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Inquiry Magazine

Welcome to 
Inquiry 2016Issue 2

Momentum                                                                                                  (click cover to view issue)

Scientists describe momentum as the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity. A more general definition might describe it as the forward motion resulting from applying a driving force behind something. By that yardstick, Ames Laboratory has a number of efforts gathering momentum.

Our Sensitive Instrument Facility (SIF) opened its doors this past spring, and a growing number of users are taking advantage of its state-of-the-art microscopy equipment to characterize materials in unprecedented detail. We were delighted to have Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on hand for the SIF dedication ceremony. Work is now underway to move three additional pieces of research equipment to the space to take full advantage of the building’s isolation from outside interference and the proximity to the existing electron microscopes. See what’s happening on pages 7-9.

We launched a new research consortium called CaloriCoolTM in 2016 with the idea that refrigeration could be radically better—cheaper, cleaner, more precise and energy-efficient—by abandoning vapor-compression technology for something entirely new: a solid-state caloric system. Established under DOE’s Energy Materials Network and overseen by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, CaloriCool brings together national labs, industry, and academia, including Pacific Northwest and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, and Citrine Informatics. And this research team plans to do it—including adoption into manufactured systems and products—within a decade. Read more about it on pages 10-11.

We’re also involved in two separate Advanced Manufacturing Office efforts. Iver Anderson’s group leads a $5 million effort to improve the production and composition of metal alloy powders used in additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing. And Matt Kramer, Ryan Ott and Pete Collins will be working with colleagues at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to characterize what happens with those powders in situ as the powders are being laid down, melted, and resolidified during the 3D printing process. Find out more about this work on pages 12-13.

The Critical Materials Institute, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub led by Ames Laboratory, continues to do ground-breaking work to make better use of materials and eliminate the need for materials that are subject to supply disruptions. In its three years of existence, CMI has 47 invention disclosures to its credit and has developed eight new goals for the final two years of its initial five-year funding cycle. You can find out what those efforts are on pages 14-15.

Finally, after an international search, we are pleased to have hired Dimitri Argyriou as chief research officer. A condensed matter physicist, Dimitri comes to the Ames Laboratory from the European Spallation Source, where he served as its Director of Science and Head of Operations Planning.

With all this progress, we look forward to 2017 and the 70th anniversary of the founding of Ames Laboratory. A lot has changed in seven decades, but we are still committed to creating materials and energy solutions.