INDUSTRY WARMS UP TO PROMISES OF COLD SPRAY
Working with a consortium of eight US companies, researchers at the Department of Energys
Sandia National Laboratories are improving the understanding of a manufacturing technique
called Cold Spray. The technique involves injecting microscopic powdered particles of metal
or other solids into a supersonic jet of rapidly expanding gas and shooting them at a target
surface. When the particles hit the substrate, they stick. Processes refined at Sandia could
be used to create tough new coatings on engine components made from lighterweight composites,
or to deposit layers of conductive metals onto substrates for use as heattolerant underhood
automobile electronics. The consortium includes Alcoa, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co., The
Jacobs Chuck Manufacturing Co., Ktech Corp., Pratt & Whitney, Praxair, and Siemens/Westinghouse.
SANDIA SOFTWARE MAKES BOMB ROBOTS SMARTER
Researchers at the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories have unveiled a wheeled
police robot that makes many of the how to decisions on its own, freeing up its operator to
make the more critical what to do next decisions during potentially dangerous bombdisablement
or other law enforcement missions. In collaboration with REMOTEC Inc. of Oak Ridge, Tenn.,
Sandia developed and installed new software on a robot on loan from REMOTEC. The software
automates many of the robots movements while retaining the operators ability to command
the robots behaviors. The software, called SMART, for Sandia Modular Architecture for Robotics
and Teleoperation, is expected to make police robots quicker, safer, easier to operate, and
capable of more behaviors.
NEW STANDARD SET FOR SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATIONS
A 10foothigh, 13footwide screen developed at the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories
produces digitized images, created of 20 million pixels, approaching the visual acuity of the human eye. The
new screen is not only the clearest but also, says manager and program leader Philip Heermann,
to my knowledge the fastest in the world in rendering complex scientific data sets. Images are as crowded,
yet detailed, as if every ear of corn on a 100acre farm were caught in a single image by a camera
at 21,000 feet. The images are expected to enable better views of complicated systems, such as crashes
and fires, but the facility is also valuable for microsystems, nanotechnology, and biological explorations.
SANDIA SOFTWARE TRANSFORMS DESKTOP COMPUTERS INTO SUPERCOMPUTER
A computer program that can turn a collection of offtheshelf desktop computers into one of the
worlds fastest supercomputers has been released to the public by the Department of Energys Sandia
National Laboratories. Neil Pundit, manager of Sandia's Scalable Computing Systems group, says the
release of Cplant system software will allow researchers free access to the body of research and
development that created the most scalable, Linuxbased, offtheshelf computer available. He says
the hope is that modifications made by researchers elsewhere will enrich the system software, and
that those improvements will come back to Sandia. The software can be downloaded from the Cplant
website at http://www.cs.sandia.gov/cplant/
SANDIA ARSENIC-CATCHERS COULD SUPPLY AFFORDABLY SAFER DRINKING WATER
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories have designed inexpensive new chemicals with arsenictrapping
properties called Specific Anion Nanoengineered Sorbents that could have national implications as hundreds of US communities
consider the costs of reducing arsenic concentrations in water supplies. The Environmental Improvement Agency is considering lowering
the standard for arsenic in drinking water. Inorganic arsenic occurs naturally in some groundwater, seeping out of rock and soils that
neighbor the aquifer. Ingestion of high levels of arsenic has been linked to a variety of cancers and cardiovascular and neurological
illnesses, although scientific data linking low level, chronic arsenic ingestion to health effects are limited.
COMPRESSED AIR MIGHT SOLVE SOME OF THE COUNTRY'S ENERGY WOES
Members of a Sandia National Laboratories research team are working with Houstonbased Haddington Ventures and its subsidiary
Norton Energy Storage LLC to determine the feasibility of using a 2,200footdeep inactive limestone mine near Norton, Ohio,
as the storage vessel for a compressed air energy power plant. The intent is to compress air into the mine during offpeak
times like evenings and weekends, then route it through modified combustion turbines to generate electricity during times
of peak need. Only two such plants exist a 10yearoldfacility in McIntosh, Ala., about 40 miles north of Mobile, and
a 23yearold plant in Germany, both in caverns created in salt deposits.
DISPOSABLE FIBER OPTICS BOON TO DRILLING INDUSTRY
The Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories has developed a technique that uses an inexpensive disposable fiber optics telemetry
system to relay realtime information about the drilling process. Researcher David Holcomb says it sends information to the surface about
temperatures, pressure, chemistry, and rock formation all obtained without stopping the drilling operation. Halting drilling
to gather such information can cost as much as $200,000 a day for offshore operations. The technique is based on the use of disposable fiber developed for
nonlineofsight missile guidance systems in the 1980s. It was demonstrated in September at the Gas Technology Institute test facility in
INTELLIGENT NANOSTRUCTURES REPORT ON ENVIRONMENT
EUV MACHINE A MILESTONE IN MAKING COMPUTER CHIPS
Intelligent nanostructures that report on their environment by changing color from blue to fluorescent red under mechanical, chemical, or thermal stress
have been created by researchers at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico. The selfassembling
structuresas durable as seashellscould lower costs by reducing the need for expensive manufactured devices. When the environmental
disturbance is removed, the structures change back to their original color in some cases, making them potentially reusable. Sandia senior scientist and
UNM professor Jeff Brinker says NASA one of the sponsors of the research is interested in the material, for possible use in
An industrygovernment coalition has completed the first fullscale prototype machine for making computer chips using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light.
The development was hailed as a breakthrough that will lead to microprocessors tens of times faster than today's most powerful chips, and memory chips
with correspondingly greater storage capacity. EUV lithography technology will allow semiconductor manufacturers to print circuit lines down to at least
0.03 microns, extending the current pace of semiconductor innovation at least through the end of this decade. The technology was developed by a consortium
that includes the Department of Energy's Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, and Lawrence Berkeley national labs.
MAGNETIC FIELD FIRES 20 TIMES FASTER THAN RIFLE
A magnetic field that accelerates pellets faster than anything except a nuclear explosion has been developed experimentally at the Department of Energy's
Sandia National Laboratories. The propulsion speed of 20 km/sec -- almost three times that necessary to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth
(about 7 km/sec) -- would send material from New York to Boston in half a minute. A rifle bullet is typically propelled at 1 km/sec. The machine that
generates the field has been jokingly dubbed the fastest gun in the West, but physicist Marcus Knudson, lead scientist on the project,
says simply: It's the fastest gun in the world.
MOLECULAR TRAPS SNARE PROBLEM CHEMICALS
Researchers studying ways to capture radioactive chemicals swimming in a sea of hazardous waste have created a new class of molecular cages that,
like lobster traps, let certain species in while keeping others out. The new microporous materials, named Sandia Octahedral Molecular Sieves (SOMS)
by their discoverers at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories, could help purify industrial process or waste streams or filter out
valuable chemicals for reuse. The Sandia team is collaborating with researchers from the University of California-Davis, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,
the University of Michigan, the State University of New York-Stony Brook, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
WHAT MAY BE WORLD'S SMALLEST ROBOT BEING DEVELOPED
What may be the world's smallest robot -- it turns on a dime and parks on a nickel -- is being developed by researchers at the Department
of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories. At 1/4 cubic inch and weighing less than an ounce, it is possibly the smallest autonomous untethered robot
ever created. Powered by three watch batteries, it rides on track wheels and consists of an 8K ROM processor, temperature sensor, and two motors that
drive the wheels. Enhancements being considered include a miniature camera, microphone, communication device, and chemical micro-sensor. Possible future
tasks include locating and disabling land mines or detecting chemical and biological weapons.
MAGNETIC TRAIN PROJECT FUNDED BY CONGRESS
Seraphim a simpler, less expensive US alternative
to the magnetically levitated (maglev) trains of Europe
and Japan has been funded for development at the Department
of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories. Congress approved
$2 million for further motor testing and design of the Seraphim
technology, which relies upon magnetic repulsion to push
a vehicle forward. Sandia already had received $1 million
to build a full-scale prototype of its Seraphim motor. Congress
also allocated $2 million to the Colorado Intermountain
Fixed Guideway Authority (CIFGA) for cost and technical
analyses of a monorail transit system like Seraphim
robust enough to reach from the Denver International
Airport through downtown Denver to the more mountainous
CHEESECLOTH-LIKE DEVICE BENDS LIGHT WITH LITTLE LOSS
A tiny gallium arsenide bar whose appearance resembles cheesecloth has bent infrared beams with very little loss of light in laboratory experiments at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories. The effect opens the possibility that the simple, inexpensive, essentially two-dimensional technique can drastically reduce the energy needed to start and operate a laser. Also, the holes' premeditated size and periodic placement create a structure that blocks most light waves while transmitting those in a selected band of wavelengths that can navigate that geography. Because of the very small light loss, the technique offers the potential of ultimately replacing electronic chips with faster, cooler photonic chips.
DEVICE OFFERS DESIGNER LIGHTING, ECO-BENEFITS
The first ultra-violet (UV) solid-state microcavity laser has been demonstrated in prototype by scientists at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories, working with colleagues at Brown University. Among their benefits, UV VCSELS (vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers) coated with phosphors have the capability to generate the white light most prized for indoor lighting -- illumination currently provided by gas-filled fluorescent tubes widely used in offices, schools, and factories, and by incandescent bulbs used in most homes. Such solid-state emitters will last 5-10 times longer than fluorescent tubes, be far hardier, and perhaps most noticeably, grouped several hundred to a postage-sized chip, offer the option of being arranged in any configuration on ceiling, wall, or furniture.
SANDIA ENERGY WORK HELPS MEXICAN FARMERS, RANCHERS
The Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories is helping expand efforts to bring the benefits of solar and wind power to rural Mexico through new joint programs with the Mexican government, renewable energy suppliers in the US and Mexico, universities, and other partners. One such effort, the Renewable Energy for Agriculture program managed by the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, is expected to bring as many as 1,200 new PV systems and 55 wind systems to isolated areas of Mexico during the next five years. The systems will be used primarily for water pumping, but some may be adapted for other uses that improve economic, social, and health standards in agricultural areas of Mexico.
PORTABLE VAPOR DETECTOR SYSTEM PREPPED FOR BIG TEST
A lightweight, portable chemical vapor detection system developed by the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories is being prepared for a field test simulating a chemical release. Field testing of the system is expected next year, putting the technology within a few years of actual deployment. The seven-pound, battery-powered sensor system, built into a box 10 by 8 by 4 inches, along with its notebook computer is light enough to be hand-carried into the field where it can test for and identify 18 different chemicals in minutes. It has drawn interest from the military, the Environmental Protection Agency, DOE, other government agencies, and many private companies.
HOPPERS LEAPFROG CONVENTIONAL ROBOT MOBILITY WISDOM
Hopping machines inspired by the clumsy jumping of grasshoppers being collected by a trout fisherman researcher may soon give robots unprecedented mobility for exploring other planets, gathering war-fighting intelligence, and assisting police during standoffs or surveillance operations. The unique robots, developed by researchers at the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories, use combustion-driven pistons to make leaps as high as 20 feet. The work is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The researchers believe the hopper mobility provides the reliable, autonomous mobility in difficult environments that has eluded robot engineers and complicated planned planetary exploration missions.
LICENSING TO BROADEN DESIGN, USE OF MICROMACHINES
A licensing agreement between the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories and Microcosm Technologies Inc. should enable inventors and engineers not only to design micromachines, but to ensure their manufacturability and performance before incurring fabrication costs. The licensing agreement allows Microcosm to incorporate Sandias design tools into its commercially available software. Designs might range from mirror arrays the size of a quarter that route Internet traffic to prescription drug-dispensing systems that fit on a fingertip. Sandia agreed to the licensing arrangement in part because it is interested in seeing MEMs (microelectromechanical) technologies inserted into biomedical devices, optical switches, and certain defense applications.
SANDIA, DOE, NAVAJO NATION SIGN MOU
In an effort to build working relationships, the Department of Energy, DOEs Sandia National Laboratories, and the Navajo Nation recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to encourage further collaboration between Sandia and the Navajo Nation. Sandias Energy, Information and Infrastructure Surety Division has worked closely with the Navajos over the years in various energy-related projects. Among the potential areas of collaboration and cooperation enabled by the MOU are developing strategies promoting regional economic development and quality education; offering broad services from Sandias Corporate Business Development and Partnerships Office; identifying mutual interests and concerns; and using Sandias expertise and resources to help address technical issues on the reservation.
SANDIA TO HELP IMPROVE NUCLEAR POWER SAFETY REGS
Researchers at the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories have released updated computer software that models the complex physical phenomena that occur as a nuclear power plant accident progresses through time. The software incorporates the results of nuclear power plant safety research since the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. By using the latest experimental data available, MELCOR 1.8.5 can help regulators and utilities more sensibly define their operational margins of safety and minimize the burden of unnecessary regulation on the nuclear power industry. MELCOR models the whole power plant, from the cooling-system plumbing and control wiring to the physical interactions between nuclear fuel rods and their containment vessels.
SANDIA HELPS ASSESS SECURITY OF NATIONS DAMS
Security experts from the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories met recently with members of the Interagency Forum on Infrastructure Protection (IFIP), a committee of dam security officials from various federal agencies that own and operate dams, to discuss a new Sandia-designed process for assessing dam security. The IFIP officials are concerned about hydroterrorism at dams and hydroelectric facilities and interested in improving security at some of the nations 75,000 dams. Such meetings have been going on since 1997 and have resulted in development of a rigorous, scientific dam-assessment methodology based on formal risk-assessment tools and techniques Sandia uses to improve the security of DOE facilities.
MAJOR MAGNETIC CONFINEMENT FUSION ISSUE RESOLVED
Researchers from the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories, General Atomics, and the University of California at San Diego have resolved one of many issues impeding successful magnetic confinement fusion. The team discovered a way to keep the fusion plasma from eroding divertor walls inside tokamak fusion machines. Divertor walls are the region in a tokamak where material surfaces are in direct contact with the energy-producing fusion plasma. The researchers used the DIII-D tokamak magnetic fusion machine at General Atomics in San Diego and the Divertor Materials Evaluation System (DiMES) to conduct experiments that showed erosion is eliminated during operation with detached plasmas. General Atomics operates the DIII-D fusion machine for DOE.
Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.
Howard Kercheval, email@example.com (505) 844-7842