Friday, March 16, 2018

SMART cables: A new undersea look at earthquakes

Seismic stations record earthquake
activity around the world, LANL image.

An international joint task force is exploring the use of special underwater telecommunications cables to gather geophysical data. Currently, more than 600,000 miles of underwater cables crisscross the ocean floor, but they are deaf, dumb, and blind in the sense that they carry massive amounts of data (such as financial transactions and internet) from end to end, but do little else in between.

The task force, of which Los Alamos National Laboratory is a part, is proposing the next generation of cables, called Science Monitoring and Reliable Telecommunication (SMART) cables, which would be outfitted with scientific sensors every 50 miles or so. (Full story)

Researchers study fundamental interactions in soil communities

Bacteria dot the surface of strands of
fungal hyphae, USDA image.            

An international team of researchers is looking at how bacteria and fungi interact in soil, fundamental scientific research that could lead to advances in plant productivity and bioenergy. The work is led by Patrick Chain, lab research manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and includes researchers from the national lab’s Bioscience Division and the Center for Integrated NanoTechnologies; Vanderbilt University; and the University of Neuch√Ętel in Switzerland, and University of Houston. (Full story)

National Science Foundation awards UbiQD Phase II SBIR Grant

UbiQD team members measure the
electrical output of a window prototype,
UbiQD photo.

UbiQD, Inc., a New Mexico-based nanotechnology development company, announced today that it was recently awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

UbiQD is a nanotechnology company based in Los Alamos, New Mexico that manufactures high-performance cadmium-free quantum dots and composite materials. The company’s primary focus is on sunlight-harvesting applications. (Full story)

My internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Frances Zengotita (left) with Dr. Hilary
Emerson, from FIU News.

At Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Frances Zengotita researched the role of Chromohalobacter (a bacterium that can thrive in high salt concentrations) and its potential effect on the transportation of hazardous material in the environment.

She was awarded the internship by the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) through the FIU DOE Fellows Program that is housed within the Applied Research Center.

Additionally, as an FIU McNair Fellow the program guided and supported Zengotita by preparing for research via workshops (GRE, NSF proposals, how to apply for graduate school, how to write research reports) and requiring weekly reports to ensure that she was on track. (Full story)