Application of Life-Cycle Assessment to Nanoscale Technology: Lithium-ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles

images[3]Demand for electric vehicles is increasing, and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries with increased ranges will be critical to increasing electric vehicle marketability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While Li-ion batteries are expected to play a key role in the electric drive transportation industry, there are opportunities for improvements in the batteries life-cycles that will reduce possible impacts to the environment and public health in a few specific areas, as their use increases. This study, carried out through a partnership led by EPA, with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Li-ion battery industry, and academics, was the first life-cycle assessment (LCA) to bring together and use life-cycle inventory data directly provided by Li-ion battery suppliers, manufacturers, and recyclers. Its purpose was to identify the materials or processes within a Li-ion batterys life cycle (from materials extraction and processing, manufacturing, use, and end-of-life) that most contribute to impacts on public health and the environment. It also sought to evaluate the potential impacts of a nanotechnology innovation (i.e., a carbon nanotube anode) that could improve battery performance.
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Bee Health: Background and Issues for Congress, August 27, 2013

images[4]Bees, both commercially managed honey bees and wild bees, play an important role in global food production. In the United States alone, the value of insect pollination to U.S. agricultural production is estimated at $16 billion annually, of which about three-fourths is attributable to honey bees. Worldwide, the contribution of bees and other insects to global crop production for human food is valued at about $190 billion. Given the importance of honey bees and other bee species to food production, many have expressed concern about whether a pollinator crisis has been occurring in recent decades.
Personal Author M. L. Corn R. Johnson
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Photo-and Electro-Switchable 1/2D Diffractive Structures Exploiting Soft-Matter

images[6]Photosensitive Liquid Crystals (PLC’s) are promising materials in the photonics field as they combine the photosensitivity of photochromic molecules such as azobenzene-based materials with the high birefringence that is typical of liquid crystals. By exposing azobenzene molecules to suitable wavelength radiation, they undergo a conformational change (trans-cis isomerization) which can occur in nanoseconds and which can drive the liquid crystal through an isothermal nematic-isotropic phase transition. This photo- induced isotropic state possesses a much different refractive index and the ability to switch between these two states enables ultra-fast photonic devices of tremendous scientific and technological interest. In addition, the possibility to confine and stabilize PLC’s has been very recently examined by our group. Confinement in an anisotropic structure with periodicity on the order of the radiation wavelength leads to the creation of novel diffractive structures (termed H-PDLCs) whose optical properties can be switched using an electric field. The possibility to realize an optically controllable photonic device by combining the photosensitivity of azobenzene materials and the optical properties of H-PDLCs is of tremendous interest to Air Force applications. This was accomplished during this grant, and multiple characteristics and properties of H-PDLCs measured and confirmed. Person al Author: L. De Sio
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Generalized Framework and Algorithms for Illustrative Visualization of Time-Varying Data on Unstructured Meshes

images[1]Photo- and physically-realistic techniques are often insufficient for visualization of simulation results, especially for three-dimensional and timevarying datasets. Substantial research efforts have been dedicated to the development of nonphoto-realistic and illustration-inspired visualization techniques for compact and intuitive presentation of such complex datasets. While these efforts have yielded valuable visualization results, a great deal of work has been reproduced in studies as individual research groups often develop purpose-built platforms. Additionally, interoperability between illustrative visualization software is limited because of specialized processing and rendering architectures employed in different studies. This report proposes a generalized framework for illustrative visualization and implements it in MarmotViz, a ParaView plug-in, enabling its use on a variety of computing platforms with various data file formats and mesh geometries. This report gives detailed descriptions of the region-of-interest identification and feature-tracking algorithms incorporated into this tool. Implementations of multiple illustrative effect algorithms are presented to demonstrate the use and flexibility of this framework. By providing a framework and useful underlying functionality, the MarmotViz tool can act as a springboard for future research in the field of illustrative visualization. Personal Author A. Joshi A. S. Rattner D. P. Guillen S. Garimella
Personal Author A. Joshi A. S. Rattner D. P. Guillen S. Garimella

Synthesis of Carbonate-Based Micro/Nanoscale Particles With Controlled Morphology and Mineralogy

images[8]Biological structural materials such as bone, nacre and fish scales utilize unique material structures and chemistry, especially nanoscale structures to provide high strength as well as high ductility. To incorporate these design principles into the material design, novel synthesis methods need to be developed to fabricate composites with controlled morphology, orientation, organization and chemistry at nanoscale. In this study, the mineralogy and morphology of carbonate-based micro/nanoscale particles precipitated by reacting (NH4)2CO3 with mixed Ca, Sr, Mg, and Mn-acetates was investigated. As the proportion of the non-Ca component increased, the products shifted toward double carbonates and mixtures of double carbonates with single carbonates. Characterization by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) to determine crystal sizes, morphology, and structure of precipitated phases indicated a potential for re-crystallizing the products to form new composite materials. Ongoing research efforts are focused on using information obtained in the present study to develop composites by hydrothermal recrystallization of metastable phases.
Personal Author J. C. Weiss K. Torres-Cancel M. Q. Chandler P. G. Allison R. D. Moser
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Viral Hepatitis Surveillance, United States, 2011

imagesCA4CU58BAs part of CDCs National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS), viral hepatitis case-reports are received electronically from state health departments via CDCs National Electronic Telecommunications System for Surveillance (NETSS), a computerized public health surveillance system that provides CDC with data regarding cases of nationally notifiable diseases on a weekly basis. Although surveillance infrastructure is in place for reporting of acute infection, reports of chronic hepatitis B and C, which account for the greatest burden of disease, are not submitted by all states. As noted in a recent report from the Institute of Medicine (1), surveillance capacity to monitor both acute and chronic viral hepatitis is limited at the state and local levels, resulting in underreporting and incomplete variable quality data that is insufficient for understanding the magnitude of viral hepatitis. For more info go to: or call NTIS 1-800-553-6847/703-605-6000
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Priming the Tumor Immune Microenvironment Improves Immune Surveillance of Cancer Stem Cells and Prevents Cancer Recurrence

images[3]Here, we report that Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) promote Cancer stem cell (CSC) -like phenotypes in murine breast cancer cells by up regulating their expression of Sox-2, resistance to chemotherapy, and increased tumorigenicity. Down regulation of Sox-2 in tumors blocked the ability of TAMs to induce these CSC-like phenotypes and inhibited tumor growth. We identified a novel EGFR/ Stat3/Sox-2 paracrine signaling pathway between macrophages and breast cancer cells and showed that this crosstalk was effectively blocked by small molecule inhibitors AG1478 or CDDO-Im against EGFR and Stat3, respectively. Therefore, our study identifies a novel role for TAMs in breast CSC regulation and establishes a rationale for targeting the EGFR/Stat3/Sox-2 signaling pathway for CSC therapy. Intratumoral injection of miR-19a-3p impaired the capacity of breast tumor cells to migrate and invade, suggesting it to play a critical role in induction of macrophage polarization and to be a useful therapeutic target for remodeling the tumor immune environment and thereby improve treatment of breast cancer. Personal Author R. A. Reisfeld Y. Luo For more info go to: or call NTIS 1-800-553-6847 Mon – Fri 8am – 5pm est

Impact of MRSA Decolonization Therapy on MRSA Infection and Transmission. Inclusive Project Dates: 07/01/11 – 04/30/13.

cdc_rf_photo_of_mrsa[1]The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of standard patient isolation during the hospital stay with placebo decolonization, to a strategy of isolation and active decolonization for hospital inpatients colonized with MRSA with respect to the following endpoints: A) reducing post-discharge infections among those without an infection in the index hospitalization, and B) reducing transmission of MRSA to household members post-discharge. Personal Author A. G. Mainous For more info go to: or call NTIS 1-800-553-6847/703-605-6000 Mon – Fri 8am – 5pm est.

Reprogramming Antitumor Immune Responses with microRNAs

images[11]During the tenure of this pilot project, we identified that miR-181a is universally up-regulated in ovarian cancer infiltrating lymphocytes. Unexpectedly, overexpression of miR-181a in anti-tumor (protective) T cells results in impaired effector functions in the tumor microenvironment, rather than in enhanced TCR recognition of tumor antigens. Genomic analysis of the genes silenced upon miR-181a up-regulation revealed a approximately 2-fold decrease in the expression of the enzyme Tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO2), suggesting that impaired tryptophan metabolism may be the cause of defective responses by tumor- reactive T cells overexpressing miR-181a. No differences in immunological readouts were found between ovarian cancer-bearing hosts treated with cisplatin vs. oxiliplatin. Our results indicate that miR-181a impairs, rather than augmenting, T cell protection in ovarian cancer, and point to miR-181a as a novel target for down-regulating interventions. J. R. Conejo-Garcia
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