Friday, April 3, 2015

Major new research project to study how tropical forests respond to climate change

The Amazon rain forest. Photo by Hugo Glendinning.

The project is called the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments-Tropics, or NGEE-Tropics.

The effort includes collaborators from Berkeley, Brookhaven, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest national laboratories. The study also includes researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA, and several institutions from other nations, including Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research. (Full story)

Cosmic-ray muon technology to be used to image debris inside Fukushima Daiichi reactors
Toshiba Muon Detector, from PhysOrg.

Toshiba Corporation and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) today announced the development of a muon-based technology for imaging and mapping nuclear fuel debris inside the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Toshiba and IRID have adapted a novel technology for measuring the scattering behavior of muons penetrating objects, building on techniques originally developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in the United States. (Full story)

Verdesian can help plants Take-Off

At Commodity Classic, Verdesian Life Sciences was showcasing nitrogen enhancement technology developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that can really help plants Take-Off.

According to Kurt Seevers with Verdesian technical services, Take Off® crop nitrogen assimilator helps improve photosynthesis by increasing carbon flow into a plant’s metabolism. (Full story)

Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity

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

Taking our understanding of quantum matter to new levels, 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. At this point, all devices that make use of superconductors, such as the MRI magnets found in hospitals, must be cooled to temperatures far below zero with liquid nitrogen or helium, adding to the cost and complexity of the enterprise. (Full story)

Did 'iron rain' bypass the Moon to fall mostly on Earth?

Moon-forming collision.  NASA illustration.

Experiments indicate that the velocity of the iron rain droplets will have been greater than the escape velocity on the moon, but below that of Earth. Earth would therefore have captured the metal cores of colliding asteroids, while the moon will have failed to. William Anderson of Los Alamos National Laboratory, US, said: “The moon may have received, but not retained, a significant portion of the late veneer.”

The results could imply that models for estimating the time scales of Earth’s core formation could be out by as much as a factor of ten, with the core forming much earlier in Earth’s history than previously recognized. (Full story)

Improving plutonium identification

TES-based devices sitting on one key of a
computer keyboard. NIST photo.

A collaboration between NIST scientists and colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) 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)

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