Missions

Accomplishments

Sandia's scientists and engineers have a significant impact on national security and continually deliver results. Our areas of accomplishment for 2010 include:

  • Nuclear Weapons Engineering

    People photo
    90-day Feasibility Study: Sandia researchers conducted a 90-day feasibility study for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in a common arming, fuzing, and firing (AF&F) system for the W78/Mk12A and W88/Mk5 warheads, with excursions of the AF&F for high-surety warheads and the W87/Mk21 systems. The study found that significant levels of AF&F commonality are possible with existing system architectures that support use in the Mk5, Mk12A, and Mk21 re-entry systems and enable modernization goals for the future stockpile.

    People photo
    Arming & Fuzing Subsystem Inspection: On July 23, 2010, the 500th Arming & Fuzing Subsystem (AFS) was accepted by the National Nuclear Security Administration through the Quality Assurance Inspection Procedure. Sandia's Radar Fuzing Department provides design and management support for this key component of the Navy's W76-1 arming, fuzing and firing system, manufactured by Honeywell's Kansas City Plant. The AFS is a highly integrated assembly that performs the missile interface, programmer, re-entry sensor, data multiplexer, and radar functions for the arming, fuzing and firing system.
  • Weapon Security

    People photo
    Nuclear Weapon Accident-Incident Exercise: Nuclear weapon accident-incident exercise-11 was conducted Nov. 6-9, 2010, at the U.S. Navy submarine base in Kings Bay, Ga., and naval air station in Jacksonville, Fla. The exercise focused on a response to "loss-of-control" involving U.S. nuclear weapons and subsequent recovery and render-safe operations. The exercise involved 1,800 participants from the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and a variety of local, state, and federal agencies. Sandia deployed 18 responders to the field locations, 36 home-team personnel, and 10 exercise controllers.
  • Remote Sensing

    People photo
    NAP Ground Station: The Nuclear Detonation Detection System (NDS) Analysis Package (NAP) Ground System (NAPGS) completed a major step in transitioning to operational status under Air Force Space Command. NAPGS, located in Sandia Tech Area 4, was granted authority to connect to the existing Air Force operational NDS ground segment and began a period of rigorous Air Force testing. NAPGS is a unique, autonomous earth station capable of tracking and capturing telemetry data from multiple NAP-equipped GPS satellites simultaneously.

    People photo
    NUDET Sensor:
    For more than 45 years, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. Air Force have jointly provided satellite sensor systems designed to detect atmospheric and space nuclear detonations (NUDETs). On May 27, 2010, the first next-generation optical sensor was launched on a GPS satellite. This Sandia-developed sensor is the result of a decade-long development effort funded by NNSA/NA-22. Over the next 10 years, researchers will launch 19 more next-gen sensors. This constellation will greatly enhance the nation's ability to monitor worldwide nuclear treaty compliance.
  • Partnerships & Alliances

    People photo
    Water Disruptor: Seven thousand units of a life-saving water disruptor used to safely disable improvised explosive devices, were deployed to warfighters in Afghanistan just seven months after Team Technologies, a Sandia Science & Technology Park tenant, acquired a license for the technology from Sandia. Additionally, Entrepreneurial Spirit Week was initiated to emphasize the importance of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in Sandia’s culture. It featured two major events: the Innovation and Intellectual Property Celebration; and the Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards Luncheon.
  • Product Realization

    People photo
    Nuclear Weapon Enterprise: A methodology was put in place to help the nuclear weapons enterprise better secure itself against modern nation-state threats, and has already yielded significant results. These results are enabling the nuclear enterprise to make strides toward a more robust security posture against modern supply chain and cyber threats.


    People photo
    Nuclear Weapons Quality Training Program
    : In-depth training was provided to 267 engineers (from 26 centers) involved in the development of nuclear weapons, satellites, and other custom products during fiscal year 2010. Classes covered best practices for preventing defects at each stage of product realization. The program allowed significant cost and schedule savings due to rework avoidance. Classes covered product acceptance, qualification, HALT/HASS, demonstrating reliability rapidly, mistake proofing, and preventing supplier quality problems.
  • Materials

    People photo
    Graphene on Silicon Carbide Growth: Graphene is a promising advanced electronics device material. The development of large-area, high-mobility graphene on suitable substrates is a key challenge. Sandia researchers, Taisuke Ohta and Norm Bartelt used coordinated low-energy electron microscopy measurements and computational modeling to further the scientific understanding of graphene on silicon carbide growth. Their understanding of the role of atomic steps on silicon carbide led to an engineered step-flow growth route for producing large-area graphene films with improved domain size and mobility characteristics.
  • Computing & Information Sciences

    People photo
    Quantum Information Science & Technology Challenge: The Quantum Information Science & Technology Grand Challenge Laboratory Directed Research & Development architecture team achieved its goals of designing an error-corrected "logical" qubit. This task used advanced mathematical and computing techniques to evaluate Si qubit systems from the atomic-scale modeling of the problems of quantum dots all the way to predictive simulations of error correction, which is considered one of the project's most impressive technical achievements. Sandia's published logical qubit design leveraged in-house expertise in optimization, scheduling, quantum information, and electronics.

    People photo
    Seismic Event Detection: Sandia's Ground-Based Nuclear Detonation Detection team has developed a 400-processor distributed computing system capable of processing more than 14 million seismic event signals. From this, researchers are able to realize a three-dimensional seismic-pressure-wave-velocity model of the entire earth. Sandia can then deliver to its customers a capability to more accurately compute the locations of new seismic events, especially those that might be due to clandestine underground nuclear test detonations.
  • Military Programs

    People photo
    Improvised Explosive Device Disablement: TIME Magazine selected a device developed by Sandia researchers, which disables improvised explosive devices, as one of its "50 Best Inventions of 2010." As a measure to defeat roadside bombs and other IEDs, the disruptor shoots a thin blade of water capable of penetrating steel. The high-speed, precise blade penetrates the IED and is followed by a water slug that performs the general threat disruption. Sandia licensed the technology to TEAM Technologies, Inc., and so far, about 7,000 units have been shipped to warfighters in Afghanistan.

    People photo
    Precision Tracking Space System: The Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS) presents an opportunity for Sandia to apply more than 25 years of established space technologies and expertise to constellation-level challenges for detecting and tracking dim targets. Sandia is part of a national team developing an alternative approach to the challenging requirements levied on the Missile Defense Agency's space layer. Engaging the missile defense mission is part of the space strategy to increase Sandia's impact on national security and broaden the support base for our unique space competencies.

    People photo
    Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle: The Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle (ARAV) team was presented with the 2010 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award by Hon. Ashton Carter, undersecretary for Defense Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, recognized the team’s innovative acquisition practices in building, integrating, and launching eight ballistic missile targets, including a new vehicle that allows the U.S. to test against complex, realistic countermeasures. The ARAV team sought to build and launch a cost-effective family of high fidelity ballistic missile targets. The resultant ARAV-As and Bs are more than 85 percent less costly than the targets they replaced.

    People photo
    Key Data Processor Verification: The key data processor (KDP) is a Sandia-designed cryptographic engine at the heart of each Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module GPS receiver. The KDP-III and KDP-IV completed National Security Agency-witnessed cryptographic verification testing in summer 2010. The module decrypts GPS satellite transmission and grants access to military signals and data for increased precision and signal authentication. Completion of this cryptographic verification testing, and the approval letter from the NSA, allow the developers to load and execute classified Sandia-written and NSA-certified operational SW into the GPS receivers.
  • Microelectronics & Microsystems

    People photo
    MEMS Acoustic Resonator: MESA researchers demonstrated the world's lowest-loss radio-frequency (RF) MEMS acoustic resonator. The resonant structure comprises a 1μm-thick film of silicon carbide (SiC) acoustically isolated above a silicon substrate. The measured quality factor, Q, is 117,300 at 2.93 GHz, yielding a record frequency times Q product (fQ) of 3.4x1014. This performance is a factor of 3.4 better than any previously reported. The high fQ, small size, and frequency diversity of SiC microresonators will improve the frequency selectivity of RF filters and oscillators for radios and radars.

    People photo
    Micro Power Source: The R&D 100 Award-winning Micro Power Source is a rechargeable, ultra-small power source for smart cards, environmental sensors, tags for material tracking, continuous medical monitors, and power for microsatellites. Sandia and partners integrated a lithium-ion-based solid electrolyte battery with an ultra-thin photovoltaic collector as an energy harvester. With a system volume of 1 liter, it has an energy density greater than 300 Wh/L and can handle 3,500 charge/discharge cycles. The device is based on existing manufacturing technologies that are amenable to volume manufacturing scale-up.
  • Global Security

    People photo
    CUTLASS: Sandia is developing advanced Research & Development sensor technologies to address challenges faced by the nation in the area of nuclear material counter proliferation. Sandia's research in this area, termed Nonproliferation R&D, has yielded a next-generation sensor system – the Compact Uncooled Thermal Longwave Advanced Staring Spectrometer (CUTLASS). Recently, this multispectral sensor system was successfully deployed at the Nevada test Site in support of a NNSA NA-22 Test Campaign where it performed data collections in a realistic remote sensing operations scenario.

    People photo
    NetCAP: Designed and tested in close collaboration with the US National Data Center, Sandia's Network Capability Assessment Program (NetCAP) is a simulator that assesses the capability of the US ground-based nuclear explosion monitoring system to detect, locate, and identify nuclear explosions anywhere in the world. NetCAP, the first new simulator for ground-based monitoring developed since the 1990s, improves both the fidelity and extent of the simulations, incorporating important R & D concepts that have emerged from US monitoring researchers in recent years.
  • Bioscience

    People photo
    Acoustic Wave Biosensor: Sandia's Acoustic Wave Biosensor, originally developed for environmental sensing applications, is being actively commercialized for medical diagnostic applications through collaboration among Sandia, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, and Adaptive Methods, Inc., the technology licensee. Adaptive Methods was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which supports small biotechnology companies developing cost-saving medical therapies. The Acoustic Wave Biosensor is the recipient of a 2010 R&D 100 Award.
  • Community Involvement, Customer Relations, & Institutional Development

    People photo
    USA Science and Engineering Festival: Eight Sandians took part in the USA Science and Engineering Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Oct. 23-24, 2010. Thousands of youth (ages ranging from toddlers to teenagers) assembled on the mall to interact with scientists and engineers from across the country. The festival's mission was to reinvigorate the interest of our nation's youth in science, technology, engineering, and math. The visitors got to see and touch some of the Sandia technologies that are helping keep their world peaceful and free, and the Sandians got a first-hand reminder of why the Labs' work is important.