Friday, August 16, 2013

Promise and perils of hyperloop and other high-speed trains

Artist's concept of a hyperloop capsule. From NOVA.

Today, we have high-speed rail andmagnetic levitation trains that are speedy, efficient, and—perhaps most important—proven.

“It’s still too far out there in terms of being shown to be viable,” says Dean Peterson, a senior scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and former director of the Super Conducting Technology Center there, where he worked on maglev trains. “It has potential,” he adds, “but some of his concepts still need further work.” (Full Story)

Mystery particle to make devices even tinier

Skyrmions get close to each other without interfering with one another, University of Hamburg image.

A strange, newly discovered particle could shrink a laptop computer's hard drive to the size of a peanut, the particle, called a skyrmion, is more stable and less power-hungry than its conventional, magnetic cousin.

Skyrmion-based electronics wouldn’t just be smaller and more stable — they’d use less power, noted Avadh Saxena, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Cosmology in the lab using laser-cooled ions

The picture shows ytterbium ions in an ion Coulomb crystal, taken with an EMCCD camera. From PhysOrg

Scientists from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt with colleagues from Los Alamos National Lab, the University of Ulm, and Hebrew University have demonstrated topological defects in an atomic-optical experiment in the laboratory.

Topological defects are errors in the spatial structure which are caused by the breaking of the symmetry when particles of a system cannot communicate with each other. (Full Story)

LANL team lends helping hand in Fukushima

The LANL team in Japan. LANL photo.

The team was in Japan to lend credence to their research that muon imaging may offer the best hope of assessing damage to the reactor cores and locating the melted fuel.

Muon imaging, which utilizes naturally occurring muons created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays to image dense objects, should solve the problem of determining the spatial distribution of the reactor fuel in the short term, the LANL team said. (Full Story)

Udall floats plan to streamline tech transfer

Sen. Tom Udall.

New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall, whose state is home to the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, is proposing a plan to speed the commercial use of technology developed under government auspices.

Udall's bill, which he said he will introduce in the fall, is tentatively called the Technology Transfer Invention, Innovation, and Implementation Act. (Full Story)

LANL Scholarship Fund tops $560K

Nan Sauer, campaign chair.

This year’s Los Alamos National Laboratory Employees’ Scholarship Fund broke previous fundraising records, raising a total of $563,827. Of that, 601 LANL employees, visiting scientists and friends of the lab contributed $313,000. Los Alamos National Security LLC, which manages the lab, provided a $250,000 match.

Campaign chair Nan Sauer said the amount raised from employees topped the Scholarship Advisory Committees’ goal of $300,000. (Full Story)

New Mexico State University Receives DOE Funding For Continued Algae Biofuels Research

NMSU Prof. Peter Lammers.  LANL photo.

The principal investigator of the project, entitled REAP: Realization of Algae Potential, will be Peter Lammers, director of the NMSU Algal Bioenergy team.

Lammers will coordinate efforts at partner institutions that include Los Alamos, Argonne and Pacific Northwest national laboratories; Washington State and Michigan State universities and four companies, Phycal, Algenol Biofuels, Pan Pacific Technologies and UOP-Honeywell. (Full Story)

IX Power introduces solution for toxic produced water from oil & gas

IX Power Illustration.

IX Power Clean Water, has acquired the patent rights to OrganiClear(TM) from Los Alamos National Laboratory and begun commercialization of the technology to filter toxic hydrocarbons in “produced water.”

The OrganiClear machine cleans water to the point that it can be safely used for agriculture and livestock and, with additional processes, can also be used for community water systems. (Full Story)

Image-processing 1,000 times faster is goal of new $5M contract

U-M Illustration.  

Wei Lu, U-M associate professor of electrical engineering is leading a project to build alternative computer hardware that could process images and video 1,000 times faster. Collaborators include Garrett Kenyon of the Los Alamos National Lab.

Lu has been awarded an up-to-$5.7 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to design and fabricate a computer chip based on so-called self-organizing, adaptive neural networks. (Full Story)

To subscribe to Los Alamos Report, please e-mail and include the words subscribe losalamosreport in the body of your email message; to unscubscribe, include unsubscribe losalamosreport.

Please visit us at
And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr