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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, February 2008
Date:2/13/2008

m and how disruptions in the symbiotic balance in gut microflora might control the transition from healthy to disease conditions. ORNLs capabilities in mass spectroscopy offers researchers new and powerful tools for probing the extremely complex relationships between the microbiome and their human hosts. [Contact: Bill Cabage, (865) 574-4399; cabagewh@ornl.gov]


NANOSCIENCE -- Atom-scale switch . . .

ORNL researchers have discovered a carbon nanotube-based system that functions like an atom-scale switch. Their approach is to perform first-principles calculations on positioning a molecule inside a carbon nanotube to affect the electronic current flowing across it. The result is an electrical gate at the molecular level: In one position, the molecular gate is open, allowing current through; in another position, the gate is closed, blocking the current. In a silicon chip, the gate is a silicon oxide barrier within the structure of the chip. In the ORNL model, the gate is a short molecule encapsulated inside the carbon nanotubethat is about one nanometer in size, or three orders of magnitude smaller than a silicon chip. [Contact: Bill Cabage, (865) 574-4399; cabagewh@ornl.gov]


FUSION -- Lassoing turbulence . . .

Fusion power is a holy grail of our energy future, promising eventually to provide cheap, plentiful electricity with a minimum of environmental concerns and no greenhouse gases.

Before it does, however, scientists must learn to control and contain an ionized gas hotter than the sun. Theoretical physicists from General Atomics are using ORNLs Phoenix supercomputer to understand turbulence that leaches energy from fusion reactors. In particular, they are focusing on the interaction between eddies created by gyrating electrons and much larger eddies created by gyrating ions. The answers they provide
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-1946
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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