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Team observes real-time charging of a lithium-air battery

May 13, 2013 9:07 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

One of the most promising new kinds of battery to power electric cars is called a lithium-air battery. But progress has been slow. Researchers have used transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging to observe, at a molecular level, what goes on during a reaction called oxygen evolution as lithium-air batteries charge; this reaction is thought to be a bottleneck limiting further improvements to these batteries.

Fertilizer that fizzles in a homemade bomb could save lives around the world

April 23, 2013 8:24 am | News | Comments

A Sandia engineer who trained U.S. soldiers to avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has developed a fertilizer that helps plants grow but can’t detonate a bomb. It’s an alternative to ammonium nitrate, an agricultural staple that is also the raw ingredient in most of the IEDs in Afghanistan. Sandia has decided not to patent or license the formula, but to make it freely available in hopes of saving lives.

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.

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High temperature alloy may be perfect solder for well electronics

April 17, 2013 9:01 am | by Meg Marquardt, Materials 360 Online | News | Comments

Technology used in downhole applications—such as geothermal or oil-well monitoring—must endure punishing conditions, from very high temperatures to tremendous pressures. Finding a solder material that can perform in these harsh environments is a constant challenge. Researchers have recently repurposed a solder alloy once intended defense applications that has all the right properties for well tasks.

Softening steel problem expands computer model applications

April 16, 2013 8:11 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Lisa Deibler and Arthur Brown had a ready-made problem for their computer modeling work when they partnered with the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Kansas City Plant to improve stainless steel tubing that was too hard to meet nuclear weapon requirements.

Researchers measure reaction rates of second key atmospheric component

April 12, 2013 8:14 am | News | Comments

Researchers have successfully measured reaction rates of a second Criegee intermediate, CH3CHOO, and proven that the reactivity of the atmospheric chemical depends strongly on which way the molecule is twisted. The measurements will provide further insight into hydrocarbon combustion and atmospheric chemistry.

Better monitoring and diagnostics tackle algae biofuel pond crash problem

April 10, 2013 12:28 pm | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories is developing a suite of complementary technologies to help the emerging algae industry detect and quickly recover from algal pond crashes, an obstacle to large-scale algae cultivation for future biofuels. The research draws upon Sandia's longstanding expertise in microfluidics technology, its strong bioscience research program and significant internal investments.

New instrument will quickly detect biothreat agents

April 2, 2013 8:04 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing a medical instrument that will be able to quickly detect a suite of biothreat agents, including anthrax, ricin, botulinum, shiga, and SEB toxin. The device, once developed, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and commercialized, would most likely be used in emergency rooms in the event of a bioterrorism incident.

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The future of ion traps

March 7, 2013 3:40 pm | by E. Edwards, JQI | News | Comments

Trapped atomic ions are a promising architecture that satisfies many of the critical requirements for constructing a quantum computer. Scientists who hope to push the capabilities of ion traps even further using cryogenics have recently published a report in Science that speculates on ion trap technology as a scalable option for quantum information processing.

Sandia's new fiber optic network is world's largest

February 28, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has become a pioneer in large-scale passive optical networks, building the largest fiber optical local area network in the world. The network pulls together 265 buildings and 13,000 computer network ports and brings high-speed communication to some of the laboratories' most remote technical areas for the first time.

Researchers build nanotube photodetector

February 27, 2013 11:27 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University and Sandia National Laboratories have made a nanotube-based photodetector that gathers light in and beyond visible wavelengths. It promises to make possible a unique set of optoelectronic devices, solar cells, and perhaps even specialized cameras.

Sandia Labs revitalizes nuclear security infrastructure

February 22, 2013 8:54 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has completed $199 million in facilities construction and repair as part of an 11-year national effort to revitalize the physical infrastructure of nuclear security enterprise sites.

Cool Earth Solar, Sandia form partnership

February 20, 2013 3:40 pm | News | Comments

In a public-private partnership that takes full advantage of the Livermore Valley Open Campus for the first time, Sandia National Laboratories and Cool Earth Solar have signed an agreement that could make solar energy more affordable and accessible. The five-year Cooperative Research & Development Agreement calls for researchers with Sandia's New Mexico solar energy program to help pilot, characterize, and validate Cool Earth Solar's inflated, concentrated photovoltaic technology.

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Sandia awards information technology contracts to three firms

February 13, 2013 2:14 pm | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has issued three information technology (IT) contracts totaling $353 million over a potential term of seven years. The awards streamline IT contracting at the laboratories.

"Zombie" replica cells may outperform live ones as catalysts, conductors

February 7, 2013 9:11 am | News | Comments

“Zombie” mammalian cells that may function better after they die have been created by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico (UNM). The simple technique coats a cell with a silica solution to form a near-perfect replica of its structure. The process may simplify a wide variety of commercial fabrication processes from the nano- to macroscale.

Airborne pods seek to trace nuclear bomb’s origins

January 10, 2013 9:11 am | News | Comments

If a nuclear device were to unexpectedly detonate anywhere on Earth, the ensuing effort to find out who made the weapon probably would be led by aircraft rapidly collecting airborne radioactive particles for analysis. Relatively inexpensive UAVs—equipped with radiation sensors and specialized debris-samplers—could fly right down the throat of telltale radiation over a broad range of altitudes without exposing a human crew to hazards. A Sandia National Laboratories-developed airborne particulate-collection system demonstrated those kinds of capabilities.

Engineering alternative fuel with cyanobacteria

January 7, 2013 12:06 pm | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories Truman Fellow Anne Ruffing has engineered two strains of cyanobacteria to produce free fatty acids, a precursor to liquid fuels, but she has also found that the process cuts the bacteria’s production potential.

Sandia Lab building solar test centers across U.S.

December 24, 2012 12:17 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

One of the National Security Administration's three national laboratories is building regional testing centers around the U.S. to field-test hardware for solar companies before their multimillion-dollar solar systems are installed in buildings.

Sustainability push unites Sandia facilities and research

December 19, 2012 9:28 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has launched a Sustainability Innovation Foundry that combines laboratories-wide resource conservation with efforts to turn research in fields related to sustainability into business opportunities. Sandia is on track to meet an ambitious goal of cutting energy intensity in buildings 30% by 2015, using a 2005 baseline, and it hopes that what it has learned as part of this effort will carry over into general industry practices.

Detecting tunnels using seismic waves not as simple as it sounds

December 10, 2012 1:09 pm | News | Comments

Tunnels are often used to smuggle people and illicit goods between the border of the U.S. and Mexico. Researchers have attempted to use seismic waves to find these shallow tunnels, but current methods often miss them because of what is called the “halo effect”, in which fracturing and other geological anomalies create diffuse boundaries that hide open areas. A two-year study has shed light on this phenomenon and may lead to better results.

Researchers use shock tube for insight into physics early in blasts

November 20, 2012 10:58 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories' multiphase shock tube began with a hallway conversation that led to what engineer Justin Wagner describes as the only shock tube in the world that can look a how shock waves interact with dense particle fields. The machine is considered multiphase because it can study shock wave propagation through a mixture of gas and solid particles.

Supercomputer simulations studied to improve helmets

November 14, 2012 1:36 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico are comparing supercomputer simulations of blast waves on the brain with clinical studies of veterans suffering from mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) to help improve helmet designs.

Sandia Labs partner with Northrop Grumman, GE

November 5, 2012 9:40 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has signed a pair of cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) that could broadly add to the Labs' research into combustion, defense, energy, and nuclear security. The umbrella CRADAs, which enable Sandia and its partners to pursue multiple projects in a variety of categories, are with Northrop Grumman Information Systems and General Electric Global Research.

Sandia shows why common explosive sometimes fails

September 21, 2012 5:05 am | News | Comments

The explosive PETN has been around for a century and is used by everyone from miners to the military, but it took new research by Sandia National Laboratories to begin to discover key mechanisms behind what causes it to fail at small scales. By developing a novel technique based on physical vapor deposition to create samples with varying thickness, the researchers were able to study detonation behavior at the sub-millimeter scale and to determine that PETN detonation fails at a thickness roughly the width of human hair.

Dry-run experiments verify key aspect of Sandia nuclear fusion concept

September 17, 2012 4:18 am | News | Comments

Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific "break-even" energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to a Sandia National Laboratories research paper accepted for publication by Physical Review Letters .

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