Friday, February 1, 2013

LANL announces live pathogens detection breakthrough

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have developed a technique for quick detection of live pathogens in the field.

The advance could prove to be a game-changer of being able to rapidly identify the source of food-borne illnesses such as E. coli.

LANL's new method eliminates the need for laboratory culture and speeds the process. The technique relies on bacteria being critically dependent upon the key nutrient iron. (Full Story)

Scientists develop detection technique for live pathogens

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of E. coli. CDC image.
Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have developed a technique for quick detection of live pathogens in the field. The advance could prove to be a game-changer in terms of being able to rapidly identify the source of food-borne illnesses such as E. coli. Identification of bacteria in a complex environment is currently scientifically challenging. (Full Story)

Neutrons on a lab bench

Image from PhysOrg.

A new compact high-flux source of energetic neutrons has been built by physicists in Germany and the US. The new laser-based device has the potential to be cheaper and more convenient than the large neutron facilities currently used      

Markus Roth’s team directed extremely powerful and well defined pulses from the Los Alamos TRIDENT laser onto a 400-nm-thick plastic target doped with deuterium atoms. This was positioned just 5 mm in front of a secondary target made from beryllium. (Full Story)

3D meets safety at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Glove box operations at TA-55.  LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world, happens to be one of the most prolific users of nuclear gloveboxes.

Los Alamos is able to model glovebox operators and the environments where they work with a high degree of precision, but at a fraction of the time and cost typically required for assembling and assessing the prototype. (Full Story)

Dark-matter search gets started deep in Sanford Lab

The Majorana Demonstrator.  PNNL image.

The Majorana Demonstrator is testing its first detectors. Germanium-76 is both the source and detector for neutrinoless double beta decay, and the experiment hinges on reducing the background.

“We will either see or place a limit on the rate of double beta decay,” says Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Steven Elliott, spokesman for  Majorana. “But what DOE has mandated us to do is to measure the background in the relevant energy region”—a 4-keV spread around 2039 keV. (Full Story)

Physicists find new order in quantum electronic material

Two Rutgers physics professors have proposed an explanation for a new type of order, or symmetry, in an exotic material made with uranium – a theory that may one day lead to enhanced computer displays and data storage systems 

Recent experiments at the National High Magnetic FieldLaboratory at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico provided the three physicists with data to refine their discovery. (Full Story)

Nuclear test could open window on North Korea

Sig Hecker.

A [North Korean nuclear] test could give [analysts] their first real view in years into whether the North has made significant progress toward a weapon that could threaten the United States or its allies.          

Siegfried S. Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Frank V. Pabian, a senior adviser on nuclear nonproliferation at Los Alamos, reanalyzed the data and concluded that Western observers had underestimated the power of the blasts. (Full Story)

Why trees die in drought

Nathan McDowell.  LANL photo.

Nathan McDowell, a plant scientist at the government's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, actually puts trees under plastic to see how they deal with less water and more heat. He says trees are adaptable, up to a point.

"Now we're changing that climate range really fast," he notes, "faster than any of the living plants here have experienced. So can they change fast enough to adapt to that? You know, the preponderance of evidence right now is saying that [at] lots of locations around the world, they're not adapting fast enough." (Full Story)

One in, two out: Simulating more efficient solar cells

When a light particle (blue wave on left) hits a crystal of a high-pressure form of silicon, it releases two electron-hole pairs (red circles/green rings). UC Davis image.

Nanoparticle properties are different from bulk materials. In particular, the probability of generating more than one electron-hole pair is much enhanced, driven by an effect called "quantum confinement."

Experiments to explore this paradigm are being pursued by researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., as well as at UC Davis. (Full Story)

Sellers named to board

Beth Sellers.  LANL photo.

The Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails, the state’s largest nonprofit serving girls, elected Los Alamos National Lab Deputy Laboratory Director Elizabeth (Beth) Sellers to serve on the Board of Directors.

Sellers has been a resident of Los Alamos since 2011. Prior to coming to Los Alamos, she was responsible for strategic development and business development in Bethesda, Md.; and also worked in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Full Story)

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