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April 2002

The Laboratory in the News

Physics Changes Focus
Commentary by William Goldstein

Quantum Simulations Tell the Atomic-Level Story
Simulations of atomic and molecular activity model what happens during
an experiment.

Forensic Science Center Maximizes the Tiniest Clue
Livermore’s Forensic Science Center is among the best facilities in the world
for collecting and analyzing evidence, some of it no larger than a few billionths
of a gram.

Bright Future for Compact Tactical Laser Weapons
Compact solid-state laser technology developed at Livermore
makes possible the mobile, tactical weapon of the future.

Engineering’s Tradition Turns Ideas into Reality
Since the beginning, engineers have developed innovative technologies
to fulfill the specialized requirements of the Laboratory’s programs.

Patents and Awards

 

 


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  • Quantum Simulations Tell the Atomic-Level Story
  • (pdf file, 3MB)
    Simulations of quantum molecular dynamics make it possible for the first time to get an accurate look at what happens to individual atoms and molecules during the course of a high-pressure experiment. Such simulations are supplying some of the first information about deceptively simple materials such as water and hydrogen. Recent simulations of shocked liquid hydrogen, the largest ab initio simulations to date on the ASCI White computers, sought to locate reasons for differences found during two sets of high-pressure experiments on deuterium. Other simulations examined water at ambient conditions and under static pressures up to 30 gigapascals. While water molecules dissociate just once every 11 hours at ambient pressures and temperatures, dissociation occurs once every billionth of a second at 30 gigapascals. The same dissociation process occurs under both sets of conditions: two water molecules become hydroxide and hydronium. The smallest part of the DNA backbone has also been modeled, as have a mustard-based drug for treating cancer and silicon quantum dots that may be used in biosensors to detect chemical warfare agents.

  • Forensic Science Center Maximizes the Tiniest Clue
  • (pdf file, 3.6MB)
    Founded in 1991, the Laboratory’s Forensic Science Center (FSC) offers a comprehensive range of analytical expertise to counter terrorism, aid domestic law enforcement, and verify compliance with international treaties and agreements. The center is among the best of its kind for collecting and analyzing virtually any kind of evidence, some of it no larger than a few billionths of a gram. The center’s approach to forensic analysis maximizes the information that can be obtained from extremely small samples of explosives residue, dust particles, hair strands, blood stains, radioactive isotopes, drugs, chemicals, and clothing fibers. Many projects have required FSC scientists to develop new analytical tools and forensic techniques as well as unique sampling procedures. Several new portable instruments have been developed for analysis in the field. FSC has also played a pivotal role in several well-publicized criminal investigations.

  • Bright Future for Compact Tactical Laser Weapons
  • (pdf file, 2MB)
    Compact solid-state laser technology developed at Livermore makes possible the mobile, tactical weapon of the future.

  • Engineeering’s Tradition Turns Ideas into Reality
  • (pdf file, 3MB)
    Since the beginning, engineers have developed innovative technologies to fulfill the specialized requirements of the Laboratory’s programs.



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