It marks an important first step in the ultimate goal of building a comprehensive 3D model of the enzymatic protein that will be used to advance supercomputing simulations aimed at finding drug inhibitors to block the virus’s replication mechanism and help end the COVID-19 pandemic.

History of insightful HIV research inspires neutron scattering approach to studying COVID-19

What began as novel investigations into HIV, abruptly pivoted to the novel coronavirus as it began to spread across the globe. Now, ORNL researchers are using neutrons to learn more about the SARS-CoV-2 protease—a protein enzyme that enables the virus to replicate within the human body. Insights on the protein structure and its behaviors will be used to create more accurate models for simulations in aims of finding drug inhibitors to block the virus’s ability to reproduce.

ORNL neutrons add advanced polarization capability for measuring magnetic materials

Neutron scattering instruments at ORNL’s HFIR and SNS are undergoing upgrades which will enable them to study magnetic phenomena previously not possible in the US. Incorporating a device for spherical neutron polarimetry enables the ability to characterize complex magnetic systems in new dimensions for materials that could be developed for enhanced data storage and quantum computing technologies.

New ORNL software improves neutron spectroscopy data resolution

Neutron spectroscopy is an important tool for studying magnetic and thermoelectric properties in materials. But often the resolution, or the ability of the instrument to see fine details, is too coarse to clearly observe features identifying novel phenomena in new advanced materials. To solve this problem, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, developed a new super-resolution software, called SRINS, that makes it easier for scientists to better understand materials’ dynamical properties using neutron spectroscopy.