Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)


FLC Region

Security Lab



P.O Box 5800
MS 1495
Albuquerque, NM 87185-1495
United States

Laboratory Representative


Organized and built as a result of atomic research that began in New Mexico in 1942, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has undergone many changes, especially in the types of scientific research and engineering programs carried out at the facilities. Sandia's primary mission remains ensuring that the nation has a reliable nuclear deterrent, but over the years other programs of a complementary nature or of particular national interest have been added. Almost from its inception, SNL has engaged in some type of technology transfer. Because Sandia's primary role for the DoE has been converting laboratory prototypes into usable products, the laboratory has been particularly effective over the past 30 years in sharing inventions, ideas and engineering know-how with private industry. Sandia's transferred technologies have become successful commercial products, accounting for thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in worldwide sales. With the emergence of a new threat to our national security--the declining competitiveness of key US industries in world markets--transferring technology from the national laboratories to the private sector has taken on important new dimensions. Like other DoE laboratories, Sandia has developed a broader, more aggressive technology transfer program to meet this new responsibility.


Sandia National Laboratories enhances the security, prosperity and well-being of the nation by responding to the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly dynamic and demanding world with broad-based research and development programs that create solutions contributing to military security, energy security, environmental integrity and economic competitiveness. Our longest standing program (within the military security mission area) is implementation of the nation's nuclear weapon policies through research, development and testing in nuclear ordinance, arms control and weapon surety. As a multiprogram laboratory, we also serve the nation through a variety of programs that directly contribute to both national energy security and environmental integrity. By working through partnerships with industry and academia based on road maps generated by industry, Sandia is able to assist in the development of multiple national infrastructures (such as manufacturing, information and transportation systems, and cost-effective health care technologies) that are critical to our mission of economic security and that also are day to the objectives of programs within the other mission areas. In this context Sandia technologies and contributions exhibit a dual-use character.

Tech Areas

Available Technologies
Displaying 1 - 10 of 221
Additive Manufacturing Unique Serialization
Advanced Forms of Activated Carbon
Advanced Ultrasonic Device with In-Situ Height Adjustment for Improved Flaw Detection
Aerosol-to-Liquid Particle Extraction System (ALPES)
Alternating Current Photovoltaic Building Block
Apparatus for SERS Analysis of Gases
Atomic Magnetometer
Atomic Magnetometer
Authenticated Sensor Interface Device (ASID)
Automated Gloving System


No Funding for this lab
No Programs for this lab
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Advanced Power Sources Laboratory
Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research (ARM)
Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) - Core Facility
Combustion Research Facility
Design, Evaluation and Test Technology Facility
Design, Evaluation, and Test Technology Facility
Distributed Energy Technology Laboratory
Engineering Sciences Experimental Facilities (ESEF)
Engineering Sciences Experimental Facility
Explosive Components Facility


No Equipment for this lab
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Sandia - CRADAs

CRADAs - An overview for industry partners
Lab Representatives
Success Stories
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Sandia Decon Formulation Takes on Household Mold

A product based on a technology originally developed at Sandia National Laboratories is now available on the shelves of hardware stores across the country.

The product is Mold Control 500, distributed by Scott’s Liquid Gold of Denver and now available in Home Depot, Wal-Mart, True Value, Ace Hardware, and other home improvement stores. For around $30 a box, Scott’s Liquid Gold Mold Control 500 treats mildew- and mold-contaminated surface areas in the home, according to the package.

MC 500 is based on Sandia’s decontamination formulation (a.k.a. decon foam), developed for emergency cleanup of biological and chemical warfare agents following a terrorist attack. It is best known for its role in helping remediate anthrax-contaminated buildings in Washington, D.C., and New York in 2001.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.

“This is pretty exciting,” says Sandia researcher Mark Tucker, who leads the Sandia team that has developed, improved, and tested the Sandia formulation over the last 10 years. “Mold remediation wasn’t what we set out to do, but the formulation is effective at killing most microorganisms, so it is good to find uses beyond our original intent — especially uses that may improve public health."

The formulation kills fungi such as molds in much the same way it kills anthrax, says Tucker. Mold growths form films over their surfaces that, like the shells of anthrax spores, are difficult to penetrate. The formulation’s surfactants poke holes in the film, and its mild oxidizing components kill the fungal organisms. The formulation, when used as a foam, expands to fill space and thus gets into corners and other hard-to-reach places, and it sticks to walls and ceilings, giving the chemistry time to do its work.

Scott’s Liquid Gold has an arrangement with Modec, Inc., of Denver to sell Mold Control 500 in retail markets. Modec is one of two companies holding Sandia licenses to market and distribute products based on the Sandia formulation.

“Mold control is an up and coming issue,” says Modec President Brian Kalamanka. “We felt there was an excellent niche for this.”

Jeff Hinkle, Scott’s Liquid Gold senior vice president for marketing, says its recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval allowed shipping to retail outlets to begin in the fall. Stores began stocking MC 500 in November, and the product is expected to reach thousands more stores this month, he says.

Development of the Sandia formulation began in 1997, funded initially by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Chemical and Biological National Security Program. It has earned two patents, and several more are pending.

In addition to helping clean up contaminated buildings following a series of mailings of anthrax powder to recipients in Washington, D.C., New York, and Florida in 2001, the Sandia foam also was staged in the Middle East in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has played a role there in helping clean up hazardous chemical sites. Sandia’s two licensees, Modec Inc. and Intelagard Inc., have sold thousands of gallons of the formulation to municipal and state governments, the first responder community, and the U.S. military, among other users.

Tests at Sandia and Kansas State University in 2004 demonstrated the formulation’s effectiveness for killing the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), suggesting its use also might blunt the spread of other viruses such as the Norwalk (cruise ship) virus, avian influenza (bird flu), and the common flu.

The formulation now is being discussed as a potential solution to at least a dozen problems, among them hospital sanitization, meth lab cleanup, mold remediation in commercial buildings, and cleaning out agricultural pesticide sprayers in an environmentally benign way.

More information at

Scott’s Liquid Gold Mold Control, based on Sandia’s decon formulation, is now on hardware store shelves around the country. Here a box of the product sits on the shelf at a Home Depot store in Albuquerque, N.M. (Photo by Randy Montoya) 

Parachute Technology Airbag

In 1992, Sandia’s parachute development engineers partnered with Precision Fabrics Group, a leading manufacturer of military parachute material, to develop a new airbag with more than 60% reduced weight and volume compared to those used in passenger vehicles at the time. This technology entered the market just ahead of new regulations requiring all automobiles sold in the U.S. to have both driver and front-seat passenger airbags beginning in 1997.

Sandia and Precision Fabrics Group partnered via Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to rethink basic airbag design and create a more efficient and cost-effective product to meet the automotive industry’s needs. Key to this development was the use of a high-performance material, originally for military use, that surpassed the material used in airbags at the time. The Precision Technology Airbag was developed using lightweight, woven nylon material that was formerly used in military parachutes to ensure accurate delivery of nuclear weapons when dropped from supersonic aircraft. It was small enough to fit into a man’s shirt pocket when folded, but offered the same level of protection as conventional designs. Because less energy is required to inflate the lighter weight material, the airbag inflated faster than others on the market, deploying in approximately 19 to 24 milliseconds on the driver’s side compared to 25 to 30 milliseconds for a conventional airbag. Additionally, the smooth material reduced abrasions and burns that can occur in an accident when an inflating airbag encounters skin.

In addition to the airbag being easier to manufacture, its reduced size and weight were instrumental in enabling the installation of more airbags in vehicles. The technology gave automobile manufacturers the ability to include airbags in door panels to protect against side impacts, and, for the first time, to offer protection to rear passengers. Further, Sandia applied the expertise in fabric structures analysis used in the development of this airbag to later projects, including the construction, testing, and analysis of an airbag for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Environmental Survey Lander

CaptSandia researcher Kenneth Gwinn displays a prototype of the compact, lighter
airbag developed by Sandia and Precision Fabrics Group.ion

Advanced Nanomaterials for Energy Conservation and Temperature Regulation

Sandia National Laboratories’ original goal was to develop a self-resetting circuit breaker using vanadium dioxide. But through the creativity of a Sandia scientist and a businessman, Sandia technology has been transferred to the private sector and is poised to make a difference in the marketplace reducing energy needs for consumers in the U.S.

Sandia Physicist Paul Clem met a businessman with a company specializing in aerogel windows. William Kurtz told Clem that although they are great in the winter, aerogel windows get too hot in the summer. Clem thought he could adapt his thermochromic thin film material to solve this problem.

Sandia began working with IR Dynamics on developing the nanoparticles into a low cost, thermally dynamic technology that will be incorporated into a variety of products for smart regulation of solar heat. The team has developed nanoparticles that have tunable optical properties triggered by the environment: these nanomaterials transition to let the heat through when it’s cold outside and reflect heat when it’s warm. At cooler temperatures, this material is a clear insulator, but when it is hotter it becomes a metal that reflects infrared (IR) radiation while still transmitting visible light.

Vanadium dioxide particles (Photo credit: Sandia)

To transfer the technology from Sandia to IR Dynamics and the marketplace, a variety of mechanisms have been utilized. A $1.7M funds-in CRADA was used to develop thermochromic materials for control of IR transmission. The CRADA enables joint R&D as well as addressing new intellectual property developed during scale-up. Development of these thermochromic materials will suit environmentally-mediated applications including incorporating the nanoparticles into new windows, adding them to architectural plastics like those used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Water Cube, or high-performance athletic clothing. Many manufacturers are interested in IR Dynamic’s technologies because of their potential to satisfy increasing demand for energy efficiency and personal climate control.

CRADA Outcome

Learning about the Sandia thermochromic technology led to Kurtz starting a new company, IR Dynamics, to develop and market Sandia’s dynamic thermochromic materials. The first product IR Dynamics is developing is an easy-to-use film homeowners can apply to existing windows to reduce their heating and cooling bills, which Kurtz hopes to have on the market by late 2018.

After working together under two New Mexico Small Business Assistance projects to test the feasibility of creating products based on the thermally dynamic materials, work continues under the $1.7M CRADA and $1.95 million DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant. The external funding from the funds-in CRADA has, in turn, enabled Sandia development of other tunable optical material properties that meet Sandia’s enduring mission areas of integrated, adaptive optics and remote sensing. More sensitive physical sensors and new microfabricated optical structures are among the offshoot Sandia technologies, patents, and publications enabled by the partnership with IR Dynamics.

IR Dynamics is now licensing two technologies from Sandia. The company also has a User Facility Agreement with the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), which has led to three publications.

Research conducted during the NMSBA projects created the new joint intellectual property which gave the company the confidence to seek $2 million in A-round funding, IR Dynamics has also recently built out new offices and laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, and has hired six new employees. A B-round of funding is planned at the close of the ARPA-E grant period to scale up the manufacturing technology.

Madico, one of the largest providers of window films worldwide, is working with IR Dynamics to develop window film products and laminated ETFE structural film (an architectural membrane). The company also has a joint development agreement with HeiQ, a fabric finishing company that provides modified performance materials to major apparel brands.

Neonatal sepsis—a bacterial infection in the blood—is one of the leading causes of death in newborns. It takes 24-48 hours to get results from current test methods, and a high volume of blood must be drawn—a challenge when dealing with an infant. Routine screening for sepsis may soon be much faster and easier with a point-of-care diagnostic tool being developed by Sandstone Diagnostics. The company is using Sandia National Laboratories’ SpinDx™ platform as the basis for an instrument that can diagnose the condition in about 15 minutes, with just a drop of blood.

Sandstone Diagnostics was founded by former Sandia National Laboratories employees and SpinDx inventors Greg Sommer and Ulrich Schaff, who are licensing the technology. Benefiting from two separate NIH grants totaling $300,000, Sandstone Diagnostics is advancing the company’s long-term goal to manufacture and sell instruments and disposable test kits for different medical testing applications based on SpinDx technology. Sandstone is also developing an over-the-counter male fertility test kit that would allow for semen analysis at home. Additionally, Sommer and Schaff are working with researchers at Stanford University to look at blood-based biomarkers for earlier detection of sepsis proteins and cell markers under a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant.

SpinDx was originally developed for biodefense, with funding from a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project and the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD). SpinDx is a lab-on-a-disk that uses 4-inch plastic CD-like disks with etched microfluidic channels containing beads designed for specific assays. Test samples placed on the disks are spun in a “reader” device. SpinDx combines bead-based assays with sedimentation to separate the beads, differentiating it from other centrifugal devices.

SpinDx has both medical and non-medical applications, ranging from detection of markers of infectious diseases to food and water safety testing. It can quickly complete a variety of lab screening tests and be used by people with minimal scientific training in a lab or in the field. Results are available in minutes. A new test can be run as soon as a different disk is inserted, making it highly versatile.

In addition, the technology has been licensed by several companies that are developing its use for point-of-care diagnostics testing, water pathogen testing, and other applications.

Entrepreneurial Separation to Transfer Technology (ESTT)

ESTT allows Sandia to transfer technology to the private sector by permitting Sandia employees to leave the Labs to start up new technology companies or help expand existing companies. Entrepreneurs are guaranteed reinstatement by Sandia if they choose to return to the Labs. Greg Sommer left the Labs and

Department of Energy | May 2015

U.S. Department of Energy | IX.Appendix E – National Laboratory Success Stories 95

co-founded Sandstone Diagnostics in 2012 to manufacture and sell instruments and disposable test kits for medical testing applications based on Sandia’s SpinDx technology, which Sommer helped invent.

Cummins, a global manufacturer and distributor of diesel and natural gas engines, achieved a 10 percent reduction in the time and cost of designing a more robust, fuel-efficient, and clean-burning engine through the innovative work of a public-private partnership supported by the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The improvements were achieved by using computer modeling and simulation instead of the traditional build-and-test method. The multi-institution collaboration involved industry, universities, and National Laboratories with leadership provided by Sandia National Laboratories’ Combustion Research Facility (CRF) and funding largely provided by the Department of Energy.

Cummins’ ISB 6.7 liter diesel engine, first introduced in 2007, was designed entirely by computer modeling and simulation. The engine now powers more than 200,000 Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks. Today, most U.S. engines are designed using computer modeling and simulation—a change that is helping U.S. industry cut years off of product development cycles and bringing the nation closer to its goal of reducing petroleum usage for transportation by 17 percent by 2020.

Sandia’s Engine Combustion Research Program provided Cummins a completely new and authoritative understanding of the complex physical and chemical processes that drive diesel combustion. This research effort rested on more than 15 years of CRF investigation into the complex and fundamental phenomena of ignition. This fundamental understanding— achieved through the application of Sandia-developed laser diagnostics in the CRF’s optical engine facilities—was vital to developing the computational tools used by Cummins. Other key contributors to Cummins’ successes include:

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory provided the numerical framework for the engine combustion models
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provided chemical kinetic models for combustion and emissions
  • The University of Wisconsin and University of Michigan helped develop many of the sub-models for diesel combustion

Combustion Research Facility (CRF)

As a DOE Office of Science collaborative research facility, a key aspect of the CRF’s mission is to encourage the direct involvement of individuals, or “collaborators,” from the scientific community. The CRF also works with industrial partners on precompetitive projects that are shared with the community and on proprietary projects that are wholly owned by the sponsor. The CRF has been working closely with U.S. engine manufacturers for more than 30 years to increase scientific understanding of internal combustion engine processes affecting efficiency and emissions.