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  • richardmitnick 5:10 pm on November 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Elusive Atomic Deformations, LANL, , Matter in Extreme Condition (MEC) experimental station at SLAC’s LCLS, , SLAC X-ray Laser Reveals How Extreme Shocks Deform a Metal’s Atomic Structure, The Tremendous Shock of a Tiny Recoil, , , When hit by a powerful shock wave materials can change their shape – a property known as plasticity – yet keep their lattice-like atomic structure   

    From SLAC: “SLAC X-ray Laser Reveals How Extreme Shocks Deform a Metal’s Atomic Structure” 


    SLAC Lab

    November 13, 2017
    Glennda Chui

    1
    This image depicts an experimental setup at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source, where a tantalum sample is shocked by a laser and probed by an X-ray beam. The resulting diffraction patterns, collected by an array of detectors, show the material undergoes a particular type of plastic deformation called twinning. The background illustration shows a lattice structure that has created twins. (Ryan Chen/LLNL)

    SLAC/LCLS

    When hit by a powerful shock wave, materials can change their shape – a property known as plasticity – yet keep their lattice-like atomic structure. Now scientists have used the X-ray laser at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to see, for the first time, how a material’s atomic structure deforms when shocked by pressures nearly as extreme as the ones at the center of the Earth.

    The researchers said this new way of watching plastic deformation as it happens can help study a wide range of phenomena, such as meteor impacts, the effects of bullets and other penetrating projectiles and high-performance ceramics used in armor, as well as how to protect spacecraft from high-speed dust impacts and even how dust clouds form between the stars.

    The experiments took place at the Matter in Extreme Condition (MEC) experimental station at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). They were led by Chris Wehrenberg, a physicist at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and described in a recent paper in Nature.

    “People have been creating these really high-pressure states for decades, but what they didn’t know until MEC came online is exactly how these high pressures change materials – what drives the change and how the material deforms,” said SLAC staff scientist Bob Nagler, a co-author of the report.

    “LCLS is so powerful, with so many X-rays in such a short time, that it can interrogate how the material is changing while it is changing. The material changes in just one-tenth of a billionth of a second, and LCLS can deliver enough X-rays to capture information about those changes in a much shorter time that that.”

    Elusive Atomic Deformations

    The material they studied here was a thin foil made of tantalum, a blue-gray metallic element whose atoms are arranged in cubes. The team used a polycrystalline form of tantalum that is naturally textured so the orientation of these cubes varies little from place to place, making it easier to see certain types of disruptions from the shock.

    When this type of crystalline material is squeezed by a powerful shock, it can deform in two distinct ways: twinning, where small regions develop lattice structures that are the mirror images of the ones in surrounding areas, and slip deformation, where a section of the lattice shifts and the displacement spreads, like a propagating crack.

    But while these two mechanisms are fundamentally important in plasticity, it’s hard to observe them as a shock is happening. Previous research had studied shocked materials after the fact, as the material recovered, which introduced complications and led to conflicting interpretations.

    The Tremendous Shock of a Tiny Recoil

    In this experiment, the scientists shocked a piece of tantalum foil with a pulse from an optical laser. This vaporizes a small piece of the foil into a hot plasma that flies away from the surface. The recoil from this tiny plume creates tremendous pressures in the remaining foil – up to 300 gigapascals, which is three million times the atmospheric pressure around us and comparable to the 350-gigapascal pressure at the center of the Earth, Nagler said.

    While this was happening, researchers probed the state of the metal with X-ray laser pulses. The pulses are extremely short – only 50 femtoseconds, or millionths of a billionth of a second, long – and like a camera with a very fast shutter speed they can record the metal’s response in great detail.

    The X-rays bounce off the metal’s atoms and into a detector, where they create a “diffraction pattern” – a series of bright, concentric rings – that scientists analyze to determine the atomic structure of the sample. X-ray diffraction has been used for decades to discover the structures of materials, biomolecules and other samples and to observe how those structures change, but it’s only recently been used to study plasticity in shock-compressed materials, Wehrenberg said.

    And this time the researchers took the technique one step further: They analyzed not just the diffraction patterns, but also how the scattering signals were distributed inside individual diffraction rings and how their distribution changed over time. This deeper level of analysis revealed changes in the tantalum’s lattice orientation, or texture, taking place in about one-tenth of a billionth of a second. It also showed whether the lattice was undergoing twinning or slip over a wide range of shock pressures – right up to the point where the metal melts. The team discovered that as the pressure increased, the dominant type of deformation changed from twinning to slip deformation.

    Wehrenberg said the results of this study are directly applicable to Lawrence Livermore’s efforts to model both plasticity and tantalum at the molecular level.

    These experiments, he said, “are providing data that the models can be directly compared to for benchmarking or validation. In the future, we plan to coordinate these experimental efforts with related experiments on LLNL’s National Ignition Facility that study plasticity at even higher pressures.”

    In addition to LLNL and SLAC, researchers from the University of Oxford, the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of York contributed to this study. Funding for the work at SLAC came from the DOE Office of Science. LCLS is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    See the full article here .

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    SLAC Campus
    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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  • richardmitnick 8:04 am on October 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A new type of quantum dots with their interiors designed to maintain the lasing-active state for much longer than standard particles do, , Chemical treatment improves quantum dot lasers, huffpost.com, LANL, , Tiny semiconductor particles called quantum dots   

    From Los Alamos National Laboratory via huffpost.com: “Chemical treatment improves quantum dot lasers” 

    LANL bloc

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    huffpost.com

    10/23/2017
    LabNotes, Contributor

    1
    Tiny crystals—quantum dots—are clusters of atoms that emit bright multi-colored light. These nanoparticles are made of semiconductor materials—the foundation of electronics—and Los Alamos researchers figured out how to control their energies to make them useful for creating novel devices and increase efficiency in electronics and solar applications. Different-sized particles glow differently, a benefit for use in biological research that use colors as markers to pinpoint what is happening where. Los Alamos National Laboratory

    Doctored dots release laser light more efficiently, use less power.

    One of the secrets to making tiny laser devices such as ophthalmic surgery scalpels work even more efficiently is the use of tiny semiconductor particles, called quantum dots. In new research by Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Nanotech Team, the nanometer-sized dots are being doctored, or “doped,” with additional electrons, a treatment that nudges the dots ever closer to producing the desired laser light with less stimulation and energy loss.

    “When we properly tailor the compositional profile within the particles during their fabrication, and then inject two or more electrons in each dot, they become more able to emit laser light. Importantly, they require considerably less power to initiate the lasing action,” said Victor Klimov, leader of the Nanotech team.

    In order to force a material to emit laser light one has to work toward a “population inversion,” that is, making the number of electrons in a higher-energy electronic state exceed the number that are in a lower-energy state. To achieve this condition normally, one applies an external stimulus (optical or electrical) of a certain power, which should exceed a critical value termed the “optical-gain threshold.” In a recent paradigm-changing advance, Los Alamos researchers demonstrated that by adding extra electrons into their specially designed quantum dots, they can reduce this threshold to virtually zero.

    A standard lasing material, when stimulated by a pump, absorbs light for a time before it starts to lase. On the way to lasing, the material transitions through the state of “optical transparency” when light is neither absorbed nor amplified. By adding extra charge carriers to their quantum dots, the Los Alamos researchers were able to block absorption and create the state of transparency without external stimulation. This implies that even extremely weak pumping can now initiate lasing emission.

    Another important ingredient of this research is a new type of quantum dots with their interiors designed to maintain the lasing-active state for much longer than standard particles do. Normally, the presence of extra electrons would suppress lasing because quantum dot energy is quickly released not as a photon stream but wasteful heat. The new Los Alamos particle design eliminates these parasitic losses, redirecting the particle’s energy into the emission channel.

    “These studies open exciting opportunities for realizing new types of low-threshold lasing devices that can be fabricated from solution using a variety of substrates and optical cavity designs for applications ranging from fiber optics and large-scale lasing arrays to laser lighting and lab-on-a-chip sensing technologies,” Klimov said.

    The research is described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, authored by project members Kaifeng Wu (a Los Alamos Director’s postdoctoral fellow), Young-Shin Park (guest scientist, University of New Mexico), Jaehoon Lim (Los Alamos postdoctoral research associate) and Victor I. Klimov (Laboratory Fellow, project leader).

    See the full article here .

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    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

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  • richardmitnick 4:28 pm on July 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LANL, , , Trinity supercomputer   

    From HPC Wire: “Trinity Supercomputer’s Haswell and KNL Partitions Are Merged” 

    HPC Wire

    July 19, 2017
    No writer credit found

    LANL Cray XC30 Trinity supercomputer

    Trinity supercomputer’s two partitions – one based on Intel Xeon Haswell processors and the other on Xeon Phi Knights Landing – have been fully integrated are now available for use on classified work in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)’s Stockpile Stewardship Program, according to an announcement today. The KNL partition had been undergoing testing and was available for non-classified science work.

    “The main benefit of doing open science was to find any remaining issues with the system hardware and software before Trinity is turned over for production computing in the classified environment,” said Trinity project director Jim Lujan. “In addition, some great science results were realized,” he said. “Knights Landing is a multicore processor that has 68 compute cores on one piece of silicon, called a die. This allows for improved electrical efficiency that is vital for getting to exascale, the next frontier of supercomputing, and is three times as power-efficient as the Haswell processors,” Archer noted.

    The Trinity project is managed and operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories under the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) partnership.

    In June 2017, the ACES team took the classified Trinity-Haswell system down and merged it with the KNL partition. The full system, sited at LANL, was back up for production use the first week of July.

    The Knights Landing processors were accepted for use in December 2016 and since then they have been used for open science work in the unclassified network, permitting nearly unprecedented large-scale science simulations. Presumably the merge is the last step in the Trinity contract beyond maintenance.

    Trinity, based on a Cray XC30, now has 301,952 Xeon and 678, 912 Xeon Phi processors along with two pebibytes (PiB) of memory. Besides blending the Haswell and KNL processors, Trinity benefits from the introduction of solid state storage (burst buffers). This is changing the ratio of disk and tape necessary to satisfy bandwidth and capacity requirements, and it drastically improves the usability of the systems for application input/output. With its new solid-state storage burst buffer and capacity-based campaign storage, Trinity enables users to iterate more frequently, ultimately reducing the amount of time to produce a scientific result.

    1

    “With this merge completed, we have now successfully released one of the most capable supercomputers in the world to the Stockpile Stewardship Program,” said Bill Archer, Los Alamos Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program director. “Trinity will enable unprecedented calculations that will directly support the mission of the national nuclear security laboratories, and we are extremely excited to be able to deliver this capability to the complex.”

    Trinity Timeline:

    June 2015, Trinity first arrived at Los Alamos, Haswell partition installation began.
    February 12 to April 8, 2016, approximately 60 days of computing access made available for open science using the Haswell-only partition.
    June 2016, Knights Landing components of Trinity began installation.
    July 5, 2016, Trinity’s classified side began serving the Advanced Technology Computing Campaign (ATCC-1)
    February 8, 2017, Trinity Open Science (unclassified) early access shakeout began on the Knights Landing partition before integration with the Haswell partition in the classified network.
    July 2017, Intel Haswell and Intel Knights Landing partitions were merged, transitioning to classified computing.

    See the full article here .

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    HPCwire is the #1 news and information resource covering the fastest computers in the world and the people who run them. With a legacy dating back to 1987, HPC has enjoyed a legacy of world-class editorial and topnotch journalism, making it the portal of choice selected by science, technology and business professionals interested in high performance and data-intensive computing. For topics ranging from late-breaking news and emerging technologies in HPC, to new trends, expert analysis, and exclusive features, HPCwire delivers it all and remains the HPC communities’ most reliable and trusted resource. Don’t miss a thing – subscribe now to HPCwire’s weekly newsletter recapping the previous week’s HPC news, analysis and information at: http://www.hpcwire.com.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:00 pm on July 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Cubesat power, LANL   

    From LANL: “Rocket motor concept could boost CubeSat missions” 

    LANL bloc

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    October 13, 2016 [Where has tis been hiding?]
    Kevin Roark
    Communications Office
    (505) 665-9202

    1
    Artists concept of a CubeSat on-board propulsion system. (Photo credit: Inside Out Visuals)

    Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a rocket motor concept that could pave the way for CubeSats zooming across space. These small, low-cost satellites are an easy way for scientists to access space, but are lacking in one key area, on-board propulsion.

    “The National Academy of Sciences recently convened a meeting to look at science missions in CubeSats,” said Bryce Tappan, an explosives chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead researcher on the CubeSat Propulsion Concept team, “and identified propulsion as one of the primary categories of technology that needs to be developed.”

    The Los Alamos team recently tested a six-motor CubeSat-compatible propulsion array with tremendous success.

    “I think we’re very close to being able to put this propulsion system onto a satellite for a simple demonstration propulsion capability in space,” said Tappan.

    The primary roadblock to CubeSat propulsion has always been safety. Typical spacecraft propulsion systems utilize fuels that are intrinsically hazardous, like hydrazine, or compressed gasses. Since CubeSats are usually deployed via “rideshare” or “piggyback” on a larger satellite deployment or other large space mission, even a small margin of risk is unacceptable.

    “Obviously, someone who’s paying half a billion dollars to do a satellite launch is not going to accept the risk,” said Tappan. “So, anything that is taken on that rideshare would have to be inherently safe, no hazardous liquids.”

    The rocket propulsion concept that Tappan is developing is a solid-based chemical fuel technology, but differs from classical solid propellants because it is completely non-detonable, making it much less hazardous.

    See the full article here .

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    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

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  • richardmitnick 1:37 pm on June 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Concentrator photovoltaics, LANL, Molecular beam epitaxy apparatus, ,   

    From U Michigan: “‘Magic’ alloy could spur the next generation of solar cells” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    June 15, 2017 [Why so long to get into social media]
    Gabe Cherry

    1
    Jordan Occena, a U-M graduate researcher and Sunyeol Jeon, a former U-M graduate student researcher, calibrate the molecular-beam epitaxy apparatus in the Carl A. Gerstacker Building on August 3, 2015. The apparatus is used for spray painting the “magic” chemical cocktail onto blank gallium arsenide wafers. PHOTO: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering.

    In what could be a major step forward for a new generation of solar cells called “concentrator photovoltaics,” a team of University of Michigan researchers has developed a new semiconductor alloy that can capture the near-infrared light located on the leading edge of the visible light spectrum.

    Easier to manufacture and at least 25 percent less costly than previous formulations, it’s believed to be the world’s most cost-effective material that can capture near-infrared light and is compatible with the gallium arsenide semiconductors often used in concentrator photovoltaics.

    Concentrator photovoltaics gather and focus sunlight onto small, high-efficiency solar cells made of gallium arsenide or germanium semiconductors. They’re on track to achieve efficiency rates over 50 percent, while conventional flat-panel silicon solar cells top out in the mid 20s.

    2
    Jordan Occena, a U-M graduate researcher and Sunyeol Jeon, a former U-M graduate student researcher, calibrate the molecular-beam epitaxy apparatus in the Carl A. Gerstacker Building on August 3, 2015. The apparatus is used for spray painting the “magic” chemical cocktail onto blank gallium arsenide wafers. PHOTO: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering.

    “Flat-panel silicon is basically maxed out in terms of efficiency,” said Rachel S. Goldman, a U-M materials science and engineering professor whose lab developed the alloy. “The cost of silicon isn’t going down and efficiency isn’t going up. Concentrator photovoltaics could power the next generation.”

    Varieties of concentrator photovoltaics exist today. They are made of three different semiconductor alloys layered together. Sprayed onto a semiconductor wafer in a process called molecular-beam epitaxy—a bit like spray painting with individual elements—each layer is only a few microns thick. The layers capture different parts of the solar spectrum; light that gets through one layer is captured by the next.

    But near-infrared light slips through these cells unharnessed. For years, researchers have been working toward an elusive “fourth layer” alloy that could be sandwiched into cells to capture this light. It’s a tall order; the alloy must be cost-effective, stable, durable and sensitive to infrared light, with an atomic structure that matches the other three layers in the solar cell.

    Getting all those variables right isn’t easy, and until now, researchers have been stuck with prohibitively expensive formulas that use five elements or more.

    3
    The inside of the main concourse of the molecular beam epitaxy apparatus in the Carl A. Gerstacker Building on August 3, 2015. A blank gallium arsenide wafer is placed in this concourse and moves down the tunnel to a growth chamber where the “magic” chemical cocktail is sprayed on. PHOTO: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering.

    To find a simpler mix, Goldman’s team devised a novel approach for keeping tabs on the many variables in the process. They combined on-the-ground measurement methods including X-ray diffraction done at U-M and ion beam analysis done at Los Alamos National Laboratory with custom-built computer modeling.

    Using this method, they discovered that a slightly different type of arsenic molecule would pair more effectively with the bismuth. They were able to tweak the amount of nitrogen and bismuth in the mix, enabling them to eliminate an additional manufacturing step that previous formulas required. And they found precisely the right temperature that would enable the elements to mix smoothly and stick to the substrate securely.

    “‘Magic’ is not a word we use often as materials scientists,” Goldman said. “But that’s what it felt like when we finally got it right.”

    4
    A plate of semiconductors made by the molecular beam epitaxy apparatus in the Carl A. Gerstacker Building on August 3, 2015. PHOTO: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering.

    The advance comes on the heels of another innovation from Goldman’s lab that simplifies the “doping” process used to tweak the electrical properties of the chemical layers in gallium arsenide semiconductors. During doping, manufacturers apply a mix of chemicals called “designer impurities” to change how semiconductors conduct electricity and give them positive and negative polarity similar to the electrodes of a battery. The doping agents usually used for gallium arsenide semiconductors are silicon on the negative side and beryllium on the positive side.

    The beryllium is a problem—it’s toxic and it costs about ten times more than silicon dopants. Beryllium is also sensitive to heat, which limits flexibility during the manufacturing process. But the U-M team discovered that by reducing the amount of arsenic below levels that were previously considered acceptable, they can “flip” the polarity of silicon dopants, enabling them to use the cheaper, safer element for both the positive and negative sides.

    “Being able to change the polarity of the carrier is kind of like atomic ‘ambidexterity’,” said Richard L. Field, a former U-M PhD student who worked on the project. “Just like people with naturally born ambidexterity, it’s fairly uncommon to find atomic impurities with this ability.”

    Together, the improved doping process and the new alloy could make the semiconductors used in concentrator photovoltaics as much as 30 percent cheaper to produce, a big step toward making the high-efficiency cells practical for large-scale electricity generation.

    “Essentially, this enables us to make these semiconductors with fewer atomic spray cans, and each can is significantly less expensive,” Goldman said. “In the manufacturing world, that kind of simplification is very significant. These new alloys and dopants are also more stable, which gives makers more flexibility as the semiconductors move through the manufacturing process.”

    The new alloy is detailed in a paper titled Bi-enhanced N incorporation in GaAsNBi alloys, published June 15 in Applied Physics Letters. The research is supported by the National Science Foundation (grant number DMR 1410282) and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research.

    The doping advances are detailed in a paper titled Influence of surface reconstruction on dopant incorporation and transport properties of GaAs(Bi) alloys. It was published in the December 26, 2016 issue of Applied Physics Letters. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant number DMR 1410282).

    See the full article here .

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    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:01 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CARC - Center for Advanced Research Computing, LANL, , U New Mexico   

    From LANL: “LANL donation adding to UNM supercomputing power” 

    LANL bloc

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    1

    University of New Mexico

    A new computing system, Wheeler, to be donated to The University of New Mexico Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will put the “super” in supercomputing.

    1
    The new Cray system is nine times more powerful than the combined computing power of the four machines it is replacing, said CARC interim director Patrick Bridges. The new system has yet to be named.

    The machine was acquired from LANL through the National Science Foundation-sponsored PR0bE project, which is run by the New Mexico Consortium. The NMC, comprising UNM, New Mexico State, and New Mexico Tech universities, engages universities and industry in scientific research in the nation’s interest and to increase the role of LANL in science, education, and economic development.

    The new system includes:

    Over 500 nodes, each featuring two quad-core 2.66 GHz Intel Xeon 5550 CPUs and 24 GB of memory
    Over 4,000 cores and 12 terabytes of RAM
    45-50 trillion floating-point operations per second (45-50 teraflops)

    Additional memory, storage, and specialized compute facilities to augment this system are also being planned.

    “This is roughly 20 percent more powerful than any other remaining system at UNM,” Bridges said. “Not only will the new machine be easier to administer and maintain, but also easier for students, faculty, and staff to use. The machine will provide cutting-edge computation for users and will be the fastest of all the machines.”

    Andree Jacobson, chief information officer of the NMC, says that he is pleased that donation will benefit educational efforts.

    “Through a very successful collaboration between the National Science Foundation, New Mexico Consortium, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory called PRObE, we’ve been able to repurpose this retired machine to significantly improve the research computing environment in New Mexico,” he said. “It is truly wonderful to see old computers get a new life, and also an outstanding opportunity to assist the New Mexico universities.”

    To make space for the new machine, the Metropolis, Pequeña, and Ulam systems at UNM will be phased out over the next couple of months. As they are taken offline, the new machine will be installed and brought online. Users of existing systems and their research will be transitioned to the new machine as part of this process.

    See the full article here .

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    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

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  • richardmitnick 12:17 pm on March 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Can our grid withstand a solar storm?, Geomagnetic storms, HuffPost, LANL,   

    From LANL via HuffPost: “Can our grid withstand a solar storm?” 

    LANL bloc

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    HuffPost

    03/21/2017
    Jesse Woodroffe
    Michael Rivera

    1
    NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense.
    A composite image of North and South America at night assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012.

    When the last really big solar storm hit Earth in 1921, the Sun ejected a burst of plasma and magnetic structures like Zeus hurling a thunderbolt from Mount Olympus. Earth’s magnetic field funneled a wave of electrically charged particles toward the ground, where they induced a current along telegraph lines and railroad tracks that set fire to telegraph offices and burned down train stations. As ghostly curtains of Northern Lights danced far south over the eastern United States, the fledgling electric grid flickered and went dark.

    Almost a century later, today’s grid is bigger, more interconnected, and even more susceptible to a solar storm disaster. No one knows exactly how susceptible, but one recent peer-reviewed study found that an epic solar, or geomagnetic, storm could cost the United States more than $40 billion in damages and lost productivity.

    Most geomagnetic storms are harmless. They regularly lash across Earth after a coronal mass ejection sprays electrons, protons, and other charged particles from the Sun. If they’re aimed just right, a few days later Earth’s magnetic field snares them. They accelerate and light up in another brilliant—and harmless—display of Northern Lights (or Southern Lights below the equator).

    But the less frequent, more severe kind of space weather—call it a 100-year storm—can fry technology and cripple the energy infrastructure. In 1921, it was lights-out across town. Today, heavy dependence on electric-powered technology makes society more vulnerable. In a scant few minutes, a major storm could blow out key components in the electric grid across wide swathes of the United States. Cascading failures could wreak havoc on the water supply, life-saving medical activities, communications, the internet, air travel, and any other grid-dependent sector.

    Mindful of the danger, the nation has developed a plan to support electric utilities in defending against these storms. As part of that plan, we’re researching the credible scenarios that could lead to large impacts. Los Alamos National Laboratory has been studying space weather for more than 50 years as part of our national security mission to monitor nuclear testing around the globe, and part of that work includes studying how the radiation-saturated environment of near space can affect technology and people.

    Now Los Alamos is mining decades’ worth of data from a global network of ground-based geomagnetic sensors, running statistical analyses, and generating computer simulations that model the magnitude, electrical and magnetic characteristics, and location of geomagnetic storms. Just like thunderstorms, solar storms vary, from the orientation of their traveling magnetic field to the kind of particles hurtling our way. The data shows that weaker storms tend to flare up closer to the planet’s poles. In the Northern Hemisphere, stronger storms dip farther south, so they’re more likely to threaten population centers, such as New York City or Chicago. But our models predict that the biggest solar storms don’t necessarily cause the greatest damage—location can trump storm intensity.

    Knowing what might happen, and where, is crucial for government and industry to assess the threats and weigh the risks. Then they can establish the procedures, practices, and regulations needed to withstand the worst solar storms. To support that work, Los Alamos will incorporate its space weather research into new software tools for suggesting industry investments in greater grid resilience and informing government requirements for utilities, such as where to site stations and what kind of transformers to install.

    Space weather scientists have a saying: When you’ve seen one solar storm, you’ve seen one solar storm. The key to grid resilience is knowing something about all possible storms. Armed with scientific analysis from Los Alamos about how frequently a major geomagnetic storm might strike, which regions of the country are most vulnerable, and how bad it might be, electric utility companies and government regulators can take the necessary steps to spare us all from the nightmare of days, weeks, or even months without power. That way, we can all keep the lights on the next time the Sun decides to toss an extra few billion trillion trillion charged particles our way.


    Access mp4 video here .

    See the full article here .

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    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

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  • richardmitnick 12:31 pm on March 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Breaking the supermassive black hole speed limit, LANL,   

    From LANL: “Breaking the supermassive black hole speed limit” 

    LANL bloc

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    March 21, 2017
    Kevin Roark
    Communications Office
    (505) 665-9202
    knroark@lanl.gov

    1
    Quasar growing under intense accretion streams. No image credit

    A new computer simulation helps explain the existence of puzzling supermassive black holes observed in the early universe. The simulation is based on a computer code used to understand the coupling of radiation and certain materials.

    “Supermassive black holes have a speed limit that governs how fast and how large they can grow,” said Joseph Smidt of the Theoretical Design Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, “The relatively recent discovery of supermassive black holes in the early development of the universe raised a fundamental question, how did they get so big so fast?”

    Using computer codes developed at Los Alamos for modeling the interaction of matter and radiation related to the Lab’s stockpile stewardship mission, Smidt and colleagues created a simulation of collapsing stars that resulted in supermassive black holes forming in less time than expected, cosmologically speaking, in the first billion years of the universe.

    “It turns out that while supermassive black holes have a growth speed limit, certain types of massive stars do not,” said Smidt. “We asked, what if we could find a place where stars could grow much faster, perhaps to the size of many thousands of suns; could they form supermassive black holes in less time?”

    It turns out the Los Alamos computer model not only confirms the possibility of speedy supermassive black hole formation, but also fits many other phenomena of black holes that are routinely observed by astrophysicists. The research shows that the simulated supermassive black holes are also interacting with galaxies in the same way that is observed in nature, including star formation rates, galaxy density profiles, and thermal and ionization rates in gasses.

    “This was largely unexpected,” said Smidt. “I thought this idea of growing a massive star in a special configuration and forming a black hole with the right kind of masses was something we could approximate, but to see the black hole inducing star formation and driving the dynamics in ways that we’ve observed in nature was really icing on the cake.”

    A key mission area at Los Alamos National Laboratory is understanding how radiation interacts with certain materials. Because supermassive black holes produce huge quantities of hot radiation, their behavior helps test computer codes designed to model the coupling of radiation and matter. The codes are used, along with large- and small-scale experiments, to assure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

    “We’ve gotten to a point at Los Alamos,” said Smidt, “with the computer codes we’re using, the physics understanding, and the supercomputing facilities, that we can do detailed calculations that replicate some of the forces driving the evolution of the Universe.”

    Research paper available at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.00449.pdf

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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

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  • richardmitnick 8:08 am on December 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , At LANL Isotope research opens new possibilities for cancer treatment, , LANL   

    From LANL: “Isotope research opens new possibilities for cancer treatment” 

    LANL bloc

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    1
    Los Alamos National Laboratory sits on top of a once-remote mesa in northern New Mexico with the Jemez mountains as a backdrop to research and innovation covering multi-disciplines from bioscience, sustainable energy sources, to plasma physics and new materials. No image credit.

    August 17, 2016 [This just appeared in social media.]
    Nancy Ambrosiano
    Communications Office
    (505) 667-0471
    nwa@lanl.gov

    Computer models supporting spectroscopy unlock behavior of actinium-225

    A new study at Los Alamos National Laboratory and in collaboration with Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource greatly improves scientists’ understanding of the element actinium.

    SLAC SSRL Tunnel
    SLAC SSRL

    The insights could support innovation in creating new classes of anticancer drugs.

    “The short half-life of actinium-225 offers opportunity for new alpha-emitting drugs to treat cancer, although very little has been known about actinium because all of its isotopes are radioactive and have short half-lives,” said Maryline Ferrier, a Seaborg post-doctoral researcher on the Los Alamos team. “This makes it hard to handle large enough quantities of actinium to characterize its chemistry and bonding, which is critical for designing chelators.”

    The insights from this new study could provide the needed chemical information for researchers to develop ways to bind actinium so that it can be safely transported through the body to the tumor cell. “To build an appropriate biological delivery system for actinium, there is a clear need to better establish the chemical fundamentals for actinium,” Ferrier said. “Using only a few micrograms (approximately the weight of one grain of sand) we were able to study actinium-containing compounds at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and at Los Alamos, and to study actinium in various environments to understand its behavior in solution.”

    Medical isotopes at Los Alamos

    Medical isotopes have long been a product of the Los Alamos specialty facilities, which create strontium-82, germanium-68 and other short-lived isotopes for medical scans. Taking advantage of the unique multidisciplinary capabilities of the Laboratory, researchers use the linear particle accelerator at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) to provide rare and important isotopes to the medical community across the United States. The expansion into actinium exploration moves the research forward toward treatment isotopes, as opposed to only diagnostic materials, says Ferrier.

    For the actinium work, a spectroscopic analysis called X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) was used, a sensitive technique that can determine chemical information such as the number of atoms surrounding actinium, their type (i.e., oxygen or chlorine) and their distances from each other. To help understand actinium’s behavior in solution and interpret the data obtained with XAFS, these experimental results were compared with sophisticated computer model calculations using molecular-dynamics density functional theory (MD-DFT).

    The study showed that actinium, in solutions of concentrated hydrochloric acid, is surrounded by three atoms of chlorine and six atoms of water. Americium, another +3 actinide often used as a surrogate for actinium, is surrounded only by one chlorine atom and eight water molecules. It has been assumed in the past that actinium would behave similarly to americium.

    “Our study shows that the two are different in a way that could help change how actinium ligands are designed,” Ferrier said. “We’re actively working to gather more fundamental data that will help understand how actinium chemically behaves.”

    Actinium useful for targeted Alpha therapy

    Perhaps the most potent impact of these studies will be on the application of the isotope actinium-225, which is used in a novel, attractive cancer treatment technique called targeted alpha therapy (TAT). TAT exploits alpha emissions from radioisotopes to destroy malignant cells while minimizing the damage to healthy surrounding tissue. “Our determination that actinium’s behavior in solution is different than other nearby elements (such as americium) is directly relevant to TAT in a biological environment, which is always a complex solution,” said Ferrier.

    Actinium-225 has a relatively short half-life (10 days) and emits four powerful alpha particles as it decays to stable bismuth, which makes it a perfect candidate for TAT. However, TAT with actinium can only become a reliable cancer-treatment if actinium is securely bound to the targeting molecule, as the radioisotope is very toxic to healthy tissue if it is not brought quickly to the site of disease.

    Nature Communication Paper: Spectroscopic and Computational Investigation of Actinium Coordination Chemistry, by authors M. G. Ferrier, E. R. Batista, J. M. Berg, E. R. Birnbaum, J. N. Cross, J. W. Engle, H. S. La Pierre, S. A. Kozimor, J. S. Lezama-Pacheco, B. W. Stein, S. C. E. Stieber and J. J. Wilson.

    Funding: Support for portions of this research was provided by the Los Alamos LDRD program and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Related work was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Glenn T. Seaborg Institute and the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Director’s postdoctoral fellowship. The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource is a DOE Office of Science User Facility at the Department’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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

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  • richardmitnick 12:54 pm on December 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Here's What Would Happen If a Giant Asteroid Struck the Ocean, LANL   

    From GIZMODO: “Here’s What Would Happen If a Giant Asteroid Struck the Ocean” 

    GIZMODO bloc

    GIZMODO

    12.14.16
    Maddie Stone

    1
    Image: Los Alamos National Laboratory

    Seventy percent of Earth’s surface is covered by water, meaning if we were unfortunate enough to be struck by an enormous asteroid, it’d probably make a big splash. A team of data scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory recently decided to model what would happen if an asteroid struck the sea. Despite the apocalyptic subject matter, the results are quite beautiful.

    Galen Gisler and his colleagues at LANL are using supercomputers to visualize how the kinetic energy of a fast-moving space rock would be transferred to the ocean on impact. The results, which Gisler presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting this week, may come as a surprise to those who grew up on disaster movies like Deep Impact. Asteroids are point sources, and it turns out waves generated by point sources diminish rapidly, rather than growing more ferocious as they cover hundreds of miles to swallow New York.

    The bigger concern, in most asteroid-on-ocean situations, is water vapor.

    “The most significant effect of an impact into the ocean is the injection of water vapor into the stratosphere, with possible climate effects” Gisler said. Indeed, Gisler’s simulations show that large (250 meter-across) rock coming in very hot could vaporize up to 250 metric megatons of water. Lofted into the troposphere, that water vapor would rain out fairly quickly. But water vapor that makes it all the way up to the stratosphere can stay there for a while. And because it’s a potent greenhouse gas, this could have a major effect on our climate.

    Of course, not all asteroids make it to the surface at all. Smaller sized ones, which are much more common in our solar neighborhood, tend to explode while they’re still in the sky, creating a pressure wave that propagates outwards in all directions. Gisler’s models show that when these “airburst” asteroids strike over the ocean, they produce less stratospheric water vapor, and smaller waves. “The airburst considerably mitigates the effect on the water,” he said.

    Overall, Gisler says, asteroids over the ocean pose less of a danger to humans than asteroids over the land. There’s one big exception, however, and that’s asteroids that strike near a coastline.

    “An impact or an airburst [near] a populated shore will be very dangerous,” Gisler said. In that case, the gigantic, city-devouring tsunami every B-list disaster movie has primed you for might actually arrive.

    See the full article here .

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    “We come from the future.”

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