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Less is more: Novel cellulose structure requires fewer enzymes to process biomass to fuel

June 19, 2013 4:49 pm | News | Comments

Improved methods for breaking down cellulose nanofibers are central to cost-effective biofuel production and the subject of new research from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Scientists are investigating the unique properties of crystalline cellulose nanofibers to develop novel chemical pretreatments and designer enzymes for biofuel production from cellulosic—or non-food—plant derived biomass.

Metamaterial flexible sheets could transform optics

June 6, 2013 8:38 am | News | Comments

New ultrathin, planar, lightweight and broadband polarimetric photonic devices and optics could result from recent research by a team of Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists. The advances would boost security screening systems, infrared thermal cameras, energy harvesting and radar systems.

Catalyst could jumpstart e-cars, green energy

June 4, 2013 1:08 pm | News | Comments

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have designed a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst that could pave the way for reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells, providing for practical use of wind- and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced hybrid electric vehicles.

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Sequoia supercomputer transitions to classified work

April 18, 2013 8:05 am | News | Comments

The National Nuclear Security Administration announced that its Sequoia supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has completed its transition to classified computing in support of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which helps the United States ensure the safety, security, and effectiveness of its aging nuclear weapons stockpile without the use of underground testing.

Antibody evolution could guide HIV vaccine development

April 6, 2013 3:25 pm | News | Comments

Observing the evolution of a particular type of antibody in an infected HIV-1 patient has provided insights that will enable vaccination strategies that mimic the actual antibody development within the body. Spearheaded by Duke University, the multi-institution study included analysis from Los Alamos National Laboratory and used high-energy X-rays from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.

Scientists get inside look at how AIDS virus grooms its assault team

April 1, 2013 1:20 pm | News | Comments

A new study by a team of scientists defines previously unknown properties of transmitted HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. The viruses that successfully pass from a chronically infected person to a new individual are both remarkably resistant to a powerful initial human immune-response mechanism, and they are blanketed in a greater amount of envelope protein that helps them access and enter host cells.

End of the line for Roadrunner supercomputer

April 1, 2013 11:00 am | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

Still among the 25 fastest supercomputers in the world, the $121 million Roadrunner at Los Alamos National Laboratory was decommissioned Sunday. Roadrunner, constructed with the help of IBM, was the first to break the petaflop barrier in 2008, and was unusual at the time for being entirely built out of commercially available parts. Its replacement is smaller, cheaper, and faster.

Quantum cryptography put to work for electric grid security

February 15, 2013 11:25 am | News | Comments

Recently, a Los Alamos National Laboratory quantum cryptography (QC) team successfully completed the first-ever demonstration of securing control data for electric grids using quantum cryptography. The project, says experts, shows that quantum cryptography is compatible with electric-grid control communications, providing strong security assurances rooted in the laws of physics, without introducing excessive delays in data delivery.

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Metamaterials provide active control of slow-light devices

February 13, 2013 10:49 am | News | Comments

Wireless communications and optical computing could soon get a significant boost in speed, thanks to “slow light” and specialized metamaterials through which it travels. Researchers have made the first demonstration of rapidly switching on and off “slow light” in specially designed materials at room temperature. This work opens the possibility to design novel, chip-scale, ultrafast devices for applications in terahertz wireless communications and all-optical computing.

New process speeds conversion of biomass to fuels

February 8, 2013 8:57 am | News | Comments

Scientists made a major step forward recently towards transforming biomass-derived molecules into fuels. The team led by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers elucidated the chemical mechanism of the critical steps, which can be performed under relatively mild, energy-efficient conditions.

DOE, NASA demonstrate simple, robust fission reactor

November 27, 2012 11:18 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers have built a new type of nuclear reactor that is reliable enough to be used on space flights. The prototype, which has been used to generate 24 W of electricity, relies on heat pipe technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1983. The fluid-based cooling system requires no moving parts and the reactor itself is based on a simply closed-loop Stirling engine.

Laser research shows promise for cancer treatment

August 20, 2012 9:25 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have observed, for the first time, how a laser penetrates dense, electron-rich plasma to generate ions. The process has applications for developing next generation particle accelerators and new cancer treatments.

ChemCam laser sets its sights on first Martian target

August 17, 2012 10:08 am | News | Comments

Members of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover ChemCam team have received the first photos from the instrument's remote microimager. The successful capture of ChemCam's first 10 photos sets the stage for the first test bursts of the instrument's rock-zapping laser in the near future.

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Research provides new insights into actinide electronic structure

August 10, 2012 5:20 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers studying the fundamental properties of the actinide elements has significantly advanced the understanding of the electronic structure of elements that have electrons occupying f-orbitals.

HIV immunity study could pave way for vaccine development

July 17, 2012 9:33 am | News | Comments

Two Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are among the team recently funded to explore ways to create the precise immune factors needed for effective vaccines against HIV. The Duke University-led consortium will largely concentrate on inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies that can prevent HIV-1 infection, as well as on generating protective T-cell and innate immune system responses.

World record neutron beam

July 11, 2012 5:51 am | News | Comments

Using a one-of-a-kind laser system at Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists have created the largest neutron beam ever made by a short-pulse laser, breaking a world record. To create the neutron beam the scientists used the TRIDENT laser to focus high-intensity light on an ultrathin plastic sheet infused with an isotope of hydrogen called deuterium.

Scientists observe electrons become both heavy and speedy

June 14, 2012 3:42 am | News | Comments

A Princeton University-led team of scientists has shown how electrons moving in certain solids can behave as though they are a thousand times more massive than free electrons, yet at the same time act as speedy superconductors.

Research identifies precise measurement of radiation damage

June 5, 2012 6:42 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have for the first time identified a precise measurement of the amount of radiation damage that will occur in any given material. With a full understanding of the early stages of the radiation damage process, researchers are provided with better knowledge and tools to manipulate materials to our advantage.

Manhattan Project scientist Cowan dies at 92

April 23, 2012 8:29 am | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

One of the few people to know the various components of the first atomic bombs, George Cowan would become one of the leading nuclear researchers in the country and a fixture at Los Alamos National Laboratory for nearly 40 years. Still working with nonprofit science institute he helped found, he died Friday as the result of a fall at his home.

Cyber security exercise puts laboratories to the test

April 13, 2012 4:40 am | News | Comments

Recently, Los Alamos National Laboratory hosted an information security exercise dubbed "Eventide" that put more than 100 participants from around the country into a maelstrom of sensitive data leaks and cracked network security. It’s hoped such trials by fire prepare the Department of Energy’s facilities to cope with eventual compromises of cyber integrity.

Magnetic field researchers achieve hundred-tesla goal

March 23, 2012 8:58 am | News | Comments

During a six-experiment pulse this week, the previous world record for laboratory-produced magnetic fields was broken by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers. The hundred-tesla field, about 2 million times Earth’s magnetic field was produced with the help of a 1,200-MJ motor generator.

Oxygen detected in atmosphere of Saturn's moon Dione

March 5, 2012 3:40 am | News | Comments

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists and an international research team have announced discovery of molecular oxygen ions in the upper-most atmosphere of Dione, one of the 62 known moons orbiting the ringed planet. The research was made possible by instruments aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which was launched in 1997.

LEDs go ultraviolet with nanocrystal core

February 27, 2012 3:49 am | News | Comments

A multinational team of scientists has developed a process for creating glass-based, inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce light in the ultraviolet range. If successfully integrated into biomedical devices, these would be the first robust, cheap to produce, and chemically stable LEDs to operate in the medically-useful UV spectrum.

Mysterious electron acceleration explained

February 27, 2012 2:48 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A mysterious phenomenon detected by space probes has finally been explained, thanks to a massive computer simulation that was able to precisely align with details of spacecraft observations. The finding could not only solve an astrophysical puzzle, but might also lead to a better ability to predict high-energy electron streams in space that could damage satellites.

Tiny quantum dots hold promise for future source of lighting

January 12, 2012 3:25 am | News | Comments

University of Texas at Dallas researchers are making strides in understanding the workings of quantum dots. These nanosized particles could be used in a variety of ways ranging from illuminating the human body in high-tech medical imaging to increasing the efficiency of energy sources.

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