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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • LANL, Sandia, Cray set to build NNSA Supercomputer

    The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Cray, Inc., have entered into a contract agreement for a next generation supercomputer, called Trinity, to advance the mission for the Stockpile Stewardship Program.
    Managed by NNSA, Trinity is a joint effort of the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) between Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories as part of the NNSA Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program. Trinity will be used by Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories and will be housed at Los Alamos’ Metropolis Computing Center. Trinity will be sized to run the largest and most demanding simulations of stockpile stewardship, assuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent without the use of underground testing.
    “Trinity will serve the needs of the men and women who play an important role in solving extremely complex calculations that underpin the success of our nation’s Stockpile Stewardship Program,” said Bob Meisner, NNSA ASC program director. “A very powerful mission-computing system, Trinity begins the transition to new exascale architectures. How well we make that transition has huge impacts on the future of stockpile stewardship.”

  • New LA approach may be key to quantum dot solar cells with real gains in efficiency

    Los Alamos researchers have demonstrated an almost four-fold boost of the carrier multiplication yield with nanoengineered quantum dots. Carrier multiplication is when a single photon can excite multiple electrons. Quantum dots are novel nanostructures that can become the basis of the next generation of solar cells, capable of squeezing additional electricity out of the extra energy of blue and ultraviolet photons.
    “Typical solar cells absorb a wide portion of the solar spectrum, but because of the rapid cooling of energetic (or ‘hot’) charge carriers, the extra energy of blue and ultraviolet solar photons is wasted in producing heat,” said Victor Klimov, director of the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics (CASP) at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Getting two for the price of one
    “In principle, this lost energy can be recovered by converting it into additional photocurrent via carrier multiplication. In that case, collision of a hot carrier with a valence-band electron excites it across the energy gap,” Klimov said. “In this way, absorption of a single photon from the high-energy end of the solar spectrum produces not just one but two electron-hole pairs, which in terms of power output means getting two for the price of one.”

  • LAFO employee wins DOE Award

    The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded Chris Fischahs of Los Alamos its annual Safety System Oversight (SSO) Award. At the time of the award, Fischahs was a SSO staff member of the Safety Evaluation Team at the Nationals Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Field Office.
    The award is national recognition of the extensive safety systems oversight Fischahs performed in 2013 and the resulting improvements in operational safety at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). His operational awareness and oversight activities consistently provided Los Alamos Field Office managers with accurate, objective information on the performance of safety systems.
    “We are proud and fortunate to have Chris on the field office team,” said Los Alamos Field Office Manager Kim Davis Lebak.
    Examples of his oversight activities in 2013 were the completion of four vital safety systems assessments that led to implementation of safety improvements; input to a federal integrated project team that led to improved safety systems designs. 

  • Laboratory to close east side of 'Y' parking lot

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Environmental Programs will close the east side of the parking lot at the White Rock “Y” at the interchange of N.M. 4 and N.M. 502 from Monday to Wednesday, July 2.
    The closure is necessary for crews to safely close three water monitoring wells, part of a multi-year program to plug and abandon characterization boreholes and wells.
    Plugging and abandoning boreholes and wells that are no longer needed keeps the remaining holes from turning into pathways to groundwater.
    “Our program uses wells to characterize and monitor groundwater so we can help protect New Mexico’s water supply,” said Corrective Actions Program Director Dave McInroy.
    “It is as important to close wells appropriately as it is to construct them in a way that is protective of the environment.”
     

  • Robot rodeo set for this week

    Bomb squads compete in timed scenarios at Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Hazardous devices teams from around the Southwest will wrangle their bomb squad robots at the eighth annual Robot Rodeo beginning Tuesday, June 24 at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    “The Robot Rodeo gives bomb squad teams the opportunity to practice and hone their skills in a lively but low-risk setting,” said Chris Ory of LANL’s Emergency Response Group.
    The rodeo gets under way at 8 a.m. in Technical Area 49, a remote section of Laboratory property near the entrance to Bandelier National Monument. Eight teams are scheduled to participate in the three-day competition. Teams scheduled to participate in this year’s event include New Mexico State Police, Los Alamos and Albuquerque Police departments, Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, Kirtland Air Force Base Explosives Ordinance Disposal team, Colorado Regional Bomb Squad, a team from the British army and a U.S. Army team from Fort Carson, Colo.
    The laboratory — along with Sandia National Laboratories, the Region II International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, REMOTEC, U.S. Technical Working Group, QinetiQ, WMD Tech, Tactical Electronics, iRobot, ICOR Technology Inc., NABCO, Mistral Security Inc., QSA Global and Stratom — sponsor the Robot Rodeo.

  • Helping clean up Fukushima

    Los Alamos National Laboratory today announced an impending partnership with Toshiba Corporation to use a Los Alamos technique called muon tomography to safely peer inside the cores of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors and create high-resolution images of the damaged nuclear material inside without ever breaching the cores themselves. The initiative could reduce the time required to clean up the disabled complex by at least a decade and greatly reduce radiation exposure to personnel working at the plant.
    “Our recent technical work has clearly shown that the muon scattering technique pioneered at Los Alamos provides a superior method for obtaining high-resolution images of nuclear materials inside structures, and this will allow plant operators to establish the condition of reactor-core material without the need to actually get inside,” said Duncan McBranch, Los Alamos’s Chief Technology Officer.

  • New supercomputer installed at LANL

    Los Alamos National Laboratory recently installed a new high-performance computer system, called Wolf, which will be used for unclassified research.
    “This machine modernizes our mid-tier resources available to laboratory scientists,” said Bob Tomlinson, of the laboratory’s High Performance Computing group.
    “Wolf is a critical tool that can be used to advance many fields of science.”
    Wolf, manufactured by the Cray Inc., has 616 compute nodes each with two 8-core 2.6 GHz Intel “Sandybridge” processors, 64 GB of memory and a high speed Infiniband interconnect network. It utilizes the laboratory’s existing Panasas parallel file system as well as a new one based on Lustre technology.
    The Wolf computing system operates at 197 teraflops per second. Collectively, the system has 9,856 compute cores and 19.7 terabytes of memory.
    It provides users with 86.3 million central processing unit core hours per year. Initial science research projects to utilize Wolf will include climate, materials and astrophysics modeling.
     

  • LAFD puts out small fire on LANL property

    Los Alamos Fire Department crews responded to a small brush fire near TA-8 and quickly put it out Friday afternoon.
    According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory EOC, a small brush fire reported near guard post 431. The lab confirmed the fire was in a tree and LAFD crews did knock down the tree after the fire was put out.
    TA-8 is off N.M. 501 (West Jemez Road).
    “It was very small, less than one acre,” lab spokesman Steve Sandoval said. “Not sure of cause but earlier this afternoon there was lightning over the Jemez. Don’t want to speculate if it was lightning because I don’t know.”
    Sandoval said no structures or employees were in danger. At press time, it could not be confirmed if lightning started the fire.
    Ironically, the fire happened on the same day that LAFD instituted Stage I fire restrictions. The following acts are prohibited until further notice:
    
• Building, maintaining, attending or using an open fire, campfire, charcoal or wood stove on all Los Alamos County lands.
    • Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3-feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
     

  • LANL community breakfast
  • Lab scientist to speak at symposium

    Harshini Mukundan, of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy group, will talk about her team’s innovative research on integrative biosurveillance at the third annual Biosurveillance Symposium sponsored by Oak Ridge National Laboratory on June 12 in Baltimore.
    Biosurveillance requires the integration of complex data from a variety of sources. Mukundan, along with Ben McMahon, of the laboratory’s Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group, co-principal investigators of Los Alamos’ Integrative Biosurveillance project, has been conducting research for nearly nine months using data from Siaya, a small town in Kenya. This data is collected by a team of researchers led by Dr. Douglas J. Perkins, director of the Center for Global Health at the University of New Mexico.
    “Changing climate and demographics are creating dangerous virulent and drug-resistant pathogens in particular regions of the earth,” McMahon said. “Improvements in diagnostic technologies and epidemiological modeling have now made it feasible to systematically characterize these regions.”