Friday, February 9, 2018

Only a weapons lab can find a weapons lab

Author Nancy Jo Nicholas, Principal Associate Director of Global Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Decades ago, after developing the first atomic bomb, Los Alamos National Laboratory developed and implemented scrupulous material control and accounting for its own nuclear material. That research led to inventing a wide range of satellite-borne and Earth-based instruments; many of the latter are used by the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor nuclear activity. Instruments in space detect X-rays, gamma rays, and neutrons – all signatures of a nuclear explosion – anywhere on the globe, including hyper-secretive North Korea. Scientists tease out those signatures from the data “noise.” (Full Story)

Early quantum computing investors see benefits

The first systems stringing together tens of quantum bits are being made available for researchers to use, from the Financial Times.

Quantum computing will potentially mark one of the tech world’s biggest revolutions, harnessing the quirks of quantum mechanics to speed up machine computation exponentially.  

John Sarrao, associate director for theory, simulation, and computation at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is among the scientists looking at how to invest in the technology.

The organisation is taking a long-term view of quantum computing from a national security point of view. However, according to Mr Sarrao, there are also benefits to be gained in the shorter term. (Full Story)

How quantum dots supercharge farming, medicine and solar, too

Quantum dots fluoresce under UV light, from LANL video.

Researchers from places like the Los Alamos National Laboratory and University College London, companies like Solterra and UbiQD, and many others are using quantum dots to help improve the efficiency of solar power.

Though it's not quite as simple as "TV, but backwards" it's possible to create a solar cell that uses quantum dots. So instead of taking electricity and creating light, like they do on a TV, they take light and create electricity. Although still very early in development, researchers expect to get quantum dot-based solar cells to be at least as efficient, and likely more so, than a traditional solar cell. (Full Story)

Taking solar energy to the edge

Layered perovskite, LANL image.    

At CINT researchers discovered an efficient way to make combined solar panels and light-emitting devices. Rather than using blocks of hybrid perovskite materials, they layered several thin sheets on top of each other.

Hybrid perovskites are a new class of low-cost materials that can capture and emit light. This material can be synthesized in several forms: bulk 3-D structures, 2-D crystal sheets, and 1-D rods. In particular, layered compounds can be created by stacking 2-D crystal sheets with thin organic layers in between. (Full Story)

4 nontraditional Taos students receive LANL scholarships

Sixteen Northern New Mexico adult students returning to college, including four from Taos, each received $1,000 scholarships from the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation. The awards from the Los Alamos Employees' Scholarship Fund help local, nontraditional students enter higher education programs to expand job opportunities or pursue new careers. (Full Story)

Photos: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Career Fair

Los Alamos National Lab's Chris Werner, left, speaks with RPI student Daniel Petti, RPI Photo.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center for Career and Professional Development hosted its Spring Career Fair on Wednesday. The fair is designed to help students support their search for full-time, co-op, internship, or summer employment opportunities.

From renewable energy to cybersecurity, from biotechnology to materials science, from big data to nanotechnology, the world needs problem solvers—exactly the kind of talent Rensselaer produces—to address the urgent issues of today and the emerging issues of tomorrow. (Full Story)

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