Friday, October 4, 2013

Predicting solar assaults

Magnetic flux ropes (blue) along a selection of magnetic field lines (yellow). LANL image.

Bill Daughton, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, explains. First, magnetic field lines in a plasma move with it, so if part of a large-scale plasma moves, the magnetic field lines can distort. “Think of the lines like rubber bands. They can become stressed in regions and, figuratively, snap and then move back together.” These magnetic fields store energy, and the snapping can take place quickly, releasing that energy explosively, something visible in a solar flare bursting off the sun. (Full Story)

Recent study reduces Casimir force to lowest recorded level

Schematic of the experimental configuration. Perdue University image.

A research team has recorded a drastically reduced measurement of the Casimir effect, a fundamental quantum phenomenon experienced between two neutral bodies that exist in a vacuum. Co-authors include Diego Dalvit and Francesco Intravaia of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Casimir effect, a long-standing point of study in quantum physics, refers to this unavoidable physical force that exists between the objects, even when those objects are placed in an environment void of any external forces. (Full Story)

Improving lithium-ion batteries with nanoscale research

Silicon germanium nanowire built layer-by-layer. UCSD image.

UC San Diego’s Shadi Dayeh is aimed at improving lithium ion batteries through possible new nanowire electrode architectures. Dayeh grew the nanowires as a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The research team have presented nanowires that block diffusion of lithium across the wire's silicon surface and promote layer-by-layer axial lithiation of the nanowire's germanium core. (Full Story)

Ex-Los Alamos Director Harold Agnew Dies

Harold Agnew (right) with Norris Bradbury in 1970.  LANL photo.              

Harold Agnew, a former Los Alamos National Laboratory Director who worked on the Manhattan Project and later led the effort to train the first group of international atomic inspectors, died Sunday. He was 92.

According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Agnew was its third director and served from 1970 to 1979. Under his leadership, Los Alamos developed an underground nuclear test containment program, acquired the first Cray supercomputer, and trained the first class of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. (Full Story)

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