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  • richardmitnick 12:47 pm on September 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Additive manufacturing (3D printing), , , Computational Design Optimization strategic initiative, Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) have not caught up to advanced manufacturing technologies and the sheer number of design possibilities they afford, DARPA funds TRAnsformative DESign (TRADES) at LLNL Autodesk the UC Berkeley International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) and the University of Texas at Austin, LLNL, LLNL Center for Design and Optimization, Powerful multi-physics computer simulations, The linchpin for LLNL's research is the Livermore Design Optimization (LiDO) code   

    From LLNL: “LLNL gears up for next generation of computer-aided design and engineering” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Jeremy Thomas
    thomas244@llnl.gov
    925-422-5539

    1
    Lawrence Livermore has instituted the Center for Design and Optimization, tasked with utilizing advanced manufacturing techniques, high-performance computing and cutting-edge simulation codes to optimize design. No image credit.

    The emergence of additive manufacturing (3D printing) and powerful multi-physics computer simulations have enabled design to reach unprecedented levels of complexity, expanding the realm of what can be engineered and created. However, conventional design tools such as computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) have not caught up to advanced manufacturing technologies and the sheer number of design possibilities they afford.

    To address next-generation technological capabilities and their potential impact, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory instituted the Center for Design and Optimization last October, tasked with using advanced manufacturing techniques, high-performance computing and cutting-edge simulation codes to optimize design. With Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) strategic initiative (SI) funding, the center began a new Computational Design Optimization strategic initiative, including collaborators at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lund University, University of Wisconsin Madison, and Technical University in Denmark.

    “I want to solve real, relevant problems,” said center director Dan Tortorelli, who recently came to the Lab from a mechanical sciences and engineering professorship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We want to take the great simulation capabilities that we have with our supercomputers, along with optimization and our AM (additive manufacturing) capabilities, and combine them into a single systematic design environment.”

    Although optimization has been around since the 1980s, Tortorelli said, it has been largely limited to linear elastic design problems and is often performed through trial and error, looping a simulation over and over with different parameters until reaching a functional design. The process is not only time-consuming and tedious, it’s also expensive. Through the SI, researchers want to have computers do the repetitive work, freeing up engineers to focus their attention on more creative matters.

    “It may surprise some people but engineers are still doing things by trial and error — even if they are doing simulations, it is still trial and error,” said Computational Design Optimization project co-lead Dan White. “We are trying to give the computer the objectives and constraints, give it a list of materials to use, then it does the calculations and designs the part for us. This is a new way of thinking about engineering and design.”

    Ultimately, researchers want to have a fully integrated optimization program that incorporates multiple scales, complex physics and transient and nonlinear phenomena. By no longer adhering to outdated design paradigms, researchers said, the possibilities are essentially endless.

    “Fundamentally changing the way design is done is really what we want to do,” said Rob Sharpe, deputy associate director for research and development within Engineering. “We want to be able to design things that are so complicated that human intuition isn’t going to work…Almost all design work has been done for things that are static. But a lot of the things that we want to create, we want it to be dynamic and, in some cases, push it until it fails, and we want them to be designed to fail in a specific way. In addition, if we just used all the advanced AM techniques to make the same designs, we’d be missing the point. That’s really why we started the center.”

    Optimal design through advanced codes

    Current 3D printers have the resolution to create parts with millions, even billions of parameters, in theory placing a different material at every point in the structure. To optimize design for those printers, engineers will need the same level of resolution in their design software, White said, a feat only possible through high-performance computing.

    The linchpin for LLNL’s research is the Livermore Design Optimization (LiDO) code. Based on LLNL’s open source Modular Finite Element Method library (MFEM), it uses gradient-based algorithms that incorporate uncertainty, multiple scales, multiple physics and multiple functionality into design. White is working on writing the software and said the code’s basic capability is already functioning, having already created designs for cantilevers and lattice structures.

    “It’s already designing things better than a human could do,” White said. “The idea is that the computer is doing this work on the weekend when we are not here. It is fully automated; the computer sorts through all the scenarios and comes up with the best designs.”

    So far, researchers have designed different micro-architected lattice structures with new properties, including those with negative coefficient of thermal expansion (i.e., lattices that contract when heated or expand when cooled) or negative Poisson’s ratio (i.e., lattices that expand laterally when stretched or contract when compressed, which is opposite of most materials — for example, a rubber band). Other research has been done to design electrodes, multifunctional metamaterials, carbon-fiber-reinforced composites and path planning for direct ink writing (a 3D printing process) onto curvilinear surfaces. The advances someday could be applied to optimize armor plating for military vehicles, blast and impact-resistant structures, optics and electromagnetic devices, researchers said. Interestingly, some of the designs generated have resembled “organic” shapes found in nature, Sharpe said.

    “A lot of what nature has done is to do evolutionary optimization over time,” Sharpe said. “Human efforts inspired by these are often called biomimetic designs — and some do almost have an organic look…We’re moving to where the computer fully explores the possibilities, does the work and shows the possibilities. We can now begin to explore complex, nonlinear, multi-function, dynamic designs for the first time. The computer is going to be able to do larger problems than humans could possibly do — we’re talking about a billion design variables. It’s going to change the way people approach design problems and the way engineers interact with all these tools.”

    There’s a strong link between AM and design optimization, according to LLNL engineer Eric Duoss, because of the ability to control both material composition and structure at multiple length scales with 3D printing.

    “With new printing approaches, we can deterministically place material and structure into previously unobtainable form factors; that means we really need to rethink design not only to keep pace with manufacturing advances, but to fully realize the potential of AM,” said Duoss, who is working on a project to optimize printing 3D lattices onto 3D surfaces. “Achieving the goals of this strategic initiative would be revolutionary for design and have far-reaching impact beyond just additive manufacturing, but it’s a really hard problem. There’s a real need for the proposed capability right now, and we’re going to scramble to get there as fast as we can.”

    In January, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded a multimillion dollar grant to LLNL, Autodesk, the UC Berkeley International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) and the University of Texas at Austin, to institute a project called TRAnsformative DESign (TRADES), aimed at advancing the tools needed to generate and better manage the enormous complexity of design afforded by new technologies.

    Under the four-year DARPA project, LLNL will be using its high-performance computing libraries to develop algorithms capable of optimizing large, complex systems and working with Autodesk to create a more robust and user-friendly graphical interface. The algorithms, when combined with emerging advanced manufacturing capabilities, will be used to design revolutionary systems for the Department of Defense.

    The collaboration partially stemmed from previous research performed with Autodesk seeking to improve performance of helmets, which resulted in designs for rigid shell materials formed from graded density, lattice structures with optimized macroscale shape and microscale material distribution.

    “As part of that project, we encountered challenges that helped inspire our current efforts in design,” said Duoss, a principal investigator on the project. “Almost by definition, helmets are required to function under highly nonlinear and dynamic conditions. Turns out those conditions are hard to simulate, let alone design for, and it is certainly a new area for design optimization. With the Autodesk collaboration, we collectively identified these gaps in capability and knew the time was right to assemble a team to attack these difficult problems.”

    LLNL looks to be world leader

    About a dozen LLNL employees are part of the Computational Design Optimization strategic initiative. In the coming years, they will work to improve the LiDO program to perform generalized shape optimization, ensure accurate simulations, increase optimization speed through Reduced Order Models (ROMs) and accommodate uncertainty.

    Specific projects include multi-physics lattices with optimal mechanical, heat transfer and electromagnetic responses, to create antennas with sufficient strength and gain. Researchers also want to enhance fabrication resolution in their designs down to the submicron level, to potentially design and manufacture lenses for optics simpler, cheaper and not necessarily parabolic.

    Other goals are to investigate machine learning, and consider a variety of response metrics. A benchmark problem will be the optimization of a large 3D-printed part consisting of a spatially varying lattice to illustrate LiDO’s ability to incorporate ROMs. Optimization under uncertainty using models derived from Lab data, and the utilization of domain symmetry to simplify the analysis and design process also will be investigated.

    At the end of the three-year SI, the researchers hope to have funding from various Lab programs and go from having almost no capabilities in design optimization to being one of the world leaders.

    “We want to do this inverse problem where we know the outcome that we want and what our design domain should be,” Tortorelli said. “We want to be able to define the parameters, press a button and have it come out the way we want. We are not taking the designers or engineers out of the loop. We are not saying, ‘do away with them.’ We are saying, ‘do away with the drudgery.’ We are simplifying their lives so they can be more creative.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 5:54 am on July 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , LLNL, ,   

    From LLNL: “National labs, industry partners prepare for new era of computing through Centers of Excellence” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    June 30, 2017
    Jeremy Thomas
    thomas244@llnl.gov
    925-422-5539

    1
    IBM employees and Lab code and application developers held a “Hackathon” event in June to work on coding challenges for a predecessor system to the Sierra supercomputer. Through the ongoing Centers of Excellence (CoE) program, employees from IBM and NVIDIA have been on-site to help LLNL developers transition applications to the Sierra system, which will have a completely different architecture than the Lab has had before. Photo by Jeremy Thomas/LLNL

    The Department of Energy’s (link is external) drive toward the next generation of supercomputers, “exascale” machines capable of more than a quintillion (1018) calculations per second, isn’t simply to boast about having the fastest processing machines on the planet. At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and other DOE national labs, these systems will play a vital role in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) core mission of ensuring the nation’s nuclear stockpile in the absence of underground testing.

    The driving force behind faster, more robust computing power is the need for simulation and codes that are higher resolution, increasingly predictive and incorporate more complex physics. It’s an evolution that is changing the way the national labs’ application and code developers are approaching design. To aid in the transition and prepare researchers for pre-exascale and exascale systems, LLNL has brought experts from IBM (link is external) and NVIDIA together with Lab computer scientists in a Center of Excellence (CoE), a co-design strategy born out of the need for vendors and government to work together to optimize emerging supercomputing systems.

    “There are disruptive machines coming down the pike that are changing things out from under us,” said Rob Neely, an LLNL computer scientist and Weapon Simulation & Computing Program coordinator for Computing Environments. “We need a lot of time to prepare; these applications need insight, and who better to help us with that than the companies who will build the machines? The idea is that when a machine gets here, we’re not caught flat-footed. We want to hit the ground running right away.”

    While LLNL’s exascale system isn’t scheduled for delivery until 2023, Sierra, the Laboratory’s pre-exascale system, is on track to begin installation this fall and will begin running science applications at full machine scale by early next spring.

    LLNL IBM Sierra supercomputer

    Built by IBM and NVIDIA, Sierra will have about six times more computing power than LLNL’s current behemoth, Sequoia.

    2
    Sequoia at LLNL

    The Sierra system is unique to the Lab in that it’s made up of two kinds of hardware — IBM CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs — that have different memory locations associated with each type of computing device and a programming model more complex than LLNL scientists have programmed to in the past. In the meantime, Lab scientists are receiving guidance from experts from the two companies, utilizing a small predecessor system that is already running some components and has some of the technological features that Sierra will have.

    LLNL’s Center of Excellence, which began in 2014, involves about a half dozen IBM and NVIDIA personnel on-site, and a number of remote collaborators who work with Lab developers. The team is on hand to answer any questions Lab computer scientists have, educate LLNL personnel to use best practices in coding hybrid systems, develop strategies for optimizations, debug and advise on global code restructuring that often is needed to obtain performance. The CoE is a symbiotic relationship — LLNL scientists get a feel for how Sierra will operate, and IBM and NVIDIA gain better insight into what the Lab’s needs are and what the machines they build are capable of.

    “We see how the systems we design and develop are being used and how effective they can be,” said IBM research staff member Leopold Grinberg, who works on the LLNL site. “You really need to get into the mind of the developer to understand how they use the tools. To sit next to the developers’ seats and let them drive, to observe them, gives us a good idea of what we are doing right and what needs to be improved. Our experts have an intimate knowledge of how the system works, and having them side-by-side with Lab employees is very useful.”

    Sierra, Grinberg explained, will use a completely different system architecture than what has been used before at LLNL. It’s not only faster than any machine the Lab has had, it also has different tools built into the compilers and programming models. In some cases, the changes developers need to make are substantial, requiring restructuring hundreds or thousands of lines of code. Through the CoE, Grinberg said he’s learning more about how the system will be used for production scientific applications.

    “It’s a constant process of learning for everybody,” Grinberg said. “It’s fun, it’s challenging. We gather the knowledge and it’s also our job to distribute it. There’s always some knowledge to be shared. We need to bring the experience we have with heterogenous systems and emerging programming models to the lab, and help people generate updated codes or find out what can be kept as is to optimize the system we build. It’s been very fruitful for both parties.”

    The CoE strategy is additionally being implemented at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is bringing in a heterogenous system of its own called Summit. Other CoE programs are in place at Los Alamos and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories. Each CoE has a similar goal of preparing computational scientists with the tools they will need to utilize pre-exascale and exascale systems. Since Livermore is new to using GPUs for the bulk of computing power, the Sierra architecture places a heavy emphasis on figuring out which sections of a multi-physics application are the most performance-critical, and the code restructuring that must take place to most effectively use the system.

    “Livermore and Oak Ridge scientists are really pushing the boundaries of the scale of these GPU-based systems,” said Max Katz, a solutions architect at NVIDIA who spends four days a week at LLNL as a technical adviser. “Part of our motivation is to understand machine learning and how to make it possible to merge high-performance computing with the applications demanded by industry. The CoE is essential because it’s difficult for any one party to predict how these CPU/GPU systems will behave together. Each one of us brings in expertise and by sharing information, it makes us all more well-rounded. It’s a great opportunity.”

    In fact, the opportunity was so compelling that in 2016 the CoE was augmented with a three-year institutional component (dubbed the Institutional Center of Excellence, or iCE) to ensure that other mission critical efforts at the Laboratory also could participate. This has added nine applications development efforts, including one in data science, and expanded the number of IBM and NVIDIA personnel. By working together cooperatively, many more types of applications can be explored, performance solutions developed and shared among all the greater CoE code teams.

    “At the end of the iCOE project, the real value will be not only that some important institutional applications run well, but that every directorate at LLNL will have trained staff with expertise in using Sierra, and we’ll have documented lessons learned to help train others,” said Bert Still, leader for Application Strategy (Livermore Computing).

    Steve Rennich, a senior HPC developer-technology engineer with NVIDIA, visits the Lab once a week to help LLNL scientists port mission-critical applications optimized for CPUs over to NVIDIA GPUs, which have an order of magnitude greater computing power than CPUs. Besides writing bug-free code, Rennich said, the goal is to improve performance enough to meet the Lab’s considerable computing requirements.

    “The challenge is they’re fairly complex codes so to do it correctly takes a fair amount of attention to detail,” Rennich said. “It’s about making sure the new system can handle as large a model as the Lab needs. These are colossal machines, so when you create applications at this scale, it’s like building a race car. To take advantage of this increase in performance, you need all the pieces to fit and work together.”

    Current plans are to continue the existing Center of Excellence at LLNL at least into 2019, when Sierra is fully operational. Until then, having experts working shoulder-to-shoulder with Lab developers to write code will be a huge benefit to all parties, said LLNL’s Neely, who wants the collaboration to publish their discoveries to share it with the broader computing community.

    “We’re focused on the issue at hand, and moving things toward getting ready for these machines is hugely beneficial,” Neely said. “These are very large applications developed over decades, so ultimately it’s the code teams that need to be ready to take this over. We’ve got to make this work because we need to ensure the safety and performance of the U.S. stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing. We’ve got the right teams and people to pull this off.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 9:27 am on June 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ECP, LLNL,   

    From ECP via LLNL: “On the Path to the Nation’s First Exascale Supercomputers: PathForward” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    1

    ECP

    06/15/17

    Department of Energy Awards Six Research Contracts Totaling $258 Million to Accelerate U.S. Supercomputing Technology.

    Today U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that six leading U.S. technology companies will receive funding from the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) as part of its new PathForward program, accelerating the research necessary to deploy the nation’s first exascale supercomputers.

    The awardees will receive funding for research and development to maximize the energy efficiency and overall performance of future large-scale supercomputers, which are critical for U.S. leadership in areas such as national security, manufacturing, industrial competitiveness, and energy and earth sciences. The $258 million in funding will be allocated over a three-year contract period, with companies providing additional funding amounting to at least 40 percent of their total project cost, bringing the total investment to at least $430 million.

    “Continued U.S. leadership in high performance computing is essential to our security, prosperity, and economic competitiveness as a nation,” said Secretary Perry.

    “These awards will enable leading U.S. technology firms to marshal their formidable skills, expertise, and resources in the global race for the next stage in supercomputing—exascale-capable systems.”

    “The PathForward program is critical to the ECP’s co-design process, which brings together expertise from diverse sources to address the four key challenges: parallelism, memory and storage, reliability and energy consumption,” ECP Director Paul Messina said. “The work funded by PathForward will include development of innovative memory architectures, higher-speed interconnects, improved reliability systems, and approaches for increasing computing power without prohibitive increases in energy demand. It is essential that private industry play a role in this work going forward: advances in computer hardware and architecture will contribute to meeting all four challenges.”

    The following U.S. technology companies are the award recipients:

    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
    Cray Inc. (CRAY)
    Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
    International Business Machines (IBM)
    Intel Corp. (Intel)
    NVIDIA Corp. (NVIDIA)

    The Department’s funding for this program is supporting R&D in three areas—hardware technology, software technology, and application development—with the intention of delivering at least one exascale-capable system by 2021.

    Exascale systems will be at least 50 times faster than the nation’s most powerful computers today, and global competition for this technological dominance is fierce. While the U.S. has five of the 10 fastest computers in the world, its most powerful — the Titan system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory — ranks third behind two systems in China. However, the U.S. retains global leadership in the actual application of high performance computing to national security, industry, and science.

    Additional information and attributed quotes from the vendors receiving the PathForward funding can be found here [See below].

    [It is this writer’s opinion that none of this funding should be necessary. These are all for-profit companies which have noting to do but gain from their own investments in this work.]

    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

    Sunnyvale, California

    “AMD is excited to extend its long-term computing partnership with the U.S. Government in its PathForward program for exascale computing. We are thrilled to see AMD’s unique blend of high-performance computing and graphics technologies drive the industry forward and enable breakthroughs like exascale computing. This technology collaboration will drive outstanding performance and power-efficiency on applications ranging from scientific computing to machine learning and data analytics. As part of PathForward, AMD will explore processors, memory architectures, and high-speed interconnects to improve the performance, power-efficiency, and programmability of exascale systems. This effort emphasizes an open, standards-based approach to heterogeneous computing as well as co-design with the Exascale Computing Project (ECP) teams to foster innovation and achieve the Department of Energy’s goals for capable exascale systems.”

    — Dr. Lisa Su, president and CEO

    Cray Inc. (CRAY)

    Seattle, Washington

    “At Cray, our focus is on innovation and advancing supercomputing technologies that allow customers to solve their most demanding scientific, engineering, and data-intensive problems. We are honored to play an important role in the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project, as we collaboratively explore new advances in system and node technology and architectures. By pursuing improvements in sustained performance, power efficiency, scalability, and reliability, the ECP’s PathForward program will help make significant advancements towards exascale computing.”

    — Peter Ungaro, president and CEO

    Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

    Palo Alto, California

    “The U.S. Department of Energy has selected HPE to rethink the fundamental architecture of supercomputers to make exascale computing a reality. This is strong validation of our vision, strategy and execution capabilities as a systems company with deep expertise in Memory-Driven Computing, VLSI, photonics, non-volatile memory, software and systems design. Once operational, these systems will help our customers to accelerate research and development in science and technology.”

    — Mike Vildibill, vice president, Advanced Technology Programs

    Intel Corp. (INTEL)

    Santa Clara, California

    “Intel is investing to offer a balanced portfolio of products for high performance computing that are essential to not only achieving Exascale class computing, but also to drive breakthrough capability across the entire ecosystem. This research with the US Department of Energy focused on advanced computing and I/O technologies will accelerate the deployment of leading HPC solutions that contribute to scientific discovery for economic and societal benefits for the United States and people around the world. These gains will impact many application domains and be realized in traditional high performance simulations as well as data analytics and the rapidly growing field of artificial intelligence.”

    — Al Gara, Intel Fellow, Data Center Group Chief Architect, Exascale Systems

    International Business Machines (IBM)

    Armonk, New York

    “IBM has a roadmap for future Data Centric Systems to deliver enterprise-strength cloud services and on-premise mission-critical application performance for our customers. We are excited to once again work with the DOE and we believe the PathForward program will help accelerate our capabilities to deliver cognitive, flexible, cost-effective and energy efficient exascale-class systems for a wide variety of important workloads.”

    — Michael Rosenfield, vice president of Data Centric Solutions, IBM Research

    NVIDIA Corp. (NVIDIA)

    Santa Clara, California

    “NVIDIA has been researching and developing faster, more efficient GPUs for high performance computing (HPC) for more than a decade. This is our sixth DOE research and development contract, which will help accelerate our efforts to develop highly efficient throughput computing technologies to ensure U.S. leadership in HPC. Our R&D will focus on critical areas including energy-efficient GPU architectures and resilience. We’re particularly proud of the work we’ve been doing to help the DOE achieve exascale performance at a fraction of the power of traditional compute architectures.”

    — Dr. Bill Dally, chief scientist and senior vice president of research

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 11:24 am on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , LLNL, , ,   

    From LLNL: Women in STEM-“Lab engages girls at San Joaquin STEM event” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Carenda L Martin
    martin59@llnl.gov
    925-424-4715

    The Laboratory participated in an educational outreach event held last month titled, “Engaging Girls in STEM: Making a Connection for Action,” at the San Joaquin County Office of Education facility in Stockton.

    More than 300 young women in grades 6-12 attended the program, which is part of a statewide initiative to encourage young girls and women to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields. The event was hosted by the San Joaquin County Office of Education, State Department of Education and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

    1
    Girls donned 3D googles to take a 360-degree virtual reality tour of the Lab’s National Ignition and Additive Manufacturing facilities.
    No image credit.

    A panel of women working in STEM fields was featured along with an exhibitor fair, showcasing various STEM programs and professions, such as LLNL, Association of Women in Science, CSU Sacramento, San Joaquin Delta College, University of the Pacific, Stockton Astronomical Society and the World of Wonders (WOW) Museum. Occupational therapists, engineers, microbiologists, neuroscientists, physicians and computer scientists also showcased hands-on, industry-based activities.

    The Laboratory was well represented with a booth that featured 360 degree tours of the National Ignition and Additive Manufacturing facilities via 3D goggles, and a booth with giveaways and information about the San Joaquin Expanding Your Horizons conference for girls, which is now in its 25th year and led and organized by a committee of Lab volunteers.

    Also featured was the Laboratory’s popular Fun With Science program, presented by Nick Williams, featuring experiments involving states of matter, chemistry, electricity, air pressure, etc.

    Employee volunteers included Cary Gellner, Carrie Martin, Norma McTyer (retired), Jeene Villanueva along with Joanna Albala, LLNL’s education program manager, who facilitated the Lab’s involvement.

    3
    STEM Lab volunteers included (from left) Joanna Albala, Jeene Villanueva, Cary Gellner, Carrie Martin, Norma McTyer (retired) and Nick Williams.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 2:56 pm on April 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Change the color of assembled nanoparticles with an electrical stimulant, Color is dynamically tunable, LLNL, ,   

    From LLNL: “Research comes through with flying colors” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    April 24, 2017
    Anne M Stark
    stark8@llnl.gov
    925-422-9799

    1
    Dynamic color tunability of amorphous photonic structures in response to external electrical stimuli using electrophoretic deposition process. Image by Ryan Chen/LLNL

    Like a chameleon changing colors to blend into the environment, Lawrence Livermore researchers have created a technique to change the color of assembled nanoparticles with an electrical stimulant.

    The team used core/shell nanoparticles to improve color contrast and expand color schemes by using a combination of pigmentary color (from inherent properties) and structural color (from particle assemblies).

    “We were motivated by various examples in living organisms, such as birds, insects and plants,” said Jinkyu Han, lead author of a paper appearing on the cover of the April 3 edition of the journal Advanced Optics Materials . “The assemblies of core/shell nanoparticles can not only imitate interesting colors observed in living organisms, but can be applied in electronic paper displays and colored-reflective photonic displays.”

    Applications of electronic visual displays include electronic pricing labels in retail shops and digital signage, time tables at bus stations, electronic billboards, mobile phone displays and e-readers able to display digital versions of books and magazines.

    The resulting non-iridescent brilliant colors can be manipulated by shell thickness, particle concentration and external electrical stimuli using an electrophoretic deposition process.

    The technique is fully reversible with instantaneous color changes as well as noticeable differences between transmitted and reflected colors.

    2
    The photographs of nanostructures in an electrophoretic deposition (EPD) cell in the absence (OFF state) and presence (ON state) of applied voltage under diffusive illumination. Black carbon tape (LLNL logo) with a white paper was put on the backside of the cell to distinguish the reflected and transmitted color more clearly.

    The particle arrangement in the system is not perfectly ordered nor crystalline, referred to as “amorphous photonic crystal,” which creates the resulting color from light reflection that does not change with viewing angles.

    “The angle independence of the observed colors from the assemblies is quite a unique and interesting property of our system and is ideal for display applications,” Han said.

    The resulting color is dynamically tunable in response to electric stimuli since the nanoparticle arrangement (i.e., inter-particle distance, particle structures) is highly affected by the electric field.

    Contributing authors are Elaine Lee, Jessica Dudoff, Michael Bagge-Hansen, Jonathan Lee, Andrew Pascall, Joshua Kuntz, Trevor Willey, Marcus Worsley and T. Yong-Jin Han.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 1:17 pm on February 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame, From Idea to Startup: Lawrence Livermore’s Tech Transfer, Google Earth, LLNL, , Propel(x), Roger Werne Deputy Director of Industrial Partnerships Office   

    From LLNL: “From Idea to Startup: Lawrence Livermore’s Tech Transfer” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    1
    Each and every one of us has been touched by our national lab system in more ways than we realize. That’s especially the case with the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), whose innovations and cutting edge technologies continue to impact us in surprising ways. They help us parallel park and make our cars safer via crash simulation. They fund satellite imagery of the world around us (does Google Earth ring a bell?). All of these innovations were created by scientists and engineers from LLNL — a lab that boasts an Entrepreneur’s Hall of Fame. Propel(x) had the chance to discuss the triumphs and opportunities that reside in the lab with Roger Werne, Deputy Director of Industrial Partnerships Office, of this technological pioneering lab.

    Propel(x): Talk to us about the founding and the charter of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

    Werne: Livermore was founded in September of 1952 as the second nuclear weapons design lab, Los Alamos being the first, to support the nuclear weapons capabilities of the United States. In more recent years, we have become a national security laboratory. This means that we do the R&D necessary for the federal government to implement national security policy. But, nuclear deterrence, or what’s called the stockpile stewardship program — which is the maintenance and upkeep of the nuclear weapons program of the United States — is still our number one mission. Essentially, any problem the United States has that involves science and technology with a national security flavor tends to be within our mission space. We’re about 6,500 employees right now, with a budget of around $1.7 billion for fiscal year ’17.

    Propel(x): Are the LLNL’s technology transfer efforts tied to the original mission?

    It is the formal mission of the laboratory to take whatever technologies are invented in the course of our national security mission , and get them into the hands of the private sector in order to create value for the US economy. So we do research for purposes of national security, and some of that research has commercial value. It is my job as part of the Industrial Partnerships Office to get technology and know-how out the door, and into the hands of private industry. In this process we deal with large and small companies which are looking for know-how or new technology to license and start-up companies which are looking for a new technology to solve a market-based problem.

    Propel(x): Can you give us few examples of commercial successes?

    Werne: We’ve chronicled our commercial successes through what we call the Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame here at Livermore. It includes 19 members who did their early training and development at the laboratory and then transferred their technology to the private sector, which usually led to the building of successful companies. For example, in the mid-80s, John Hallquist developed a computer software code , named DYNA3D. This software modeled the bending, folding, and collapse of metal structures better than anything else available at the time and the automobile industry picked up on this software as a way to do crash simulation. John Hallquist left Livermore and formed a company called Livermore Software Technology Corporation. He commercialized DYNA3D as LS-DYNA, which allows for calculations rather than experiments to evaluate automobile safety under collision conditions. And that code has become the standard in the world for automobile crash simulation. It saves the automobile industry billions of dollars a year in terms of avoided costs. LS-DYNA and Livermore Software Technology Corporation are the pioneers in that field in the entire world.

    Another example involves Walter Scott, a scientist who worked on satellite technology while at LLNL , and concluded that there would be commercial value in satellite imagery looking back down at the Earth yielding valuable information about everything from asset location to crop- information. . He cofounded a company called DigitalGlobe which now provides the imagery for Google Earth.

    Another technology developed at Livermore was Chromosome Painting, which is a molecular diagnostic technique utilizing labeled DNA probes to detect or confirm chromosome abnormalities. It enables the healthcare industry to diagnose and screen to various type of cancer. Chromosome Painting was licensed and commercialized by a series of companies named Imagenetics, Vysis, and now Abbott , and today it is a significant tool in the medical technology quiver. Furthermore, Livermore, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Berkeley, pioneered the human genome program back in the 80s, and Livermore developed tools to characterize chromosome 19. The three Labs can lay legitimate claim to having pioneered the human Genome program.

    Finally, we have a technology called micro-impulse radar, which is a very small, inexpensive radar system that was developed by Tom McEwan an LLNL engineer. It can measure the relative distance and speed between two moving objects very rapidly. LLNL licensed that technology to over 40 companies in a variety of markets including automotive and today, whenever you see an automobile that’s got collision avoidance warning on it or automatic parallel parking, that’s probably the “grandchild” of the Livermore technology. It’s been in the private sector for about 25 years now, and it has revolutionized the safety of automobiles.

    Propel(x): Let’s talk about a newer start-up that we both have connections to called SafeTraces (Note: SafeTraces is a Propel(x) alumnus company).

    Werne: SafeTraces is based on a technology that we call a DNA barcode. It was originally developed for the Department of Homeland Security and is basically a sugar substance with a known DNA signature. It’s being developed by SafeTraces to track our food supply from field to table to ensure food safety. For example, let’s say you are a farmer growing cantaloupes. Each cantaloupe would be sprayed with the DNA barcode in the field. You record the DNA signature for that particular location on that particular product. You then take that product to the marketplace. If there’s ever a problem that arises you can take a sample off of the skin of that cantaloupe and trace it back to where it came from. You can trace its entire history from field to countertop and know exactly what happened to it and where. It currently takes weeks or months to trace a food product back to it’s source. Being able to trace them back to their source rapidly, which is what you can do with SafeTraces, is a significant benefit to the food products industry and to the consumer(http://www.safetraces.com/).

    Propel(x): How do entrepreneurs who are interested in licensing LLNL IP get started?

    Werne: Livermore has raw technology, usually in the form of licensable patents, and we can license those patents to a company, either exclusively or non-exclusively. In working with a company, there are two things we do, i.e. negotiate business terms and conditions for licenses to transfer technology , and cooperative research and development agreements or CRADAs, , which are cooperative research with the private sector, to transfer knowledge and know-how. If an entrepreneur has a particular need for a technology and they want to look at a what Livermore has developed, they can go to our website,https://ipo.llnl.gov/ , and contact one of our Business Development Executives will help them figure out what is relevant to their needs. Then we can invite them to the laboratory, to have more detailed discussions. After discussions, if they are still interested they can begin licensing negotiations. To us, a successful technology transfer is a license or a cooperative research and development agreement which helps transfer our technology or know-how to the private sector.

    Propel(x): What’s the ideal relationship between an entrepreneur and a LLNL scientist at the root of an innovation?

    Werne: An experienced business entrepreneur from the outside — who understands how to develop a company and product and how to attract capital for financing — paired with a Livermore scientist who is the expert on the technology, is the most successful combination for starting a company. For example, when forming a new company, the outside experienced business professional might be the CEO, and the Livermore scientist might be the CTO, and it’s the combination of the two plus some capital from the investment community that is the beginning of a potentially successful company.

    Propel(x): Speaking of capital, how do you work with angel investors and VCs, and what would you like to communicate to them about your efforts?

    Werne: It’s that early stage — from starting the company to the very first investments — that is the critical part for us, and that’s where the angel community comes in, because the angel community tends to be a little more tolerant and willing to put their money down at a much earlier stage in a company’s maturity. We’re searching for angel investors who are a bit daring and an entrepreneur who’s got a vision and knows the market. And then we’ll try to provide a technology and an individual who can carry the technology forward into a product that will have commercial value.

    Propel(x): Lawrence Livermore has had a tremendous impact globally in its technology, and the past has been successful, so we’re wondering how you see the future unfolding and where Lawrence Livermore is going to have tremendous impact in the next 20 years?

    Werne: Livermore has been prominent in high-performance computing over the years. An example of this is the automobile crash simulation that I talked about earlier. It solved a real problem and has had a significant impact on the automobile industry. Furthermore,Computer tools used to help decode the human genome were developed at the national labs as well. From those early days, the field of bioinformatics has evolved which brings significant computing power developed at the Labs to identify pathogens based on genetic comparisons. These tools are being acquired by the private sector and will be further developed and accelerated to improve human health. Over all the national Labs want to transfer our knowledge of high-performance computing to the private sector to maintain U.S. competitiveness. The rest of the world has figured out that high-performance computing is important as well, so it’s going to be a bit of a horse race in that respect.

    The other area where I think we’re going to contribute is nanotechnology and additive manufacturing. The laboratories are significantly involved in additive manufacturing and other forms of microtechnology and nanotechnology in which there will be significant market capabilities developed. But which problems in manufacturing they will actually solve is an open question at this time. Trying to predict what a market need will be 5 or 10 years into the future is extremely difficult. So we develop the technology, present it to the private sector, and then it’s their job to figure out where it might be useful in terms of future applications. We need to know a little bit about the market and the market needs to know a little bit about us, and that’s one of my jobs, to make sure the market knows a little bit about us.

    Propel(x): Is there anything else you would like the readers to know about the Lawrence Livermore National Lab?

    Werne: LLNL, and all of the national labs, are open for business. One of our entrepreneurial advisors, Bob Tilman, who was cofounder of Digital Globe with Walter Scott, called Livermore a “Business friendly technology giant.” I want that to always be true. We are constantly trying to get our technologies in front of the people in the private sector. They understand markets, we understand technologies, and when it comes to finding a technology that will meet a market need, we may be able to help. Technology transfer is a shoulder to shoulder business with a company. You’ve got to be talking constantly and exchanging ideas and needs and capabilities so that somewhere along the line someone will say ,”You know, I think that might work.” And that might be the beginning of something good.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 3:29 pm on February 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Department of Energy fusion laser research and development, Diode-pumped petawatt lasers, ELI Beamlines - European Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines, High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS), , LLNL   

    From LLNL: “LLNL meets key milestone for delivery of world’s highest average power petawatt laser system” This is a Big Deal 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Feb. 2, 2017

    Breanna Bishop
    bishop33@llnl.gov
    925-423-9802

    [THIS IS A BIG DEAL, US DEVELOPED TECHNOLOGY FOR EXPORT.]

    1
    HAPLS has set a world record for diode-pumped petawatt lasers, with energy reaching 16 joules and a 28 femtosecond pulse duration (equivalent to ~0.5 petawatt/pulse) at a 3.3 hertz repetition rate (3.3 times per second).

    The High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS), being developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), recently completed a significant milestone: demonstration of continuous operation of an all diode-pumped, high-energy femtosecond petawatt laser system.

    With completion of this milestone, the system is ready for delivery and integration at the European Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines facility project (ELI Beamlines) in the Czech Republic.

    2
    e
    ELI Beamlines

    HAPLS set a world record for diode-pumped petawatt lasers, with energy reaching 16 joules (J) and a 28 femtosecond (fs) pulse duration (equivalent to ~0.5 petawatt/pulse) at a 3.3 hertz (Hz) repetition rate (3.3 times per second).

    In just three years, HAPLS went from concept to a fully integrated and record-breaking product. HAPLS represents a new generation of application-enabling diode-pumped, high-energy and high-peak-power laser systems with innovative technologies originating from the Department of Energy fusion laser research and development.

    “Lawrence Livermore takes pride in pushing science and technology to regimes never achieved before,” LLNL Director Bill Goldstein said. “Twenty years ago, LLNL pioneered the first petawatt laser, the NOVA Petawatt, representing a quantum leap forward in peak power. Today, HAPLS leads a new generation of petawatt lasers, with capabilities not seen before.”

    6
    The Nova laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, completed in 1984, was the world’s largest working laser until its retirement in 1999. With 10 laser beams, it was used for experiments on x-rays, astronomical phenomena, and fusion energy. In 1996, it was made into a petawatt laser, in which a short, intense pulse produced the highest power yet achieved: about 1.3 petawatts, or 1.3 quadrillion watts.

    In the decades since high-power lasers were introduced, they have illuminated entirely new fields of scientific endeavor, in addition to making profound impacts on society. When petawatt peak power pulses are focused to a high intensity on a target, they generate secondary sources such as electromagnetic radiation (for example, high-brightness X-rays) or accelerate charged particles (electrons, protons or ions), enabling unparalleled access to a variety of research areas, including time-resolved proton and X-ray radiography, laboratory astrophysics and other basic science and medical applications for cancer treatments, in addition to national security applications and industrial processes such as nondestructive evaluation of materials and laser fusion.

    Up to now, proof-of-principle experiments with single-shot lasers have provided a glimpse into this arena of transformational applications, but to commercially explore these areas a high-repetition-rate petawatt laser is needed.

    “The high-repetition-rate of the HAPLS system is a watershed moment for the community,” said Constantin Haefner, LLNL’s program director for Advanced Photon Technologies (APT). “HAPLS is the first petawatt laser to truly provide application-enabling repetition rates.”

    Drawing on LLNL’s decades of cutting-edge laser research and development led to the key advancements that distinguish HAPLS from other petawatt lasers. Those advancements include HAPLS’ ability to reach petawatt power levels while maintaining an unprecedented pulse rate; development of the world’s highest peak power diode arrays…

    5
    To drive the diode arrays, LLNL needed to develop a completely new type of pulsed-power system, which supplies the arrays with electrical power by drawing energy from the grid and converting it to extremely high-current, precisely-shaped electrical pulses.Photos by Damien Jemison.

    …driven by a Livermore-developed pulsed power system; a pump laser generating up to 200 J at a 10 Hz repetition rate; a gas-cooled short-pulse titanium-doped sapphire amplifier; a sophisticated control system with a high level of automation including auto-alignment capability, fast laser startup, performance tracking and machine safety; dual chirped-pulse-amplification high-contrast short-pulse front end; and a gigashot laser pump source for pumping the short-pulse preamplifiers. In addition, HAPLS is to be the most compact petawatt laser ever built.

    This expertise is why ELI Beamlines looked to Livermore to develop HAPLS. “It was quite straightforward,” said Roman Hvezda, ELI Beamlines project manager. “Given the design requirements, nobody else could deliver this system in such a short time on schedule and on budget. It’s a great benefit to be able to cooperate with Livermore, a well-established lab, and this will be a basis for continued cooperation in the future.”

    This cooperation was daily during construction, with LLNL and ELI Beamlines scientists and engineers working side by side on all parts of the laser system.

    “One of the real successes of this endeavor was that very early on, the client was fully integrated into the commissioning and operation of this laser,” Haefner said. “This provided hands-on training and expertise right out of the gate, helping to ensure operational success once the laser is installed at ELI Beamlines. We look at this as a long-term and enduring partnership.”

    Bedrich Rus, ELI Beamlines scientific coordinator for Laser Technology, agrees. “This was never a standard client-supplier relationship,” he said. “We have had about 10 people at LLNL – this integration is not only a very positive added value for the future operation of the facility, it’s been a great experience for their careers and development.”

    In the coming months, HAPLS will be transferred to ELI Beamlines, where it will be integrated into the facility’s laser beam transport and control systems, then brought up to full design specification – delivery of pulses with peak power exceeding 1 petawatt (quadrillion watts) firing at 10 Hz, breaking its own record and making it the world’s highest average power petawatt system. ELI plans to make HAPLS available by 2018 to the international science user community to conduct the first experiments using the laser.

    “HAPLS was a very fast-paced project,” Haefner said. “In only three years it pushed the cutting edge in high-power short-pulse lasers more than tenfold, incorporating a completely new system approach. To do so, Livermore worked closely with industry to similarly advance the state of the art – and many of those joint Livermore/industry innovations are already on the market. These partnerships can be incredibly synergistic, resulting in successful and societal impactful technologies like HAPLS.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 2:20 pm on January 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LLNL,   

    From LLNL: Women in STEM – “Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District recognizes ‘Girls Who Code’ volunteers” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Jan. 26, 2017
    Don Johnston
    johnston19@llnl.gov
    925-423-4902

    1
    LLNL software engineer Russ Fleming, left, and computer scientist Danielle Sikich, right (standing), helped facilitate the Girls Who Code club at Granada High School in Livermore last fall. Photos by Deanna Willis/LLNL

    Thanks to the efforts of volunteers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), more than 150 students at Livermore middle and high schools were introduced to coding and basic computer programming last fall during after-school “Girls Who Code” clubs. The 22 Laboratory mentors were recognized, along with 10 district math and science teachers, by the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) at a meeting last week.

    2
    At a recent board meeting, the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District recognized volunteers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for their instrumental roles in teaching coding at after-school clubs throughout Livermore this fall. From left: Emily Brannan, Lisa Belk, Ed Seidl, Marisa Torres, Yaniv Rosen, Kathleen McCandless, Danielle Sikich, Michele D’Hooge, Jeff Parker, Karina Bond, Jessica Mauvais, JoAnn Matone, Janet Seidl and Ryan Verdon. Not pictured: Marcey Kelley, Russ Fleming, Daniel Howell, Chris Schroeder, Juanita Ordonez, Aaron Jones, Terri Quinn and Jonathan DuBois.

    The Livermore Girls Who Code clubs are collaborations between the national nonprofit program, the school district and the Laboratory. The Girls Who Code program provides training and curriculum (no lectures) to volunteers from the Laboratory who visit the school sites once a week for about two hours over 10 weeks to teach the curriculum. The schools provide the facilities, equipment and a teacher to help coordinate the clubs’ activities. The clubs were held at all seven comprehensive middle and high schools in Livermore.

    According to Regina Brinker, STEM coordinator at LVJUSD, most club members were female, but several males also attended. Students from special education programs also participated. By the end of the fall semester, 76 percent of the originally enrolled students still were participating in clubs.

    “We are thrilled with the high number of participants,” Brinker said. “It indicates the depth of interest our students have in learning computer programming.”

    The majority of Laboratory volunteers were from Computation but also included staff from Engineering, Weapons and Complex Integration and Physical and Life Sciences.

    “This experience was only successful because of our volunteers’ generosity and their genuine interest in introducing kids to computer science in a fun and friendly way,” said Marcey Kelley, Computation workforce manager and LLNL point of contact for the Girls Who Code clubs. “They are wonderful ambassadors of the Lab.”

    As the father of two teenage girls, software engineer Russ Fleming was excited for the opportunity to get involved and found his time at Granada High School to be rewarding. “The kids at Granada were engaging and fun to work with,” Fleming said. “Their enthusiasm and creativity made me leave each meeting feeling happy to have helped.

    3
    Girls Who Code volunteers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, including Ryan Verdon (center), were thanked by Livermore school board members and presented with certificates at a Board of Education meeting.

    “After so many years of writing software, it was refreshing to talk about it with people just starting out. I really enjoyed being able to show them some ‘tricks of the trade’ and share real-world experiences of a software engineer.”

    Fleming plans to continue his involvement with the Girls Who Code club at Christensen Middle School this spring. “It will be fun to see what kinds of ideas the middle schoolers have compared to high schoolers,” he said.

    Janet and Ed Seidl, along with Jessica Mauvais and Ryan Verdon, helped facilitate the club at Livermore High School, where they say it was gratifying to see the students gain confidence in themselves throughout the program. “I wanted the girls to feel that the club was a safe place where no one would be judged,” Janet Seidl said, “and I think we were successful in that.”

    For Ed Seidl, the highlight was having the students form teams to brainstorm ideas for their “CS Impact” project, a core part of the Girls Who Code experience, which challenges the students to use computer science to solve a problem relevant to their classroom and community.

    “Each team presented their ideas, which were all fabulous,” Ed Seidl said. “We kept track of the ideas on a whiteboard, and then refined them as a group to get an overall plan for an app.”

    Club activity in the spring will vary from site to site, depending on student interest and staff and volunteer availability. Supported by a community gift grant from Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, students will be invited to participate in field trips this spring, including a group viewing of the movie “Hidden Figures” and day trips to IBM and Workday.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 1:40 pm on December 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LLNL, New optical fiber   

    From LLNL: “Researchers develop new amplifier that could double the capacity of fiber-optic cables” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Dec. 13, 2016
    Breanna Bishop
    bishop33@llnl.gov
    925-423-9802

    1
    NIF & Photon Science postdoctoral researcher Leily Kiani tests a new optical fiber that could double the bandwidth of fiber-optic cables. Credit: Jason Laurea

    More than 3.4 billion people are connected to the Internet, placing ever-increasing demand on the telecom industry to provide bigger, better and faster bandwidth to users. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have taken an important step in addressing that need by developing a new type of optical fiber amplifier that could potentially double the information-carrying capacity of fiber-optic cables.

    Most of the data for the Internet travel on fiber-optic cables, which are made up of bundles of threads that transmit laser light. As the fiber gets longer, however, power is lost due to attenuation. In the late 1980s and early ’90s, researchers discovered that they could mitigate this loss by developing inline fiber-optic amplifiers.

    At the time, lasers operated at a wavelength of 1.3 microns, or 1,300 nanometers (nm). No optical amplifiers were developed, however, that worked well in that region. Researchers were able to develop an amplifier at 1.55 microns, or 1,550 nm, so laser transmission systems were switched to match. At the same time, they discovered that inline optical amplifiers allowed them to amplify many different lasers at one time, a discovery that increased the information carrying capacity of a single optical fiber from 155 megabits a second to more than one terabit a second. While this was a huge increase, it is still a limited amount of information, requiring many cables to transmit.

    Flash forward 25 years. The Livermore team was working on neodymium-doped optical-fiber lasers, which lase at 1,330 nm (1.33 microns), 1,064 nm (1.064 microns) and 920 nm. The team built a custom optical fiber that suppressed lasing at 1,064 nm and amplified light preferentially at 920 nm. In the course of testing the 920-nm laser, the team observed in the fluorescent spectra that the fiber also showed signs of amplification at 1,400-1,450 nm — a wavelength that never worked previously.

    Previous fiber amplifiers did not suppress lasing at 1,064 nm and also were observed to suffer from an effect known as excited-state absorption in the 1,330-nm region. This effect actually causes the fiber loss to increase when pump light is applied — the opposite of the desired effect, which is to generate optical gain.

    The team then redesigned the fiber to suppress laser action at both 1,064 nm and 920 nm. This new fiber, which completely eliminates the potential for lasing at 920 nm or 1,064 nm, can now only provide gain on the 1,330-nm laser transition. Excited-state absorption still precludes amplification at 1,330 nm, but the laser line amplifies light across a large range of wavelengths.

    2
    End-face view of the new optical fiber. The fiber has an outer diameter of 126 microns and the observable features are 6.6 microns apart. The center spot is doped with neodymium ions, the same dopant used in NIF’s lasers, but the material is fused silica glass instead of phosphate glass. The bright dots are GRIN (gradient-index) inclusions, and the dark spots are fluorine-doped fused silica, which have a lower refractive index than undoped fused silica. No image credit.

    The team discovered that from 1,390 nm to 1,460 nm there is significant positive optical gain, and this new fiber generates laser power and optical gain with relatively good efficiency. This discovery opens up the potential for installed optical fibers to operate in a transmission region known as E-band, in addition to the C and L bands where they currently operate — effectively doubling a single optical fiber’s information-carrying potential.

    “The key missing component for operating a telecom network in this wavelength region has been the optical fiber amplifier,” said Jay Dawson, deputy program director for DoD Technologies in the NIF and Photon Science Directorate. “What we’ve done is effectively create something that will look and feel like a conventional erbium fiber amplifier, but in an adjacent wavelength region, doubling the carrying capacity of an optical-fiber amplifier.”

    The amplifiers would potentially allow telecom companies to more heavily leverage their installed base of equipment, requiring less capital investment than new cable — resulting in expanded bandwidth and lower costs to the end user. Installation of new cable is expensive; a service provider must not only purchase new cables, but also undergo the large expense of digging trenches to install the new cable.

    “By using the fiber we’ve developed, you could build a set of optical fiber amplifiers that would look virtually identical in technology to the fiber amplifiers that already exist,” Dawson said. “Instead of having to lay another expensive cable, you could install these new amplifiers in the same buildings as the current amplifiers, resulting in twice as much bandwidth on the current cables.”

    “To me, that’s what is exciting about it,” he added. “It’s something that no one has previously been able to do, and the potential is there to really make a big difference.”

    Initially started as a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project (see “New Horizons for High-Power Fiber Lasers”), the research is now funded by the LLNL Industrial Partnerships Office (IPO)’s Innovation Development Fund (IDF). IDF uses internal monies to fund interesting, but early stage, projects that are expected to have commercial application.

    “This appeared to be a significant discovery that may solve a problem in the telecommunications industry, which is a large and important market, but more R&D was needed,” said Michael Sharer, IPO manager for technology commercialization. “The IDF committee felt that this was an important project to fund from this standpoint.”

    In addition to Dawson, researchers on the project are Graham Allen, Diana Chen, Matt Cook, Parker Crist, Reggie Drachenberg, Victor Khitrov, Leily Kiani, Mike Messerly, Paul Pax and Nick Schenkel.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on December 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , East Greenland ice sheet, LLNL   

    From LLNL: “East Greenland ice sheet has responded to climate change for the last 7.5 million years” 


    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    1
    Polar scientists Alice Nelson (University of Vermont), Dylan Rood (Imperial College) and Jeremy Shakun (Boston College) look over a frozen bay near Kulusuk, Greenland. Photos by Joshua Brown/University of Vermont.

    Using marine sediment cores containing isotopes of aluminum and beryllium, a group of international researchers has discovered that East Greenland experienced deep, ongoing glacial erosion over the past 7.5 million years.

    The research reconstructs ice sheet erosion dynamics in that region during the past 7.5 million years and has potential implications for how much the ice sheet will respond to future interglacial warming.

    The team, made up of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of Vermont (link is external), Boston College (link is external) and Imperial College London (link is external), analyzed sediments eroded from the continent and deposited in the ocean off the coast, which are like a time capsule preserving records of glacial processes. The research appears in the Dec. 8 edition of the journal, Nature.

    Understanding of early Greenland glaciation remains fragmentary, uncertain and for some periods, contradictory; much of what is known comes from marine sediments. The first presence of ice-rafted debris suggests that East Greenland glaciers initially reached the coast about 7.5 million years ago, whereas the surface texture of the sand grains suggests that glaciation began 11 million years ago.

    “The East Greenland ice sheet has been dynamic over the last 7.5 million years,” said lead author and University of Vermont scientist Paul Bierman. “Greenland was mostly ice-covered during the mid-to-late Pleistocene. At major climate transitions, the ice sheet expanded into previously ice-free terrain, confirming that the East Greenland Ice Sheet consistently responded to global climate change.”

    2
    University of Vermont geologist Paul Bierman holds up a chunk of sediment-filled ice on the east coast of Greenland.

    Using Lawrence Livermore’s Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, LLNL scientist Susan Zimmerman and collaborators analyzed the isotopes of beryllium (Be) that were found in the quartz sand from ice-rafted debris in sediment cores.

    3
    Ted Ognibene loads a sample in the NEC 1 MV Tandem Accelerator at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS).

    Analyzing those isotopes in sediment shed from the continent and stored at the bottom of the ocean as marine sediment gives scientists insight into how Greenland responded to climate change in the past and how, in turn, it may respond in the future.

    The concentration of cosmogenic nuclides in rock, sand and soil reveals the exposure history of the surface. Cosmic rays continually bombard Earth and produce aluminum (Al) and Be isotopes in mineral lattices. Production rates and nuclide concentrations decrease exponentially within a few meters of the surface, so covering a landscape with ice stops cosmogenic nuclide production in the underlying rock. Subsequent glacial erosion first removes the most highly dosed, near-surface material before excavating rock from depths containing progressively lower isotope concentrations.

    Thermal conditions at the ice-sheet bed control its ability to erode, incorporate and transport rock and sediment. Warm-based ice can effectively erode rock and transport sediment to and off the coast, while cold-based ice, below the pressure melting point, is frozen to the bed and generally non-erosive; it buries and preserves ancient landscapes rather than eroding them.

    The isotopic record in the new research thus focuses on the areas of the ice sheet that were warm-based.
    “A clearer constraint on the behavior of the ice sheet during past and, ultimately, future interglacial warmth was produced by looking at beryllium and aluminum records from our coring site,” Bierman said. “Our analysis challenges the possibility of complete and extended deglaciation over the past several million years.”

    See the full article here .

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    Stem Education Coalition
    LLNL Campus

    Operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security
    Administration
    DOE Seal
    NNSA

     
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