Friday, March 10, 2017

Oldest, biggest black holes may have come from enormous stars

European Organization for Astronomical Research illustration.           

The earliest supermassive black holes may have been big to start with. If so, it would help explain the recent detection of such beasts within a billion years of the big bang.

In principle, though, stars can gain mass faster than black holes. Joseph Smidt at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and his colleagues say this could explain the presence of supermassive black holes so early on.

“Other results showed that you can get the right mass – but black holes are more than mass,” says Smidt. “We’ve shown that we can match several other independently observed features.” (Full Story)

See the NewScientist video on YouTube

Machine-learning algorithm predicts laboratory earthquakes

Random Forest approach for predicting time remaining before failure.           

Bertrand Rouet-Leduc at Los Alamos National Laboratory [has] trained a machine-learning algorithm to spot the tell-tale signs that a laboratory earthquake is about to give way using only the sounds it emits under strain.  The team is cautious about the new technique’s utility for real earthquakes, but the work opens up new avenues of research in this area.

Rouet-Leduc and collaborators created artificial earthquakes in their lab by pulling on one block sandwiched between two others. At the interface between the blocks, they packed a mixture of rocky material, called gouge material, to simulate the properties of real faults. (Full Story)

Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

2D Perovskite structure. LANL illustration.

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating innovative 2D layered hybrid perovskites that allow greater freedom in designing and fabricating efficient optoelectronic devices. Industrial and consumer applications could include low cost solar cells, LEDs, laser diodes, detectors, and other nano-optoelectronic devices. (Full Story)

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Unexpected oxidation state for molecular plutonium discovered

Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory and UC Irvine study a new oxidation state of plutonium. LANL Photo

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboration with the University of California - Irvine (UCI) have uncovered a significant new chemical attribute of plutonium, the identification and structural verification of the +2 oxidation state in a molecular system.

"This finding marks out plutonium, already known for its extremely complex chemistry, as the actinide element with the largest number of confirmed oxidation states," said Andrew Gaunt, lead Los Alamos investigator on the project along with Stosh Kozimor. (Full Story)

Jaqueline L. Kiplinger receives IUPAC 2017 Distinguished Women In Chemistry Award

Jaqueline Kiplinger, LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow Jaqueline Kiplinger was recognized this week with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) 2017 Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering award. Kiplinger was one of 12 women recognized this year internationally and the only recipient of this honor from the United States. (Full Story)

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