Tag Archives: chemical reaction

New Coal Technology Harnesses Energy without Burning, Nears Pilot-Scale Development

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new form of clean coal technology reached an important milestone recently, with the successful operation of a research-scale combustion system at Ohio State University. The technology is now ready for testing at a larger scale.

For 203 continuous hours, the Ohio State combustion unit produced heat from coal while capturing 99 percent of the carbon dioxide produced in the reaction. (more…)

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JILA Physicists Achieve Elusive ‘Evaporative Cooling’ of Molecules

Achieving a goal considered nearly impossible, JILA physicists have chilled a gas of molecules to very low temperatures by adapting the familiar process by which a hot cup of coffee cools.

JILA is a joint institute of the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology located on the CU-Boulder campus. (more…)

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State-of-the-Art Beams from Table-Top Accelerators

Berkeley Lab’s lead in laser plasma acceleration research continues with new benchmarks for electron beam quality

Part One: Focusing in on beam focus

The rapidly evolving technology of laser plasma accelerators (LPAs) – called “table-top accelerators” because their length can be measured in centimeters instead of kilometers – promises a new breed of machines, far less expensive and with far less impact on the land and the environment than today’s conventional accelerators.

Future LPAs offer not only compact high-energy colliders for fundamental physics but diminutive light sources as well. These will probe chemical reactions, from artificial photosynthesis to “green catalysis”; unique biological structures, inaccessible to other forms of microscopy yet essential to understanding life and health; and new materials, including low-temperature superconductors, topological insulators, spintronics devices, and graphene nanostructures, which will revolutionize the electronics industry. With intensely bright beams spanning the spectrum from microwaves to gamma rays, table-top accelerators will open new vistas of science. (more…)

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The Best of Both Catalytic Worlds

Berkeley Lab Researchers Develop New Technique for Heterogenizing Homogenous Nano Catalysts

Catalysts are substances that speed up the rates of chemical reactions without themselves being chemically changed. Industrial catalysts come in two main types – heterogeneous, in which the catalyst is in a different phase from the reactants; and homogeneous, in which catalyst and the reactants are in the same phase. Heterogeneous catalysts are valued for their sustainability because they can be recycled. Homogeneous catalysts are valued for their product selectivity as their properties can be easily tuned through relatively simple chemistry.

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have combined the best properties of both types of industrial catalysts by encapsulating nanoclusters of a metallic heterogeneous catalyst within the branched arms of the molecules known as dendrimers. (more…)

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Increase in Metal Concentrations in Rocky Mountain Watershed Tied to Warming Temperatures

Warmer air temperatures since the 1980s may explain significant increases in zinc and other metal concentrations of ecological concern in a Rocky Mountain watershed, reports a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Rising concentrations of zinc and other metals in the upper Snake River just west of the Continental Divide near Keystone, Colo., may be the result of falling water tables, melting permafrost and accelerating mineral weathering rates, all driven by warmer air temperatures in the watershed.  Researchers observed a fourfold increase in dissolved zinc over the last 30 years during the month of September. (more…)

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Scientists Dramatically Reduce Plaque-Forming Substances in Mice with Alzheimer’s Disease

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scientists have found that eliminating an enzyme from mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease leads to a 90 percent reduction in the compounds responsible for formation of the plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

That is the most dramatic reduction in this compound reported to date in published research.

The compounds are amyloid beta, or A-beta peptides; peptides are proteins, but are shorter in length. When A-beta peptides accumulate in excessive amounts in the brain, they can form plaques, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)

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Rust Never Sleeps

Berkeley Lab-led Observations of Electron Hopping in Iron Oxide Hold Consequences for Environment and Energy

Rust – iron oxide – is a poor conductor of electricity, which is why an electronic device with a rusted battery usually won’t work. Despite this poor conductivity, an electron transferred to a particle of rust will use thermal energy to continually move or “hop” from one atom of iron to the next. Electron mobility in iron oxide can hold huge significance for a broad range of environment- and energy-related reactions, including reactions pertaining to uranium in groundwater and reactions pertaining to low-cost solar energy devices. Predicting the impact of electron-hopping on iron oxide reactions has been problematic in the past, but now, for the first time, a multi-institutional team of researchers, led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have directly observed what happens to electrons after they have been transferred to an iron oxide particle. (more…)

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CU-Boulder-led Team Finds Microbes in Extreme Environment on South American Volcanoes

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for organisms that eke out a living in some of the most inhospitable soils on Earth has found a hardy few.

A new DNA analysis of rocky soils in the Martian-like landscape on some volcanoes in South America has revealed a handful of bacteria, fungi and other rudimentary organisms called archaea, which seem to have a different way of converting energy than their cousins elsewhere in the world.

“We haven’t formally identified or characterized the species,” said Ryan Lynch, a CU-Boulder doctoral student involved in the study. “But these are very different than anything else that has been cultured. Genetically, they’re at least 5 percent different than anything else in the DNA database of 2.5 million sequences.” (more…)

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