Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)


FLC Region

Security Lab



P.O. Box 1663
Mail Stop C334
Los Alamos, NM 87545-0001
United States

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Since its beginning in 1943, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has used science and technology to find creative but practical solutions to complex problems. Modern challenges range from finding alternative energy technologies and restoring the environment to fabricating better and stronger materials. One important aspect of solving these problems is ensuring that science and technology are available in the marketplace as well as in the laboratory.


LANL's primary mission is nuclear weapons research and development. As a multiprogram laboratory, LANL also uses its core competencies to render technical assistance to the DoE weapons complex and energy and environmental technologies and conduct basic research supporting the DoE research mission. LANL also works for other federal agencies and US industry.

Technology Disciplines

Displaying 1 - 10 of 814
3,6BIS(1H-1,2,3,4-tetrazol-5-ylamino)-1,2,4,5-tetrazine or salt thereof
3-dimensional imaging at nanometer resolutions
Accelerator-driven transmutation of spent fuel elements
Acid-catalyzed dehydrogenation of amine-boranes
Acoustic concentration of particles in fluid flow
Acoustic Methods to Support Biofuels Production
Actinide/beryllium neutron sources with reduced dispersion characteristics
Activation of molecular catalysts using semiconductor quantum dots
Active terahertz metamaterial devices


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Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research (ARM)
Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT)
Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) - Gateway
Center for Nonlinear Studies (CNLS)
Institute of Geophysics, Planetary Physics, and Signatures
Isotope Production Facility (IPF)
Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE)
Lujan at Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE)
Lujan Neutron Scattering Center
Materials Test Station



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Diaper Dynamics

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s expertise in nuclear weapons helped P&G engineer a better diaper.

Yes, really.

Twenty-five years ago, P&G approached Los Alamos with a unique problem: how do you keep fluid away from baby’s skin? It doesn’t seem like a question a nuclear weapons laboratory can answer, but in fact, Los Alamos has unique expertise in how fluids move. Why? Because to understand what happens after a nuclear explosion occurs requires scientists to understand how the materials around it behave. The temperature surrounding a nuclear detonation becomes so high that solids melt into liquid. Los Alamos uses computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to understand complex mechanisms of liquid flow and how to manipulate it.

P&G wanted to capitalize on that expertise to build a better diaper. Thanks to a partnership between Los Alamos National Laboratory and P&G, researchers have applied and refined complex CFD models to the manufacturing process of diapers and to study the flow of fluids in fibrous materials. In particular, the team wanted to know what characteristics of fibrous material can increase the efficiency of holding fluid next to the diaper as opposed to next to the skin. Los Alamos studied the morphology of the fibrous material in diapers and calculated the flow of fluids through that material. The analysis gave a series of results that describe how the fluid is distributed and where it goes depending on the density of the fibers and on their absorbing characteristics.

So P&G (and parents) got a better diaper. Meanwhile, this project’s validation of the CFD models contributed valuable inputs to strengthen analyses in the core nuclear science programs—which in turn helped strengthen critical national security programs.

In November of 2004, Chevron Energy Technology Company and Los Alamos National Laboratory entered into an Alliance for Advanced Energy Solutions. The purpose of the Alliance is to address the most critical technology needs of the oil and gas industry. 

For Los Alamos, this innovative approach allowed the institution to fulfill the Department of Energy’s mission “to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission...”. 

Chevron Energy Technology Company is responsible for making technology available to Chevron’s operating companies under a business model in which it works with oil and gas suppliers to develop, demonstrate, and deploy new technologies and products. For Chevron, the Alliance strategically supports the company’s goal to develop promising energy technologies that will deliver additional energy supplies. To date, the Alliance has been a model private-public partnership that addresses both organizations strategic goals. 

Today the Alliance has 18 diverse projects that include long-term, high-value, cutting-edge technologies in down-hole communications, subsea technologies, refining separations, and imaging and modeling. 

Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy
(Photo courtesy of LANL)

“To help enable human progress and meet the world’s growing demand for energy, Chevron collaborates externally with universities and research institutions to develop unique technology solutions and build functional expertise. Chevron values our longstanding partnership with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in this regard. Together we work to identify, develop and field test innovative technologies that intersect global business needs. Adapting LANL’s technology and capabilities has allowed us to address challenges across our value-chain -- from exploration and drilling, to reservoir management and production, to facilities and refining.” - Paul Siegele, Chief Technology Officer and President, Chevron Energy Technology Company 


Together, Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) and EMC, are enhancing, designing, building, testing and deploying new cutting-edge technologies in an effort to meet some of the nation’s most difficult information technology challenges. Thus far, the LANL and EMC collaboration has been engaged in high-performance computing and data storage research, as well as large-scale analytics.

One of EMC’s innovative products is a flash appliance, called the Active Burst Buffer Appliance, or aBBa, which helps extreme scale high-performance computing set-ups run faster and smoother. It acts like a very fast book mark: when one of the millions of parts that make up a supercomputer fails; the tightly coupled application can quickly get back to where it was.

A key software development in the operation of and other computing platforms is Parallel Logstructured File System (PLFS). PLFS, designed and developed through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Los Alamos and EMC, is an open-source, extremely scalable data-management middleware library that can be used with everything from small clusters of computers to the largest supercomputers in the world. This technology is file-system agnostic and could improve computing efficiency significantly.

PLFS is a parallel IO abstraction layer that rearranges unstructured, concurrent writes by many clients into sequential writes to unique files (N-1 into N-N) to improve the efficiency of the underlying parallel file system. EMC is now demonstrating aBBa at High Performance Computing (HPC) trade shows. PLFS also features as a core technology in the DOE’s FastForward program, targeted at eliminating barriers on the path to exascale computing.

PLFS work at Los Alamos is built on a foundation of years of storage and I/O leadership in HPC, directly impacts execution of the Laboratory’s mission via a variety of computing platform as well as highlight the Laboratory’s broader contribution as this key HPC technology is developed and deployed for the first time at extreme scale locally at Los Alamos.

Parallel storage infrastructure is a growing market segment in an overall multi-billion dollar industry. Los Alamos has been instrumental, first in developing parallel storage infrastructure for HPC, and now in partnering with companies who are using these concepts, including PLFS, to extend parallel storage infrastructure to a customer base spanning every possible market segment; see, for instance, http://www.emc.com/cloud/customer-showcase.htm.

There are approximately 104 nuclear power plants in the United States. These plants are some of the most sophisticated and complex energy systems ever created. Despite the painstaking engineering that has gone into such plants, no system is failure-proof. Calculating the risk of damaging the fuel by all possible failure paths is important to minimize the chance of a catastrophic event.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been striving to resolve what it calls Generic Safety Issue (GSI) 191. GSI-191 involves the following scenario: a high-energy pipe breaks, creating debris that finds its way to the plant’s emergency recirculation sump strainers. Debris passing through the strainer can also accumulate in fuel channels, adversely impacting reactor cooling.

To improve and refine how best to address GSI-191, Bruce Letellier and his team at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) established a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the University of Texas to assist South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company. The partners developed CASA (Containment Accident Stochastic Analysis) Grande, a software code that automates the evaluation of a single postulated accident so that thousands of possible scenarios can be assessed. CASA Grande enables generation of a spectrum of possible outcomes that range from successful performance of the plant’s safety systems to various “failure” states defined by regulatory levels of concern. CASA Grande statistically samples probability distributions defined for each factor, propagating uncertainty on the input into an assessment of uncertainty on the measures of failure. Non-uniform Latin hypercube sampling (LHS) is used to sample and propagate uncertainty through a basic event scenario that includes debris generation, debris transport, and debris accumulation. Inclusion of plant-state timing in the uncertainty sampling is a novel adaptation of LHS that generates randomized event sequences that are not easily handled by traditional probabilistic risk assessment methods. A prototype of CASA Grande was exercised for the first time in December of 2011.

Los Alamos filed a copyright disclosure for CASA Grande and soon after established an exclusive commercial licensing agreement with Alion Science and Technology Corporation in 2013. Alion has made numerous improvements to the code to support their consulting services and is actively developing a market for users in the nuclear utility community.

Under the terms of the exclusive license, Alion can modify, market, and apply the CASA Grande code for revenue generation so long as periodic improvements to the code revert back to Los Alamos National Security, LLC for noncommercial, government use. From a corporate perspective, CASA Grande constitutes a business investment for Alion that will help the company grow its market base among commercial nuclear utilities. Alion has made substantial improvements to CASA Grande, including user-accessibility features and model-fidelity enhancements. The commercial version, now under software quality control, provides the foundation for GSI-191 resolution at the South Texas Project nuclear power plant.

The field of flow cytometry was originally invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) as a way to allow scientists to quantitate and examine cells by passing them through a laser-based detection device.

Thousands of cells per second may be analyzed individually, allowing rapid characterization of entire populations of cells as well as the detection of rare cells. Cell biologists use flow cytometry for a wide range of applications, including the study of cellular protein expression, immunophenotyping, quantification of cellular DNA, and measurement of a variety of cellular phenotypes for the purposes of basic cell biology research and drug discovery. Advances in the development of flow cytometry instrumentation at Los Alamos have benefitted from the support of the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In 2006, Los Alamos spun out a new company, Acoustic Cytometry Systems, LLC (ACS), to commercialize a novel flow cytometer technology. The company furthered the development of a method to use sound waves to guide cells through cytometers, or cell meters, allowing researchers to closely examine tissue samples for medical diagnostics. Unlike typical flow-through cytometers— which use fluids to rapidly push thousands, if not millions, of compounds through cytometers for drug discovery—the ACS technology allows researchers to use sound waves to completely stop the flow of tissue samples and focus on individual cells up close.

ACS was subsequently acquired in 2008 by Invitrogen Corporation, which later merged with Applied Biosystems to form Life Technologies. The company advanced the Los Alamos technology and developed the Attune® Acoustic Focusing Cytometer, a first-of-its-kind cytometer system that uses acoustic waves to precisely control the movement of cells during analysis. The system is based on a portfolio of intellectual property developed at Los Alamos for which Life Technologies (which was recently acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.) holds exclusive commercial license rights.

Acoustic focusing enables both longer transit times and higher throughput, which simultaneously permit better interrogation of every cell in a sample and analysis of much larger numbers of cells. By further developing Los Alamos’ acoustic cytometer technology and launching it as a commercial product, Life Technologies is poised to bring researchers and scientists one step closer to precise quantitation of molecular phenotypes at the single cell level, huge advancement in today’s biological and medical research capabilities.

The Attune® Acoustic Focusing Cytometer offers researchers a flexible, high-performance cytometer at less than half the price of comparable instruments. It improves the sensitivity, throughput, and accuracy of flow cytometry-based assays, while also enabling a greater variety of sample types than can be evaluated on traditional hydrodynamically focused cytometer systems. The Attune Cytometer provides extremely high-quality data and the flexibility to analyze complex samples with reduced interference.



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