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Argonne National Laboratory

Physics

Macroscopic quantum entanglement achieved at room temperature

In quantum physics, the creation of a state of entanglement in particles any larger and more complex than photons usually requires temperatures close to absolute zero and the application of enormously powerful magnetic fields to achieve. Now scientists working at the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory claim to have created this entangled state at room temperature on a semiconductor chip, using atomic nuclei and the application of relatively small magnetic fields.

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Energy

Lithium-oxygen breakthrough clears the air for boosted batteries

Boasting an energy density similar to that of gasoline, lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries may one day prove the panacea for the range-anxiety associated with electric vehicles. But first there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome, one of which is the unwanted buildup of lithium peroxide on the electrode which hampers this type of battery's performance. Scientists have now figured out a way that this mess might be avoided – an advance they say could lead to batteries with five times the energy density of those currently available.Read More

Environment

Recapture system limits mercury exposure from gold purification

According to the World Gold Council, about 195,300 tons of gold have been dug out of the ground in all of human history. Countless lives have been lost obtaining the rare metal, and in the developing world, which currently accounts for 20 percent of the world's gold production, small-scale mining and smelting under primitive conditions poses a major health hazard. To help alleviate this, a team from Argonne National Laboratory and the US Environmental Protection Agency are developing a prototype mercury capture system to reduce heavy metal pollution.Read More

Science

What's in a name? Earth's most abundant mineral finally gets one

When a mineral is the most abundant on the planet, (making up an estimated 38 percent of the Earth's entire volume, in fact), you would think that someone would have given it a name by now. But things are never as simple as they seem. Despite being so prevalent, the substance in question has only ever existed in synthetic form until recently, and the first naturally-occurring example of it didn't even come from beneath the ground; it arrived from outer space.Read More

"Living liquid crystal" could be used to detect diseases earlier

With any medical condition, the earlier it's detected, the better the chances are of successfully treating it. When assessing biological samples from a patient, however, it's often quite difficult to see the indicators of a disease when it's still in its early stages. That could be about to change, thanks to the development of a solution known as "living liquid crystal." Read More

Good Thinking

Sounds good: Argonne researcher represents data with music

Scientists often need to find creative ways to present data visually so others can interpret it more easily. Peter Larsen, of the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S., decided to do something a little different: he represented microbial data with sounds. More specifically, he sonified data relating to bacteria collected from the western part of the English Channel.Read More

Science

Scientists develop material that's harder than diamonds

Diamonds may be forever, but they aren’t what they were. True, they shine just as brightly and they’re as hard as ever, but scientists from the Carnegie Institution of Washington are giving them some competition. An international team led by Carnegie’s Lin Wang have discovered a new substance that is not quite crystalline and not quite non-crystalline, yet is hard enough to dent diamonds. Read More

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