Friday, August 5, 2016

Researchers develop optically switchable chiral THz metamolecules

Optically switchable chiral THz metamolecules. Image from Photonics.

A multi-institutional team of researchers including scientists with Los Alamos National Laboratory has created the first artificial molecules whose chirality can be rapidly switched from a right-handed to a left-handed orientation with a beam of light on them. Switchable molecules hold potentially huge possibilities for the application of terahertz technologies across a wide range of fields, including biomedical research, homeland security and ultrahigh-speed communications. (Full Story)

NNSA reaches important milestone with B61-12 life extension program

B61-12 readied for flight test, USAF image.

The B61-12 LEP is conducted by Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M.; Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. and Livermore, Calif.; and the nuclear security enterprise production plants, including the Kansas City (Mo.) National Security Campus and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. The B61-12 includes a USAF provided tail-kit assembly section, designed by Boeing Company under contract to the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. (Full Story)

An Earthlike, habitable past for Mars

A lake partially filling Mars' Gale Crater, NASA illustration.

Curiosity has found evidence of fresh water on Mars as well as the presence of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur -- all key ingredients in supporting life. While microbes playing a part might be speculative at this point, the recent discovery has raised more questions.

"The only ways on Earth that we know how to make these manganese materials involve atmospheric oxygen or microbes," Los Alamos National Laboratory Planetary Scientist Nina Lanza said in the report. "Now we're seeing manganese oxides on Mars, and we're wondering how the heck these could have formed?" (Full Story)

UbiQD wins grant to turn windows into solar generators

UbiQD founder and President Hunter McDaniel, UbiQD photo.

The Los Alamos-based startup Ubiquitous Quantum Dots, or UbiQD LLC, believes it can harness the solar rays that beam through windows every day to power consumer products, and eventually entire buildings.

It’s the latest potential application for UbiQD’s quantum dot manufacturing process, which it licensed from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hunter helped develop that technology as a post-doc at LANL. (Full Story)

Also from the ABQ Journal this week:

UNM: Our ties to federal labs in New Mexico benefit students

“Over the next five or 10 years, both Sandia and Los Alamos will have to replace probably a third of their workforce,” said Joseph Cecchi, associate provost for national laboratory relations. “I think it’s very important that (we’re) educating students to step into those roles.” (Full Story)

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