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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2012
Date:7/18/2012

BIOLOGY -- Waterlogged protein . . .

Proteins' biological functions, such as the ability to metabolize drugs in our bodies, are known to rely heavily on the presence of water, but mechanisms behind the relationship have remained unclear. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory have provided new evidence that suggests water is even more involved in protein dynamics than previously thought. Through a novel combination of supercomputer simulations and neutron scattering experiments, the research team found that the effects of water reach into the very core of a protein instead of remaining on the surface, as earlier research had suggested. "The implications are that surface hydration may lubricate dynamics in interior protein active sites, thus enabling biological function," said lead author Jeremy Smith. [Contact: Morgan McCorkle, (865) 574-7308; mccorkleml@ornl.gov]

ELECTRONICS -- Quantum leap in security . . .

Intrusion detection is moving up a couple of notches with a technology that overcomes one of the main vulnerabilities of conventional security systems. Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Quantum Optical Seal, ideal for securing nuclear, military and chemical facilities, monitors an optical network for tampering using entangled pulses of light that are exclusively described by their quantum mechanical properties. "This offers the quantum optical seal a unique ability to identify sophisticated attempts at deception, including those attacks that would go unnoticed by more conventional techniques," said Travis Humble, who led the team of inventors. The patented technology is inherently immune to replication, a standard technique used to defeat less sophisticated intrusion detection systems. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

MATERIALS -- Steel shield . .
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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