U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Structural Biology Research Advances Combustion Science
Published: March 06, 2002
Posted: March 19, 2002

A new detector developed in the BER Structural Biology Instrumentation Research program is leading to understanding of the dynamics of fuel sprays in diesel and gasoline engines. The new device, known as a Pixel Array Detector (PAD), is being developed at Cornell University in order to increase the speed of obtaining data sets in protein crystallography experiments at synchrotron light sources. The goal is to obtain complete images in microseconds instead of in a second as the current detectors require. This would allow completion of experiments with fragile protein crystals before they break down in the intense x-ray beam. A PAD module has now been used to image the change over microsecond time periods of the fuel spray from a diesel engine fuel injector. Studies were carried out at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) at Cornell University. The images obtained with the PAD show development of a supersonic shock wave as the leading edge of the spray reaches speeds well above the speed of sound in the medium very soon after injection. The results are reported in the February 15, 2002, issue of Science. The on-line version of the article includes an animated sequence of x-radiographic images of the shock wave. The Cornell group is directed by Physics Professor Sol Gruner, who is also Director of the CHESS, and is funded by the Office of Biological & Environmental Research. The ANL group is lead by Jin Wang at the APS and receives funding from the Office of Basic Energy Sciences and DOE's FreedomCAR Program.

Contact: Roland Hirsch, SC-73, 3-9009
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Structural Biology, Biomolecular Characterization and Imaging

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)