Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

2015 R&D 100 Entries

Discoveries, developments, advancements, and inventions at Los Alamos make America—and the world—a better and safer place and bolster national security.
SHMTools poster

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is quickly becoming an essential tool for improving the safety—and efficient maintenance—of critical structures such as aircraft, pipelines, bridges and dams, buildings and stadiums, pressure vessels, ships, power plants, and mechanical structures such as amusement park rides and wind turbines.

Los Alamos engineers have developed SHMTools, software that provides more than 100 advanced algorithms that can be assembled to quickly prototype and evaluate damage-detection processes. It is a virtual toolbox that can be used to detect damage in various types of structures, from aircraft and buildings to bridges and mechanical infrastructure.

Dustin Harvey, of the Laboratory’s Applied Engineering Technology, and his team of R&D engineers, including Professor Michael Todd of the University of California-San Diego, developed SHMTools.

LARS poster

LARS is a small-scale radiography device that, for the first time, can provide continuous high-speed x-ray imaging of spontaneous dynamic events, such as explosions, reaction-front propagation, and material failure.

To image these types of events, scientists require the use of some type of penetrating radiography, which LARS provides. Laura Smilowitz, of the Laboratory’s Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy group, and her team and collaborators at CoRELabs developed this technology.

MDHIM brochure

Designed for high-performance computers, MDHIM is a revolutionary software tool that performs more than a billion key/value inserts per second that can be retrieved in key order.

Today scientists analyze data visually, often turning data into images or even movies. Current simulations on high-performance computers, such as supercomputers, make visualizing data untenable because of the resources required to move, search, and analyze all of the data at once. MDHIM provides a solution to this complicated problem by identifying, retrieving, and analyzing smaller subsets of data.

Hugh Greenberg, of the Laboratory’s High Performance Systems Integration group, and his team of researchers and John Bent, of EMC, developed MDHIM.

PipeLIBS cover

Throughout the world, oil, gas, and petrochemical plants often use vessels and pipes to store or transport fluids. Over time, some of these vessels can corrode because of the caustic nature of the fluids inside them. PipeLIBS (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) is an elemental-analysis system that uses a laser beam to excite material so that it emits light at wavelengths characteristic of its chemical composition; it identifies the target elements and determines their concentration in a matter of seconds or minutes.

PipeLIBS makes it possible to inspect pipes, vessels, and other components already operational in the field and new pipes that are received from pipe manufacturers. PipeLIBS was developed by James Barefield, of Los Alamos’s Chemical Diagnostics and Engineering group, and his team.