Friday, October 6, 2017

LANL seismologist doing breakthrough earthquake research

Researchers may be getting closer to one day being able to predict the next earthquake. Los Alamos National Labs seismologist Paul Johnson says this is breakthrough research.

“We’re learning new things about the system that we didn’t know existed,” he said.  Johnson and a researcher from Pen-State are using a so-called earthquake machine to make quakes in a lab.

Johnson is collecting sound information from that machine using a stethoscope of sorts. What is new here is the use of machine learning or artificial intelligence. (Full Story)

Water in one dimension

Water molecules (red and white balls) forming a chain in a carbon nanotube, from the University of Antwerp.

Single-walled carbon nanotubes act like tiny straws that are so narrow that water confined within cannot freeze into its normal crystal-like structure. For the first time, scientists observed that at a cool 150 K, these molecules go through a quasiphase transition. In this transition, the molecules orient themselves in a highly structured, classically hydrogen-bonded arrangement.

Clean water is vital to people, crops and livestock. Technologies using carbon nanotubes may benefit water purification and desalination. Creating such devices demands knowing how water confined in such tubes behaves.

The team of scientists includes Xia Ma, Han Htoon, and Stephen K. Doorn of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Los Alamos. (Full Story)

Los Alamos National Laboratory reveals potential in tracking disease spread in real time

Nick Generous, from HPN.

There is something to be said for adapting to modern technology, but the Los Alamos National Laboratory is taking that a step further – leveraging technology with a project that combines Brazilian social media and traditional clinical data to track the growth of infectious diseases.

Nick Generous, digital epidemiologist in the Information Systems and Modeling group at Los Alamos National Laboratory and his team of researchers have proceeded with the idea that the toll from disease can be lowered with knowledge of impending threats. (Full Story)

New test opens path for better 2-D catalysts

A technique to quickly probe atom-thick materials to measure hydrogen production. Rice illustration.

Researchers have taken a deep look into atom-thick catalysts that produce hydrogen to see precisely where it's coming from. Their findings could accelerate the development of 2-D materials for energy applications, such as fuel cells.

Rice University researchers with colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Ulises Martinez, Gautam Gupta and Aditya Mohite, developed a technique to probe through tiny "windows" created by an electron beam and measure the catalytic activity of molybdenum disulfide, a two-dimensional material that shows promise for applications that use electrocatalysis to extract hydrogen from water. (Full Story)

Using tech to peer inside a tyrannosaur’s skull

The Bisti Beast, or Bistahieversor sealeyi, Journal photo.

Los Alamos is one of just a few places in the world that can perform neutron CT – 3-D imaging – with X-ray CT that yields unique insights into dense objects, more than can be gleaned by either method alone.

With these techniques, Los Alamos researchers create 3-D images and animations of various materials and components, inside and out. Typically, scanning work supports the Lab’s primary mission of ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile, for which the medical X-ray variety also does not work, but as a user facility with unique imaging capability, LANSCE is also available to outside researchers for a variety of projects. (Full Story)

Pew! Pew! Curiosity’s ChemCam zaps a half million Martian rocks

Late last Tuesday, the ChemCam instrument that sits atop NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover fired its 500,000th shot at a Martian rock. That’s big news for the ChemCam team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which developed the instrument in conjunction with CNES (Centre National d’√Čtudes Spatiales) in France and continues to help direct operations. Data collected from ChemCam has helped quantify elements like hydrogen, boron, and manganese in Martian rocks, which revealed that the Red Planet was habitable in its ancient past. (Full Story)

Hunt is over for one of the 'Top 50 Most-Wanted Fungi'

The “mystery” fungus, LANL image.

“Working estimates tell us that there should be more than 5 million species of fungi,” said Cheryl Kuske, a Los Alamos scientist on the project. “We have really only identified and fully described 100,000 of them, though, and new DNA sequencing capabilities show us that many, many specimens in research collections are uncharacterized. Solving this particular mystery shows the potential value of using environmental sequencing to guide taxonomic and ecological discovery.” (Full Story)

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