To meet one of the biggest energy challenges of the 21st century-- finding alternatives to rare-earth elements and other critical materials-- scientists will need new and advanced tools.
The Critical Materials Institute at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory has a new one: a 3D printer for metals research.
3D printing technology, which has captured the imagination of both industry and consumers, enables ideas to move quickly from the initial design phase to final form using materials including polymers, ceramics, paper and even food.
But the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) will apply the advantages of the 3D printing process in a unique way: for materials discovery. By doing so, researchers can find substitutes to critical materials-- ones essential for clean energy technologies but at risk of being in short supply.
CMI scientists will use the printer instead of traditional casting methods to streamline the process of bulk combinatorial materials research, producing a large variety of alloys in a short amount of time.
“Metal 3D printers are slowly becoming more commonplace,” said Ryan Ott, principal investigator at the Ames Laboratory and the CMI. “They can be costly, and are often limited to small-scale additive manufacturing in industry. But for us, this equipment has the potential to become a very powerful research tool. We can rapidly synthesize large libraries of materials. It opens up a lot of new possibilities.”
The CMI printer, a LENS MR-7 manufactured by Optomec of Albuquerque, N.M., uses models from computer-aided design software to build layers of metal alloy on a substrate via metal powders that are melted by a laser. Four chambers supply metal powders to the deposition head that can be programmed to produce a nearly infinite variety of alloy compositions. The printing occurs in an ultra-low oxygen glove box to protect the quality of highly reactive materials. In a recent demonstration run, the printer produced a one-inch long, 0.25-inch diameter rod of stainless steel in 20 seconds.
The process will overcome some of the obstacles of traditional combinatorial materials research.
“The problem is that it’s been typically limited to thin film synthesis. These thin film samples are not always representative of the bulk properties of a material. For example magnetic properties, important to the study of rare earths, are not going to be the same as you get in the bulk material,” explained Ott.
Combined with computational work, experimental techniques, and a partnership with the Stanford Synchrotron Light Source (SSRL) for X-ray characterization, scientists at the CMI will be able to speed the search for alternatives to rare-earth and other critical metals.
“Now we have the potential to screen through a lot of material libraries very quickly, looking for the properties that best suit particular needs,” said Ott.
This research is supported by the Critical Materials Institute, a Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. CMI seeks ways to eliminate and reduce reliance on rare-earth metals and other materials critical to the success of clean energy technologies. DOE’s Energy Innovation Hubs are integrated research centers that bring together scientists and engineers from many different institutions and technical backgrounds to accelerate scientific discovery in areas vital to U.S. energy security.
Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.
Effective date: Jan. 2014
Document number: Form 10200.211
Policy Department(s):Internal Auditor
Effective date: Jan. 2014
Version number: 2
Document Number: Policy 10300.001
Ever wish there was a shortcut for doing something on your cellphone? Or wish you could find an app to help keep track of something? Well check out this new feature each month and we'll share some tips, tricks and apps with you.
This month's tip is an easy undo for iPhone users who accidentally delete a text message. Simply shake your phone and an undo typing menu box pops up. Sorry Android users; your phone doesn't have this feature :-(
Click HERE for a demonstration.
If you have a favorite tech tip -- desktop, laptop, tablet or cellphone -- or a cool app you'd like to share, let us know and we'll pass it along. Email your tip to firstname.lastname@example.org with an explanation and any relevent links and we'll pass it along to your colleagues.
TIAA-CREF Consultant Visiting the Lab
Paige Cook from TIAA-CREF will be visiting the Ames Laboratory February 5th and 6th from 8:45am-4:00pm each day in 111 TASF, Public Affairs Conference Room, for individual retirement counseling. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please call (866) 843-5640.
Halogen eAppraisal Training Available for Employees and Supervisors
This year’s annual performance evaluation process will kick off Monday, February 3rd and wrap up Friday, February 28th. If you would like to learn more about completing the evaluation form and navigating through the HaloRegen eAppraisal system, please sign up for one of the training sessions listed below by calling the Training Office at 294-9972.
- Employee Session (151 TASF): Tuesday, February 4th at 10-11am
- Employee Session (151 TASF): Wednesday, February 5th at 2-3pm
- Supervisor Session (151 TASF): Monday, February 10th at 2-3pm
- Supervisor Session (151 TASF): Wednesday, February 12th at 10-11am
Need a Password Reset?
In preparation for the upcoming annual performance evaluation process, should you work off-site or on a low enclave computer and need your VPN password reset, please contact the Information Systems Office now at 294-8348 to ensure you are ready to go on February 3rd.
Conflicts of Interest and Commitment (COIC) Email Coming Soon
Shortly, you will find in your inbox a message asking you to participate in disclosing any conflicts of interest or commitment you may have with the university. To create or update a disclosure, log into AccessPlus and select COIC Disclosure under the Employee Tab. For questions about this policy or further assistance, email email@example.com.
All aboard! No, no, no…it’s onboard. The term is onboard particularly onboarding. For some of you, this may not be a term you have heard, used or quite frankly even cared about in the past. But it is important. ONBOARDING. Think of your past employment experiences specifically when you started a new job. Remember the organization that provided you with information in an effort to acclimate you to the company versus simply throwing you to the wolves to figure it all out on your own? The one that touched base with you on how things were going versus leaving you guessing? These are just a couple of simple examples describing onboarding. Onboarding can take many forms but its ultimate goal is to help new employees acquire the necessary knowledge they need to become effective members of the organization.
If you are wondering what kind of onboarding is offered at the Ames Laboratory/Iowa State University, check out the list below:
- Onboarding Checklist – This is an optional tool supervisors can use as a guide throughout the first year of their new hire’s employment. It includes items to complete prior to the employee’s first day on the job, discussions to have the first week and activities to complete until the employee’s one-year anniversary.
- General Employee Training (GET) – This is required training for all new Ames Laboratory employees and provides general information about the Lab specifically focusing on safety.
- University Orientation – This training is provided by Iowa State and covers a variety of policies ranging from discrimination and harassment to drug free workplace and conflict of interest. It offers an opportunity to get to know other people across campus, learn about the culture and history of Iowa State, and find out about resources available to employees.
- Ames Laboratory Mentoring Program – Although this program is available to all employees, it can be particularly helpful for a new employee acclimating to the Lab. Whether you are interested in finding a go-to person to help with questions, learning a new skill, or developing a plan for your career – the mentoring program may be just the right fit.
- One-on-One Assistance – Ames Lab Human Resources provides an introduction to Halogen eAppraisal, AccessPlus and the Classification & Hiring System to help employees learn more about performance evaluations, where to find pertinent information and locate their position description.
As illustrated above, onboarding processes can vary greatly and range from very specific to quite informal. However the format, research has shown their importance in retaining employees. In partnership with all employees and supervisors, Ames Laboratory Human Resources hopes to continue growing the onboarding process at the Lab. If you have any questions about onboarding or any of the items listed above, please contact Mallory Schon at 294-8062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you see students with reporter's notebooks around the Lab or get a phone call asking for an interview, it's most likely a student participating in the "Greenlee Project." The ongoing project assists budding science writers from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Iowa State by providing them access to Ames Lab researchers.
The Greenlee Project, which has been in place for several years, assists students in Greenlee professor Michael Dahlstrom's science writing class by giving them an introductory overview about the Lab and then helping connect them with scientists so the students can produce articles. Ames Lab Public Affairs staff also provide input on student stories, including editing advice. The ultimate goal is that students generate articles for publication, whether for the Iowa State Daily or media beyond the ISU campus.
To find out more about the program and read stories produced by previous classes, click HERE.
Ames Lab Public Affairs manager Steve Karsjen shows Greenlee students the Greenlee Project web page during the introductory session on Jan. 29.
Ames Lab scientist Ryan Ott talks about his research with students during a group interview.
Five finalists have been named in the search for the director of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory.
The finalists are:
- Emilio Bunel, division director, chemical sciences and engineering, Argonne National Laboratory
- Alan Hurd, executive advisor, Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Duane Johnson, chief research officer, Ames Laboratory
- Adam Schwartz, division director, condensed matter and materials, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Patricia Thiel, faculty scientist, Ames Laboratory
Finalist interviews will begin the week of January 27. Each will meet with members of the Ames Laboratory and Iowa State communities, and participate in an open forum. All forums will be held from 10:30 a.m. – noon in 301 Spedding Hall. The schedule is:
- Bunel, Monday, January 27
- Thiel, Thursday, January 30
- Hurd, Tuesday, February 4
- Johnson, Thursday, February 6
- Schwartz, Friday, February 14
The open forums will be recorded and posted on the Ames Laboratory website once the final forum has concluded.
Tom Lograsso, interim deputy director, and division director of materials sciences, is filling the role on an interim basis.
About the finalists
Emilio Bunel currently serves as director of the Chemical and Engineering Sciences Division at Argonne National Laboratory. Bunel earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Chile, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He previously served in research positions at DuPont, Eli Lilly and Company, Amgen, and Pfizer before joining Argonne National Laboratory in 2008.
Alan Hurd, executive advisor at Los Alamos National Laboratory, returned to the lab recently from the U.S. Department of State, where he was a Franklin Fellow serving the Secretary’s science and technology adviser. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the Colorado School of Mines, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Colorado. He previously served at Brandeis University, Sandia National Laboratory, the University of New Mexico, and the Santa Fe Institute.
Duane Johnson serves as chief research officer at the Ames Laboratory, and is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Energy Science in Iowa State’s department of materials science and engineering. Johnson earned bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in physics from the University of Cincinnati. He previously served at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Sandia National Laboratories before joining Iowa State in 2010.
Adam Schwartz currently serves as division leader of the Condensed Matter and Materials Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and also leads the lab’s projects for the Critical Materials Institute. Schwartz earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in metallurgical engineering, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, all from the University of Pittsburgh. He joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a postdoctoral research associate in 1991.
Patricia Thiel serves as a faculty scientist in the Ames Laboratory. She is also the John D. Corbett Professor of Chemistry, and distinguished professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at Iowa State. Thiel holds bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Macalester College and the California Institute of Technology, respectively. She previously served at Control Data Corporation and Sandia National Laboratories before joining the Ames Laboratory and Iowa State in 1983.
Ames Laboratory researchers have demonstrated broadband terahertz (THz) wave generation using metamaterials. The discovery may help develop noninvasive imaging and sensing, and make possible THz-speed information communication, processing and storage. The results appeared in the Jan. 8 issue of Nature Communications.
Terahertz electromagnetic waves occupy a middle ground between electronics waves, like microwave and radio waves, and photonics waves, such as infrared and UV waves. Potentially, THz waves may accelerate telecom technologies and break new ground in understanding the fundamental properties of photonics. Challenges related to efficiently generating and detecting THz waves has primarily limited their use.
Traditional methods seek to either compress oscillating waves from the electronic range or stretch waves from the optical range. But when compressing waves, the THz frequency becomes too high to be generated and detected by conventional electronic devices. So, this approach normally requires either a large-scale electron accelerator facility or highly electrically-biased photoconductive antennas that produce only a narrow range of waves.
To stretch optical waves, most techniques include mixing two laser frequencies inside an inorganic or organic crystal. However, the natural properties of these crystals result in low efficiency.
So, to address these challenges, the Ames Laboratory team looked outside natural materials for a possible solution. They used man-made materials called metamaterials, which exhibit optical and magnetic properties not found in nature.
Costas Soukoulis, an Ames Laboratory physicist and expert in designing metamaterials, along with collaborators at Karlsruhe
A THz spectrometer driven by femtosecond laser pulses was used to demonstrate THz emission from a split-ring resonator metamaterial
of single nanometer thickness.
Institute of Technology in Germany, created a metamaterial made up of a special type of meta-atom called split-ring resonators. Split-ring resonators, because of their u-shaped design, display a strong magnetic response to any desired frequency waves in the THz to infrared spectrum.
|A team led by Ames Laboratory physicists demonstrated broadband, gapless terahertz emission (red line) from split-ring resonator metamaterials (background) in the telecomm wavelength. The THz emission spectra exhibit significant enhancement at magnetic-dipole resonance of the metamaterials emitter (shown in inset image). This approach has potential to generate gapless spectrum covering the entire THz band, which is key to developing practical THz technologies and to exploring fundamental understanding of optics.|
Ames Laboratory physicist Jigang Wang, who specializes in ultra-fast laser spectroscopy, designed the femto-second laser experiment to demonstrate THz emission from the metamaterial of a single nanometer thickness.
“The combination of ultra-short laser pulses with the unique and unusual properties of the metamaterial generates efficient and broadband THz waves from emitters of significantly reduced thickness,” says Wang, who is also an associate professor of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University.
The team demonstrated their technique using the wavelength used by telecommunications (1.5 microns), but Wang says that the THz generation can be tailored simply by tuning the size of the meta-atoms in the metamaterial.
“In principle, we can expand this technique to cover the entire THz range,” said Soukoulis, who is also a Distinguished Professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University.
What’s more, the team’s metamaterial THz emitter measured only 40 nanometers and performed as well as traditional emitters that are thousands of times thicker.
“Our approach provides a potential solution to bridge the ‘THz technology gap’ by solving the four key challenges in the THz emitter technology: efficiency; broadband spectrum; compact size; and tunability,” said Wang.
February is Heart Month. The American Heart Association suggests six easy steps to cut your risk of heart attack.
- Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Tobacco smoke is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States.
Quitline Iowa is a FREE telephone and online service available to Iowa residents 14 years of age and over. The service connects callers with expert coaches that assist callers with overcoming common barriers such as dealing with stress, fighting cravings, coping with irritability and controlling weight gain. Those over 18, who enroll, can be eligible for up to 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, gum or lozenges. www.quitlineiowa.org
- Regular blood pressure checks. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder, which puts more strain on the heart and arteries. Your blood pressure is normal if it is 120/80 mm Hg or below. You can stop in to Occupational Medicine and get your blood pressure checked anytime.
- Read labels. Make sure you eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.
One successful labeling system that will help you make good choices is the NuVal System at Hy-Vee. NuVal stands for “nutritional value”. The NuVal™ System scores food on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the NuVal™ Score, the higher the nutrition in that product. It’s that simple.
- Stay physically fit. You don’t have to be an athlete to lower your risk of heart attack. Thirty minutes of moderate or brisk exercise three or more times a week is all it takes to help your heart.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Excess fat around the waist makes you a higher risk for health problems. Watch your calories as well as the amount of fats and cholesterol you eat. Stay away from fad diets. According to ABC News in a story dated May 8, 2012:
$20 Billion: The annual revenue of the U.S. weight-loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.
108 Million: The number of people on diets in the United States. Dieters typically make four to five attempts per year.
85 Percent: The percentage of customers consuming weight-loss products and services who are female.
"The very existence of the diet industry is proof of its ineffectiveness. If there were one safe, effective way to lose weight, then the others would be out of business," says Marilyn Wann, author of Fat! So?
Have regular checkups. Follow your doctor’s orders and if you feel any of the warning signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1!
- Chest discomfort (Discomfort can include one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach)
- Shortness of breath
Eating right, exercising, and living a healthy life style has been drilled into our heads for decades. To get started you have to take small steps and set realistic goals. It’s proven that diets don’t work. It’s really about portion control. This month is about heart health. Here is a heart-healthy recipe to try. Good luck!
Your friends in Occupational Medicine
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (6 pound) bone-in turkey breast
½ c water in bottom of slow cooker
PS -- If anyone from the Lab is participating in Live Healthy Iowa, we'd like to know about your team and how you're doing!