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Diamond Shines in Molecular Dynamics Simulations

January 6, 2017

For centuries diamonds have been revered for their strength, beauty, value and utility. Now a team of researchers from Argonne National Laboratory, running molecular dynamics calculations at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility and NERSC, are finding additional reasons to celebrate this complex material—and it has nothing to do with color, cut or clarity. Read More »

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Simulations Confirm Observations of 2015 India/Pakistan Heat Waves

December 15, 2016

A paper published December 15 during the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting in San Francisco points to new evidence of human influence on extreme weather events. Three researchers from Berkeley Lab are among the co-authors on the paper, "The Deadly Combination of Heat and Humidity in India and Pakistan in Summer 2015," which examined observational and simulated temperature and heat indexes and concluded that the two separate heat waves "were exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change." Read More »


Supercomputers Help ID New Drug Leads to Fight Heart Disease

December 5, 2016

Using a unique computational approach to rapidly sample proteins in their natural state of gyrating, bobbing and weaving, researchers have identified promising drug leads that may selectively combat heart disease. Read More »

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Global Brain Initiatives Generate Tsunami of Neuroscience Data

November 22, 2016

Around the world, various 'Brain Initiatives' are generating a tsunami of neuroscience data. But without a coherent strategy to analyze, manage and understand the data, advancements in the field will be limited. That's why Berkeley Lab's Kristofer Bouchard assembled an international team of interdisciplinary researchers, including NERSC staff, to overcome the big data challenge. Read More »


Multiscale HPC Captures Photovoltaics at the Nanoscale

October 19, 2016

Advances in ultrafast spectroscopy experiments and high performance computing are revolutionizing the scientific community’s ability to study the physical processes that occur in solar cells at short length and time scales. Read More »


The Incredible Shrinking Particle Accelerator

October 5, 2016

WarpIV, a new data analysis/visualization toolkit developed at Berkeley Lab, is designed to help speed particle accelerator research and design by enabling in situ visualization and analysis of accelerator simulations at scale. Read More »

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Researchers use Edison to Improve Performance, Energy Efficiency of Bioinformatics Application

September 13, 2016

A team of computer scientists and geneticists from Iowa State University, the University of Maryland and the University of Arkansas have demonstrated significant speedups of the epiSNP bioinformatics program using the Edison supercomputer at NERSC. Read More »

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Unveiled: Earth’s Viral Diversity

August 17, 2016

Researchers from the Joint Genome Institute utilized the largest collection of assembled metagenomic datasets from around the world to uncover over 125,000 partial and complete viral genomes. Read More »


Toward Cost-Effective Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

August 8, 2016

A research team running density functional theory calculations at Berkeley Lab's NERSC center has demonstrated how polymer electrolyte fuel cells—long favored for transportation applications—can be made to run more efficiently and produced more cost-effectively by reducing the amount of a single key ingredient: platinum. Read More »


World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector Completes Search

July 21, 2016

The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment, which operates beneath a mile of rock at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has completed its search for the missing matter of the universe. Read More »

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Supercomputers Help Identify Efficiency-Limiting Defects in LEDs

July 18, 2016

Using state-of-the-art theoretical methods, researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara have identified a class of point defects that act as sites for nonradiative recombination and can explain the observed reduction in efficiency of nitride-based light emitting diodes. Read More »


A Peek Inside the Earliest Moments of the Universe

July 5, 2016

Researchers from the NPLQCD Collaboration used LQCD calculations to better understand the big bang nucleosynthesis process, which occurred in the first few minutes following the Big Bang, and precisely measure the nuclear reaction rate that occurs when a neutron and proton form a deuteron. Read More »

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Cryo-EM’s Renaissance

June 22, 2016

In a pair of breakthrough Nature papers published last month, researchers in Eva Nogales’ Lab at UC Berkeley mapped two important protein functions in unprecedented detail. And they used supercomputers at NERSC to process and analyze the data. Read More »

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Models Help Pinpoint Material for Better Nuclear Fuel Recycling

June 13, 2016

A team of computational scientists sifted 125,000 molecules to pinpoint one ideal for separating some radioactive gases from spent nuclear fuel, then another team synthesized and tested it. Read More »

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New Mathematics Accurately Captures Liquids and Surfaces Moving in Synergy

June 10, 2016

Berkeley Lab researchers in the Computing Sciences Division have developed a new mathematical framework that allows researchers to capture fluid dynamics at unprecedented detail. The work could be used in a range of applications, like optimizing the shape of a propeller blade and the ejection of ink droplets in printers. Read More »


Materials Project Releases Massive Trove of Battery and Molecule Data

June 8, 2016

The Materials Project, a Google-like database of material properties aimed at accelerating innovation, has released yet another trove of data to the public that will help researchers working on batteries. Read More »

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New Path Forward for Next-Generation Lithium-Ion Batteries

May 30, 2016

Using supercomputers at NERSC, researchers report a major advance in understanding how oxygen oxidation creates extra capacity “lithium-rich” cathodes, opening the door to batteries with far higher energy density, meaning your phone or electric vehicle will be able to run for much longer between charges. Read More »


Warm Dense Crystallography: Digging Deeper into WDM

May 23, 2016

Researchers from the University of Washington are using NERSC supercomputers and data from X-ray free-electron laser experiments to gain new insights into warm dense matter (WDM), one of the most challenging aspects of contemporary plasma physics. Read More »

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Could Aluminum Nitride Produce Quantum Bits?

May 2, 2016

The leading method for creating quantum bits, or qubits, currently involves exploiting the structural defects in diamonds. But using NERSC resources, University of Chicago researchers found that the same defect could be engineered in cheaper aluminum nitride. If confirmed by experiments, this could significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing quantum technologies. Read More »


2D 'Flat' Boron Yields a Superconducting Surprise

April 22, 2016

Density functional theory simulations run at NERSC helped Rice University researchers determine that two-dimensional boron is a natural low-temperature superconductor. Read More »


NERSC Resources Help Find Roots of MJO Modeling Mismatches

April 18, 2016

Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are using field data and NERSC supercomputers to better model how the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) operates and gain new insights into the impact of a warming climate on the MJO. Read More »


Could Material Defects Actually Improve Solar Cells?

March 21, 2016

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are using supercomputers to study what may seem paradoxical: certain defects in silicon solar cells may actually improve their performance. Read More »

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Multi-Scale Simulations Solve a Plasma Turbulence Mystery

March 7, 2016

Cutting-edge simulations run at NERSC over a two-year period are helping physicists better understand what influences the behavior of the plasma turbulence that is driven by the intense heating necessary to create fusion energy. Read More »


Updated Workflows Enhance New LHC Era

February 22, 2016

Researchers working on ATLAS, one of the Large Hadron Collider’s largest experiments, are using updated workflow management tools developed primarily by Berkeley Lab researchers to help sift through the increasingly large datasets being generated by the experimental facility. Read More »

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Seeing the Big Picture in Photosynthetic Light Harvesting

January 19, 2016

To understand what goes on inside a beehive, you can’t just study the activity of a single bee. Likewise, to understand the photosynthetic light harvesting that takes place inside the chloroplast of a leaf, you can’t just study the activity of a single antenna protein. So researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California (UC) Berkeley created the first computational model that simulates the light-harvesting activity of the thousands of antenna proteins… Read More »


Supernova Twins: Making Standard Candles More Standard Than Ever

January 13, 2016

By employing a new modeling method, members of the international Nearby Supernova Factory based at Berkeley Lab were able to dramatically reduce the scatter in supernova brightnesses. Read More »


Physicists ID Mechanism that Stabilizes Plasma in Tokamaks

January 4, 2016

A team of physicists has discovered a mechanism that prevents the electrical current flowing through fusion plasma from repeatedly peaking and crashing, which can cause instabilities within the plasma's core. Read More »

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World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector Gets an Upgrade

December 15, 2015

The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment, which operates nearly a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, has already proven to be the most sensitive detector in the hunt for dark matter. Now, a new set of calibration techniques employed by LUX scientists has again dramatically improved the detector’s sensitivity. Read More »


NERSC, Berkeley Lab Explore Frontiers of Deep Learning for Science

December 8, 2015

A collaborative effort at Berkeley Lab is applying deep learning software tools developed for supercomputing environments to “grand challenge” science problems running computations at NERSC. Read More »


Supercomputers Speed Search for New Subatomic Particles

December 2, 2015

A team of theoretical high-energy physicists in the Fermilab Lattice and MILC Collaborations has published a new high-precision calculation that could significantly advance the indirect search for physics beyond the Standard Model. The calculation applies to a particularly rare decay of the B meson (a subatomic particle), which is sometimes also called a “penguin decay” process. Read More »


‘Sidecars’ Pave the Way for Concurrent Analytics of Large-Scale Simulations

November 2, 2015

A new software tool developed through a multi-disciplinary collaboration at Berkeley Lab allows researchers doing large-scale simulations at the NERSC and other supercomputing facilities to do data analytics and visualizations of their simulations while the simulations are running. Read More »


New ‘Design Rule’ Paves Way for Nature-Inspired Nanostructures

October 7, 2015

Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a design rule that enables a recently created material--peptoid nanosheets--to exist. This never-before-seen design rule could be used to piece together complex nanosheet structures and other peptoid assemblies such as nanotubes and crystalline solids. Read More »


What Causes Electron Heat Loss in Fusion Plasma?

September 22, 2015

A research team led by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has proposed an explanation for why the hot plasma within tokamaks sometimes fails to reach the required temperature, even as researchers pump beams of fast-moving neutral atoms into the plasma in an effort to make it hotter. Read More »

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What Ignites a Neutron Star?

September 19, 2015

Supercomputers at NERSC helped set the stage for astrophysicists from Stony Brook University, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to perform the first detailed 3D simulation of an X-ray burst. Read More »


Celeste: A New Model for Cataloging the Universe

September 9, 2015

A Berkeley Lab-based research collaboration of astrophysicists, statisticians and computer scientists has developed Celeste, a new statistical analysis model designed to enhance one of modern astronomy’s most time-tested tools: sky surveys. Read More »


CT Scan of Earth Links Mantle Plumes with Volcanic Hotspots

September 2, 2015

University of California, Berkeley, seismologists have produced for the first time a sharp, 3D scan of Earth’s interior that conclusively connects plumes of hot rock rising through the mantle with surface hotspots that generate volcanic island chains like Hawaii, Samoa and Iceland. Read More »


Ice Sheet Model Reveals Most Comprehensive Projections for West Antarctica’s Future

August 18, 2015

A new international study is the first to use a high-resolution, large-scale computer model to estimate how much ice the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could lose over the next couple of centuries, and how much that could add to sea-level rise. Read More »


Land Management Practices More Critical as Biofuels Use Grows

August 3, 2015

The handling of agricultural crop residues appears to have a large impact on soil's ability to retain carbon, making land management practices increasingly important, especially under a scenario where cellulosic materials become more heavily used as a feedstock for ethanol production, according to a study led by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. “Plants and soil are carbon sinks,” said Argonne climate scientist Beth Drewniak, who led the study. Read More »

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Experiments ✚ Simulations = Better Nuclear Power Research

July 31, 2015

An international collaboration of physicists is working to improve the safety and economics of nuclear power by studying how various cladding materials and fuels used in reactors respond to radiation damage. Read More »


‘Data Deluge’ Pushes Mass Spec Imaging to New Heights

July 15, 2015

Researchers at Berkeley Lab are working to help the scientific community address emerging data management and analysis issues through MANTISSA (Massive Acceleration New Techniques in Science with Scalable Algorithms), a DOE-funded program that supports the development of novel algorithms that will allow new software tools in a variety of science domains to run at scale on current and next-generation supercomputers. Read More »


The Rise and Fall of Core-Collapse Supernovae

July 2, 2015

A research team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), University of Tennessee, Florida Atlantic University and North Carolina State University compared 3D models run at ORNL with 2D models run at NERSC to shed new light on the explosion mechanism behind core-collapse supernovae. Read More »

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Unravelling the Mysteries of Carbonic Acid

June 18, 2015

Blink your eyes and it’s long gone. Carbonic acid exists for only a tiny fraction of a second when carbon dioxide gas dissolves in water before changing into a mix of protons and bicarbonate anions. Despite its short life, however, carbonic acid imparts a lasting impact on Earth’s atmosphere and geology, as well as on the human body. However, because of its short lifespan, the detailed chemistry of carbonic acid has long been veiled in mystery. Researchers with Berkeley Lab and the Univ. of… Read More »

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What the Blank Makes Quantum Dots Blink?

June 15, 2015

Quantum dots (shown here dissolved in liquid under ultraviolet light) offer tantalizing prospects for new technologies if scientists can stop them blinking. (Photo by Antipoff, CC BY-SA 3.0) Quantum dots are nanoparticles of semiconductor that can be tuned to glow in a rainbow of colors. Since their discovery in the 1980s, these remarkable nanoparticles have held out tantalizing prospects for all kinds of new technologies, ranging from paint-on lighting materials and solar cells to quantum… Read More »


Spiraling Laser Pulses Could Change Nature of Graphene

June 8, 2015

A new study that involved large-scale simulations run at NERSC predicts that researchers could use spiraling pulses of laser light to change the nature of graphene, turning it from a metal into an insulator and giving it other peculiar properties that might be used to encode information. Read More »

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NERSC Hosts Digital Stargazing Portal

June 4, 2015

Even non-scientists can now browse sky survey images hosted at NERSC. The DECam Legacy Survey has published the first in a series of web-based catalogs that will offer an update to images of the night sky originally taken with the 15-year-old camera of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. In the spirit of the new information age, the survey will share frequent updates on its public website. Read More »


Meraculous: Deciphering the ‘Book of Life’ With Supercomputers

June 1, 2015

A team of scientists from Berkeley Lab, JGI and UC Berkeley, simplified and sped up genome assembly, reducing a months-long process to mere minutes. This was primarily achieved by “parallelizing” the code to harness the processing power of supercomputers, such as NERSC’s Edison system. Read More »


Supernova Hunting with Supercomputers

May 20, 2015

Using a “roadmap” of theoretical calculations and supercomputer simulations performed at NERSC by Berkeley Lab’s Daniel Kasen, astronomers observed for the first time a flash of light caused by a supernova slamming into a nearby star, allowing them to determine the stellar system from which the supernova was born. This finding confirms one of two competing theories about the birth of Type Ia supernovae. Read More »


Chombo-Crunch Sinks Its Teeth into Fluid Dynamics

May 11, 2015

Berkeley Lab scientists are breaking new ground in the modeling of complex flows in energy and oil and gas applications, thanks to a computational fluid dynamics and transport code dubbed “Chombo-Crunch.” Read More »

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Electrolyte Genome Could Be Battery Game-Changer

April 15, 2015

The Materials Project hosted at NERSC is taking some of the guesswork out of discovering new battery catalysts with the Electrolyte Genome. Read More »


Expanding the World’s Largest Database of Elastic Properties

April 7, 2015

Berkeley Lab scientists, using the infrastructure of the Materials Project and NERSC supercomputing resources, have calculated the complete elastic properties for 1,181 inorganic compounds. Read More »


BigNeuron: Unlocking the Secrets of the Human Brain

March 31, 2015

To find a standard 3D neuron reconstruction algorithm, BigNeuron will sponsor a series of international hackathons and workshops where contending algorithms will be ported onto a common software platform to analyze neuronal physical structure using the same core dataset. All ported algorithms will be bench-tested at NERSC, ORNL and Human Brain Project supercomputing centers. Read More »


In Climatic Tug of War, Carbon From Thawing Permafrost Wins

March 18, 2015

New computer simulations conducted at NERSC by Berkeley Lab scientists are the first to represent permafrost processes as well as the dynamics of carbon and nitrogen in the soil. Read More »


Organic Photovoltaics Experiments Showcase ‘Superfacility’ Concept

March 17, 2015

A collaborative effort linking the Advanced Light Source at Berkeley Lab with supercomputing resources at NERSC and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility via ESnet is yielding exciting results in organic photovoltaics research that could transform the way researchers use these facilities and improve scientific productivity in the process. Read More »

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First Direct Observation of Carbon Dioxide’s Increasing Greenhouse Effect at Earth’s Surface

February 25, 2015

Researchers from Berkeley Lab have observed an increase in carbon dioxide’s (CO2) greenhouse effect at the Earth’s surface for the first time. They attributed this upward trend to rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions. Read More »

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New Algorithm Enables Faster Simulations of Ultrafast Processes

February 20, 2015

The algorithm opens the door for efficient real-time simulations of ultrafast processes and electron dynamics, such as excitation in photovoltaic materials and ultrafast demagnetization following an optical excitation. Read More »

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What Makes Clouds Form, Grow and Die?

February 19, 2015

Until recently, computer models for simulating climate on a global scale relied on mathematical formulas to approximate how clouds were born and grew. The advent of more advanced computers has enabled researchers to explicitly simulate large-cloud systems instead of approximating them. Read More »


Pinpointing the Magnetic Moments of Nuclear Matter

January 20, 2015

Using NERSC's Edison supercomputer, a team of nuclear physicists has made a key discovery in its quest to shed light on the structure and behavior of subatomic particles. Read More »


Laser, Supercomputer Measure Speedy Electrons in Silicon

December 19, 2014

In silicon, electrons attached to atoms in the crystal lattice can be mobilized into the conduction band by light or voltage. UC Berkeley scientists used a laser to take snapshots of this very brief band-gap jump and timed it at 450 attoseconds. Read More »


A Standard for Neuroscience Data

December 16, 2014

BrainFormat, a neuroscience data standardization framework developed at Berkeley Lab, is a strong contender to contribute to a data format and storage standard for the neuroscience research community. In conjunction with this work, NERSC is also contributing to the CRCNS data-sharing portal, which will allow neuroscience researchers worldwide to easily share files without having to download any special software. Read More »


Berkeley Lab Particle Accelerator Sets World Record

December 9, 2014

Using one of the most powerful lasers in the world, Berkeley Lab researchers have accelerated subatomic particles to the highest energies ever recorded from a compact accelerator. Computer simulations run at NERSC allowed them to test the experimental setup before ever turning on the laser. Read More »


Optimized Algorithms Boost Combustion Research

November 25, 2014

Turbulent combustion simulations, which provide input to the design of more fuel-efficient combustion systems, have gotten their own efficiency boost, thanks to researchers from Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division. Read More »


Berkeley Algorithms Help Researchers Understand Dark Energy

November 24, 2014

The process of identifying and tracking Type Ia supernovae requires scientists to scrupulously monitor the night sky for slight changes, a task that would be extremely tedious and time-consuming for the Dark Energy Survey (DES) without some novel computational tools developed at NERSC by researchers at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. Read More »


Supercomputers Fuel Global High-Resolution Climate Models

November 12, 2014

Not long ago, it would have taken several years to run a high-resolution simulation on a global climate model. But using supercomputing resources at NERSC, Berkeley Lab climate scientist Michael Wehner was able to complete a run in just three months. Read More »


How Atomic Vibrations Transform Vanadium Dioxide

November 10, 2014

A team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory has made an important advancement in understanding a classic transition-metal oxide, vanadium dioxide, by quantifying the thermodynamic forces driving the transformation. Read More »


Mathematical Models Shed New Light on Cancer Mutations

November 3, 2014

Using mathematical modeling methods traditionally considered the property of statistical physics and artificial intelligence, researchers at Harvard Medical School have developed a way to identify important cancer mutations. Read More »


Using Radio Waves to Control Fusion Plasma Density

October 29, 2014

Recent fusion experiments on the DIII-D tokamak at General Atomics and the Alcator C-Mod tokamak at MIT showed that beaming microwaves into the center of the plasma can be used to control the density in the center of the plasma. Read More »


Water and Gold: A Promising Mix for Future Batteries

October 23, 2014

For the first time, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have observed the molecular structure of liquid water at a gold surface under different charging conditions, paving the way for future studies of electrochemical interfaces that exist in current and prototype batteries. Calculations run at NERSC helped them better understand the chemistry. Read More »


Probing the Surprising Secrets of Carbonic Acid

October 23, 2014

Berkeley Lab researchers used the Advanced Light Source and NERSC to gain valuable new insights into carbonic acid, with important implications for both geological and biological concerns. Read More »


Supercomputer Helps Model 3D Map of Adolescent Universe

October 17, 2014

Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8 billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice of the adolescent universe—just 3 billion years after the Big Bang. Read More »

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Dispelling a Misconception About Mg-Ion Batteries

October 16, 2014

A series of computer simulations run at NERSC has dispelled a long-standing misconception about magnesium-ions in the electrolyte that transports the ions between a battery’s electrodes. Read More »


Simulations Reveal Unusual Death for Ancient Stars

September 29, 2014

Those primordial stars—between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our Sun, or solar masses—may have died unusually. In death, these objects—among the Universe’s first-generation of stars—would have exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no remnant black hole behind. Read More »


Pore Models Track Reactions in Underground Carbon Capture

September 25, 2014

Using tailor-made software running on top-tier supercomputers, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory team is creating microscopic pore-scale simulations that complement or push beyond laboratory findings.  The models of microscopic underground pores could help scientists evaluate ways to store carbon dioxide produced by power plants, keeping it from contributing to global climate change.  The models could be a first, says David Trebotich, the project’s principal investigator. “I’m not… Read More »


Interface Surprises May Motivate Novel Oxide Electronic Devices

September 23, 2014

A research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory has discovered that intrinsic electric fields can drive oxygen diffusion at interfaces in engineered thin films made of complex oxides. This may serve as a basis for design of new electronic devices utilizing both electrons and ions. Read More »


Mapping the March to Methodical Materials

September 18, 2014

Scientists at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have determined the individual reactions and the energy needed at each step to form the basic unit of a popular MOF. Read More »


New Catalyst Converts CO₂ to Fuel

September 5, 2014

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products. Read More »


Photon Speedway Puts Big Data In the Fast Lane

August 26, 2014

In experiments run at the Linac Coherent Light Source, scientists from Berkeley Lab and SLAC used NERSC and ESnet to more quickly achieve a breakthrough in photosynthesis research. Read More »


DOE Project Taps HPC for Next-Generation Climate Modeling

August 25, 2014

High performance computing will be used to develop and apply the most complete climate and Earth system model to address the most challenging and demanding climate change issues. Read More »


SPOT Suite Transforms Beamline Science

August 18, 2014

Most synchrotron light sources have been operating on a manual grab-and-go data management model, but a recent data deluge is quickly making this practice implausible. So scientists from the Advanced Light Source (ALS), CRD and NERSC teamed up to create SPOT Suite, and it is already transforming the way scientists run their experiments at the ALS. Read More »


Hot Plasma Partial to Bootstrap Current

July 9, 2014

Supercomputers at NERSC are helping plasma physicists “bootstrap” a potentially more affordable and sustainable fusion reaction. Read More »


‘Thirsty’ Metals Key to Longer Battery Lifetimes

June 30, 2014

Replacing lithium with other metals with multiple charges could greatly increase battery capacity. But first researchers need to understand how to keep multiply charged ions—ions that have gained or lost more than one electron—stable. Read More »


'Erratic' Lasers Pave Way for Tabletop Accelerators

June 9, 2014

Making a tabletop particle accelerator just got easier. A new study by researchers from Berkeley Lab shows that certain requirements to build an emerging type of small-area particle accelerator can be significantly relaxed. Read More »

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Farming: A Climate Change Culprit

June 7, 2014

Increased agricultural activity is a rain taker, not a rain maker, according to computer simulations of African monsoon precipitation. This research offer new insights into how land-use change may affect regional rainfall. Read More »


Confirmed: Stellar Behemoth Self-Destructs in Type IIb Supernova

May 21, 2014

For the first time ever, astronomers have direct confirmation that a Wolf-Rayet star—sitting 360 million light years away in the Bootes constellation—died in a violent explosion known as a Type IIb supernova. Using the iPTF pipeline, researchers caught supernova SN 2013cu within hours of its explosion. These observations are providing valuable insights into the life and death of the progenitor Wolf-Rayet. These stars are interesting because they enrich galaxies with the heavy chemical elements that eventually become the building blocks for planets and life. Read More »


Atomic Switcheroo Explains Origins of Thin-Film Solar Cell Mystery

April 29, 2014

Scientists have known since the 1980s that treating cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar cell materials with cadmium-chloride improves efficiency, but the underlying physics has remained a mystery until now. Combining electron microscopy with computer simulations run at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), researchers have put this decades long debate to rest. Read More »


Calming Plasma's Stormy Seas

April 23, 2014

Energy researchers continue to make headway in their quest to better understand what makes a fusion reaction “tick.” Read More »


Clocking the Early Universe's Expansion

April 17, 2014

By analyzing the light of distant quasars gathered by the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), astronomers have made the most accurate calculation yet of the expansion rate of the young Universe. Their findings could help scientists discover the nature of dark energy, the mysterious, repulsive force that pervades our universe causing it to expand at an accelerating rate. Read More »


To Bridge LEDs' Green Gap, Scientists Think Small

April 4, 2014

Nanostructures half the breadth of a DNA strand could improve the efficiency of light emitting diodes (LEDs), especially in the “green gap,” a portion of the spectrum where LED efficiency plunges, simulations at NERSC have shown. Read More »


Human-induced climate change reduces chance of flooding in Okavango Delta

March 27, 2014

Researchers at the University of Cape Town, Berkeley Lab and the United Nations Development Programme have analyzed how human-induced climate change has affected recent flooding in an ecologically and geographically unique river basin in southern Africa—the Okavango River. Read More »


Disordered Materials Hold Promise for Better Batteries

February 21, 2014

A lot of research is being done to facilitate the use of lithium batteries in electronic devices. Using supercomputers at NERSC, researchers have found a new avenue for such research: the use of disordered materials, which had generally been considered unsuitable for batteries. Read More »


Decoding the Molecular Mysteries of Photosynthesis

February 14, 2014

Understanding the inner workings of photosynthesis is key to building new man-made energy resources. Simulations run on NERSC supercomputers are helping researchers do just that. Read More »


Taming Plasma Fusion Snakes

January 24, 2014

Controlled nuclear fusion has held the promise of a safe, clean, sustainable energy resource for decades. Now, with concerns over global climate change growing, the ability to produce a reliable carbon-free energy source has taken on new urgency. Read More »


Are Earths Rare? Perhaps Not

January 13, 2014

One out of every five sun-like stars in our Milky Way galaxy has an Earth-sized planet orbiting it in the Goldilocks zone—not too hot, not too cold—where surface temperatures should be compatible with liquid water, according to a statistical analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. Read More »


BOSS Measures the Universe to One-Percent Accuracy

January 8, 2014

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey announced that it has measured the scale of the universe’s structure to an accuracy of one percent. This and future measurements at this precision are the key to determining the nature of dark energy. Read More »


Supercomputers Capture Turbulence in the Solar Wind

December 16, 2013

With help from Berkeley Lab's visualization experts and NERSC supercomputers, astrophysicists can now study turbulence in unprecedented detail, and the results may hold clues about some of the processes that lead to destructive space weather events. Read More »


An Inside Look at a MOF in Action

December 5, 2013

A unique inside look at the electronic structure of a highly touted metal-organic framework (MOF) as it is adsorbing carbon dioxide gas should help in the design of new and improved MOFs for carbon capture and storage. Read More »


NERSC Supercomputers Help Reveal Secrets of Natural Gas Reserves

December 3, 2013

Supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Supercomputing Center (NERSC) helped scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) study gas and oil deposits in shale and reveal structural information that could lead to more efficient extraction of gas and oil from shale. Read More »


Big Data Hits the Beamline

November 26, 2013

When scientists from around the world visit Dula Parkinson’s microtomography beamline at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Advanced Light Source, they all want the same thing: scientifically illuminating X-ray views of matter. Unfortunately, many of them have left with debilitating data overload. Department of Energy scientists like Parkinson are collaborating with computational scientists and mathematicians on data-handling and analysis tools. Read More »


Searching for Cosmic Accelerators via IceCube

November 21, 2013

New results from IceCube, the neutrino observatory buried at the South Pole, may show the way to locating and identifying cosmic accelerators in our galaxy that are 40 million times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Read More »


Greenhouse Gases into Gold

November 6, 2013

Environmentalists have long lamented the destructive effects of greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide (CO2) often accused of being the primary instigator of global climate change. As a result, numerous efforts are under way to find ways to prevent, capture and sequester—perhaps even bury—CO2 emissions and reduce their negative effects. But some researchers say CO2 is getting a bad rap. Read More »


New Model of Earth’s Interior Reveals Clues to Hotspot Volcanoes

October 29, 2013

Using supercomputers at NERSC, scientists have detected previously unknown channels of slow-moving seismic waves in Earth’s upper mantle. This discovery helps to explain how “hotspot volcanoes”—the kind that give birth to island chains like Hawaii and Tahiti—come to exist. Read More »