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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, February 2005

To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications and Community Outreach staff member identified at the end of each tip.

MATERIALS -- A layer at a time . . .

Through several refinements to the tried and true method of pulsed laser deposition, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have a new way to synthesize materials and conduct basic studies vital to creating new ones. By continuously monitoring the growth process and precisely controlling the amount of material deposited for each layer, researchers were able to grow artificial oxide crystals up to 5,000 atomic layers thick. They did this while preserving a perfectly flat surface. This unprecedented work involved atomic-scale control of individual layers of barium titanate, strontium titanate and calcium titanate. Hans Christen of the lab's Condensed Matter Sciences Division noted that the method can be used to produce materials lacking the symmetry found in almost all naturally occurring materials and can be designed in advance to exhibit specific desired physical properties. Consequently, this is a significant step toward long-sought designer materials expected to have a wide range of applications, particularly as sensors and switches and in the semiconductor industry. Funding for this research, which is published in the Jan. 27 issue of Nature, is provided by ORNL'S Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. [Contact: Ron Walli, 865-576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

HOMELAND SECURITY -- Safe harbors . . .

Ports in the United States and around the world could be protected with a threat vulnerability analysis system being developed by a team led by Robert Patton of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The system, called Orion, will find, analyze and fuse information in support of intelligence, security and monitoring operations. "Our goal is to provide a system that can automatically retrieve inf
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
3-Feb-2005


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