Friday, March 17, 2017

Science on the Hill: Dark matter detective work

The High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory in
the mountains of Mexico, from the New Mexican.

Fourteen thousand feet above sea level near a volcanic peak in Mexico sits a unique astronomical observatory. Instead of peering into space with a glass lens, it uses 300 huge barrels of water. And instead of focusing light, digital sensors inside each barrel detect a ghostly blue light called Cherenkov radiation from high-energy particles zipping through the water.

At this High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory, better known as HAWC, a team of astrophysicists from Los Alamos National Laboratory and their colleagues are sifting through data from those mountain-top water barrels looking for the fingerprint of one of the most elusive yet abundant quarries in the universe: Dark matter. (Full story)

2D layered hybrid perovskite material enhances effectiveness for LEDs and solar cells

2D Perovskite structure, LANL image.               

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are developing ground-breaking 2D layered hybrid perovskites that allow higher level of freedom in designing and fabricating efficient optoelectronic devices.

The 2D, near-single-crystalline "Ruddlesden-Popper" thin films have an out-of-plane orientation so that unrestrained charge movement takes place across the perovskite layers in planar devices.

At the edges of the perovskite layers, the team detected "layer-edge-states," which are crucial to both high fluorescence efficiency (a few tens of percent) for LEDs and high efficiency of solar cells (>12 %). (Full story)

Scientists discover oxidation state for molecular plutonium

Researchers have identified the +2 oxidation state in a molecular system of plutonium. The findings by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboration with the University of California- Irvine provide a significant step towards a more complete understanding of chemical trends across the actinide series and ultimately will provide knowledge about how to manipulate and control oxidation-state chemistry and electronic structure. (Full story)

Raving about robots

Robo Rave Competition, RG Sun photo.

Janelle Vigil-Maestas from the Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Programs Office, said her Office started sponsoring the event several years ago, to give students practice ahead of the much larger annual, international contest held each year in Albuquerque. This year, it will be on May 5 and 6.

“We brought it to Northern because we had a lot of students that were starting teams and they didn’t have experience competing,” she said. (Full story)

LANL donation adding to UNM supercomputing power

The new system given to UNM from
Los Alamos. UNM photo.

The machine was acquired from LANL through the National Science Foundation-sponsored PR0bE project, which is run by the New Mexico Consortium (NMC). The NMC, comprising UNM, New Mexico State, and New Mexico Tech universities, engages universities and industry in scientific research in the nation's interest and to increase the role of LANL in science, education and economic development. (Full story)