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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Science Highlights, September 27, 2017

Awards and Recognition

Hou-Tong Chen elected Fellow of The Optical Society

Hou-Tong Chen

Hou-Tong Chen

The board of directors of The Optical Society (OSA) has elected Hou-Tong Chen (Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, MPA-CINT) as an OSA Fellow. The OSA cited Chen for “seminal contributions to the field of metamaterials, including active metamaterials and the realization of novel electromagnetic structures at terahertz frequencies.” As a fellow, he joins the ranks of members who have served OSA and the optics and photonics community with distinction. The number of Fellows is limited to be no more than 10% of the total OSA Membership, and the number elected each year is limited to approximately 0.5% of the current membership total.

Chen earned a Ph.D. in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and joined the Laboratory in 2005. He investigates metamaterials, particularly the development of advanced metamaterial structures and integration of functional materials for efficient control and manipulation of electromagnetic waves ranging from microwave to visible light. Chen works closely with CINT users to develop new capabilities, such as ultrafast terahertz spectroscopy and near-field microscopy, which serve the user community. He is an international leader in the field of metamaterials, as shown by many influential discoveries published in journals including Nature, Science, Nature Photonics, Physical Review Letters, and Optics Express. Chen is an American Physical Society Fellow, holds three patents, and has received the Lab’s Fellows Prize for Outstanding Research.

CINT is a DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences user facility jointly operated by Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The OSA, which was founded in 1916, is a professional organization for scientists, engineers, students, and business leaders who make discoveries, create applications and accelerate achievements in the field of light. The society aims to promote the generation, application, and archiving of knowledge in optics and photonics. Technical contact: Hou-Tong Chen

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Fontes, Htoon, Kawano, Lewellen, Smilowitz, Trugman and Zapf named APS Fellows

The American Physical Society (APS) has chosen Christopher J. Fontes, Han Htoon, Toshihiko Kawano, John W. Lewellen, Laura Beth Smilowitz, Stuart A. Trugman, and Vivien Zapf as Fellows. The number of APS Fellows elected each year is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership.

APS nominations are evaluated by the Fellowship Committee of the appropriate APS division, topical group or forum, or by the APS General Fellowship committee. After review by the full APS Fellowship Committee, the APS Council elects the successful candidates.

The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world.

Christopher J. Fontes

Christopher J. Fontes

Christopher J. Fontes (Materials and Physical Data, XCP-5) was citedFor pioneering contributions to our understanding of atomic processes in plasmas and their application to a broad range of physics problems including nuclear fusion, laboratory experiment and astrophysics.” The APS Division of Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics nominated him. Fontes received a Ph.D. in theoretical atomic physics from The Pennsylvania State University. He joined the Lab in 1992 in Theoretical Division and became a staff member in X Division in 1994. Areas of research include: relativistic atomic theory and the calculation of radiative opacities, development of theoretical and numerical methods for use in the calculation of large-scale atomic physics models for applications in plasma modeling, modeling the radiation emitted from astrophysical phenomena (e.g., supernovae and neutron star mergers), magnetic fusion, and inertial confinement plasmas. He has received two NNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence.

Han Htoon

Han Htoon

Han Htoon (Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, MPA-CINT) was cited “For pioneering accomplishments in development of single nanostructure, optical spectroscopy/imaging techniques, elucidating fundamental/quantum optical processes of quantum dots and single wall carbon nanotubes, and device integration of optical nanomaterials. The APS Division of Chemical Physics nominated him. Htoon received a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from the University of Texas – Austin. He joined the Lab in 2001 as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow and became a staff member in 2005. Research areas include fundamental photo-physics and quantum optics of semiconductor nanostructures, development of novel nanoscale optical spectroscopy approaches, plasmonic manipulation of electron-hole recombination pathways, and the development and characterization of prototype devices. He has received the Lab’s Postdoctoral Distinguished Performance Award, and two Los Alamos Achievement Awards.

Toshihiko Kawano

Toshihiko Kawano

Toshihiko Kawano (Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology, T-2) was citedFor significant contributions to the development of nuclear reaction theories in low-energy physics, their implementation in widely used nuclear reaction codes and their application to the production of evaluated nuclear data for neutron transport simulations for basic and applied science.” The APS Division of Nuclear Physics nominated him. He received a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Kyushu University, Japan. Kawano joined the Lab in 2003. His research includes nuclear reactions, nuclear data evaluations in support of neutron transport simulations for basic and applied science, uncertainty quantification, and Bayesian statistics. He has received the two Atomic Energy Society of Japan, Best Paper Awards; The Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology Most Cited Article Award; three NNSA Defense Programs Awards of Excellence; a Laboratory Distinguished Performance Award; and two Los Alamos Awards Program awards.

John W. Lewellen

John W. Lewellen

John W. Lewellen (Accelerators and Electrodynamics, AOT-AE) was citedFor leadership and contributions to the development of practical, high-power superconducting RF photocathode guns, including the development of novel RF cavity designs.” The APS Division of Physics of Beams nominated him. He earned a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University and joined the Lab in 2012. His current research includes a new electron beam source design for waste stream treatment, under a DOE Accelerator Stewardship award; radiofrequency and RF structure design for accelerators intended for use on satellites; electron beam transport and characterization for dielectric wakefield accelerators; characterization of novel photocathode materials such as quantum dots; and a new microtron architecture for multi-energy beam generation as part of a Domestic Nuclear Detection Office project. He has also received a United States Particle Accelerator School Prize for Under 40 Scientists, two Laboratory Distinguished Performance Team Awards, and two Los Alamos Awards Program awards.

Laura Beth Smilowitz

Laura Beth Smilowitz

Laura Beth Smilowitz (Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, C-PCS) was cited “For pioneering radiography to study thermal explosions, including the development of both a scaled tabletop dynamic radiographic facility capable of producing continuous X-ray movies of high-speed events and the triggering techniques required to observe the spontaneous onset of a thermal explosion.” The APS Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter nominated her. Smilowitz earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California – Santa Barbara and joined the Lab as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow. She worked as a research associate at Brandeis University before returning to the Laboratory as a staff member in 1999. Her recent work has culminated in the use of penetrating radiographic techniques to study dynamic, spontaneous phenomena, which has the potential to transform our understanding of the thermal response of energetic materials. Smilowitz currently leads the Weapons Chemistry team in C-PCS. She has received a Laboratory Distinguished Performance Award for developing a new x-ray imaging capability.

Stuart A. Trugman

Stuart A. Trugman

Stuart A. Trugman (Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, T-4) was cited “For outstanding and original contributions to polaron physics, quantum Hall effect, far from equilibrium phenomena, disorder and superconductivity.” The APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics nominated him.

Trugman received a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and joined the Laboratory in 1986 as a staff member. His research focus is condensed matter theory. Trugman has also received a Laboratory Fellows Prize.

 

 

Vivien Zapf

Vivien Zapf

Vivien Zapf (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, MPA-MAG) was citedFor seminal contributions to the understanding of quantum mechanical properties of superconductors, quantum magnets and multiferroic systems at low temperatures and in extreme magnetic fields to 100T.” The APS Topical Group on Magnetism nominated her. She received a Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of California – San Diego and joined the Lab in 2004 as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Zapf was converted to a staff member in 2006. Her research includes quantum magnetism, multiferroics, and magnetic dynamics. She has also received the Lee-Oscheroff-Richardson Prize for Low-Temperature Physics, Millikan Post-doctoral Prize Fellowship at Caltech, and a Laboratory Distinguished Performance team award for Science above 100 Tesla.

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Burton, Doorn, Dubey and Lookman chosen as Laboratory Fellows

The Laboratory has named four new Fellows: Donald Burton, Stephen Doorn, Manvendra Dubey, and Turab Lookman. The Laboratory Fellows organization was established in 1981, and the number of Fellows is limited to two percent of the technical staff. The Fellows are composed of technical staff members who have been appointed by the Director to the rank of Fellow in recognition of sustained outstanding contributions and exceptional promise for continued professional achievement.

The Fellows advise Lab management on technical issues of importance to the Laboratory. They serve as advisors and mentors at all levels of the Lab. To promote technical achievements, the Fellows organize symposia and public lectures and administer the Fellows’ Prize for Outstanding Research in Science or Engineering and the Fellows' Prize for Outstanding Leadership in Science or Engineering.

Donald Burton

Donald Burton

Donald Burton (Methods and Algorithms, XCP-4) invented computational methods that have become standards in the field and are used all over the world in hydrodynamic computations. His codes have been central to the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program since its inception and have enormously impacted both the nation’s nuclear stockpile stewardship program and the broader scientific community.

Burton is the leading inventor for the conservative Lagrangian methods in shock wave compression of condensed matter, has written more than 200 papers and reports, and has served as a mentor to numerous students and postdoctoral researchers. He received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Kansas State University and joined the Lab in 1996.

Stephen Doorn

Stephen Doorn

Stephen Doorn (Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, MPA-CINT) is a world leader in the field of carbon nanotube spectroscopy, establishing the first spectroscopic structure assignments that are universally used today. He pioneered the development of doped carbon nanotubes as tunable and bright quantum emitters in the near infrared.

Doorn has authored or co-authored 130 publications with more than 6,500 citations. He has also made important contributions to the leadership of nanoscience at Los Alamos and played a critical role as a mentor to young scientists. Doorn received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Northwestern University. He joined the Lab as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow in 1990 and became a member of the scientific staff in 1992. Doorn is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has received the Laboratory Fellows Prize for Research, DOE Office of Science Outstanding Mentor Award, Nanotech Briefs Nano50 Award, two NNSA Defense Programs Awards of Excellence, and a Laboratory Distinguished Performance Award.

Manvendra Dubey

Manvendra Dubey

Manvendra Dubey (Earth System Observations, EES-14) is internationally recognized for his high-level strategic involvement in climate research that has moved the issue to center stage for DOE program offices and the national laboratory system. The hallmark of Dubey’s work is excellence in conception, execution, analysis, and synthesis. His work has changed the science community’s understanding of aerosol impacts on planetary temperatures. Dubey’s work on methane emissions in the Four Corners area has led to new Laboratory programs and highlighted the need for research on methane impacts to the environment. Dubey received a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard and joined the Lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 1997. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Climate Science, has received a Laboratory Fellows Prize for Outstanding Research, and the DOE named him an Emerging Senior Scientist Atmospheric Chemistry.

Turab Lookman

Turab Lookman

Turab Lookman (Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, T-4) is an expert in the computational physics of materials, complex fluids, and nonlinear dynamics. His research on materials design and informatics applies data science to the discovery of materials with new, beneficial properties. He earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Kings College, University of London and joined the Lab in 1999. Lookman has co-authored two books and more than 250 publications. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and has a received the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship Award, a Laboratory Fellows’ Prize for Outstanding Research, and the Distinguished Postdoctoral Mentor Award.

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Entrepreneurial Fellows Chillara, Kubicek-Sutherland, Kumar, and Mudunuru selected

Laboratory postdoctoral researchers Vamshi Chillara, Jessica Kubicek-Sutherland, Anand Kumar, and Maruti Mudunuru have been named Entrepreneurial Fellows as part of a new joint initiative of the University of California and Los Alamos.

The new postdoctoral training program aims to move postdoctoral researchers’ technologies toward commercialization. The researchers will participate in a six-month pilot program designed to help early career scientists think about their technologies from a commercial perspective and bring them to the marketplace faster. The Fellows will receive dedicated training and mentoring from experienced venture investors, and funding to pursue technology commercialization. The Lab selected the Entrepreneurial Fellows based on the potential for their projects to have both scientific and commercial impact.

The Fellowships will end in April 2018 with final presentations and a closing ceremony. The Lab will issue solicitations for the second year of the Fellowship program to the Los Alamos postdoctoral community in November 2017. Technical contact: Mary Anne With and Mariann Johnston

Vamshi Chillara

Vamshi Chillara

Vamshi Chillara (Materials Synthesis and Integrated Devices, MPA-11) is developing a technology that would power implants using ultrasound, thus providing wireless energy delivery for biomedical applications.

He received a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University and previously worked as a Laboratory Postdoctoral Research Associate on the project “Sonic and Phononic Crystals for Nonlinear Collimated Wave Generation”.

 

 

Jessica Kubicek-Sutherland

Jessica Kubicek-Sutherland

Jessica Kubicek-Sutherland (Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, C-PCS) is developing a universal bacterial biosensor that will allow for the rapid differentiation of bacterial pathogens in a patient’s bloodstream to quickly determine the appropriate treatment.

She earned a Ph.D. from the University of California – Santa Barbara and joined the Lab as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the project “Biomarker Discovery for Diagnosis of Buruli Ulcer”.

 

Anand Kumar

Anand Kumar

Anand Kumar (Biosecurity and Public Health, B-10) is developing a universal gut microbial cocktail to treat Clostridioides difficile (C-diff), a severe intestinal infection in humans.

He received a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and joined the Lab as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow on the project “Develop a Unique Technology to Discover a Novel Gut Microbial Cocktail to treat Clostridioides Difficile Infections in Humans”.

 

 

Maruti Mudunuru

Maruti Mudunuru

Maruti Mudunuru (Computational Earth Science, EES-16) is developing a low-cost, energy-efficient, and near real-time means to monitor the Earth and environmental processes.

He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Houston and came to the Lab as a Keller Postdoctoral Fellow to work on the project “Reduced-Order Models for Subsurface Sensing using Internet of Things (IoT) Devices”.

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Federal Laboratory Consortium honors dfnWorks and EDGE Bioinformatics innovations

The Federal Laboratory Consortium’s Mid-Continent Region recognized two technologies developed at Los Alamos for their contribution to both the Lab’s mission and the greater good. The Consortium honored Discrete Fracture Network Modeling Suite (dfnWorks) and EDGE Bioinformatics as “notable technology developments”. The Federal Laboratory’s meeting of the Mid-Continent and Far West Regions, in Pasadena, CA honored the winners.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium is a formally chartered organization mandated by Congress to promote, educate, and facilitate technology transfer among more than 300 federal laboratories, research centers, and agencies. The Mid-Content Region includes more than 100 national laboratories and facilities in 14 states from Montana to Texas and Utah to Missouri. Technical contact: Mariann Johnston

dfnWorks: Discrete Fracture Network Modeling Suite

dfnWorks: Discrete Fracture Network Modeling Suite is a computational suite that simulates and predicts the flow and transport of fluids through underground fractured rock.

The suite covers length scales that range from millimeters to kilometers, can run on computers as small as a laptop and as large as a supercomputer, and requires minimal effort to create representative models.

Applications for dfnWorks include helping catch rogue nations performing clandestine underground nuclear tests, maximizing the extraction of natural gas, oil, and geothermal wells while minimizing environmental impacts; helping scientists design effective methods for effective carbon sequestration to slow the accumulation of greenhouse gases; and aiding the development of methods to ensure the safe disposal of nuclear waste in underground repositories.

Carl Gable led the team of Jeffrey Hyman, Satish Karra, Nataliia Makedonska, and Hari Viswanathan (Computational Earth Science, EES-16); and Scott Painter (Oak Ridge National Laboratory).

EDGE (Empowering the Development of Genomics Expertise) Bioinformatics

EDGE (Empowering the Development of Genomics Expertise) Bioinformatics “democratizes” the genomics revolution by enabling any researcher or physician to analyze complex genomics data quickly and easily.

The intuitive, web-based platform can be applied to a wide variety of genome-sequencing samples ranging from individual isolates (from a culture of a single organism) to much more complex metagenomics (microbiome) projects. The platform addresses the problem of handling Big Data, without users having to possess bioinformatics expertise.

EDGE brings the power of complex, big-data sequencing analysis to smaller research laboratories, including clinics, hospitals, universities, and remote sites.

Patrick Chain led the Los Alamos team of Po-E Li, Chien-Chi Lo, Karen Davenport, Yan Xu, Pavel Senin, and Migun Shakya (Biosecurity and Public Health, B-10). Collaborators at the Naval Medical Center include Theron Hamilton, Kimberly Bishop-Lilly, Joseph Anderson, Logan Voegtly, and Casandra Philipson.

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Bioscience

Genomic characterization of unusual V. cholerae strains with a single chromosome

In constructing the tree of life, one distinguishing factor is how organisms organize their genetic material. Human DNA is wrapped around proteins to make chromosomes, of which we have 46. Approximately 90% of bacteria use only a single chromosome for their genomes. An exception to this rule is Vibrio cholera, the bacteria that causes the disease cholera. All known isolates of V. cholera have had two chromosomes, generally of unequal size. Chromosome 1 (Chr1) encodes the majority of the housekeeping genes and is considered as the main chromosome. Chromosome 2 (Chr2) also harbors essential genes beside many genes with unknown functions. Because of this arrangement, V. chlorea has been used as a model system to study various aspects of chromosome maintenance, mainly replication, and faithful partitioning of multipartite genomes.

Bioscience Division researchers been investigating the two chromosomes of V. cholera for a number of years. Their paper in The International Journal of Genomics reports an exception: the genomic architecture of two natural V. cholera isolates with one fused chromosome. The strains appeared to have taken an evolutionary path backwards (compared with the other V. cholera that have bipartite genomes) and might be instrumental for answering questions on chromosome biology in Vibrios.

The paper aimed to lay the foundation for future studies on functional and mechanistic aspects of chromosome and structural maintenance in these unusual V. cholerae strains. The Lab researchers and collaborators used whole genome sequencing, annotation, and comparative analysis to evaluate the V. cholera strains from samples isolated in India and the Philippines. The paper delineates the Chr1 and Chr2 fusion junctions, other structural anomalies such as indels, inversions and duplications, salient features of their gene content and the origins of replication, and their potential activity. Moreover, the team analyzed the genes involved in replication of the multiple origins in the same chromosome. For instance, one question they pose is whether the replication of the fused chromosome is dominated by one of the subchromosomes or if they share the two replicons. If the latter is true, then this would be the first example of a bacterial chromosome with two active replication origins.

Circular genome maps

Circular genome maps of NSCV1 (1154-74_VAAO49) and NSCV2 (10432-62_VABO27). Fusion of Chr1 (dark grey) to Chr2 (blue) is shown in the circle at the respective locations. Various unique features such as prophages and the origins of replication- and replication-associated genes are indicated around the circles.

Reference: “Exception to the Rule: Genomic Characterization of Naturally Occurring Unusual Vibrio cholerae Strains with a Single Chromosome.” Hindawi, International Journal of Genomics 2017, Article ID 8724304 (2017); doi: 10.1155/2017/8724304. Authors: Gary Xie, Shannon L. Johnson, Karen W. Davenport, and Patrick S. Chain (Biosecurity and Public Health, B-10); Mathumathi Rajavel (Morgan State University); Torsten Waldminghaus (Philipps-Universität Marburg), John C. Detter (Global Security, GS); and Shanmuga Sozha (Tauri Group, LLC and Defense Biological Product Assurance Office).

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funded the work at Los Alamos, which supports the Lab’s Global Security mission area and the Science of Signatures science pillar through the study of bacteria and pathogens. Technical contact: Gang Xie

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Capability Enhancement

Large scale synthesis of energetic material re-establishes a vital capability for NNSA

The Laboratory is working to recreate the insensitive High Explosive (IHE) ingredient TATB (2,4,6-triamino-1,3,5- trinitrobenzene) and the insensitive high explosive formulation PBX 9502. Because US commercial production of this material ceased two decades ago, there is an urgent need to prepare TATB. For the first time since 1982, scientists at Los Alamos have produced the energetic material TATB in pilot scale quantities. After upgrading chemical reactor heating, cooling, venting, gas supply, and instrumentation, the team performed the first synthesis reaction at TA-9 on September 1, 2017.

Plant operator Philip Leonard (High Explosive Science and Technology, M-7) removes TATB from a filter press (left), TATB from the plant is formulated (center) to make molding prills (pellets) of the explosive PBX 9502 (right).

Plant operator Philip Leonard (High Explosive Science and Technology, M-7) removes TATB from a filter press (left), TATB from the plant is formulated (center) to make molding prills (pellets) of the explosive PBX 9502 (right).

Performance characterization of LANL-produced PBX 9502 from detonation of a 1” rate stick.

Performance characterization of LANL-produced PBX 9502 from detonation of a 1” rate stick.

The team slurry coated TATB with FK-800 binder to produce the plastic-bonded explosive PBX 9502. Characterization measurements demonstrated that both the TATB and PBX 9502 had properties matching those of historical materials. The researchers assembled and fired a small-scale explosives performance detonation test against a steel witness plate on September 11, 2017 in commemoration of 9/11 victims and colleagues lost at the Pentagon. Test results from this new batch of PBX 9502 were within 1% of legacy stockpile material.

Philip Leonard led Spencer Anthony, Elizabeth Francois, and Patrick Bowden (High Explosive Science and Technology, M-7) in re-establishing this capability.

NNSA Technology Maturation primarily funded the work, with sponsorship from the B61 Life Extension Program for certain PBX 9502 related aspects. The work supports the Lab’s Nuclear Deterrence mission area and the Materials for the Future science pillar. Technical contact: Kenneth Laintz

Field deployable aerosol mass spectrometer provides forensic capability for national security

SP-AMS instrument in the CAFE at TA-51.

SP-AMS instrument in the CAFE at TA-51.

The Laboratory’s first-ever aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) for direct online measurement of aerosol particles arrived during the end of FY17. The new AMS provides the capability to identify chemical and isotopic signatures of atmospheric processes, high-energy weapons detonations and explosives, and other particulate threats to national security and/or relevant to energy security, production and extraction. The AMS is located at TA-51 in the new Center for Aerosol Forensic Signatures (CAFE), which also includes manipulation via a new oxidation chamber to mimic the aging of particles in the atmosphere along with monitoring the mass, size distribution, optical and hygroscopic properties in real time. In addition to performing controlled laboratory studies on aerosol processes, the AMS can be deployed for campaign-specific needs to field sites for in situ measurements at time resolutions of minutes to seconds. The high time resolution and mass resolving power of the AMS allows for chemically-specific detection of aerosol processes and atmospheric signatures in real time, a new and unique asset for the Lab. The forensics capability is synergistic with big-data initiatives at Los Alamos and DOE.
Ionization chamber and optics to extract ions into the time-of-flight mass spectrometer.

Ionization chamber and optics to extract ions into the time-of-flight mass spectrometer.

The instrument could be used to identify signatures of atmospheric processes, weapons and forensics, and other particulate threats to national security. The AMS has different vaporization techniques (tungsten vaporizer and/or 1064 nm intracavity laser), enabling chemical composition to be extracted from solid and liquid phase particles suspended in a gas. The laser vaporizer provides selectivity for particles containing soot formed during combustion processes, e.g. wildfires, high-energy explosions, weapons detonations, power plants, diesel and gasoline engines, etc. The instrument is chemically quantitative for aerosols less than 2.5 microns in diameter, particles in the ambient atmosphere, for inorganic and organic chemical species with detection limits of ng m-3. Particles are sized from approximately 100–3 µm in diameter and reveal mass spectral signatures using time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Size distributions and chemical composition are provided. The AMS samples particles suspended in a gas by using an aerodynamic lens to collimate the aerosol into a particle beam within a differentially pumped vacuum chamber. Particles are vaporized and ionized using 70 eV electron impact ionization. Ions are pulsed and extracted from the ionization chamber orthogonally into the time-of-flight chamber, where the ion trajectories can follow one of two flight paths (1.3 or 2.9 m) within the compact mass spectrometer to obtain mass spectral resolving powers up to 5000 in resolution.

Researchers have used the capability to interrogate fresh and aged wildfire plumes. They identified distinct particle chemistries in the plumes from the distant Pacific Northwest fires and a local lightning-induced burn in the Jemez. The data indicate that organic aerosol dominates both wildfire plumes. The particles from the local Jemez fire were less oxidized and contained primary biomass burning ion signatures.

Time series of high resolution ions (CO2+ : oxygen content, C2H4O2+ : levoglucosan). The Jemez fire data came from the Deer Creek fire.  Levoglucosan, an organic compound formed when plants are burned, is a tracer for biomass burning. The dominant ion from levoglucosan in the AMS is C2H3O2+. The bottom x-axis is the Jemez wildfire plume timescale.  Jemez data are dashed lines. Blue is the left y-axis and all CO2 ion signal. Orange is the right Y-axis and all C2H3O2+ ion signal.

Time series of high resolution ions (CO2+ : oxygen content, C2H4O2+ : levoglucosan). The Jemez fire data came from the Deer Creek fire. Levoglucosan, an organic compound formed when plants are burned, is a tracer for biomass burning. The dominant ion from levoglucosan in the AMS is C2H3O2+. The bottom x-axis is the Jemez wildfire plume timescale. Jemez data are dashed lines. Blue is the left y-axis and all CO2 ion signal. Orange is the right Y-axis and all C2H3O2+ ion signal.

Ambient aerosol experts Allison C. Aiken and Manvendra Dubey (Earth System Observations, EES-14) collaborated to bring this capability to Los Alamos. The researchers seek to develop synergies utilizing the AMS’s high sensitivity to detect aerosol chemistry for energy and global security needs, including forensic analysis and the ability to detect trace minerals and metals from explosions and high energy combustion sources important to nuclear nonproliferation. Aerosols are a complex system. Understanding their composition, reactions and lifetimes in the atmosphere is critical for insight into climate and national security impacts. The new AMS and aerosol aging chamber provide the capabilities and diagnostics to discover new methods for aerosol forensics detection and atmospheric transformations for the DOE and its partners.

The Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology, and Engineering (PADSTE) and the Associate Directorate for Chemistry, Life, and Earth Sciences (ADCLES) funded the SP-AMS and supporting new aerosol instrumentation. The team has integrated the equipment with other aerosol instruments in the CAFE. The capability supports the Lab’s Global Security mission area and the Science of Signatures science pillar by enabling measurements in support of nuclear nonproliferation, national, and global security. Technical contact: Allison Aiken

New capabilities for surface science studies of plutonium developed

Plutonium sample handling operations in an adjoining room. The operation was also used to train new PF-4 technicians.

Plutonium sample handling operations in an adjoining room. The operation was also used to train new PF-4 technicians.

Laboratory researchers have commissioned a new Physical Electronics Versaprobe III x-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) for use in plutonium surface studies. The team introduced the first plutonium sample into the instrument in mid-October, inaugurating this capability at the Plutonium Surface Science Laboratory. A collaboration between Nuclear Materials Science (MST-16) and Engineered Materials (MST-7) created the radiological laboratory located at the TA-35 Target Fabrication Facility (TFF). Researchers intend to use the radiological laboratory to advance the understanding of plutonium surface chemistry, reactivity, and modeling critical for the Lab’s Stockpile Stewardship mission. This enhanced capability marked the culmination of 19 months of dedication by Laboratory personnel.

During the commissioning phase, the team first transferred an approximately 0.2-gram coupon of gallium stabilized d-phase plutonium from a co-located time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometer (ToF-SIMS) to fume hoods dedicated for plutonium work in the TFF. Technicians maneuvered the sample from the ToF-SIMS sample holder to a specially modified XPS holder, and then inserted the holder into a dedicated transfer device. The transfer device with sample could then be moved safely to the system and attached to the XPS load lock chamber. The researchers lowered the sample onto the system’s ultra-high vacuum manipulators. The total time for the transfer operation was approximately three hours.

The new XPS instrument’s first survey scan on a 7 at. % gallium stabilized δ-phase plutonium coupon revealed carbon (C) and fluorine (F) contamination on the native oxide surface.

The new XPS instrument’s first survey scan on a 7 at. % gallium stabilized δ-phase plutonium coupon revealed carbon (C) and fluorine (F) contamination on the native oxide surface.

This operation demonstrated the flexibility and agility that the TFF Plutonium Surface Science Laboratory provides. The operation also involved: repackaging a second plutonium sample for transfer back to PF-4, transfer of a third sample from the co-located atomic-force-microscopy glove box to the hood for mounting on a ToF-SIMS sample holder, and transfer of that sample back to the ToF-SIMS. A senior PF-4 technologist and an experienced radiological control technician directed the operation, which provided an excellent training opportunity for three new PF-4 technicians.
The high-resolution scan shows the spin-orbit split of the Pu 4f peaks after the native oxide was removed in situ with argon ion bombardment (carbon and oxygen below detection limit). The team will investigate the prominent shoulders on the high binding energy side of the peaks with this new surface analysis capability.

The high-resolution scan shows the spin-orbit split of the Pu 4f peaks after the native oxide was removed in situ with argon ion bombardment (carbon and oxygen below detection limit). The team will investigate the prominent shoulders on the high binding energy side of the peaks with this new surface analysis capability.

System installation and commissioning team members: Mike Ramos, Jesse Salazar, Kevin Graham, Iven Gonzales, Carlos Archuleta, Chris Baxter, Mark Ortega, Todd Steckley, Sarah Hernandez, Dan Olive, John Joyce, Tom Venhaus (Nuclear Materials Science, MST-16); Miles Beaux and Reuben Peterson (Engineered Materials, MST-7); and Rachel Sanchez (DESH-Science & Technology Operations, DESHF-STO). Procurement: Ariana Roybal (MST-16), Veronica Cisneros and Miguel Ortiz (Purchasing, ASM-PUR), and Kimberly Zeilik (Acquisition Services Management, ASM-DO).

NNSA Science Campaign 1: Primary Assessment Technologies (Lab Program Manager, Ray Tolar) and Plutonium Sustainment (Lab Program Manager, Marc Burnside) funded the work, which supports the Lab’s Nuclear Deterrence mission area and the Materials for the Future science pillar by enabling surface characterization of plutonium. Technical contact: Tom Venhaus

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Chemistry

Characterizing uranium particles

Journal cover

The journal’s cover image depicts a laser ablation technique to map and characterize single uranium (U) particles rapidly. A laser bombards a single uranium particle in the presence of other contaminates [iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni)]. The ablation process produces uranium ions and photons, which are subsequently analyzed by inductively, coupled plasma - mass spectroscopy (LA-ICP-MS) and optical emission spectroscopy (LIBS) techniques. Graphic credit: Ben Manard and Miller Wylie

Scientists from the Actinide Analytical Chemistry group (C-AAC) have published an article that captured the cover of the September edition of the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry. The article describes how the researchers used laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) in tandem with laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to chemically map and characterize uranium particles. The research suggests that the tandem LA-ICP-MS/LIBS technique could provide rapid and valuable information for nuclear material safeguards and actinide material characterization applications. The journal highlighted the research in a special edition dedicated to young analytical scientists. The issue profiled 18 young analytical scientists, including Benjamin Manard (C-AAC), the corresponding author for the paper. The journal publishes this special issue once every 4 years.

The development and application of analytical techniques for particle detection and characterization is increasingly important for nuclear material safeguards, nuclear forensics, and counter proliferation applications. Nuclear material safeguards seek to detect sensitive nuclear activities such as uranium (U) enrichment or reprocessing and material movement to determine the isotopic, elemental, and structural composition of mobile U and other actinide-containing particles. The isotopic composition of U particles is of particular concern to the safeguards community. Of the three naturally occurring U isotopes (234U, 235U, and 238U), only 235U is fissile with thermal neutrons. Small natural fluctuations in the 235U/238U ratio (0.0073) are insignificant compared with enrichment activities related to civilian (0.02–0.05) and military (greater than 0.9) applications. Therefore, uranium isotopic measurements can provide detailed information about the enrichment activities of a particular installation (natural, enriched, depleted, etc.).

The authors used laser induced breakdown spectroscopy for chemical analysis with direct solid sampling. A pulsed laser beam focuses directly onto the sample surface during laser ablation. Photons emitted from the laser induced plasma can be detected spectroscopically. Directing the ablated particles towards a secondary ionization source (e.g., ICP) enables mass spectrometric analysis. LA-ICP-MS provides high sensitivity elemental analysis and actinide isotopic determinations. The LIBS technique collects a breadth of chemical information that is needed for nuclear forensic fingerprint identification. LIBS can acquire a wide-range of elemental information especially for low mass elements (e.g., hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and fluorine). Coupling LIBS in tandem with LA-ICP-MS provides both elemental and isotopic information. LIBS enables chemical fingerprinting, and LA-ICP-MS characterizes the isotopic composition of the particles. This combination greatly improves sample throughput and data collection. The authors suggest that LA-ICP-MS/LIBS could revolutionize particle analysis for nuclear forensics and materials safeguards applications.

The fs-LA-ICP-MS data enabled construction of an elemental map of a sample containing 1.0% uranium particles in an iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni) matrix.

The fs-LA-ICP-MS data enabled construction of an elemental map of a sample containing 1.0% uranium particles in an iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni) matrix.

Benjamin Manard

The journal’s special edition profiled Benjamin Manard as one of 18 top young analytical scientists from across the world.

Benjamin Manard’s profile in the special edition of this international journal describes his Ph.D. work at Clemson University (advisor R. Kenneth Marcus) along with both Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory before coming to Los Alamos as a Glenn T. Seaborg Postdoctoral Fellow. The Actinide Analytical Chemistry group converted him to staff in 2016. His current research focuses on plasma-based techniques for trace elemental analyses. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.

Reference: “Laser Ablation – Inductively Couple Plasma – Mass Spectrometry/Laser Induced Break Down Spectroscopy: A Tandem Technique for Uranium Particle Characterization,” Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 32, 1620 (2017); doi: 10.1039/c7ja00102a. Authors: Benjamin T. Manard, E. Miller Wylie, and Ning Xu (Actinide Analytical Chemistry, C-AAC), and C. Derrick Quarles Jr. (Applied Spectra Inc).

The NNSA Plutonium Sustainment program funded the work, which supports the Laboratory’s Nuclear Deterrence and Global Security mission areas and the Science of Signatures science pillar via chemical mapping and characterization of uranium particles. Technical contact: Benjamin Manard

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Computer, Computational and Statistical Sciences

Detecting music festivals with satellite-based synthetic aperture radar

A question within global security is whether refugee camps can be detected in inaccessible areas. As a proxy problem, researchers Matthew Calef and David Murphy (Computational Physics and Methods, CCS-2) considered change detection methods applied to outdoor music festivals. They assessed the efficacy of variants of an established method, anomalous change detection, in identifying the Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Burning Man festivals with imagery collected by the Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites. Because synthetic aperture radar is unaffected by light level or cloud cover, it is well suited for change detection.

Anomalous change detection seeks to understand the common, or pervasive, changes between two co-registered images, and then assess changes between the images based on how uncommon, or anomalous, they are. For example, pairs of images of the same subject can suffer pervasive changes caused by slight shifts in the angle at which the images were captured. Researchers aim to distinguish these common, uninteresting changes, from rare but significant changes.

 In this work, the team used a form of machine-learning called random-forest to assess the degree of anomalousness of the changes between two images. They also examined several ways to form the training data for the random-forest, from simply the per-pixel intensity, to more complex information based on neighborhoods of pixels. They concluded that, with appropriate training data, anomalous change detection using a random-forest outperformed other methods for their test cases.

The left and center panels show satellite synthetic aperture radar imagery before and during the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, TN. The right panel shows each pixel marked by the degree of anomalousness. Note that the music festival is preferentially selected over other the ambient background changes.

The left and center panels show satellite synthetic aperture radar imagery before and during the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, TN. The right panel shows each pixel marked by the degree of anomalousness. Note that the music festival is preferentially selected over other the ambient background changes.

The Laboratory’s Pathfinder Program funded the research, which supports the Lab’s Global Security mission area and the Integrating Information, Science and Technology for Prediction science pillar through the development of change detection methods to analyze images. Technical contacts: Matthew Calef and David Murphy

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Educational Outreach

Materials science university outreach workshop fosters research opportunities

The Materials Science and Technology (MST) Division hosted a two-day University Outreach Workshop on Nuclear Materials in the Materials Science Laboratory. Kimberly A. DeFriend Obrey (Materials Science in Radiation and Dynamics Extremes, MST-8) organized the event, which brought together Laboratory staff and professors from seven universities to discuss research opportunities and collaborations. The event was the first in a planned series of workshops designed to form collaborations with key professors by offering their students internships at the Lab early in their graduate careers. The workshops also provided an opportunity for professors to conduct research at the Lab as guest scientists or through sabbatical appointments.

Presentations by experts in the field highlighted recent research, novel techniques, and unique capabilities. Speakers included the following:

  • Mechanical property evaluations on irradiated materials on multiple length scales - Peter Hosemann (University of California – Berkeley)
  • Taming the plasma-material interface under reactor-relevant magnetic fusion condition - Jean Paul Allain (University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign)
  • Microstructural evolution in nuclear materials and fuel - Maria Okuniewski (Purdue University)
  • Investigating radiation effects in materials by neutron total scattering - Maik Lang (University of Tennessee – Knoxville)
  • Development of radiation tolerant ferritic steels for fast reactor applications - Stu Maloy (MST-8)
  • Development of high density fuels for light water reactors - Andy Nelson (Engineered Materials, MST-7)
  • Atomistic modeling of nuclear materials, a survey - Blas Uberuaga (MST-8)
  • Crystallographic modeling of irradiation growth and thermal creep in zirconium cladding -Carlos Tome (MST-8)
  • Neutron scattering applications to nuclear materials - Alice Smith (Nuclear Materials Science, MST-16)
  • Computational modeling of long term kinetic processes in materials with atomistic insights - Donghua Xu (Oregon State University)
  • Nuclear materials and fuels research at UF - Assel Aitkaliyeva (University of Florida)
  • Multiscale modeling of radiation induced microstructural evolution and physical property degradation in materials - David Bai (Virginia Tech)
Nuclear scientist Alice Smith (MST-16) works on the high-pressure/preferred orientation diffractometer (HIPPO) at the Lab’s Lujan Center. She discussed neutron scattering applications for nuclear materials at the outreach workshop.

Nuclear scientist Alice Smith (MST-16) works on the high-pressure/preferred orientation diffractometer (HIPPO) at the Lab’s Lujan Center. She discussed neutron scattering applications for nuclear materials at the outreach workshop.

The workshop included tours of the Ion Beam Materials Laboratory and the Electron Microscopy Laboratory in the Lab’s Materials Science Complex. Laurent Capolungo (MST-8), Clarissa Yablinsky (MST-16), and Andy Nelson (MST-7) helped identify and engage professors for the event. Esther Palluck (MST-8) prepared visitor agreements, and Megan Espinoza and Angela Martinez (MST-8) managed logistics during the workshop.

MST Division plans to host three more workshops: manufacturing science; damage, shock, and characterization; and polymer science. The Momentum Initiative, which the Associate Directorate for Experimental Physical Sciences (ADEPS) champions, funded the activity. The program sponsors the engagement of scientific communities to enhance the Laboratory’s strategic partnerships, especially in the area of mesoscale science. Technical contact: Kim Obrey

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Materials Physics and Applications

First room temperature colossal magnetoresistance demonstrated at THz frequencies

Personal electronics could operate at much higher speeds if memory devices could read and write data in terahertz (THz) frequency. Room temperature colossal magnetoresistance (CMR), which involves a huge change in materials’ resistance under magnetic fields, could simplify device development. However, room temperature colossal magnetoresistance has never been demonstrated at THz frequencies in perovskite oxide thin films. These thin films are the basic building blocks for electronic devices. Creating them with room temperature colossal magnetoresistance could enable the design of novel memory devices.

For the first time, Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies researchers (MPA-CINT) and their United Kingdom colleagues demonstrated that room temperature colossal magnetoresistance is possible at THz frequencies. The team used THz time-domain magnetospectroscopy in high-quality vertically aligned nanocomposite thin film for the studies. In contrast with the conventional colossal magnetoresistance that is observed at high magnetic fields and low temperature, this newly discovered colossal THz magnetoresistance can be seen at room temperature and intermediate magnetic fields. Although colossal magnetoresistance is usually driven by magnetic field, in this case the researchers added THz optical pulses to stimulate and enhance colossal magnetoresistance effect. The journal Nano Letters published the findings.

Schematic of a vertically aligned nanocomposite film and THz spectroscopy experiment. The figure depicts the directions of the applied dc magnetic field B, THz pulse propagation vector, and THz electric field ETHz.

Schematic of a vertically aligned nanocomposite film and THz spectroscopy experiment. The figure depicts the directions of the applied dc magnetic field B, THz pulse propagation vector, and THz electric field ETHz.

The technique revealed that the THz conductivity changed over two orders of magnitude when under 0.5 and 1.5 THz radiation in an external field. The THz colossal magnetoresistance in nanocomposites is about two orders of magnitude higher than that in single-phase materials.

The findings demonstrated a new approach using optical pulses at terahertz frequencies to control magnetoresistance. The authors suggest that this advance could revolutionize the design of future memory devices. The underlying physical mechanisms, studied by THz time-domain magnetospectroscopy, might be used to guide future development of novel functional thin films with better performance.

Reference: “Colossal Terahertz Magnetoresistance at Room Temperature in Epitaxial La0.7 Sr0.3 MnO3 Nanocomposites and Single-Phase Thin Films,” Nano Letters 17, 2506 (2017); doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00231. Authors: J. Lloyd-Hughes, C. D. W. Mosley, and M. R. Lees (University of Warwick); S. P. P. Jones (University of Oxford); Aiping P. Chen (MPA-CINT); Quanxi X. Jia (University at Buffalo); and E.-M. Choi and J. L. MacManus-Driscoll (University of Cambridge).

The Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program funded the Los Alamos work, which was performed at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT). CINT is a DOE Office of Science User Facility operated jointly by Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories for the DOE Office of Science. The research supports the Laboratory’s Energy Security mission area and the Materials for the Future science pillar, including its emergent phenomena theme by enabling controlled functionality via tailored materials that can perform in ways beyond their basic properties. Technical contact: Aiping Chen

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Materials Science and Technology

New technique breaks materials while collecting 3-D x-ray images

Engineered Materials (MST-7) researchers and colleagues developed a novel in situ x-ray tomographic imaging technique to collect high-rate, three-dimensional (3-D) images while breaking materials. The team used the x-ray beamline at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source to collect 20 full 3-D x-ray images within 5 seconds. This new technique could enhance scientists’ understanding of materials’ deformation and failure. The Journal of Materials Science featured the research on its cover.
The cover or the Journal of Materials Science highlighted the in-situ x-ray tomographic imaging technique.

The cover or the Journal of Materials Science highlighted the in-situ x-ray tomographic imaging technique.

A collaboration between Los Alamos, Arizona State University, and Argonne investigated how advanced materials respond to uniaxial mechanical loading. The team used x-ray computed microtomography (CT) and digital volume correlation to examine tensile behavior of an additively manufactured polymer matrix composite. The researchers tested a 3-D printed tensile dog bone made of a polymer-glass composite. The specimen was clamped within a mechanical load cell and pulled apart while the force response was measured. Simultaneously, the dog bone was rotated at 2 Hz within the synchrotron beam while researchers took thousands of x-ray radiographs. The investigators reconstructed the radiographs to create a series of 3-D images. Linking 3-D images and load response allowed visualization of each of the processes that govern failure, including crack formation and propagation and the elastic response of the material.
A) Photograph of the 3-D printed tensile specimen (dog-bone), B) stress strain curve during the tension experiment, and C) 3-D reconstructed slices and digital volume correction strain maps through a specimen as it is pulled apart. The crack propagation is visible mid-way down the slices.

A) Photograph of the 3-D printed tensile specimen (dog-bone), B) stress strain curve during the tension experiment, and C) 3-D reconstructed slices and digital volume correction strain maps through a specimen as it is pulled apart. The crack propagation is visible mid-way down the slices.

The researchers also investigated the role of print direction and recycled material upon the mechanical properties. The study revealed significant variations on both strength and ductility with respect to print direction and the recycled material content in the printed parts. The addition of recycled source material with a thermal history reduced the tensile strength of the additively manufactured composite for all directions. The effect was drastic on the strength in the layering direction.

Because the 3-D imaging takes place while the material is being loaded, this method could provide insight into deformation and failure in materials. This multi-institutional collaboration has increased the imaging rate beyond the demonstrated 4-14 Hz in the publication. Future work will seek to increase the 3-D imaging to 100 Hz, creating images critical to material model development and validation.

MaRIE (Matter-Radiation Interactions in Extremes), the Lab’s proposed experimental facility for studying matter-radiation interactions in extremes, could enable researchers to take this research further. The combination of MaRIE’s unique hard x-ray free electron laser and in situ characterization tools could enable measurements that are dynamic, in situ, and multi-modal. Such measurements are critical to observe the sequential phenomena of composite mesoscale materials and could reveal properties that matter at the “middle” length scale that may be essential to controlling the performance of materials.

Reference: “Analysis of Thermal History Effects on Mechanical Anisotropy of 3D-printed Polymer Matrix Composites via in situ x-ray Tomography,” Journal of Materials Science 52, 12185 (2017); doi: 10.1007/s10853-017-1339-4. Authors: James C.E. Mertens (formerly MST-7, now at Intel); Brian M. Patterson, Kevin Henderson, and Nik Cordes (MST-7); Robin Pacheco (Sigma Division, Sigma-DO); Xianghui Xiao (Argonne National Laboratory); and Jason J. Williams and Nikhilesh Chawla (Arizona State University).

The NNSA Enhanced Surveillance Campaign (Los Alamos Program Manager, Tom Zocco), the Engineering Campaign (Los Alamos Program Manager, Antranik Siranosian), Directed Stockpile Work (Los Alamos Program Manager, Jennifer Young), and Technology Maturation (Los Alamos Program Manager, Ryan Maupin) funded the technology development. The work supports the Lab’s Nuclear Deterrence mission area and its Materials of the Future and Science of Signatures science pillars. Technical contact: Brian M. Patterson

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Physics

Neutrino research moves forward with DUNE

An international group of researchers and dignitaries broke ground recently on construction of a massive experiment that could change our understanding of the universe. The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), the largest experiment ever built in the United States to study neutrinos, is engaging the expertise of Physics Division to develop and manage near-detector systems. Three “flavors” of neutrinos – elusive subatomic particles that interact weakly with matter – are currently known to exist. A proposed fourth flavor, the sterile neutrino, could serve as a candidate for dark matter, helping to explain how the universe works and why matter exists at all.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) at South Dakota’s Sanford Underground Research Facility will house the DUNE experiment. DUNE begins with a proton accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois that will send a beam of neutrinos through two detectors. A detector located at Fermilab records particle interactions near the source of the beam. The beam will travel 800 miles through the earth to a second detector built almost one mile underground and filled with 70,000 tons of liquid argon. This detector will capture images of the interactions deep underground, enabling researchers to study the interactions between neutrinos and argon atoms.
Schematic of the planned path for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, which will investigate the existence of a sterile neutrino. Graphic courtesy Fermilab.

Schematic of the planned path for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, which will investigate the existence of a sterile neutrino. Graphic courtesy Fermilab.

Los Alamos researchers have been engaged in neutrino research for decades, starting from the 1956 discovery of the particles’ existence. Since then, the Lab helped prove that neutrinos oscillate and have mass. Laboratory researchers have been performing R&D on the target material, liquid argon, and are working to accurately monitor the neutrino beam for the DUNE project.

DUNE was conceived, designed, and will be built by 1,000 scientists and engineers from more than 160 institutions. This research is funded by the DOE Office of Science in conjunction with the European research center CERN and international partners from nearly 30 countries.

Los Alamos researchers involved in this international collaboration include Robert Cooper, Gerald Garvey, Elena Guardincerri, En-Chuan Huang, William Louis, and Richard Van de Water (Subatomic Physics, P-25); Keith Rielage (Neutron Science and Technology, P-23); Gus Sinnis (Experimental Physical Sciences, ADEPS); and Charles Taylor (Accelerator Operations, AOT-OPS).

The DOE Office of Science, High Energy Physics program funds the Los Alamos researchers. The work supports the Lab’s Energy Security mission area and the Nuclear and Particle Futures science pillar. Nuclear physics is a key component in the Laboratory’s national security mission. Technical contact: William Louis III

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