Friday, August 26, 2016

New class of fuel cells offer increased flexibility, lower cost

Yu Seung Kim (left) and Kwan-Soo Lee, LANL photo.  

A new class of fuel cells based on a newly discovered polymer-based material could bridge the gap between the operating temperature ranges of two existing types of polymer fuel cells, a breakthrough with the potential to accelerate the commercialization of low-cost fuel cells for automotive and stationary applications.

"Polymer-based fuel cells are regarded as the key technology of the future for both vehicle and stationary energy systems," said Yu Seung Kim, the project leader at Los Alamos. (Full Story)

What does Mars look like? More like us than we thought

Jens Frydenvang, LANL image.

Curiosity accomplished this last December when it discovered the chemical silica, a mineral compound of silicon and oxygen, which on Earth is usually deposited by water.

“On Earth, all the environments where we find this kind of silica require some kind of water activity,” said Jens Frydenvang, an astrogeologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, in a short video following the discovery. “Often it’s also a very nice environment to find microbial life.” (Full Story)

Episode 11: Mad about manganese

Nina Lanza.  Smith College photo by Gabriella Marks.

The Mars Curiosity Rover has an impressive suite of instruments, but none incite as much excitement as ChemCam, a laser/camera combo that vaporizes rocks and analyzes their components. ChemCam is firing more than it ever has before, and Nina Lanza, a staff scientist on its team, is helping make some pretty remarkable discoveries with it. On this episode, Nina tells us about a high concentration of manganese recently uncovered that tells us a lot about Mars' past, and suggests that it might have been complete with a lot more oxygen than we initially thought. (Full Story)

Los Alamos to investigate solar dangers to the power grid

NASA illustration.

Next month Los Alamos National Laboratory launches a new investigation of how those solar events could affect a grid like a long string of Christmas lights – increasingly long and susceptible to a cascade of problems.

The three-year Los Alamos program will be funded internally for about $5 million – and will determine what transformers, circuits, stations and conduits could be fried by a flare-up from the sun, said Mike Henderson, leader of the national security-focused program. (Full Story)

Also in Laboratory Equipment Magazine

2D Perovskite for high efficiency and stable photovoltaics, optoelectronics

Three types of large-area perovskite solar cells, LANL image.

2D layered perovskite with crystalline properties has demonstrated more than triple the efficiency of previous 2D perovskites, while also demonstrating significantly more stability than 3D perovskite material. The technology shows promise not only for photovoltaic applications, but also for high-performance optoelectronic devices. To create 2D perovskites with high efficiency and stability, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory produced thin films of near-single-crystalline quality. (Full Story)

David L. Clark receives Seaborg Award

David L. Clark. Photo by Rod Searcey.             

Los Alamos National Laboratory chemist David L. Clark has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry, sponsored by the American Chemical Society Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology.

“Dave is well-known for his breadth of accomplishment in actinide synthesis, characterization, and electronic structure elucidation, as well as the development of modern multi-method approaches to the characterization of complex actinide behaviors,” said Alan Bishop, Principal Associate Director of the Laboratory’s Science, Technology and Engineering directorate.  (Full Story)

Also in the Post this week:

High-impact innovations are R&D 100 award finalists

Pulak Nath, with the Pulmonary Lung Model, LANL photo.

Eight Los Alamos National Laboratory innovations were selected as finalists for the 2016 R&D 100 Awards, which honor the top 100 proven technological advances of the past year as determined by a panel selected by R&D Magazine. The finalists, with projects covering energy, computing, health care, and materials, demonstrate the continued success of Laboratory researchers in technical innovation for national security science. (Full Story)

To subscribe to Los Alamos Press Highlights, please e-mail and include the words subscribe PressHighlights in the body of your email message; to unsubscribe, include unsubscribe PressHighlights.

Please visit us at