The ChemCam laser instrument aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover fired its 100,000th shot recently, chronicling its adventures on Mars with a coffee-table-book’s worth of spectral data that might rival snapshots gathered during a long and satisfying family vacation here on Earth. ChemCam zaps rocks with a high-powered laser to determine their composition and carries a camera that can survey the Martian landscape.
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have advanced a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that may provide a breakthrough for screening liquids at airport security. They’ve added low-power x-ray data to the mix, and as a result have unlocked a new detection technology.
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory are investigating the complex relationships between the spread of the HIV virus in a population (epidemiology) and the actual, rapid evolution of the virus (phylogenetics) within each patient’s body. The team models the uninfected population using traditional differential equations on the computer; this is done for computational speed, because an agent-based component is much more demanding.
A new collaborative science program is pioneering the development of ultra-sensitive methane-sensing technology. Methane, the principal component of natural gas, is one of many gases whose presence in the atmosphere contributes to global climate change. It is a goal of industry and scientists alike to better constrain the source flux of fugitive methane emissions from man-made activities.
Quantum dots are nano-sized semiconductor particles whose emission color can be tuned by simply changing their dimensions. New research at Los Alamos National Laboratory aims to improve quantum dot-based light-emitting diodes by using a new generation of engineered quantum dots tailored specifically to have reduced wasteful charge-carrier interactions that compete with the production of light.
Within its first three months on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity Rover saw a surprising diversity of soils and sediments along a half-kilometer route that tell a complex story about the gradual desiccation of the Red Planet. Perhaps most notable among findings from the ChemCam team is that all of the dust and fine soil contains small amounts of water.
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.
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.
The Earth’s upper atmosphere is under bombardment by cosmic radiation that produces showers of pions, which rapidly decay into a constant flux of muons (some 200 m2/sec) that shower objects on Earth. Since the muon angular trajectory changes as a function of the density and atomic weight of the material traversed, a unique “signature” for the substance can be developed. The ability to identify distinct material density enables the Multi-Mode Passive Detection System (MMPDS), developed by Decision Sciences International Corp. and Los Alamos National Laboratory, to quickly detect unshielded to heavily shielded nuclear threats, as well as gamma rays, with near-zero false alarms.
Numerous space probes have taken advantage of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) powered by plutonium. However, the end of the Cold War has brought about a shortage of plutonium. In collaboration with NASA Glenn Research Center and National Security Technologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed an alternative type of nuclear reactor, one that uses plentiful uranium as its fuel source.
X-ray scanners are, even after decades of development, bulky, heavy, expensive and not always reliable. Los Alamos National Laboratory, with the help of several industry experts in optics, has introduced an x-ray device, MiniMAX that overcomes these limitations.
During the Cold War, U.S. and international monitoring agencies could spot nuclear tests and focused on measuring their sizes. Today, they’re looking around the globe to pinpoint much smaller explosives tests. Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory have partnered to develop a 3-D model of the Earth’s mantle and crust called SALSA3D, with the purpose to assist in locating explosions.
With the launch of a new “Express Licensing” program, access to innovative technology invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has gotten easier. The new licensing alternative was announced by David Pesiri, Dir. of LANL’s Technology Transfer Div.
After studying data from a pair of NASA probes roaming the harsh space environment within the Van Allen radiation belts, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory believe they have solved a lingering mystery about how electrons within Earth’s radiation belt can suddenly become energetic enough to kill orbiting satellites.
The Powerwall Theater (PWT) at Los Alamos National Laboratory is an innovative facility that enables researchers to view the complex models and simulations they have created using some of the world’s fastest supercomputers. Recently, PWT was upgraded with 40 double-stacked Christie Mirage 3-D LED projectors that will provide seamless, integrated 3-D visualization.
Decision Sciences International Corp. and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) announced they have been recognized by R&D Magazine as a 2013 R&D 100 award winner for their Multi-Mode Passive Detection System Technology.
Higher-strength, lighter-weight steels could be coming to a car near you in the near future as part of a DOE advanced manufacturing initiative. Researchers are lending their expertise to a three-year, $1.2-million project to develop a new class of advanced steels for the automotive industry, materials that will be produced using cleaner manufacturing methods.
Three National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites where The Babcock & Wilcox Co. (B&W) operates have been selected as recipients of R&D Magazine's 2013 R&D 100 Awards. Sites honored include the Y-12 National Security Complex, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Three technologies from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and its partners were honored with 2013 R&D 100 Awards. MiniMAX is a battery-powered, digital x-ray imaging system that is completely self-contained, lightweight, compact and portable. KiloPower uses a nuclear fission system as a heat source that transfers heat via a heat pipe to a small power convertor to produce electricity from uranium.
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Tribogenics, a developer of x-ray solutions, have recently partnered to create a unique, lightweight, compact, low-cost X-ray system that uses LANL’s MiniMAX (miniature, mobile, agile, x-ray) camera to provide real-time inspection of sealed containers and facilities. The innovative technology will be featured at an upcoming International Atomic Energy Agency conference.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.