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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.

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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.

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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 .

Forcing the molecular bond issue

September 6, 2012 3:49 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Molecular Foundry developed a first-of-its-kind model for providing a comprehensive description of the way in which molecular bonds form and rupture. This model enables researchers to predict the "binding free energy" of a given molecular system, a key to predicting how that molecule will interact with other molecules.

Life-like, cost-effective robotic hand can disable IEDs

August 16, 2012 4:22 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has developed a cost-effective robotic hand that can be used in disarming improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. The Sandia Hand addresses challenges that have prevented widespread adoption of other robotic hands, such as cost, durability, dexterity, and modularity.

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.

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Increased productivity, not less energy use, results from more efficient lighting

August 7, 2012 4:12 am | News | Comments

In 2010, Sandia National Laboratories researcher Jeff Tsao and Harry Saunders of The Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, Calif., predicted that light-emitting diodes would have a similar improvement in productivity—but not less energy use—that occurred upon the introduction of the Edison light bulb. Now, they have reprised their report to emphasize conclusions they say were misinterpreted by the media.

Off-shore use of vertical-axis wind turbines gets a closer look

July 31, 2012 8:34 am | News | Comments

The economics of offshore windpower are different from land-based turbines, due to installation and operational challenges. Vertical axis wind turbines could offer the best solution thanks to several factors, including a lower center of gravity and a bottom-mounted drivetrain. But Sandia National Laboratories engineers are looking how to scale up product of the turbines’ curved blades, which are difficult to manufacture.

No-Wait Medical Diagnostic Tool

July 27, 2012 6:52 am | Articles | Comments

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a lab-on-a-disk platform, SpinDx, that they believe will be faster, less expensive, and more versatile than current medical diagnostic tools.

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.

Colorful light at the end of the tunnel for radiation detection

June 29, 2012 7:06 am | News | Comments

A team of nanomaterials researchers at Sandia National Laboratories has developed a new technique for radiation detection that could make radiation detection in cargo and baggage more effective and less costly for homeland security inspectors. Known as spectral shape discrimination, the method takes advantage of a new class of nanoporous materials known as metal-organic frameworks.

Graph500 adds new measurement of supercomputing performance

June 25, 2012 8:15 am | News | Comments

Supercomputing performance is getting a new measurement with the Graph500 executive committee's announcement of specifications for a more representative way to rate the large-scale data analytics at the heart of high-performance computing. An international team announced the single-source shortest-path specification to assess computing performance at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany.

Small worlds come into focus with Sandia microscope

June 11, 2012 4:21 am | News | Comments

Paul Kotula recently told a colleague that Sandia National Laboratories' new aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (AC-STEM) was like a Lamborghini with James Bond features. The AC-STEM delivers electron beams accelerated at voltages from 80 kV to 200 kV, allowing researchers to study properties of structures at the nanoscale—crucial for materials scientists working on everything from microelectronics to nuclear weapons.

Unique approach to materials allows temperature-stable circuits

May 31, 2012 4:16 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has developed a unique materials approach to multilayered, ceramic-based, 3D microelectronics circuits, such as those used in cell phones. The approach compensates for how changes due to temperature fluctuations affect something called the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency, a critical property of materials used in radio and microwave frequency applications.

Sandia technology used in Fukushima cleanup

May 29, 2012 4:34 am | News | Comments

A Sandia National Laboratories technology has been used to remove radioactive material from more than 43 million gallons of contaminated wastewater at Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Sandia researchers had worked around the clock following the March 2011 disaster to show the technology worked in seawater, which was pumped in to cool the plant's towers.

New model of geological strata may aid in oil extraction

May 23, 2012 6:41 am | News | Comments

A Sandia National Laboratories modeling study contradicts a long-held belief of geologists that pore sizes and chemical compositions are uniform throughout a given strata, which are horizontal slices of sedimentary rock. By understanding the variety of pore sizes and spatial patterns in strata, geologists can help achieve more production from underground oil reservoirs and water aquifers.

Navy pilot training enhanced by AEMASE smart machine

May 16, 2012 9:41 am | News | Comments

Navy pilots and other flight specialists soon will have a new "smart machine" installed in training simulators that learns from expert instructors to more efficiently train their students. Sandia National Laboratories' AEMASE is being provided to the Navy as a component of flight simulators.

Web tool helps determine best energy storage options

May 11, 2012 4:06 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Energy have released a new tool to help utilities, developers, and regulators identify the energy storage options that best meet their needs. Partnering with DNV KEMA, Sandia is releasing Energy Storage Select, or ES-Select, software under a public license to the company.

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