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NuSTAR helps untangle how stars explode

February 19, 2014 2:51 pm | News | Comments

For the first time, an international team of astrophysicists has unraveled how stars blow up in supernova explosions. Using NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), the international collaboration created the first-ever map of radioactive material in a supernova remnant, named Cassiopeia A. The findings reveal how shock waves likely rip apart massive dying stars, and ultimately end their lives.

Uncovering the secrets of tularemia

February 18, 2014 8:26 am | by Stephen P Wampler, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

Tularemia is endemic in the northeastern U.S., and is considered to be a risk to biosecurity, much like anthrax or smallpox, because it has already been weaponized in various regions of the world. A postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has recently described his work to uncover the secrets of the bacterium Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia, also known as "rabbit fever."

New protein x-ray analysis method

February 13, 2014 12:26 pm | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has demonstrated a new method for studying the structure of proteins that could lead to important advances in biology and other fields. For the first time, protein crystals have been studied in 2-D at room temperature with x-rays, using a new technique that could open the door for scientists to learn more about an important class of proteins that constitute about one-third of all human proteins.

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NIF experiments show initial gain in fusion fuel

February 12, 2014 1:28 pm | by Breanna Bishop, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

Ignition has long been considered the "holy grail" of inertial confinement fusion science. A key step along the path to ignition is to have "fuel gains" greater than unity, where the energy generated through fusion reactions exceeds the amount of energy deposited into the fusion fuel. Though ignition remains the ultimate goal, the milestone of achieving fuel gains greater than one has been reached for the first time ever on any facility.

New application of physics tools used in biology

February 10, 2014 7:43 am | by Anne M. Stark, Livermore Lab | News | Comments

A team of physicists have used statistical mechanics and mathematical modeling to shed light on something known as epigenetic memory, which allows an organism to create a biological memory of some variable condition, such as quality of nutrition or temperature. The model highlights the "engineering" challenge a cell must constantly face during molecular recognition.

Identifying chemical, physical traits of fallout

January 30, 2014 7:55 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboraotry | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have begun to develop a technique that provides a practical approach for looking into the complex physical and chemical processes that occur during fallout formation following a nuclear detonation. Post-detonation nuclear forensics relies on advanced analytical techniques and an understanding of the physio-chemical processes associated with a nuclear detonation to identify the device type.

Water in star dust points to origins of life in the universe

January 23, 2014 11:44 am | News | Comments

Space weathering, which works similar to geological erosion on the Earth, produces water in the rims of tiny particles of interplanetary dust. The discovery may have implications on the origins of life and sources of water throughout the galaxy. As a byproduct of star formation, water ice is the most abundant solid material in the universe. But this new source was a surprise.

Sandia conducts first impact test in years of B61 nonnuclear components

January 15, 2014 3:59 pm | News | Comments

A ground-penetrating bomb, minus its nuclear components, rammed through a target at the remote Coyote Canyon test range last month in Sandia National Laboratories’ first such rocket-driven impact test in seven years. Engineers said the Sandia components on the weapon performed as expected.

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Partnership works to covert natural gas to liquid fuel

January 15, 2014 8:17 am | News | Comments

In an effort to put to good use natural gas (methane) that might otherwise become pollution, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is collaborating with start-up company Calysta Energy on a new technology to convert natural gas to liquid fuel. The process involves taking natural gas from oil and gas operations, and converting it to methanol that can be used as a fuel or converted to other useful chemicals.

Out of this world first light images emerge from Gemini Planet Imager

January 7, 2014 12:43 pm | News | Comments

After nearly a decade of development and testing, an advanced instrument for directly imaging and analyzing planets orbiting around other stars is pointing skyward and collecting light from distant worlds. For the past decade, a multi-institutional team has designed, engineered, built and optimized the instrument, called the Gemini Planet Imager, which will be used for high-contrast imaging to study faint planets next to bright stars.

Researchers demonstrate high-energy betatron x-rays

December 18, 2013 8:48 am | News | Comments

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team has recently produced some of the highest energy betatron x-rays ever demonstrated, with the added benefit of being produced on a system the size of a large tabletop. Betatron x-ray radiation, produced when relativistic electrons are accelerated and oscillate in a laser-driven plasma channel, is an x-ray source holding great promise for future high-energy-density science experiments.

Change in Pacific nitrogen content tied to climate change

December 17, 2013 2:40 pm | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

Using a new isotope technique and deep sea corals gathered near the Hawaiian Islands, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist, in collaboration with Univ. of California Santa Cruz colleagues, has determined that a long-term shift in nitrogen content in the Pacific Ocean has occurred as a result of climate change. This shift is similar to major paleoceanographic transitions in the sedimentary record.

Smashing science: Scientists discover how explosives respond to shock waves

December 12, 2013 9:41 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have combined ultra-fast time-resolved experimental measurements with theory to reveal how an explosive responds to a high-impact shock. The work involved advances in both ultra-fast experimental shock wave methods and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation techniques, and the combination of experiment and simulation is a milestone in understanding chemical initiation and detonation.

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Scientists find precipitation, global warming link

November 12, 2013 10:41 am | News | Comments

The rain in Spain may lie mainly on the plain, but the location and intensity of that rain is changing not only in Spain but around the globe. A new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows that observed changes in global (ocean and land) precipitation are directly affected by human activities and cannot be explained by natural variability alone.

A blast from the past

November 12, 2013 8:12 am | News | Comments

The first solids to form in the solar system contain unusual isotopic signatures that show a nearby supernova injected material within ~100,000 years of their formation. That supernova, caused from the cataclysmic death of a star, could have even triggered the birth of the sun.

Researchers unveil carbon nanotube jungles to better detect molecules

November 7, 2013 7:00 am | News | Comments

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have developed a new method of using nanotubes to detect molecules at extremely low concentrations enabling trace detection of biological threats, explosives and drugs.

LLNL, Intel, Cray produce big data machine

November 5, 2013 8:06 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in partnership with Intel and Cray, announced a unique high-performance computing (HPC) cluster that will serve research scientists at all three institutions and provide a proving ground for new HPC and big data technologies and architectures.

Copper shock: An atomic-scale stress test

October 22, 2013 10:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists have used the powerful x-ray laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to create movies detailing trillionths-of-a-second changes in the arrangement of copper atoms after an extreme shock. The study pinpointed the precise breaking point when the extreme pressures began to permanently deform the copper structure, or lattice, so it could no longer bounce back to its original shape.

New device harnesses sun and sewage to produce hydrogen fuel

October 11, 2013 7:47 am | News | Comments

A research team, led by the Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, developed a solar-microbial device that combines a microbial fuel cell (MFC) and a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC). In the MFC component, bacteria degrade organic matter in the wastewater, generating electricity. The biologically generated electricity is delivered to the PEC component to assist the solar-powered splitting of water that generates hydrogen and oxygen.

Scientists pioneer the use of established technology for analyzing uranium ore concentrates

October 3, 2013 7:49 am | News | Comments

A team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers has pioneered the use of a long-standing technology for a new application—analyzing the chemical composition of uranium samples. In a paper published in Applied Spectroscopy, LLNL scientists describe the first reported use of near-infrared spectrometry to study the chemical properties of uranium ore concentrates, also called yellowcake.

Human activity affects vertical structure of atmospheric temperature

September 18, 2013 7:45 am | News | Comments

Human influences have directly impacted the latitude/altitude pattern of atmospheric temperature. That is the conclusion of a new report by scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and six other scientific institutions. The research compares multiple satellite records of atmospheric temperature change with results from a large, multimodel archive of simulations.

Report: Quality of science, engineering at National Security Labs is solid

September 11, 2013 11:38 am | News | Comments

The science and engineering capabilities that underpin the nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship and nonproliferation missions at the nation’s three national security laboratories are “healthy and vibrant,” says a new report from the National Research Council.  The committee that wrote the report found no problems with the quality of science and engineering that would prevent certification of the stockpile.

Researchers plan to demonstrate bioenergy technology

September 11, 2013 10:42 am | News | Comments

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Florida-based Chemergy Inc. plan to demonstrate an innovative bioenergy technology that converts wastewater treatment plant byproducts into hydrogen gas to produce electricity. The $1.75 million project will demonstrate an integrated system on a limited industrial scale at the Delta Diablo Sanitation District facility in Antioch, Calif.

Association between virus, bladder cancers detected

September 11, 2013 7:59 am | News | Comments

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory-developed biological detection technology has been employed as part of an international collaboration that has detected a virus in bladder cancers. The research is believed to be the first study to demonstrate an association between Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8, and bladder cancers.

Miniapps Pick Up the Pace

August 29, 2013 1:17 pm | Award Winners

Computers process information quickly, but they perform sequentially. Because clock speeds have stalled, future performance gains come almost solely from running sets of instructions concurrently. This will force fundamental changes for all computer components, making co-design (collaborative, simultaneous development of all system components) essential. Developed by a team led by Sandia National Laboratories, Mantevo Suite 1.0 is a promising approach to co-design.

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