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The Lead

Pregnancy Hormone Sniffs Out Anthrax

August 22, 2014 3:04 pm | Award Winners

To mitigate anthrax attack risks, Sandia National Laboratories developed a credit-card sized device based on the lateral flow assay for detection of B. anthracis in ultra-low resource environments: BaDx (Bacillus anthracis diagnostics). BaDx is a low-cost, disposable device that requires no power, instrumentation or equipment to operate, and no refrigeration to maintain efficacy.

Diamond plates create nanostructures through pressure, not chemistry

June 27, 2014 3:09 pm | News | Comments

You wouldn’t think that mechanical force could...

Nanoparticle production method could lead to better lights, lenses, solar cells

June 17, 2014 4:02 pm | News | Comments

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles show great promise...

Improvements in image-detection applications on the horizon

June 11, 2014 7:56 am | by Mike Janes, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, along with collaborators from Rice Univ. and the...

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Prototype electrolyte sensor provides immediate read-outs

June 3, 2014 8:03 am | by Neal Singer, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Patients trying to navigate today’s complex medical system with its costly laboratory analyses might prefer a pain-free home diagnostic device, worn on the wrist, that can analyze, continuously record and immediately remedy low electrolyte levels. Runners, athletes in other strenuous sports and soldiers on long missions also might prefer immediate knowledge of their electrolytic states as an aid to improved performance.

Get ready for the computers of the future

May 28, 2014 8:07 am | by Sue Holmes, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Computing experts at Sandia National Laboratories have launched an effort to help discover what computers of the future might look like, from next-generation supercomputers to systems that learn on their own—new machines that do more while using less energy.

Planting the “SEEDS” of solar technology in the home

May 20, 2014 2:35 pm | News | Comments

In an effort to better understand what persuades people to buy photovoltaic systems for their homes, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are gathering data on consumer motivations that can feed computer models and thus lead to greater use of solar energy. A primary goal of the project is to help increase the nation’s share of solar energy in the electricity market from its current share of less than .05% to at least 14% by 2030.

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The brain: Key to a better computer

May 15, 2014 8:03 am | by Sue Holmes, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Your brain is incredibly well suited to handling whatever comes along, plus it’s tough and operates on little energy. Those attributes—dealing with real-world situations, resiliency and energy efficiency—are precisely what might be possible with neuro-inspired computing.

Engineering better machines and buildings by understanding mechanics of materials

May 6, 2014 11:01 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories is working to fill gaps in the fundamental understanding of materials science through an ambitious long-term, multidisciplinary project called Predicting Performance Margins (PPM). Since 2010, PPM has been helping to identify how material variability affects performance margins for engineering components. The goal, says Sandia experts, is a science-based foundation for materials design and analysis.

Pocket-sized anthrax detector aids global agriculture

April 18, 2014 8:36 am | by Stephanie Holinka, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

A credit-card-sized anthrax detection cartridge developed at Sandia National Laboratories and recently licensed to a small business makes testing safer, easier, faster and cheaper. Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is commonly found in soils all over the world and can cause serious, and often fatal, illness in both humans and animals.

Clearing up cloudy understanding on solar power plant output

March 19, 2014 8:15 am | by Stephanie Hobby, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories engineers have been studying the most effective ways to use solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays—a clean, affordable and renewable way to keep the power on. Systems are relatively easy to install and have relatively small maintenance costs. They begin working immediately and can run unassisted for decades.

Magnetically stimulated flow patterns offer strategy for heat-transfer problems

March 6, 2014 11:17 am | by Sue Holmes, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Jim Martin and Kyle Solis have what Martin calls “a devil of a problem.” They’ve discovered how to harness magnetic fields to create vigorous, organized fluid flows in particle suspensions. The magnetically stimulated flows offer an alternative when heat transfer is difficult because they overcome natural convection limits.

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Computer power clicks with geochemistry

January 28, 2014 8:10 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories is developing computer models that show how radioactive waste interacts with soil and sediments, shedding light on waste disposal and how to keep contamination away from drinking water. Researchers have studied the geochemistry of contaminants such as radioactive materials and toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic and cadmium. But laboratory testing of soils is difficult.

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.

Fusion instabilities lessened by unexpected effect

January 9, 2014 8:08 am | News | Comments

A surprising effect created by a 19th-century device called a Helmholtz coil offers clues about how to achieve controlled nuclear fusion at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine. A Helmholtz coil produces a magnetic field when electrified. In recent experiments, two Helmholtz coils, installed to provide a secondary magnetic field to Z’s huge one, unexpectedly altered and slowed the growth of the magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities.

Added molecules allow MOFs to conduct electricity

December 5, 2013 3:54 pm | News | Comments

Scientists from NIST and Sandia National Laboratories have added something new to a family of engineered, high-technology materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs): the ability to conduct electricity. This breakthrough—conductive MOFs—has the potential to make these already remarkable materials even more useful, particularly for detecting gases and toxic substances.

Converting natural gas to liquid transportation fuels via biological organisms

November 18, 2013 8:17 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories will use their expertise in protein expression, enzyme engineering and high-throughput assays as part of a multiproject, $34 million effort by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy aimed at developing advanced biocatalyst technologies that can convert natural gas to liquid fuel for transportation.

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Plasmonic crystal alters to match light-frequency source

October 30, 2013 8:25 am | News | Comments

Gems are known for the beauty of the light that passes through them. But it is the fixed atomic arrangements of these crystals that determine the light frequencies permitted passage. Now a Sandia National Laboratories-led team has created a plasmonic, or plasma-containing, crystal that is tunable. The effect is achieved by adjusting a voltage applied to the plasma.

Study could help improve nuclear waste repositories

September 19, 2013 8:39 am | News | Comments

Here’s the question faced by a team of Sandia National Laboratories researchers: How fast will iodine-129 released from spent nuclear fuel move through a deep, clay-based geological repository? Understanding that process is crucial as countries worldwide consider underground clay formations for nuclear waste disposal, because clay offers low permeability and high radionuclide retention.

Harnessing the sun’s energy with tiny particles

September 17, 2013 8:43 am | News | Comments

Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, along with partner institutions Georgia Institute of Technology, Bucknell Univ., King Saud Univ. and the German Aerospace Center, are using a falling particle receiver to more efficiently convert the sun’s energy to electricity in large-scale, concentrating solar power plants.

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.

Researching new detectors for chemical, biological threats

September 6, 2013 8:47 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories scientists are thinking small, building on decades of sensor work to invent tiny detectors that can sniff out everything from explosives and biotoxins to smuggled humans. Their potential seems unlimited. The military needs to find low concentrations of chemicals, such as those used in roadside bombs or chemical warfare agents, before they hurt anyone.

Arizona State, Sandia Labs sign renewable energy agreement

September 3, 2013 4:36 pm | News | Comments

A formal partnership agreement to encourage collaborative research, build educational and workforce development programs and inform policy endeavors regarding renewable energy efforts has been signed by Sandia National Laboratories and Arizona State Univ. The move will facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations and help them secure research funding.

Micrometer-scale 3-D, Simplified

August 29, 2013 1:35 pm | Award Winners

The semiconductor industry has provided developers with a set of tools to create sub-micrometer 2-D electronics. However, development of complex 3-D sub-micrometer-scale structures have been hampered by the lack of equipment that isn’t oriented to 2-D constructs. Developers at Sandia National Laboratories believe that their Membrane Projection Lithography (MPL) technology bridges the gap by allowing the creation of micrometer-scale 3-D metallo-dielectric structures using standard microfabrication materials and equipment.

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.

Google Maps for Solar Glare

August 29, 2013 12:15 pm | Award Winners

Federal and local agencies have identified solar glare reflected from photovoltaic (PV) modules as a potentially significant health and safety hazard, resulting in new policies and regulations to prevent adverse impacts of glare from these solar energy installations. However, none of the time-consuming conventional tools that predict where and when glare will occur can predict visual impacts. Sandia National Laboratories has developed a Web-based Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT) that addresses these new regulations.

3-D Earth model accurately pinpoints source of earthquakes, explosions

August 22, 2013 7:58 am | News | Comments

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.

Low-temperature combustion enables cleaner, more efficient engines

August 14, 2013 8:45 am | News | Comments

As demand climbs for more fuel-efficient vehicles, knowledge compiled over several years about diesel engines and a new strategy known as “low-temperature combustion” (LTC) might soon lead auto manufacturers and consumers to broader use of cleaner diesel engines in the U.S.

Radiation detection to go

August 14, 2013 8:32 am | News | Comments

A Sandia National Laboratories team completed acceptance testing on an enormous mobile scanner that makes smuggling radiological materials more difficult, the eighth such unit that Sandia has deployed worldwide. The Mobile Radiation Detection and Identification System (MRDIS) enables scanning of containers that are in transit from one cargo ship to another.

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