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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, September 2004

SIMULATION -- New generation optoelectronics . . .

A synergistic effort between theory, modeling, computer simulations and experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has demonstrated that oriented fluorescent nanostructures with dramatically enhanced spectral and photophysical properties can be formed from single molecules of semiconducting organic polymers. Semiconductors based on organic materials such as polymers are more suited to a range of practical applications than the more conventional and more inflexible inorganic crystals. Computer models predicted, and laboratory experiments using ink-jet methods confirmed, that dilute polymer solutions organize themselves into compact shapes. Using these techniques with photosensitive materials, ORNL researchers produced nanoparticles with superior optical and electronic "quantum dot" properties that function similarly to light-emitting diodes or transistors. The versatility introduced by the use of organic polymers could result in such future products as electronic paper, luminescent clothing and ever more miniaturized and novel electronic tools and consumer products. [Contact: Bill Cabage 865-574-4399; cabagewh@ornl.gov]

ENERGY -- An untapped resource . . .

Natural methane hydrate deposits offer a potentially vast source of energy, greatly surpassing all known fossil fuel resources, but many questions and challenges remain before these deposits can be tapped. Clathrate hydrates, which consist of a gas molecule surrounded by a cage of water molecules to form an ice-like structure, could in theory also be used to sequester carbon dioxide at the bottom of the ocean. Gas hydrates form at low temperatures and ocean depths of about 500 meters and some scientists see them as an energy source that could provide a transition to a hydrogen-based economy. Of more immediate concern is the hazard these deposits pose to gas and oil drilling operatio
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-1946
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
8-Sep-2004


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