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Laboratory Directed Research and Development

Magnesium oxide undergoes dynamic transition when it comes to super-Earth exoplanets

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Johns Hopkins University have unlocked new secrets about the interiors of super-Earth exoplanets, potentially revolutionizing our understanding of these distant worlds. The focus of this work, magnesium oxide (MgO), a crucial component of Earth’s lower mantle, is believed to play a similar role in the…

Unexpected source of nutrients fuels growth of toxic algae from Lake Erie

Climate change, such as warming and changes in precipitation patterns, affects the frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) globally, including those of toxin-producing cyanobacteria that can contaminate drinking water. These nutrient-induced blooms cause worldwide public and ecosystem health concerns. Since the mid-1990s, Lake Erie, the shallowest and warmest…

LLNL researchers develop framework for databasing properties of crystal defects

Point defects (e.g. missing, extra or swapped atoms) in crystalline materials often determine the actual electronic and optical response of a given material. For example, controlled substitutions in semiconductors like silicon are the backbone of modern technology. Despite their importance, point defects are notoriously difficult to simulate and characterize, particularly…

Mystery of puffy exoplanet solved

A recent study of the atmosphere of the exoplanet WASP-107b suggests tidal heating is responsible for the exoplanet’s inflated nature and reveals a previously unseen combination of molecules in an exoplanet. A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist and international collaborators have characterized the atmosphere of the exoplanet, WASP-107b, using a…

Manufacturing optimized designs for high explosives

When materials are subjected to extreme environments, they face the risk of mixing together. This mixing may result in hydrodynamic instabilities, yielding undesirable side effects. Such instabilities present a grand challenge across multiple disciplines, especially in astrophysics, combustion and shaped charges — a device used to focus the energy of a detonating explosive…

Accelerating material characterization: Machine learning meets X-ray absorption spectroscopy

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have developed a new approach that can rapidly predict the structure and chemical composition of heterogeneous materials. In a new study in ACS Chemistry of Materials, LLNL scientists Wonseok Jeong and Tuan Anh Pham developed a new approach that combines machine learning with X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XANES) to…

GUIDE team develops approach to redesign antibodies against viral pandemics

In a groundbreaking development for addressing future viral pandemics, a multi-institutional team involving Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers has successfully combined an artificial intelligence (AI)-backed platform with supercomputing to redesign and restore the effectiveness of antibodies whose ability to fight viruses has been compromised by…

Understanding soil carbon's sensitivity to increasing global temperatures

Particulate soil carbon may be more vulnerable to microbial decomposition under warmer temperatures associated with climate change. Soil organic matter contains more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined. Soil is increasingly considered for its potential role in climate mitigation due to its ability to sequester more carbon, but it also is critical to understand…

LLNL wins three R&D 100 awards

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have garnered three awards among the top 100 industrial inventions worldwide for 2016. The trade journal R&D Magazine announced the winners of its annual awards, sometimes called the "Oscars of invention," Thursday at the Gaylord Convention Center in Washington, D.C. With this year’s results, the Laboratory has now…

'Human-on-a-chip' could replace animal testing

Development of new prescription drugs and antidotes to toxins currently relies extensively on animal testing in the early stages of development, which is not only expensive and time consuming, it can give scientists inaccurate data about how humans will respond to such agents. But what if researchers could predict the impacts of potentially harmful chemicals, viruses or…

Team IDs gene involved with fracture healing

New identification of a gene involved in the fracture healing process could lead to the development of new therapeutic treatments for difficult-to-heal injuries.Fracture healing involves communication between bone, muscle, vasculature and the thin membrane covering the outer surface of bones (periosteum) during the fracture repair. The periosteum contains stem cells that…

New 3D printer unlocks 'mind-blowing' possibilities with electronics manufacturing

Installation of a highly advanced 3D printer for electronics at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has opened the door for creating miniature circuits on surfaces and substances that could never be used before.The Optomec Aerosol Jet 500 system, which became operational in January, is capable of printing circuits with a broad range of nanomaterials, allowing engineers…

Researchers 3D print ultralight supercapacitors

For the first time ever, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and UC Santa Cruz have successfully 3D-printed supercapacitors using an ultra-lightweight graphene aerogel, opening the door to novel, unconstrained designs of highly efficient energy storage systems for smartphones, wearables, implantable devices, electric cars and wireless sensors.Using a 3D…

Researchers 3D-print with reactive materials

Reactive composite materials are everywhere, from the life-saving air bags in your car to the dazzling pyrotechnics in Fourth of July fireworks. But one of the main drawbacks to using these materials has been the unpredictability of their reactions.Historically, the way to alter the performance in reactive materials (i.e. thermites) has been to either change the…

Researchers 3D print 'living' blood vessels

The cardiovascular system is a complex web of tens of thousands of miles of arteries, capillaries and veins, branching throughout the body like tributaries of a great river. And now, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are recapitulating this intricate network using an emerging technology: 3D bioprinting."It’s going to change the way we do biology," said…

Protein curbs spread of prostate cancer to bone

Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers from University of California campuses at Merced and Davis, have found that a specific secreted protein inhibits prostate cancer metastasis to bone.Their research appears in recent editions of the journals, PLOS ONE and Microarrays.Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed…

LLNL wins three R&D 100 awards

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers are the recipients of three awards among the top 100 industrial inventions worldwide for 2014.The trade journal R&D Magazine announced the winners of its annual awards, sometimes called the "Oscars of invention," Friday in Las Vegas. With this year's results, the Laboratory has now captured a total of 155 R&D…

Researchers reveal new electron ring formations

Laser wakefield acceleration, a process where electron acceleration is driven by high-powered lasers, is well-known for being able to produce high-energy beams of electrons in tabletop-scale distances. However, in recent experiments, a team of scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) revealed new,…

New experimental and theoretical research could help make more efficient windows

By tightly integrating experimental and theoretical techniques, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team has provided fundamentally new insights into the specific factors that determine the absorption characteristics of copper complexes. The results demonstrate that conventional interpretations based on "ligand field theory" -- a staple concept in inorganic chemistry …

Soil organic matter vulnerable to climate change

Soil organic matter, long thought to be a semi-permanent storehouse for ancient carbon, may be much more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought.Plants direct between 40 percent and 60 percent of photosynthetically fixed carbon to their roots and much of this carbon is secreted and then taken up by root-associated soil microorganisms. Elevated carbon dioxide …