Thursday, November 9, 2017

How particle physics is shining new light on ancient secrets

Illustration by ScanPyramids

When muons pass through stone and other solid matter, they lose energy. Some come to a stop. Detectors strategically placed in various locations underneath a thick structure — in this case a pyramid some 460 feet tall — can be used to generate a three-dimensional map showing spots where muons are flying through empty space.

“You’re making what looks like an X-ray,” said Christopher Morris, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico who was not involved in the discovery. (Full story)

First-ever U.S. experiments at new x-ray facility may lead to better explosive modeling

The detonation of carbon-rich high explosives yields
solid carbon as a major constituent, LANL image.

For the first time in the U.S., time-resolved small-angle x-ray scattering (TRSAXS) is used to observe ultra-fast carbon clustering and graphite and nanodiamond production in the insensitive explosive Plastic Bonded Explosive (PBX) 9502, potentially leading to better computer models of explosive performance.

“Carbon clusters are produced during the chemical process of detonation in high explosives,” said Dana Dattelbaum of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Explosive Science and Shock Physics Division. (Full story)

Also from R&D Magazine and the Los Alamos Daily Post

NASA Mars 2020 23 eyes and other payload revealed

Mars 2020 cameras, from NASA.

SuperCam, an instrument that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy. The instrument will also be able to detect the presence of organic compounds in rocks and regolith from a distance. The principal investigator is Roger Wiens, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico. This instrument also has a significant contribution from the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales,Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Plane’tologie (CNES/IRAP) France. (Full story)