Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability
Proud Legacy Bold Future Since 1943

Picture of the Week

Learn about the Lab’s national security mission through compelling images that reflect its multi-disciplinary science and technological capabilities.

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    Exploding detonators in 3D

    First detailed 3-D images during the operation of the exploding foil initiators (also known as slappers or detonators) - 12/9/16

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    Visualizing ocean asteroid impact

    Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory are using high performance computing to investigate how an asteroid’s kinetic energy is transferred to the atmosphere and ocean. - 12/9/16

  • Planets unlikely to form around binary stars

    Planets unlikely to form around binary stars

    Comparing computer simulations to observations aids understanding of binary star formation. - 10/13/16

  • 3D simulation of electromagnetic radiation interacting with explosives

    Better climate models? Just add ice.

    With the help of supercomputers, Los Alamos scientists are modeling ice sheets to predict sea level rise and coupling ice sheet models to climate models to sharpen their predictive capabilities. - 9/22/16

  • Secretary of Defense reviews plutonium operations at the Lab

    Secretary of Defense reviews plutonium operations at the Lab

    “A strong plutonium science and manufacturing capability is essential to the U.S. nuclear deterrent and cannot be underestimated,” said Carter. - 9/22/16

  • Fighting the flu, one cell at a time

    Fighting the flu, one cell at a time

    To better understand autophagy in influenza A virus replication, a team of scientists from Los Alamos’ Biosecurity and Public Health group are taking a closer look at the role of Beclin-1, one of the key protein players in this intricate game of cellular life and death. - 8/1/16

  • 3D simulation of electromagnetic radiation interacting with explosives

    Tickling the dragon for explosives science

    Los Alamos scientists perform the first 3D simulation of electromagnetic radiation interacting with explosives. - 5/26/16

  • Recent models have studied how three quinones (a class of organic compounds) influence electron transfer between the enzyme and the electrode to determine the best placement of enzymes on the electrode’s surface.

    Shedding light on climate change

    Using data from their portable Antarctic observatory, researchers from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility hope to develop a comprehensive explanation for the warming of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. - 5/12/16

  • Recent models have studied how three quinones (a class of organic compounds) influence electron transfer between the enzyme and the electrode to determine the best placement of enzymes on the electrode’s surface.

    Hacking the bio-nano interface for better biofuels

    Los Alamos theoretical physicists and chemists are using computers to develop more efficient ways of converting biofuels into electricity by using fuel cells. - 4/29/16

  • Training the explosives experts

    Training the explosives experts

    Lab scientists use their expertise to teach EOD techs from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy how to recognize homemade explosives labs and the raw ingredients commonly used to make IEDs and other bombs. - 4/10/16

  • circuits of light artist's conception

    Circuits of light

    This artistic conceptualization of circuits made of light represents a new capability that could lead to advanced sensor systems, quantum information processing technology, and more. - 3/25/16

  • Gazing into the future of earthquake prediction

    Gazing into the future of earthquake prediction

    Los Alamos geophysicist Paul Johnson holds a block of acrylic plastic used in the laboratory to study the dynamic interaction of elastic waves within solids. Ultimately this may offer more clues to understanding earthquakes and when they might occur. - 3/20/16

  • flu epidemics modellled using social media

    Forecasting Flu

    What if we could forecast infectious diseases the same way we forecast the weather, and predict how diseases like Dengue, Typhus or Zika were going to spread? - 3/6/16

  • Bulging Van Allen Belts

    Bulging Van Allen Belts

    Learn about the Van Allen Belts and how new findings from NASA’s Van Allen Probes could impact how we protect technology in space. - 2/25/16

  • Bismuth and tin on the rocks

    Bismuth and tin on the rocks

    Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are using state-of-the-art experimental techniques to see and understand how microstructures evolve during materials processing. - 2/15/16

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    Raising the bar on carbon capture

    In the United States, industry produces more than 3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, around two-thirds of which come from fossil-fuel-based electricity generation. The image above illustrates the relative magnitude and spatial distribution of carbon dioxide emissions across the United States. - 12/15/15

  • biocrusts

    Biocrusts: small organisms, big impacts

    Arid lands constitute over 30% of the Earth's terrestrial surface. In arid lands worldwide, composite layers called biocrusts, comprising bacteria, fungi, lichens and mosses, cover the soil between the widely spaced plants. - 11/20/15

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    Making the (reactive) case for explosives science

    A "reactive case" is a new concept in explosives science currently being tested at Los Alamos National Laboratory. A reactive case would do more than just contain an explosive, but rather become part of the explosive event itself, actually enhancing or boosting the explosion while decreasing far-field fragmentation damage. - 10/16/15

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    Jamming to the earthquake shake

    In this image, tightly packed disks subjected to an earthquake-like movement display separate fast and slow moving regions and form a net of load-bearing contacts, rather than a uniform distribution of pressure. - 9/27/15

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    Explosive science to save lives

    During Homemade Explosives (HME) training courses at Los Alamos, technicians from the Navy, Marines, and Air Force focus on world-wide HME threats including the safety, sensitivity, and performance of these explosives and their synthesis and manufacturing. - 9/13/15

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    Growing a greener future with algal biofuels

    At the New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos scientists are using genetic engineering to improve algae strains for increased biomass yield and carbon capture efficiency. - 9/6/15

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    Molecular "dimmer" switches for biomedicine and bioenergy

    Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have manufactured molecular "dimmer" switches to control cellular metabolism with exquisite precision. The research has potential widespread application in biomedicine and bioenergy. - 8/30/15

  • Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process in physics, the continuous breaking and rearrangement of magnetic field lines in a plasma. During this process plasma gets energized in the changing magnetic field. Understanding reconnection phenomena has broad implications in how Earth’s magnetosphere functions, how astrophysical jets accelerate particles, and how solar flares and coronal mass ejections work, and may eventually help us protect astronauts, communications satellites, and electrical power grids from the effects of these types of massive geomagnetic storms. This 3D simulation shows how instabilities in the reconnection layer lead to multiple flux rope structures and turbulent magnetic fields.

    A powerful cosmic particle accelerator

    This 3D simulation shows how instabilities in the reconnection layer lead to multiple flux rope structures and turbulent magnetic fields. - 8/23/15

  • Trident laser

    Laser-driven neutron source for research and global security

    At Los Alamos’s Trident facility, scientists are using an ultra-high intensity laser beam to produce high intensity short duration neutron bursts. Applications of this novel neutron source include improving upon current technologies for the detection of clandestine nuclear materials and treaty verification. - 8/16/15

  • Glove boxing

    Glove boxing

    In 2000, the U.S. and Russia committed to each "permanently dispose" of "no less than or at least" 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium. The Department of Energy (DOE) announced a strategy for the permanent disposition of U.S. surplus weapons-grade plutonium: convert the energy stored in the nation's stockpile of surplus plutonium pits into electrical power for homes and businesses by burning it as fuel in domestic commercial nuclear reactors. - 8/7/15

  • Plasma cubed

    Plasma cubed

    Drawing on expertise from astrophysics, applied mathematics, fluid mechanics, data management, and computer science, a interdisciplinary multi-institution research team including Los Alamos scientists have discovered that turbulence may be key to solving the mystery of "fast magnetic reconnection" that has puzzled physicists for decades. - 8/3/15

  • From nuclear weapons testing to stockpile stewardship

    From nuclear weapons testing to stockpile stewardship

    On Sept. 23, 1992, the last full-scale underground test of a nuclear weapon was conducted by Los Alamos National Lab at the Nevada Test Site. The test, code named “Divider,” was the last of 1,030 nuclear tests carried out by the U.S. - 7/26/15

  • Nuclear watchmen

    Nuclear watchmen

    The Vela series of satellites, which spanned 1963-1984, carried Los Alamos-designed-and-built sensors for detecting x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and the natural background of radiation in space. They functioned as "watchdogs" for possible clandestine nuclear testing and more... - 7/19/15

  • The Trinity Test

    The Trinity Test

    At 5:29:45 July 16, 1945 Los Alamos scientists successfully conducted the world’s first nuclear weapons test. The test, which Robert Oppenheimer named "Trinity" after a line from a poem by John Donne, produced a blast equivalent to 21,000 tons of TNT. - 7/10/15

  • Trinity 1945

    The 100-Ton Test

    Before the historic Trinity test on July 16th, 1945, Los Alamos scientists conducted a host of other experiments designed to ensure that they would be ready to successfully measure the full force, efficiency, energy release, shock and radiological phenomena of the blast. - 7/9/15

  • Perovskite solar power

    Perovskite solar power

    In recent experiments, Los Alamos National Lab scientists have produced perovskite crystals that exhibit solar conversion efficiencies comparable to those of silicon, the current gold standard. This image shows the kind of high-efficiency perovskite crystals regularly produced at Los Alamos. - 6/26/15

  • Supercomputer building blocks

    Supercomputer building blocks

    The first row of cabinets for the new Trinity supercomputer are being prepared for connection to the water cooling infrastructure at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Each set of 12 cabinets is delivered, connected and tested one row at a time, by the Cray installation team, until all five rows arrive. - 6/21/15

  • Fuel from the fire

    Fuel from the fire

    The Lab’s goal is to create new materials for use in advanced nuclear fuels which are safer and more efficient than those currently burned in reactors. The image shown here was created by a Scanning Electron Microscope (also called an SEM) and it shows a cerium nitride foam. - 6/12/15

  • Hot cells for medical isotopes

    Hot cells for medical isotopes

    Isotopes from Los Alamos are used for the diagnosis of cardiac disease, calibration of PET scanners which in turn diagnose cancer, neurological disease, inflammatory diseases, trauma, and other circulatory diseases, and are increasingly being investigated for their potential to treat a variety of localized pathologies. - 6/7/15

  • An explosion of 3D printing technology

    An explosion of 3D printing technology

    Scientists in Los Alamos National Laboratory's Chemistry and Explosive Science and Shock Physics divisions are exploring new methods for 3D printing that allow for the function of materials to be controlled by their internal structure. - 5/24/15

  • Making earthquakes in the lab

    Making earthquakes in the lab

    At Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists are figuring out how to forecast an earthquake: they have developed simulations and physical experiments to represent the structure and dynamics of geological faults. - 5/15/15

  • Modeling a small, blue planet

    Modeling a small, blue planet

    This visualization, courtesy of the Lab's MPAS-Ocean Model, shows ocean currents and eddies in a high-resolution global ocean simulation with the Antarctic in the center. - 5/10/15

  • Climate feedbacks from a warming arctic

    Climate feedbacks from a warming arctic

    Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists work to understand the fate of this carbon using computer simulations such as this model of snowmelt draining from polygonal ground near Barrow, Alaska. - 4/26/15

  • Brewing high explosives

    Brewing high explosives

    This photo shows one way that explosive charges are built. An explosive compound is heated just past its melting point and is poured from the kettle into the experimental apparatus. - 4/24/15

  • Supercomputing the vortex

    Supercomputing the vortex

    This computer simulation of vortex induced motion (VIM) from Los Alamos National Laboratory shows how ocean currents affect offshore oil rigs. The large size and complex physics of this problem requires advanced numerical simulations using supercomputers. - 4/12/15

  • Cyber-imaging the cosmos

    Cyber-imaging the cosmos

    A team of astrophysicists and computer scientists, including Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers, completed the first-ever complete trillion-particle cosmological simulation and have made an initial 55 Tbyte (trillion bytes) public data release. - 4/2/15

  • The paint-like swirls of this visualization from Los Alamos National Laboratory depict global water-surface temperatures, with the surface texture driven by vorticity.

    Laser probe for critical subcriticals

    This specialized laser instrument allows Los Alamos scientists to perform sophisticated nuclear experiments and gather significant amounts of data without a critical mass of plutonium. - 4/1/15

  • Gamma-ray bursts: infographic

    Gamma-ray bursts: infographic

    Today with the help of sophisticated tools like the ground based RAPTOR robotic observatory system that can find, and study on its own, transient optical events, and the High Altitude Water Chernekov (HAWC) Gamma Ray Observatory, designed to study the origin of the very high energy cosmic rays, and observe the most energetic objects in the known universe, Los Alamos scientists continue to work on solving different pieces of the gamma ray puzzle. - 3/26/15

  • The paint-like swirls of this visualization from Los Alamos National Laboratory depict global water-surface temperatures, with the surface texture driven by vorticity.

    The art of climate modeling

    The paint-like swirls of this visualization from Los Alamos National Laboratory depict global water-surface temperatures, with the surface texture driven by vorticity. - 3/12/15

  • supercomputing hardware for cooling system

    Cooling new Trinity supercomputer

    Instead of city water, the new cooling plant will utilize water from LANL’s Sanitary Effluent Reclamation Facility (SERF), saving millions of gallons of well water per year. - 3/2/15


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