This 1978 photo shows two workers inside the Mirror Fusion Test Facility, a magnetic confinement fusion device designed and built at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In this experiment, magnetic mirrors are placed at both ends of a central magnetic tube. Very hot and dense plasmas inside each mirror enhanced the confinement of another plasma inside the central tube, where the bulk of the fusion would occur.
Image: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-12-28 12:00
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Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge
The Rocky Flats Plant was first established in 1951 as a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility. Today, almost 4,000 acres make up the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. Located just 16 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado, the refuge provides a habitat for migratory birds and mammals.
Image: U.S. Department of Energy
Date taken: 2012-12-21 12:00
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Record-Breaking Solar Cells
Solar Junction, in partnership with NREL, has developed solar cells that reach a record-breaking 44 percent efficiency -- meaning that more than 40 percent of the sunlight the solar cells are exposed to is converted into electrical energy. In this photo, an operator inspects a photolithography tool used to manufacture these solar cells.
Image: Daniel Derkacs/SolarJunction
Date taken: 2012-12-07 14:39
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Biomass Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Scientists and engineers at the Energy Department and its national laboratories are finding new, more efficient ways to convert biomass into biofuels that can take the place of conventional fuels like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Environmental Science Division, graduate students and researchers use transplanted trees in a number of studies, including those involving biomass conversion to biofuels. In this photo, graduate student Alina Campbell is removing damaged leaves from Eastern Cottonwood trees, which helps stimulate the trees' growth.
Image: Jason Richards
Date taken: 2012-11-30 11:54
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Not Your Typical Jet Engine
As part of the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program, the U.S. conducted extensive research showing that nuclear fission could power an aircraft. The research involved a series of Heat Transfer Reactor Experiments (HTREs), which tested if different types of jet engines could be run by nuclear power. In 1955, however, the project was cancelled, and a safe, operational prototype aircraft was never developed. In this 1988 photo, the two HTRE reactors are shown in transport to Idaho National Laboratory's EBR-1 visitor center, where they remain today.
Image: Idaho National Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-11-23 12:22
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What does a particle accelerator have in common with your Thanksgiving turkey?
At the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists are using the Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests, also known as FACET, to research accelerator science and high-energy density physics. SLAC's particle accelerator may be two miles long, but researchers at FACET are working to develop more compact versions that could be widely used in medicine and industry -- particle accelerators are used for cancer research, processing computer chips, and even producing the shrink wrap used to keep your Thanksgiving turkey fresh. In this photo, Stanford graduate student Spencer Gessner assembles a camera that will monitor an X-ray spectrometer designed to measure FACET's beam energy. Learn more about <a href="http://youtu.be/IA5pksr_gfY">how FACET works</a>.
Image: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-11-16 16:23
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Argonne's 10 kW Wind Turbine
At Argonne National Laboratory, the power generated by this 10 kW wind turbine helps scientists and engineers study the interaction of wind energy, electric vehicle charging and grid technology. The turbine is also estimated to offset more than 10 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Image: Argonne National Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-11-09 12:00
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Satellite View of Sandy at Night
On Monday, October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall 5 miles south of Atlantic City, New Jersey, with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph. This satellite image was taken 16 to 18 hours before Sandy's landfall on the New Jersey coast, using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on NASA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite.
The Department of Energy, in partnership with the Federal Energy Management Administration (FEMA) and other federal agencies, is working around the clock to support the states and utilities that have been impacted by Sandy. Learn more about <a href="http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-and-federal-efforts-support-utility-power-restoration-efforts">federal efforts to support utility power restoration</a>.
Butterflies, Crystal Nanostructures and Solar Cell Research
What do butterflies and solar cell research have in common? Both have been developing tiny crystals that selectively reflect colors. Over millions of years of evolution, butterfly wings have developed the tiny crystal nanostructures that give butterflies their vivid colors. At Argonne National Laboratory, scientists are working to manufacture these crystals, which could one day be used to create "greener" and more efficient paints, fiber optics and solar cells. In this photo, the iridescent scales of an emerald-patched Cattleheart butterfly are magnified 20 times to highlight the crystals that selectively reflect green colors.
Image: Argonne National Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-10-26 12:05
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Acoustic Levitation for Medicine
This acoustic levitator was originally developed to help NASA simulate microgravity conditions, but now, scientists are using this piece of equipment to study pharmaceutical solutions at the molecular level. At Argonne National Laboratory, droplets are suspended in air between two sets of speakers, which generate sound waves at frequencies slightly above the audible range -- about 22 kilohertz. Learn more about how acoustic levitation is performed and how it helps scientists study pharmaceuticals here.
Image: Dan Harris/Argonne National Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-10-19 09:00
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Photo of the Week: The VULCAN Diffractometer
The VULCAN diffractometer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) was built to take measurements of engineered components like a jet engine turbine blade or the frame of a car. VULCAN can "see" inside the material and make three dimensional maps of the distance between atoms in critical sections. Scientists can use these maps to determine if the atoms are being squeezed together or pulled apart — signs of stress in the materials. This photo highlights the optical fibers of a VULCAN detector module. The fibers transmit light signals created by captured neutrons to photo multiplier tubes where the signals are amplified and then sent into a data acquisition system.
Image: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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President Clinton Tours LANL, 1993
Since 1977, the people of the U.S. Department of Energy have been delivering the science, innovation and expertise required to advance America's energy, economic and national security. In this photo taken in 1993, Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Dr. Siegfried Hecker gives President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary a tour of the Lab. That year, LANL marked its 50th anniversary.
Image: Department of Energy.
Date taken: 2012-10-05 09:00
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A Driving Force for Natural Gas
Since 1977, the people of the U.S. Department of Energy have been delivering the science, innovation and expertise required to advance America's energy, economic and national security. In this photo taken in June 1988, former Secretary of Energy John Herrington takes the wheel of a clean natural gas vehicle in front of the Energy Department in Washington, DC. Today, natural gas powers over 112,000 vehicles in the United States and roughly 14.8 million vehicles worldwide. Natural gas vehicles, which can run on compressed natural gas, are a good option for high-mileage, centrally-fueled fleets that operate within a limited area.
Image: Department of Energy
Date taken: 2012-09-28 09:00
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The Z machine, the largest X-ray generator in the world, is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As part of the Pulsed Power Program, which started at Sandia National Laboratories in the 1960s, the Z machine concentrates electrical energy and turns it into short pulses of enormous power, which can then be used to generate X-rays and gamma rays.
Image: Randy Montoya/Sandia National Laboratories
Date taken: 2012-09-21 11:21
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The Webb Telescope's "Golden Spider"
The James Webb Space Telescope is a large, infrared-optimized telescope that is anticipated to launch in 2018. The spider-like sheets and tubes of wires you see here are the Optical Telescope Simulator (OSIM) for the telescope itself. OSIM will help scientists prepare the Webb telescope for flight by generating a beam of light that the telescope optics will feed into its actual flight instruments. In this photo, engineers have blanketed the OSIM with special insulating material to help control its temperature while it goes into the deep freeze testing of the Space Environment Simulator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The simulator will mimic the environment that the telescope will experience in operational orbit, more than 1 million miles from Earth.
Image: Chris Gunn/NASA
Date taken: 2012-09-14 09:00
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The Daya Bay Antineutrino Detector
While they might look like drops of water or soap bubbles, these colorful figures are actually photomultiplier tubes that line the walls of the Daya Bay neutrino detector. Neutrinos and antineutrinos are neutral particles produced in nuclear beta decay when neutrons turn into protons. This experiment aims to measure the final unknown mixing angle that describes how neutrinos oscillate. The tubes are designed to amplify and record the faint flashes of light that signify an antineutrino interaction. Lawrence Berkeley and Brookhaven National Labs and a number of physicists at U.S. universities played leading roles in the Daya Bay experiment, from designing the detectors all the way through to analyzing the data gathered.
Image: Roy Kaltschmidt, LBNL
Date taken: 2012-09-07 09:56
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Living Large -- Argonne's First Computer
Before there was Google, or even the Internet, there was the computer -- and the earliest computers were so large that just one could occupy an entire room. AVIDAC was the first digital computer at Argonne National Laboratory, and began operating in 1953. It was built by the Physics Division for $250,000. Pictured here, with AVIDAC, is pioneer Argonne computer scientist Jean F. Hall. AVIDAC stands for "Argonne Version of the Institute's Digital Automatic Computer" and was based on architecture developed by mathematician John von Neumann.
Image: Argonne National Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-08-31 09:01
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How to Open the World's Heaviest Door
For 35 years, the Energy Department has pursued an all-of-the-above energy strategy — and the critical work done at the National Labs has helped put America at the top of the global clean energy race. This photo from 1979 shows a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory employee opening the world's heaviest hinged door, which was eight feet thick, nearly twelve feet wide, and weighed 97,000 pounds. A special bearing in the hinge allowed a single person to open or close the concrete-filled door, which was used to shield the Rotating Target Neutron Source-II (RTNS-II) -- the world’s most intense source of continuous fusion neutrons. Scientists from around the world used it to study the properties of metals and other materials that could be used deep inside fusion power plants envisioned for the next century.
Image: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-08-24 10:36
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In Jonesboro, Arkansas, a Nordex USA employee stands between utility-scale components that will eventually make up a completed wind turbine. Under the Recovery Act, Nordex USA received a tax credit to assist in the creation of the Jonesboro manufacturing facility, which opened in October 2010.
Image: Nordex USA
Date taken: 2012-08-17 10:40
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On Monday, August 6, 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover arrived on the surface of Mars to gather geological and environmental data to determine if the planet has ever had the potential to support life. This photo was taken by a navigation camera located toward the back-left of the Curiosity rover, and features part of the rover's nuclear <a href="/node/381709" target="_blank">power supply</a>. Beyond the rover itself, Curiosity's exploration reveals the desert-like terrain of Mars's Gale Crater.
Date taken: 2012-08-10 13:32
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Environmental Remediation at Los Alamos National Lab
A worker suppresses dust during the final demolition stages of the historic DP West site, located at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) Technical Area 21. The demolition was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and is part of $212 million in ARRA funds the Lab received for environmental remediation.
Image: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-08-03 13:29
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UC Berkeley engineering student Jerome Thai launches one of 100 floating sensors into the Sacramento River. The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s channel system supports California's agricultural industry and provides drinking water for 22 million Californians. The Floating Sensor Network project is a collaborative effort between the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), Berkeley Lab and its National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), and UC Berkeley’s Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Electrical Engineering. The project will collect data to help researchers and scientists better understand how water flows from the Delta to pumping stations and the San Francisco Bay. To learn more, check out the Floating Sensor Network's <a href="http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/05/09/floating-sensors-track-delta-water-flow/" target="_blank">press release</a>.
Image: Roy Kaltschmidt
Date taken: 2012-07-27 12:28
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Blades of Glory
Jonathan Wiley and Eric Kuntzelman rappel more than 300 feet off the ground from a 3 megawatt wind turbine at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) near Boulder, CO. The Energy Department has made significant investments in wind testing facilities like the NWTC. By supporting the testing and validation of newly developed technologies, we are working to reduce costs for manufacturers, speed deployment of next generation technologies, and promote the growth of American companies. To learn more, check out our blog <a href="http://energy.gov/articles/blades-glory-wind-technology-bringing-us-closer-clean-energy-future">Blades of Glory: Wind Technology Bringing Us Closer to a Clean Energy Future</a>.
Image: Dennis Schroeder (NREL)
Date taken: 2012-07-20 14:28
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An insider look at Secretary Chu's tour of Ingeteam
Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited Ingeteam, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Thursday, July 12. During the visit, he toured the facilities that produce wind power generators and converters, in addition to PV solar inverters. In this photo he looks at a Stator 2MW Wind Turbine Generator.
Image: Pat A. Robinson
Date taken: 2012-07-13 16:32
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Celebrating the Higgs boson
More than 200 Fermilab researchers and staffers crowded into an auditorium at 2 a.m. EDT July 4 waited for the results of the latest announcement regarding the Higgs boson. When CERN Director-General Rolf-Dieter Heuer said the words - "I think we have it" – the Fermilab crowd erupted into applause. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory are the host laboratories for the U.S. contingents of the Large Hadron Collider experiments that found the Higgs boson-like particle.
Image: Public Affairs, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Date taken: 2012-07-06 12:45
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Biofilm for Carbon Capture
This slice can help sequester carbon. The x-ray microtomography image shows a slice of biofilm grown on a porous hollow fiber (500 microns in diameter). By working with the chemical and physical interactions of biofilms, we can gain insight into how microorganisms can help sequester carbon, reducing environmental impact. This photo was submitted to Pacific Northwest National Lab's 2012 Science as Art Contest by Mathew Thomas and the Systems Toxicology Group. Receiving the most likes on Facebook, this photo won the People's Choice award and will appear in the Lab's 2013 Calendar.
Image: Mathew Thomas and the Systems Toxicology Group, PNNL
Date taken: 2012-06-29 16:36
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Installing Solar Panels
Brian Lawson and Kenesaw Burwell install solar panels at the Energy Department's Research Support Facility -- a highly efficient building at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.
Image: Dennis Schroeder, NREL
Date taken: 2012-06-04 10:49
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The Big Green Bus Visits the Energy Department
The Big Green Bus visited the Energy Department and Secretary Chu this Tuesday. Ten Dartmouth students are touring the nation on the Big Green Bus to build enthusiasm for community involvement through environmental action. This is the 8th year this completely student run initiative has hit the road to travel 12,000 miles across 24 states on a reused, veggie-powered Greyhound bus.