Updates from September, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 12:12 pm on September 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    From LANL: “Model predicts space weather and protects satellite hardware” 

    LANL bloc

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    September 28, 2015
    Communications Office
    (505) 667-7000

    1
    Approximate location of geosynchronous orbit spacecraft — projected to the Earth’s equator.

    Researchers used 82 satellite-years of observations from the Magnetospheric Plasma Analyzer instruments aboard Los Alamos National Laboratory satellites at geosynchronous orbit to create a comprehensive model of how plasma behaves in this region of Earth’s magnetosphere — the most heavily populated orbit for spacecraft traffic. The journal Space Weather published the work, and the American Geophysical Union newsmagazine Eos highlighted it as a Research Spotlight. Knowledge and prediction of the environment at geosynchronous orbit is crucial for spacecraft designers and operators because changes in the plasma environment, caused by the Sun and its solar wind, can interfere with satellite functioning and even lead to satellite failure.

    Significance of the research

    Geosynchronous orbit — roughly 36,000 kilometers above Earth’s surface — is one of the most popular locations for military, scientific, and communications satellites. The 24-hour orbital period at geosynchronous orbit ensures that satellites maintain a fixed location in Earth’s sky. This area marks the approximate boundary between Earth’s inner and outer magnetosphere, where electromagnetic forces from the two regions control electrically charged particles (electrons and ions) known as plasma.

    Current models of this environment focus on predicting how fluxes of energetic ions and electrons, which can cause a buildup of charge on spacecraft materials, will affect satellite systems. The new research provides a more comprehensive picture by examining how factors such as solar wind and geomagnetic activity can influence these fluxes in plasma.

    The researchers created a model that can predict the plasma flux environment at geosynchronous orbit in response to rapid changes in geomagnetic and solar activity. The model predicts the fluxes that can cause a buildup of charge on spacecraft materials over a range of energies and time. The new model provides scientific and operational users with prediction of fluxes over a wider range of conditions than is generally the case with current models. As the model matures, the researchers plan to extend the analysis to predict hazardous fluxes as a function of solar wind speed and magnetic field orientation. These are critical factors that control plasma fluxes at geosynchronous orbit. The model will be useful for satellite operators because more than 400 satellites currently reside in geosynchronous orbit.
    Research achievements

    The team analyzed the largest existing dataset of electron and ion fluxes. The Magnetospheric Plasma Analyzer instruments on board Los Alamos National Laboratory satellites collected the data over 17 years and one and a half solar cycles. The researchers combined the data sets from seven satellites (a total of 82 satellite-years of data) with observations on solar and geomagnetic activity. They developed a comprehensive model of the flux of electrons and ions at geosynchronous orbit as a function of local time, energy, geomagnetic activity, and solar activity for energies between approximately 1 eV and approximately 40 keV. This energy range encompasses the plasmasphere, the electron plasma sheet, the ion plasma sheet and the substorm-injected suprathermal tails of both the electron and ion plasma sheets. Satellites on station at geosynchronous orbit encounter each of these populations regularly.

    The team validated the model by comparing its predictions with spacecraft data that another set of satellites collected during a five-day period of both calm and active space weather. As the model matures, the researchers plan to extend the analysis to predict hazardous fluxes as a function of solar wind speed and magnetic field orientation. These are critical factors that control plasma fluxes at geosynchronous orbit. The team has made a beta version of the model freely available.
    The research team

    The researchers include M. H. Denton of LANL’s Space Science Institute, M. F. Thomsen, V. K. Jordanova, M. G. Henderson and J. E. Borovsky of LANL’s Space Science and Applications group; J. S. Denton of Sellafield Ltd. (now of Nuclear and Radiochemistry, C-NR); D. Pitchford of SES Engineering; and D. P. Hartley of Lancaster University.

    The Los Alamos Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program funded the research through the SHIELDS project, which aims to understand, model, and predict Space Hazards Induced near Earth by Large, Dynamic Storms (SHIELDS). This work supports the Lab’s Global Security mission area for space situational awareness and the Science of Signatures science pillar.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence.

    LANL campus
    Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

    Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

    Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s NNSA

    DOE Main

    NNSA

     
  • richardmitnick 2:21 pm on July 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    From LANL: “Los Alamos among new DOE projects to create new technology pathways for low-cost fusion energy development” 

    LANL bloc

    LANL Sign
    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    July 20, 2015
    Communications Office
    (505) 667-7000

    Three of the projects involve Los Alamos National Laboratory science staff and partners.

    The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) on May 14, 2015 announced $30 million in funding for 9 groundbreaking new projects aimed at developing prototype technologies to explore new pathways for fusion power. Three of the projects involve Los Alamos National Laboratory science staff and partners.

    The projects are funded through ARPA-E’s Accelerating Low-cost Plasma Heating and Assembly (ALPHA) program, which seeks to develop low-cost fusion energy technology solutions.

    “These new projects emphasize ARPA-E’s commitment to developing a wide range of technology options to ensure a more affordable and sustainable energy future,” said ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen D. Williams. “Investing in … intermediate density fusion illustrates ARPA-E’s role in accelerating energy research and development.”

    Details on ALPHA’s nine projects may be found here.

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory projects are the following:

    Spherically Imploding Plasma Liners as a Standoff Magneto-Inertial-Fusion Driver- $5,875,000

    Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), teamed with Hyper V Technologies and a multi-institutional team, will develop a plasma-liner driver formed by merging supersonic plasma jets produced by an array of coaxial plasma guns.

    2

    The key virtues of a plasma-liner driver, as noted by project leader Scott Hsu, are that it (1) has standoff, i.e., it completely avoids hardware destruction because the plasma guns are placed sufficiently far away (many meters in an eventual fusion reactor) from the region of fusion burn, and (2) it enables high implosion velocity (50–100 km/s) to overcome thermal transport rates inherent in desired targets.

    This non-destructive approach may enable rapid, low cost research and development and, by avoiding replacement of solid components on every shot, may help lead to an economically attractive power reactor. This project will seek to demonstrate, for the first time, the formation of a small scale spherically imploding plasma liner in order to obtain critical data on plasma liner uniformity and ram pressure scaling. If successful, this concept will provide a versatile, high-implosion-velocity driver for intermediate fuel density magneto-inertial fusion that is potentially compatible with several plasma targets. These experiments will be conducted on the existing Plasma Liner Experiment (PLX) facility at Technical Area 35 at Los Alamos.

    Stabilized Liner Compressor (SLC) for Low-Cost Fusion

    NumerEx, LLC, teamed with the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM, will develop the Stabilized Liner Compressor (SLC) concept in which a rotating, liquid metal liner is imploded by high-pressure gas.

    3

    The Stabilized Liner Compressor (SLC) is a system that uses high-pressure gas and a free-piston to implode a liquid metal liner onto trapped magnetic flux in order to achieve controlled fusion at very high magnetic fields (~100 T).

    “The SLC project provides an opportunity to leverage advances in materials in a new era of computation capabilities while developing a revolutionary high magnetic field capability with a distinct purpose,” said Los Alamos project leader Chuck Mielke.

    Free-piston drive and liner rotation avoid instabilities as the liner compresses and heats a plasma target. If successful, this concept could scale to an attractive fusion reactor with efficient energy recovery, and therefore a low required minimum fusion gain for net energy output. The SLC will address several challenges faced by practical fusion reactors. By surrounding the plasma target with a thick liquid liner, the SLC helps avoid materials degradation associated with a solid plasma-facing first wall. In addition, with an appropriately chosen liner material, the SLC can simultaneously provide a breeding blanket to create more tritium fuel, allow efficient heat transport out of the reactor, and shield solid components of the reactor from high-energy neutrons.

    “We recognized back at the Naval Research Laboratory in the 1970s that there may exist an optimum regime for controlled fusion at much higher magnetic fields than used by the mainline magnetic fusion program, but at much lower power density than required for laser fusion. The resulting power reactor and the necessary experimental prototypes need the repetitive, stabilized operation at megagauss field-levels offered by SLC,” said Peter J. Turchi, Los Alamos Guest Scientist and Senior Consultant to NumerEx LLC.

    Prototype Tools to Establish the Viability of the Adiabatic Heating and Compression Mechanisms Required for Magnetized Target Fusion

    Caltech, in coordination with Los Alamos National Laboratory, will investigate collisions of plasma jets and targets over a wide range of parameters to characterize the scaling of adiabatic heating and compression of liner-driven magnetized target fusion plasmas.

    4

    “Los Alamos will provide plasma physics modeling of the experiments to be carried out at Caltech to understand the critical processes during the plasma-cloud interactions,” said Hui Li, the lead Los Alamos scientist on the project.

    The team will propel fast, magnetized plasma jets into stationary heavy gases or metal walls. The resulting collision is equivalent to a fast heavy gas or metal liner impacting a stationary magnetized target in a shifted reference frame and allows the non-destructive and rapid investigation of physical phenomena and scaling laws governing the degree of adiabaticity of liner implosions. This study will provide critical information on the interactions and limitations for a variety of possible driver and plasma target combinations being developed across the ALPHA program portfolio.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence.

    LANL Campus

    Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

    Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

    Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s NNSA

    DOE Main

    NNSA

     
  • richardmitnick 1:52 pm on March 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Albuquerque Journal, ,   

    From Albuquerque Journal via LANL: “LANL takes on deadly bugs” 

    LANL bloc

    LANL Sign
    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    1

    March 27, 2015
    D’Val Westphal

    2
    Team members who discovered a treatment for resistant infections are, from left, Aimee Newsham, Dixie State University student; Rico Del Sesto, Dixie State University professor; David Fox, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Andrew Koppisch, Northern Arizona University professor; and Mattie Jones, Dixie State University student. (Courtesy of David Fox)

    This column is for everyone who has ever had to deal with a horrible infection – from the Streptococcus sp. that rots teeth, to the Pseudomonas aeruginosa that attacks diabetic patients’ feet, to the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, i.e. flesh-eating bacteria) that makes any original medical problem much worse. And it’s for everyone who ever will.

    Considering a surgeon recently told me MRSA is our generation’s staph, in that it’s everywhere and on everything, that could be everybody.

    Treating these infections, known in the scientific world as biofilms, is expensive, time consuming, sickening and often unsuccessful when it comes to killing them before they kill their host. That’s because while they are responsible for up to 80 percent of all bacterial infections, they have their own protection that makes them 50 to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics.

    And that’s why a discovery at Los Alamos National Laboratory – a treatment with what amounts to fancy water – is beyond exciting. It could be life-changing and life-saving.

    Full disclosure: My mother contracted a biofilm infection after having a back surgery and spent years unsuccessfully fighting it with stronger and stronger oral and intravenous antibiotics that ultimately caused a serious reaction of their own. The drugs simply could not penetrate the infection to kill it. Doctors finally decided to remove the hardware (and its virulent bacteria) rather than continue a fruitless and damaging battle.

    In David Fox’s world, my mother would have had an antibiotic delivered via ionized liquid that could penetrate her skin, the biofilm, and kill the bug.

    Fox is a staff scientist in LANL’s Bioscience Division. For several years he and a team of fellow chemists and microbiologists have been working with ionic liquids – known as molten salts. Originally their work was for forensic applications, like how to pull certain molecules out of fabrics. The team then figured out they could also use the ionic liquids to deliver molecules: like antibiotics to an until-then impenetrable bacteria.

    3

    So these scientists – Fox, Tari Kern, Katherine Lovejoy, Rico Del Sesto (now at Dixie State University), Rashi Iyer, Amber Nagy, Andrew Goumas, Tarryn Miller and Andrew Koppisch (now at Northern Arizona University) – started working with the University of California-Santa Barbara on using their ionized water for transdermal drug delivery.

    Instead of infection treatments that range from irritating to painful – organic solvents, injections and debridement – the team focused on using 12 ionic liquids “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS in science-speak). They grew opportunistic gram negative bacteria, then added individual ionic liquids and incubated, then rinsed.

    And what they found was a greater than 99.9999 percent bacteria cell death, with some of the ionic liquids “more effective than a 10 percent bleach solution.”

    And that was before adding antibiotics.

    The team then moved on to ensuring the liquids with dissolved antibiotics could penetrate pig skin and the bacteria’s protective layer – and got equally stunning results. “Ninety-five and 98 percent reduction in cell viability” with one of the ionic liquids and that liquid plus an antibiotic.

    By comparison, antibiotics alone had a 20 percent kill rate.

    So why should someone who’s never had a cavity or a diabetic ulcer or a MRSA infection care? Fox points out the “economic burden of skin disease is over $100 billion.” That MRSA-type infections acquired in hospitals account for an estimated “$10 billion in extra patient costs and over 10,000 deaths per year.” That “wounds from infected surgical incisions account for over 1 million additional hospital days.” And that 10 to 20 percent of diabetic ulcers – a function of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection – require amputation.

    In other words, we are all paying for it, in terms of money, health and life.

    The discovery is now moving into clinical studies with live subjects – mice – Fox says, and if those go as well, on to human clinical trials. Funding for the years of required additional research could come from energy companies that want to extract high-energy density molecules like biofuels from an organism (the research’s first application), from corporations that could use it to more efficiently deliver their drugs to patients, and/or from the military that wants to protect/treat its soldiers.

    “Thousands of people die from, and billions is spent on treating, these secondary infections,” Fox says. The LANL team could be “providing a new weapon to combat flesh-eating bacteria and other microbes. We hope we have found a new silver bullet to treat these infections. We hope that’s where we’re at.”

    And so does everyone who has had, or will get, one of these very nasty infections.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence.

    LANL Campus

    Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

    Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

    Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s NNSA

    DOE Main

    NNSA

     
  • richardmitnick 4:36 pm on March 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    From LANL: “Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity “ 

    LANL bloc

    LANL Sign
    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    March 26, 2015
    Nancy Ambrosiano

    Los Alamos explores experimental path to potential ‘next theory of superconductivity’

    1
    Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Brad Ramshaw conducts an experiment at the Pulsed Field Facility of the National High Magnetic Field Lab, exposing high-temperature superconductors to very high magnetic fields, changing the temperature at which the materials become perfectly conducting and revealing unique properties of these substances.

    Taking our understanding of quantum matter to new levels, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are exposing high-temperature superconductors to very high magnetic fields, changing the temperature at which the materials become perfectly conducting and revealing unique properties of these substances.

    “High magnetic-field measurements of doped copper-oxide superconductors are paving the way to a new theory of superconductivity,” said Brad Ramshaw, a Los Alamos scientist and lead researcher on the project. Using world-record high magnetic fields available at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) Pulsed Field Facility, based in Los Alamos, Ramshaw and his coworkers are pushing the boundaries of how matter can conduct electricity without the resistance that plagues normal materials carrying an electrical current.

    LANL National High Magnetic Field Lab
    NHMFL

    The eventual goal of the research would be to create a superconductor that operates at room temperature and needs no cooling at all. At this point, all devices that make use of superconductors, such as the MRI magnets found in hospitals, must be cooled to temperatures far below zero with liquid nitrogen or helium, adding to the cost and complexity of the enterprise.

    “This is a truly landmark experiment that illuminates a problem of central importance to condensed matter physics,” said MagLab Director Gregory Boebinger, who is also chief scientist for Condensed Matter Science at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory’s headquarters in Florida. “The success of this quintessential MagLab work relied on having the best samples, the highest magnetic fields, the most sensitive techniques, and the inspired creativity of a multi-institutional research team.”

    High-temperature superconductors have been a thriving field of research for almost 30 years, not just because they can conduct electricity with no losses—one hundred degrees higher than any other material—but also because they represent a very difficult and interesting “correlated-electron” physics problem in their own right.

    The theory of traditional, low-temperature superconductors was constructed by Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer in 1957, winning them the Nobel prize; this theory (known as the BCS theory) had a far-reaching impact, laying the foundation for the Higgs mechanism in particle physics, and it represents one of the greatest triumphs of 20th century physics.

    On the other hand, high-temperature superconductors, such as yttrium barium copper oxide (YBa2Cu3O6+x), cannot be explained with BCS theory, and so researchers need a new theory for these materials. One particularly interesting aspect of high-temperature superconductors, such as YBa2Cu3O6+x, is that one can change the superconducting transition temperature (Tc, where the material becomes perfectly conducting) by “doping” it, : changing the number of electrons that participate in superconductivity.

    The Los Alamos team’s research in the 100-T magnet found that if one dopes YBa2Cu3O6+x to the point where Tc is highest (“optimal doping”), the electrons become very heavy and move around in a correlated way.

    “This tells us that the electrons are interacting very strongly when the material is an optimal superconductor,” said Ramshaw. “This is a vital piece of information for building the next theory of superconductivity.”

    “An outstanding problem in the field of high-transition-temperature (high-Tc) superconductivity has been the issue as to whether a quantum critical point—a special doping value where quantum fluctuations lead to strong electron-electron interactions—is driving the remarkably high Tc’s in these materials,” he said.

    Proof of its existence has previously not been found due to the robust nature of the superconductivity in the copper oxide materials, yet if scientists can show that there is a quantum critical point, it would constitute a significant milestone toward resolving the superconducting pairing mechanism, Ramshaw explained.

    “Assembling the pieces of this complex superconductivity puzzle is a daunting task that has involved scientists from around the world for decades,” said Charles H. Mielke, NHMFL-Pulsed Field Facility director at Los Alamos. “Though the puzzle is unfinished, this essential piece links unquestionable experimental results to fundamental condensed matter physics — a connection made possible by an exceptional team, strong partner support and unsurpassed capabilities.”

    In a paper this week in the journal Science, the team addresses this longstanding problem by measuring magnetic quantum oscillations as a function of hole doping in very strong magnetic fields in excess of 90 tesla.

    Strong magnetic fields such as the world-record field accessible at the NHMFL site at Los Alamos enable the normal metallic state to be accessed by suppressing superconductivity. Fields approaching 100 tesla, in particular, enable quantum oscillations to be measured very close to the maximum in the transition temperature Tc ~ 94 kelvin. These quantum oscillations give scientists a picture of how the electrons are interacting with each other before they become superconducting.

    By accessing a very broad range of dopings, the authors show that there is a strong enhancement of the effective mass at optimal doping. A strong enhancement of the effective mass is the signature of increasing electron interaction strength, and the signature of a quantum critical point. The broken symmetry responsible for this point has yet to be pinned down, although a connection with charge ordering appears to be likely, Ramshaw notes.

    Funding: Work carried out at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory—Pulsed Field Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory was provided through funding from the National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research through Grant No. DMR-1157490 and from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Florida State University, the State of Florida, and Los Alamos National Laboratory through the LDRD program.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence.

    LANL Campus

    Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

    Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

    Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s NNSA

    DOE Main

    NNSA

     
  • richardmitnick 3:34 pm on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    From LANL: “Los Alamos conducts important hydrodynamic experiment in Nevada” 

    Los  Alamos Lab
    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    September 8, 2014
    Kevin N. Roark
    Communications Office
    (505) 665-9202

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has successfully fired the latest in a series of experiments at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

    “Leda is an integrated experiment that provides important surrogate hydrodynamic materials data in support of the Laboratory’s stewardship of the U. S. nuclear deterrent,” said Bob Webster, Associate Director for Weapons Physics.

    m
    Technicians at the Nevada National Security Site make final adjustments to the “Leda” experimental vessel in the “Zero Room” at the underground U1a facility.

    e
    Technicians at the Nevada National Security Site move the experiment in a specially designed container from the Device Assembly Facility.

    The experiment, conducted on Aug. 12, 2014, consisted of a plutonium surrogate material and high explosives to implode a “weapon-relevant geometry,” according to Webster.

    Hydrodynamic experiments such as Leda involve non-nuclear surrogate materials that mimic many of the properties of nuclear materials. Hydrodynamics refers to the physics involved when solids, under extreme conditions, begin to mix and flow like liquids. Other hydrodynamic experiments conducted at NNSS use small amounts of nuclear material, and are called “sub-critical” because they do not contain enough material to cause a nuclear explosion.

    “This experiment ultimately enhances confidence in our ability to predictively model and assess weapon performance in the absence of full-scale underground nuclear testing,” said Webster. These experiments with surrogate materials provide a principle linkage with scaled/full-scale hydrodynamic tests, the suite of prior underground nuclear tests, and scaled plutonium experiments.

    “Experiments like Leda are key to enhancing predictive confidence, challenging next-generation weapon designers, and enhancing our capability to underwrite options for managing the stockpile,” said Charlie Nakhleh, Theoretical Design Division Leader.

    Such hydrodynamic and sub-critical experiments are one of the most useful multi-disciplinary technical activities that exercise the Laboratory’s manufacturing capabilities, tests scientific judgment, and enhances the competency of the Nevada workforce in areas of formality of underground and nuclear operations.

    Immediately following the experiment, conducted at NNSS’s U1a underground complex in collaboration with NSTec and supported by Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos scientists and technicians reported a 100 percent data return.

    “Multiple diagnostics that captured the hydrodynamic and implosion processes included pit and case velocimetry, dual-axis x-ray radiography, dynamic surface imaging, optical and electrical monitors of the high-explosive drive as well as detonator performance, and very accurate overall system cross-timing,” said Mark Chadwick, Program Director for Science Campaigns in the weapons physics directorate. “The experiment was operated within expected parameters, including temperature control, and was performed within the required safety and security specifications.”

    Scientists will now study the data in detail and compare with pre-shot predictions. The resulting findings will help assess the confidence weapon designers have in their ability to predict weapon-relevant physics.

    The successful execution of the Leda experiment enables the follow-on sub-critical experiment series, nicknamed Lyra, to be conducted in 2015. Lyra and other related experiments are an essential component in the NNSA’s Science Campaigns and Plutonium Sustainment Programs to support the technical basis for confidence in the nation’s nuclear deterrent, and to support future stockpile stewardship.

    Video of the fully contained experiment can be viewed here.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence.

    LANL Campus

    Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

    Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

    Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s NNSA

    DOE Main

    NNSA

     
  • richardmitnick 9:09 am on December 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nuclear Waste   

    From LANL: “One million curies of radioactive material recovered” 

    Los  Alamos Lab
    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    December 22, 2014
    James E. Rickman
    Communications Office
    (505) 665-9203

    Los Alamos National Laboratory expertise helped the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN) Radiological Material Removal Program’s Off-Site Source Recovery Project (OSRP) recover more than 1 million curies of radioactive sources since 1999. The accomplishment represents a major milestone in protecting our nation and the world from material that could be used in “dirty bombs” by terrorists.

    r
    Rick Day of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s International Threat Reduction group and the Off-Site Source Recovery Project (OSRP) holds a non-radioactive training mockup of what a typical cobalt-60 source might look like. The source is similar to what OSRP team members recovered from a site in Maryland in late 2014, putting the number of Curies recovered as part of the project above 1 million since the project began in 1999. OSRP recovers and disposes of unwanted radioactive sealed sources, eliminating a potential threat that could be used by terrorists to create “dirty bombs.”

    “Taking disused, unwanted and, in limited cases, abandoned nuclear materials out of harm’s reach supports the Laboratory’s mission of reducing global nuclear danger,” said Terry Wallace, Principal Associate Director for Global Security at Los Alamos. “This milestone represents tremendous progress in removing a potentially deadly hazard from all corners of the globe. Los Alamos helped usher in the nuclear age, so it’s quite appropriate that this Laboratory continues to use its nuclear expertise to assist the DOE in stewardship of nuclear materials.”

    Off-Site Source Recovery Project personnel recovered several high-activity sealed radioactive sources from a Maryland facility in November, which pushed the total recovered radioactivity above 1 million Curies. Los Alamos National Laboratory supports OSRP with instrumentation, expertise and personnel. With the Maryland recovery, OSRP has recovered and secured more than 38,000 sealed radioactive sources from more than 1,100 different locations, including all 50 states within the U.S.

    The particular source that achieved the 1-million-curie milestone was a small stainless steel capsule, about the size of a pencil, containing 100 curies of the radioactive isotope cobalt-60. This source was part of a larger 9,000-curie shipment that was characterized and verified before loading into specially shielded containers for safe transport to a secure location.

    A Curie is a unit of radioactivity named after scientists Marie and Pierre Curie, who discovered, among other things, the element radium. One Curie is roughly equivalent to the amount of radioactivity in one gram of the radium-226 isotope.

    NNSA’s DNN Radiological Removal Program and OSRP mission includes removal and disposal of excess, unwanted, abandoned, or orphan radioactive sealed sources that pose a potential risk to national security, public health, and safety. These sources include radiological materials from universities, and medical and research facilities worldwide that could potentially be utilized in a dirty bomb—an ad-hoc weapon created by rogue states or individuals to instill fear and disrupt activity in large population areas.

    DOE initiated OSRP in 1999. Originally it was an environmental management project to recover and dispose of excess and unwanted sealed radioactive sources. In 2003, the project was transferred to NNSA DNN in a shift towards more aggressive recovery of unwanted radioactive sealed sources for national security purposes. Sealed source recovery and disposal efforts result in permanent threat reduction, as this material is eliminated and no longer has potential to be used by terrorists.

    For more information about Los Alamos’s efforts related to ORSP, see http://osrp.lanl.gov.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

    Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

    Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s NNSA

    DOE Main

    NNSA

     
  • richardmitnick 6:28 pm on December 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    From Symmetry: “US-CERN partnership to accelerate neutrino research” 

    US institutions are working with the SHINE experiment at CERN to better understand the particle interactions that produce neutrinos.

    December 19, 2012
    Signe Brewster

    “A new partnership between scientists from US institutions and CERN could improve results from neutrino experiments around the world. The scientists hope to use equipment at CERN to gain a more precise understanding of the process of creating a neutrino beam…”

    shine
    NA61/SHINE detector layout
    NA61/SHINE (SHINE = SPS Heavy Ion and Neutrino Experiment) is a particle physics experiment at the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) at (CERN)

    sps
    Super Proton Synchrotron

    sps
    The Super Proton Synchrotron is the second largest machine in CERN’s accelerator complex.

    [Extra graphics added in to let the reader see the significance of the collaboration.]

    “…Neutrinos are neutral in charge, so scientists cannot manipulate them with magnets in a particle accelerator. To create a neutrino beam, researchers accelerate positively charged protons and smash them into a fixed target made of beryllium or carbon. The resulting particle interactions produce pions and kaons, which also have charge. Physicists steer these particles into beams, at which point they decay into chargeless neutrinos.

    Scientists from Fermilab, Los Alamos National Lab, University of Colorado, University of Pittsburgh and the College of William and Mary set out to sharpen their understanding of the initial interaction between the protons and the target. This will allow the collection of precise measurements for experiments such as Fermilab’s MINOS, MINERvA and the proposed Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment, along with the T2K experiment in Japan.

    The scientists discovered that they did not have to build a new experiment to make this type of measurement; it is already within the capabilities of another experiment at CERN. The SHINE experiment’s detector was designed to study strongly interacting matter, quark-gluon plasma and the production of composite particles. But it can also track and measure particles produced during the first step of the neutrino-beam-creation process: when protons collide with a fixed target. Researchers from the United States visited CERN this summer to try it out.

    This isn’t the first time neutrino researchers based in the United States have partnered with experiments based at CERN, says Los Alamos physicist Geoffrey Mills, who organized the SHINE pilot run at CERN: ‘In 2002, a similar collaboration with the HARP experiment at CERN greatly enhanced Fermilab’s booster neutrino program.'”

    harp
    HARP (The Hadron Production Experiment at the PS)

    We should all hope that this collaboration is successful. See the full Symmetry article here.

    CERN

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 10:06 pm on March 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    From Los Alamos: “Oxygen detected in atmosphere of Saturn’s Moon Dione” 

    James E. Rickman, Media

    Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists and an international research team have announced discovery of molecular oxygen ions (O2+) in the upper-most atmosphere of Dione, one of the 62 known moons orbiting the ringed planet. The research appeared recently in Geophysical Research Letters and was made possible via instruments aboard NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which was launched in 1997.

    Dione
    Dione

    cas
    Cassini

    A sensor aboard the Cassini spacecraft called the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) detected the oxygen ions in Dione’s wake during a flyby of the moon in 2010. Los Alamos researchers Robert Tokar and Michelle Thomsen noted the presence of the oxygen ions.

    ‘The concentration of oxygen in Dione’s atmosphere is roughly similar to what you would find in Earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of about 300 miles,’ Tokar said. ‘It’s not enough to sustain life, but—together with similar observations of other moons around Saturn and Jupiter—these are definitive examples of a process by which a lot of oxygen can be produced in icy celestial bodies that are bombarded by charged particles or photons from the Sun or whatever light source happens to be nearby.’”

    Perhaps even more exciting is the possibility that on a moon with subsurface water, such as Jupiter’s moon Europa, molecular oxygen could combine with carbon in subsurface lakes to form the building blocks of life. Future missions to Europa could help unravel questions about that moon’s habitability.”

    See the full article here.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s NNSA

    i1

    doe

     
  • richardmitnick 10:52 am on January 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Sustainability Science   

    From Los Alamos Lab via DOE Pulse: “Is sustainability science really a science? Los Alamos and Indiana University researchers say yes” 

    November 22, 2011
    No writer credit
    LANL news media contact: Nancy Ambrosiano

    “The idea that one can create a field of science out of thin air, just because of societal and policy need, is a bold concept. But for the emerging field of sustainability science, sorting among theoretical and applied scientific disciplines, making sense of potentially divergent theory, practice and policy, the gamble has paid off.
    In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Santa Fe Institute, and Indiana University analyzed the field’s temporal evolution, geographic distribution, disciplinary composition, and collaboration structure.

    ‘We don’t know if sustainability science will solve the essential problems it seeks to address, but there is a legitimate scientific practice in place now,’ said Luís Bettencourt of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Santa Fe Institute, first author on the paper, Evolution and structure of sustainability science.

    The team’s work shows that although sustainability science has been growing explosively since the late 1980s, only in the last decade has the field matured into a cohesive area of science. Thanks to the emergence of a giant component of scientific collaboration spanning the globe and an array of diverse traditional disciplines, there is now an integrated scientific field of sustainability science as an unusual, inclusive, and ubiquitous scientific practice.”

    ss

    See the full post here.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:29 am on January 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    From DOE Pulse: “Initiative aims to speed carbon capture technology” 

    January 2, 2012
    Submitted by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory

    “The Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) is a partnership among five DOE national laboratories (NETL, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Pacific Northwest), industry, and various academic institutions that are working together to develop state-of-the-art computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture technologies from discovery to development, demonstration, and ultimately, widespread deployment at hundreds of power plants. CCSI is part of DOE/NETL’s comprehensive carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) research program, part of the President’s plan to overcome barriers to the widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years.”

    See the full post here.

    cs




     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: