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Miniature Sandia sensors may advance climate studies

April 10, 2012 4:10 am | News | Comments

An air sampler the size of an ear plug is expected to cheaply and easily collect atmospheric samples to improve computer climate models. The novel design of Sandia National Laboratories' phase-change micro-valve sensor employs a commonly used alloy to house an inexpensive microvalve situated above the sample chamber.

Sandia's Ion Beam Laboratory looks at advanced materials for reactors

March 27, 2012 7:23 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories is using its Ion Beam Laboratory to study how to rapidly evaluate the tougher advanced materials needed to build the next generation of nuclear reactors and extend the lives of current reactors.

Avoiding electrolyte failure in nanoscale lithium batteries

March 21, 2012 4:54 am | News | Comments

It turns out you can be too thin—especially if you're a nanoscale battery. A team of researchers built a series of nanowire batteries to demonstrate that the thickness of the electrolyte layer can dramatically affect the performance of the battery, effectively setting a lower limit to the size of the tiny power sources.


Nuclear fusion simulation shows high-gain energy output

March 20, 2012 8:24 am | News | Comments

High-gain nuclear fusion could be achieved in a preheated cylindrical container immersed in strong magnetic fields, according to a series of computer simulations performed at Sandia National Laboratories. The simulations show the release of output energy that was many times greater than the energy fed into the container's liner.

Polycrystalline diamond drill bits open up options for geothermal energy

March 19, 2012 5:40 am | News | Comments

Nearly two-thirds of the oil we use comes from wells drilled using polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits, originally developed nearly 30 years ago to lower the cost of geothermal drilling. Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Navy recently brought the technology fullcircle, showing how geothermal drillers might use the original PDC technology, incorporating decades of subsequent improvements by the oil and gas industry.

Experiments may force revision of astrophysical models of the universe

March 15, 2012 10:31 am | News | Comments

In a challenge to current astrophysical models, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Rostock in Germany have found that current calibrations of planetary interiors overstate water's compressibility by as much as 30%.

A new approach to predicting spacecraft re-entry

March 12, 2012 4:12 am | News | Comments

In mid-December 2011, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory received a call from the Air Force Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC). At the time, laboratory scientists were working with JSpOC to upgrade their command and control software. But this call was about something very different.

Experimental smart outlet brings flexibility, resiliency to grid architecture

February 28, 2012 3:51 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has developed an experimental smart outlet that autonomously measures, monitors, and controls electrical loads with no connection to a centralized computer or system. The goal of the smart outlet and similar innovations is to make the power grid more distributed and intelligent, capable of reconfiguring itself as conditions change.


Sandia seeks better neural control of prosthetics for amputees

February 22, 2012 7:40 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories researchers, using off-the-shelf equipment in a chemistry laboratory, have been working on ways to improve amputees' control over prosthetics with direct help from their own nervous systems.

Sandia researchers find energy storage solutions in MetILs

February 17, 2012 9:04 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have developed a new family of liquid salt electrolytes, known as MetILs, that could lead to batteries able to cost-effectively store three times more energy than today's batteries. The research might lead to devices that can help economically and reliably incorporate large-scale intermittent renewable energy source into the nation's electric grid.

Anthrax-killing foam proves effective in meth lab cleanup

February 16, 2012 5:25 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories' decontamination foam, developed more than a decade ago and used to decontaminate federal office buildings and mailrooms during the 2001 anthrax attacks, is now being used to decontaminate illegal methamphetamine laboratories. The foam renders all types of typical chemical and biological agents harmless.

Tool determines value of solar photovoltaic power systems

January 31, 2012 10:59 am | News | Comments

Consistent appraisals of homes and businesses outfitted with photovoltaic installations are a real challenge for the nation’s real estate industry, but a new tool developed by Sandia National Laboratories and Solar Power Electric and licensed by Sandia addresses that issue.

Self-guided bullet prototype can hit target a mile away

January 30, 2012 7:13 am | News | Comments

Take two Sandia National Laboratories engineers who are hunters, get them talking about the sport and it shouldn't be surprising when the conversation leads to a patented design for a self-guided bullet that could help war fighters. A Sandia team has invented a dart-like, self-guided bullet for small-caliber, smooth-bore firearms that could hit laser-designated targets at distances of about 2,000 m.


Metadynamics technique offers insight into mineral growth and dissolution

January 24, 2012 3:42 am | News | Comments

By using a novel technique to better understand mineral growth and dissolution, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are improving predictions of mineral reactions and laying the groundwork for applications ranging from keeping oil pipes clear to sequestering radium.

Sandia develops power-over-fiber communications cable

January 18, 2012 3:56 am | News | Comments

Sometimes total electrical isolation is a good thing—and that's the idea behind a power-over-fiber communications cable being developed by engineers at Sandia National Laboratories. The Sandia team is developing a hybrid cable design that uses fiber to send and regulate optical power to the communications electronics integral to the cable. A patent is pending on the design.

Sandia helps IT pros visualize complex network vulnerabilities

January 11, 2012 5:14 am | News | Comments

Addressing the complexity of Domain Name System Security (DNSSEC), Sandia National Laboratories computer scientist Casey Deccio has developed a new visualization tool known as DNSViz. DNSSEC is a standard security feature at high-level government offices, but it is extremely complex and Deccio’s tool helps simplify implementation.

New detectors glow with recognition

December 14, 2011 4:48 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new way of revealing the presence of specific chemicals—whether toxins, disease markers, pathogens or explosives. The system visually signals the presence of a target chemical by emitting a fluorescent glow.

Microneedle sensors may allow real-time monitoring of body chemistry

December 13, 2011 3:22 am | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego have developed new technology that uses microneedles to allow doctors to detect real-time chemical changes in the body—and to continuously do so for an extended period of time.

Fuels expert: put practicality before policy

December 8, 2011 6:35 pm | News | Comments

A transportation fuels expert from Sandia National Laboratories says policy makers should consider such practical issues as the number of gas stations selling ethanol and how long it takes to get new transportation technologies to market as they introduce aggressive federal and state energy policies.

Voltage increases up to 25% observed in closely packed nanowires

December 7, 2011 4:43 am | News | Comments

Unexpected voltage increases of up to 25% in two barely separated nanowires have been observed at Sandia National Laboratories. Designers of next-generation devices using nanowires to deliver electric currents may need to make allowances for such surprise boosts.

IBM prototype tops “big data” competition

November 17, 2011 9:34 am | News | Comments

Following on the news that the Japanese K computer topped other high-performance computers at the SC11 conference, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s IBM Blue Gene/Q prototype has topped the Graph500, an increasingly competitive ranking that stresses supercomputer performance on “big data” scaling problems rather than purely arithmetic computations.

Sandia's Annular Core Research Reactor conducts 10,000th operation

November 2, 2011 5:07 am | News | Comments

With a muffled "pop," a flash of blue light, and a few ripples through 14,000 gallons of deionized water, Sandia National Laboratories' Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) recently conducted its 10,000th operation.

Diode lasers may vie with LEDs for lighting supremacy

October 26, 2011 7:15 am | News | Comments

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are widely accepted as a more efficient and reliable option than tungsten incandescent bulbs. But recent research at Sandia National Laboratories shows that humans are as comfortable with white light generated by diode lasers, which are more efficient than LEDs at higher amperages.

Simulating turbulent combustion speeds design

September 22, 2011 5:04 am | News | Comments

Multiscale complexity is common across all combustion applications—internal combustion engines, rockets, and industrial boilers—and can range from tens of meters to billionths of meters. New techniques being employed at supercomputers covers this huge scale range using fewer computer hours, and could benefit efficiency levels in the combustion industry.

Sandia researchers help create U.S. industry for wave energy production

September 14, 2011 10:15 am | News | Comments

A dearth of public information, complicated marine environments, and even the corrosive effects of bubbles are among the challenges for companies trying to produce energy from river currents, tides, and waves, but Sandia National Laboratories is working on solutions. Sandia is helping companies on the frontier of the coming marine hydrokinetics industry navigate these and other concerns with support from the Department of Energy.

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