Friday, March 27, 2015

Getting a critical edge on plutonium identification

TES-based devices sitting on one key of a computer keyboard. From PhysOrg

A collaboration between NIST scientists and colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory has resulted in a new kind of sensor that can be used to investigate the telltale isotopic composition of plutonium samples – a critical measurement for nuclear non-proliferation efforts and related forensics, as well as environmental monitoring, medical assays, and industrial safety. (Full Story)

Also from PhysOrg this week:

Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity

Brad Ramshaw conducts an experiment at the National High Magnetic Field Lab, LANL photo

LANL scientists are exposing high-temperature superconductors to very high magnetic fields, changing the temperature at which the materials become perfectly conducting and revealing unique properties of these substances.

“High magnetic-field measurements of doped copper-oxide superconductors are paving the way to a new theory of superconductivity,” said Brad Ramshaw of Condensed Matter and Magnet Science, lead researcher on the project. (Full Story)

Computer simulation improves offshore drill rig safety

A simulation of vortex induced motion. LANL image

Los Alamos National Laboratory mechanical and thermal engineering researchers’ efforts to solve the complex problem of how ocean currents affect the infrastructure of floating oilrigs and their computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations received recognition from ANSYS Inc., a company that provides computer-based engineering simulation capabilities. (Full Story)

Also in HPCwire

LANL scientists’ ocean images help track changes and carbon capture

Los Alamos scientists recently used a supercomputer to paint a vibrant picture of how ocean eddies move heat and capture carbon from the atmosphere. The picture shows “the beauty of the ocean,” said scientist Todd Ringler.

More than a work of art, the ocean eddies modeled by Ringler and seven other members of the Climate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling team can help climate scientists and oceanographers track changes within the oceans. (Full Story)

New software identifies bacteria with less false positives

DNA and RNA extracted from the soil and other complex environments. LANL image

Led by Patrick Chain, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have combined bacterial genome databases and a search algorithm to create a system that can reveal the constituents of metagenomic samples through a process dubbed Genomic Origins Through Taxonomic Challenge (GOTTCHA). The system uses unique reads obtained through next-generation sequencing to resolve the taxonomy of bacterial species in metagenomes at any level from class all the way down to bacterial strain. (Full Story)

Also in Medical News Today

Scientists use this laser flower instead of nuclear explosions

Photo: It might look like something out of a nightclub, but this so-called Wide-angle Optical Multi-channel Probe is straight from the research halls of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

This specialized laser instrument allows Los Alamos scientists to perform sophisticated nuclear experiments and gather significant amounts of data without a critical mass of plutonium. (Full Story)

LANL takes on deadly bugs

Cross section of skin layers showing application of an ionic liquid for combating bacterial infection. UCSB image

David Fox is a staff scientist in LANL’s Bioscience Division. For several years he and a team of fellow chemists and microbiologists have been working with ionic liquids – known as molten salts. Originally their work was for forensic applications, like how to pull certain molecules out of fabrics. The team then figured out they could also use the ionic liquids to deliver molecules: like antibiotics to an until-then impenetrable bacteria. (Full Story)

HAWC Observatory to study Universe's most energetic phenomena

HAWC high in the mountains of Mexico. HAWC photo

HAWC has been collecting data since August 2013 when it had only 111 detector tanks. Even then, HAWC was much more capable than its predecessor-an observatory known as Milagro that operated near Los Alamos, N.M. and ceased taking data in 2008. In eight years of operation, Milagro found new sources of high-energy gamma rays, detected diffuse gamma rays from our own Milky Way galaxy and discovered that the cosmic rays hitting earth had an unexpected non-uniformity. (Full Story)

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