Friday, November 18, 2011

Fusion energy is the future; but the future might be quite a long ways off

It’s hard not to get excited listening to Wurden explain the process they’re using at Los Alamos called Magnetized Target Fusion. Wurden and his team are working with an Air Force research lab in nearby Albuquerque.

“We built a plasma injector, and they built a can-crusher, and you put the plasma into that aluminum canister, and then you crush the aluminum can, with the huge current produced by the capacitor bank,” Wurden began.

"You put 11 million amps of current, and that produces a big magnetic field on the outside; that crushes the can very smoothly and uniformly (full story)."

Researchers unravel mystery of quantum-dot blinking

Research by Los Alamos scientists developed a novel spectro-electrochemical experiment that allowed them to controllably charge and discharge a single quantum dot while monitoring its blinking behavior. These experiments facilitated the discovery of two distinct blinking mechanisms.

"Our work is an important step in the development of nanostructures with stable, blinking-free properties for applications from light-emitting diodes and single-photon sources to solar cells," said Victor Klimov (full story).

Also from the Monitor this week:

LANL works on ultra-low field MRI

LANL researchers are developing a system to make ultra-low field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) commercially viable for medical applications. The researchers have been working on an ultra-low field MRI system using low temperature SQUIDS (supercomputing quantum interference devices).

Ultra-low field MRI with low temperature SQUIDs in a shielded room has many potential advantages for medical imaging, such as convenience, enhanced contrast, and open design (full story).

Vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visits LANL

Admiral James A. Winnefield, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Los Alamos National Laboratory Thursday. Winnefield is a four star Navy Admiral, and as Vice Chairman is the second highest-ranking U.S. military officer.

Winnefield was at Los Alamos to receive a wide variety of classified briefings that covered the broad spectrum of national security science at Los Alamos. The Vice Chairman was briefed by the laboratory’s senior leadership including director Charlie McMillan, and Principal Associate Directors Bret Knapp and Terry Wallace. The briefings included details of the laboratory’s Nuclear Weapons Program and Global Security portfolio (full story).

NASA sets MSL/ATLAS V launch coverage events

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft with the Curiosity rover is set to launch to the planet Mars aboard an Atlas V rocket on Nov. 25, 2011 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Curiosity Mission Science Briefing: This briefing will immediately follow the prelaunch news conference. Participating in the briefing will be: Roger Wiens, principal investigator for Chemistry and Camera investigation on Curiosity Los Alamos National Laboratory (full story).

Fujitsu, Cray, HP, IBM dominate list of top 10 fastest supercomputers

Cielo was built by Cray using its XE6 systems and leverages AMD’s eight-core Opteron 6136 chips for a performance level of 1.11 petaflops.

Roadrunner, an IBM-built supercomputer, is a cluster of BladeCenter systems powered by Big Blue’s 3.2GHz PowerXCell 8i and AMD’s dual-core Opteron chips. Its performance is listed at 1.04 petaflops (full story).

Los Alamos tagged New Mexico's 'brainiest' mid-sized city

The home to Los Alamos National Laboratory came in at No. 48 among 3,012 communities in the category. Almost 38 percent of its residents have earned a graduate and/or professional degree (full story).

And, from Los Alamos, on YouTube . . .

How DARHT works

The Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory is an essential scientific tool that supports Stockpile Stewardship at the Laboratory. The World's most powerful x-ray machine, it's used to take high-speed images of mock nuclear devices - data that is used to confirm and modify advanced computer codes in assuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent (full-size video here).

To subscribe to Los Alamos Report, please send an email and include the words "subscribe losalamosreport" in the body of your email message; to unscubscribe, include "unsubscribe losalamosreport".

Please visit us at

and don't forget to follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr!