Friday, May 25, 2012

Scientists take a giant step forward in understanding plutonium

Georgios Koutroulakis and H. Yasuoka in the condensed-matter NMR lab at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  LANL photo.
Plutonium is the most complex element in the periodic table, yet it is also one of the most poorly understood ones.  A well-known scientific technique, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, may turn out to be the perfect tool for uncovering some of plutonium’s mysteries. (Full Story)

Cassini reveals details about charged ‘nanograins’ near Enceladus

Artist's concept of Cassini orbiting Saturn.  NASA image.
Rice University physicist Tom Hill and co-authors from Los Alamos Michelle Thomsen and Robert Tokar describe what they found in the data from Cassini: a new class of space particles — submicroscopic “nanograins” of electrically charged dust. Such particles are believed to exist throughout the universe, and this marks the first time researchers have measured and analyzed them. (Full Story)

Two from LANL selected for DOE Early Career Awards

Amy Clarke and Ivan Vitev, LANL photo.
Amy Clarke of Los Alamos National Lab’s Metallurgy group and Ivan Vitev of the lab’s Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology group are among the recipients of the DOE Office of Science 2012 Early Career Awards.
The DOE Office of Science recently announced the researchers who have been selected for a financial award under the fiscal year 2012 Early Career Research Program. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week:
NM Consortium garners high-level support

Ground is broken for a new bioenergy research center. Monitor photo.
"This kind of investment in our community and the work we're able to uniquely do in the country I think is just an incredible long view on the part of the county," said Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am about this project,” Senator Tom Udall said. “Los Alamos National Laboratory has always pioneered discoveries to protect our nation, and today energy security is at the crux of that.” (Full Story)

NIAABB selects Los Alamos ultrasonic algae harvester for Phase II development

LANL’s Daniel Kalb harvesting algae with sound.  LANL photo.
The National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB) has selected Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) Ultrasonic Algae Harvesting technology for Phase II development.
The technology is based on LANL’s R&D 100 award-winning Ultrasonic Algal Biofuel Harvester. (Full Story)

Bechtel makes woman engineer magazine’s top 50 employers list
Bechtel has been named a top employer by the readers of Woman Engineer magazine, earning a spot on the magazine's2012 list of Top 50 Employers.
In addition, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of which are managed by Bechtel partnerships, were named on the list of Top Government Employers. (Full Story)

Two New YouTube Videos Now Available
LANL Transfers Technology to Sandia BioTech

LANL Science Supports BioWatch

Spectacular view of Saturn’s moon Dione

The robotic Cassini spacecraft captured a spectacular view of Saturn's moon Dione on its closest-ever fly-past - and caught two of the ringed planet's 62 other moons in the background.

Dione has become an object of particular interest to the Cassini mission since oxygen was detected in its upper atmosphere. The discovery was relayed back to scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Plutonium signature captured after 50 years of trying

The molecular structure of plutonium dioxide-239

To overcome the magnetic property problems, Georgios Koutroulakis of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and colleagues cooled very pure plutonium dioxide powder to just 4 °C above absolute zero. This widened the window of time in which they could perform measurements and nearly eliminated the interfering magnetic effects. (Full Story)

Life’s a peach at pueblo orchard

Jaden Martinez, 10, of San Ildefonso Day School prepares to plant a fruit tree Tuesday in a new orchard at the pueblo. SF New Mexican photo.

San Ildefonso Pueblo elders, youngpeople and teachers on Tuesday began planting 150 fruit trees in hand-dug holes.

With grants from the federal Administration for Native America, National Geographic and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lana Paolillo and two mentors from the pueblo sought advice from elders, plowed a field, planted crops and built the first of two greenhouses. (Full Story)

High-temperature superconductors: determining the sign of the pairing state

We propose a comparative study of indirect probes inelastic neutron scattering and the quasiparticle interference pattern to provide a more convincing tool for determining the sign reversal of the superconducting gap structure in iron-based superconductors.

Superconductivity occurs due to the formation of electron pairs. The energy cost to form the electron pair is defined by an energy value known as the superconducting gap. (Full Story)

LANL, Y-12 introduce a kinder, gentler technique for analyzing nuclear warhead parts

Click on the picture to see a video about a similar non-destructive technology from LANL.

The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, with help from Los Alamos National Laboratory, is putting into play this month a refined technique for analyzing warhead parts [called] The Non-Destructive Laser Gas Sampling system.

"The new nondestructive laser gas sampling process, or NDLGS, is a fully-automated system that combines the enhancement of the sampled entity's sealed surface to obtain optimal metallurgical characteristics." (Full Story)

LA scientist heads to India for climate-monitoring research

Manvendra Dubey.  LANL photo.

Manvendra Dubey, a Los Alamos National Laboratory climate scientist, has received a J. William Fulbright scholarship to conduct monsoon-related research in India.

The Divecha Center for Climate Change and Center for Atmospheric Science at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, will host the researcher in late 2012 for several months. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Agnew recounts lab's early days

Harold Agnew speaks with Alan Carr (far left) and Glen McDuff. LANL photo.

During a Director’s Classified Colloquium May 10, former Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory Director Harold Agnew spent more than two hours recalling his history with Los Alamos from the very beginnings of the Manhattan Project, through his nine-year directorship that ended in 1979.

He displayed a remarkable ability to remember names, rattling off whole lists of people who worked on projects with him more than 60 years ago. (Full Story)

New Mexico Consortium to break ground on research center

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled May 18 for the New Mexico Consortium’s biology research facility, a 24,000 square-foot research center and greenhouse that will focus in part on biofuel production, especially fuels derived from certain plants and algae.

Partners in the endeavor include Los Alamos County, NMC, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Richard Sayre, who holds a joint appointment with LANL and NMC, relocated his research team to Los Alamos from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Research Center in St. Louis last October. (Full Story)

EGS takes geothermal global 

Typical "Hot Dry Rock" energy system.  From REW.

As ancient as the earth itself, unharnessed geothermal energy most often bubbles to the surface in geological hot spots long known for geysers and naturally-boiling mud pots.

Although Enhanced Geothermal Systems technology was proven in the 1980s at Los Alamos National Lab, the technology remains a commercial fledgling with start up companies worldwide trying to make EGS practical on commercial scales. (Full Story) 

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Friday, May 11, 2012

West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be on “the brink of change”

A project to map the Weddell Sea area of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet from the air has revealed that this largely unexplored region is potentially on the threshold of change.

"If the ocean water under an ice shelf warms, even by a few degrees Celsius, the ice shelf will melt much faster.  If it melts faster, it will thin and cause an acceleration in the flow of grounded glacial ice into the ocean.  This acceleration of glacial flow, when applied to the massive glaciers that drain the Antarctic ice sheet, can easily result in multiple meters of global sea level rise over timescales of hundreds to thousands of years," said Jeremy Fyke, glacier and sheet modeler at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Researchers test theory of planets

Artist’s conception showing a young Sun-like star surrounded by a planet-forming disk of gas and dust.

Recent research by Jarrett Johnson and Hui Li of LANL’s Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology group suggests that the first planets in the universe formed well after the first generations of stars.

The scientists calculated the minimum metallicity that must be present in the dusty disks surrounding newborn stars in order for planets to take shape. (Full Story)

DOE hybrid cloud may be model for future

The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration are creating a cloud computing environment that could be a model for other federal agencies.

An integrated project team with representatives from DOE and NNSA is developing the hybrid, community cloud, which builds on an infrastructure-as-a-service environment deployed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Shine to share in federal funding for Mo-99 development

Example of a myocardial profusion scan with a radio isotope tracer.  FSNM image.

Shine Medical Technologies and its partner, the Morgridge Institute for Research, will collaborate on a $20.6 million cooperative agreement to develop a new process for the production of molybdenum-99.

The project team, which includes collaborators at Phoenix Nuclear Labs, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Argonne National Laboratory, Savannah River National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, is led by the Morgridge Institute. (Full Story)

Video: Cyber Security Defense Using HPC

"Adversaries in the cyber domain continue to escalate their use of more sophisticated attacks and associated detection countermeasures. As a result, the difficulty and complexity of finding such adversaries and their attacks increasingly challenges cyber defenders. Traditionally, high performance and parallel computing (HPC) has been a successful tool in tackling complex problems, particularly over large data sets. Yet it has only been recently that HPC has successfully impacted the cyber defense problem," said Alex Kent from Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Outstanding corporate volunteer programs to be announced

The 2012 nominees for the "Employee Volunteer Program of the Year (Large Size Business)" award are: Google, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and UnitedHealth Group. (Full Story)

Town of Taos joins regional LANL coalition

The Taos Town Council voted unanimously April 24 to join the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, giving the town representation on a board that works to address environmental and economic issues related to the Los Alamos National Laboratories. (Full Story) 

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Los Alamos, Sandia Recognize New Mexico Small Businesses for Innovation

Ten projects developed by New Mexico small businesses using technical expertise and assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories will be recognized at the 11th Innovation Celebration….

The researchers from LANL and Sandia Labs who assisted the companies will receive a medal from the New Mexico Small Business Administration (NMSBA) (full story).

LANL wins six pollution prevention awards

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has congratulated its national laboratories and sites for achievements in environmental stewardship, awarding a total of 24 PollutionPrevention (P2) Awards for innovative initiatives across the enterprise.

The P2 Awards recognize performance in integrating environmental stewardship practices that helps to reduce risk, protect natural resources and enhance site operations (full story).

Also from the Monitor this week:

Labs recognize small businesses for innovation

Ten projects developed by New Mexico small businesses using technical expertise and assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories were recognized at the11th Innovation Celebration Tuesday sponsored by the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program (full story).

Valveless Laser Processing

Los Alamos National Laboratory andY-12 have created a process to investigate the contents of high-value hermetically sealed containers without destroying them or compromising their integrity. We've designed and built and feel that the very complex systems that that involve sealed systems that have to last a very long time. As part of this surveillance or maintenance activity we need to take samples of what's inside of those devices to ensure things like corrosion aren't taking place (full story).

LAHS Student Earns Platinum Scholarship, 64 Also Gain Awards

LAHS student Scott Carlsten
(Courtesy Los Alamos Monitor)
Sixty-five students from seven Northern New Mexico counties are recipients of Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund scholarships, funded through more than $500,000 in donations from Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and the company that manages the Laboratory.

Los Alamos High School senior Scott Carlsten received the top award, the platinum scholarship, which provides $7,500 in financial assistance annually for four years (full story).

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