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Nuclear and Chemical Sciences

LLNL gamma-ray sensor has the best resolution

It’s official. An instrument designed and built by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers is the highest-resolution gamma ray sensor that has ever flown in space. The Livermore high-purity germanium (HPGe) gamma ray sensor is an essential part of a larger gamma-ray spectrometer (GRS) built in collaboration with researchers from Johns Hopkins Applied…

Surface vs. subsurface groundwater contamination at legacy oil site

The ability to identify the source of oilfield groundwater contamination, such as surface releases, wastewater injection, or subsurface well leakage, is critical in selecting proper remedial actions. For example, contamination from historical operations at the land surface can be remediated to prevent off-site migration and the contamination of the local aquifer. However,…

Forensic Science Center to mentor Moroccan lab

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Forensic Science Center (FSC) will assist a national laboratory from the North African nation of Morocco under an international program over the next year. As an Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-designated laboratory for more than two decades, LLNL will work with a Moroccan lab –…

Three selected as Graduate Student Research program recipients

Three graduate students have earned Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program awards to perform their doctoral dissertation research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The prestigious award helps cover living expenses and travel for 60 students from universities across the nation. Their proposed research projects…

Germanium isotope really does have an 11-day half-life

Searching for the elusive neutrino takes on many forms. Detectors consisting of many tons of gallium are used in several experiments because neutrino interactions can occur on the stable gallium-71 (71Ga) nucleus and transform it into a radioactive isotope of germanium (71Ge) with an 11-day half-life that can then be observed with traditional radiation detectors. However,…

Finding Livermore: Employees share their LLNL origin stories

With more than 70 years of history and nearly 9,000 current employees, it is not uncommon for several generations of family members to have worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). For those employees with parents or grandparents preceding them, a career at the Laboratory was not in their original plans. In fact, before coming to LLNL, many do not realize…

Unexpected source of nutrients fuels growth of toxic algae from Lake Erie

Climate change, such as warming and changes in precipitation patterns, affects the frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) globally, including those of toxin-producing cyanobacteria that can contaminate drinking water. These nutrient-induced blooms cause worldwide public and ecosystem health concerns. Since the mid-1990s, Lake Erie, the shallowest and warmest…

Lab scientist wins Springer Thesis Award for work in neutrino research

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) postdoc Sam Hedges has won a 2024 Springer Thesis Award for his work in searching for the elusive neutrino. “I’m honored that my thesis was nominated for this award, and was excited when I found out it had won,” Hedges said. His thesis, “Low Energy Neutrino-Nucleus Interactions at the Spallation Neutron Source," highlights the…

Pett-Ridge selected as a 2024 Ecological Society of America fellow

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist and head of the Lab’s Carbon Initiative Jennifer Pett-Ridge has been selected as a fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). ESA designates fellows of the society for certain members who have made outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA. Pett-Ridge was selected for her work in soil…

Celebrating LLNL researchers on World Intellectual Property Day

World Intellectual Property (IP) Day is Friday, April 26. World IP Day shines a light on the important role innovation plays in achieving the United Nations’ (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to create a better future for everyone by protecting the planet. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL)’s Innovation and Partnerships Office (IPO) is…

Five Lab postdocs will attend 73rd annual Lindau Nobel Laureate meetings

Getting the chance to meet and mingle with scientists who have achieved Nobel Prize winning greatness will be the reality for five Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) postdoctoral appointees selected to attend the 73rd annual Lindau Nobel Laureate meetings. Tina Ebert, Elizabeth Grace and Raspberry Simpson were selected as the 2024 LLNL cohort; Tomi Akindele and…

Algal activities shape surrounding bacterial communities

Microalgae play important roles in global carbon cycling and industrial applications for bioproduct and biofuel production. As with land plants and other host–microbial systems, microalgal activity, productivity, and stability are closely tied to surrounding microbial communities. However, a predictive understanding of microbial community interactions with algae is still…

Understanding soil carbon's sensitivity to increasing global temperatures

Particulate soil carbon may be more vulnerable to microbial decomposition under warmer temperatures associated with climate change. Soil organic matter contains more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined. Soil is increasingly considered for its potential role in climate mitigation due to its ability to sequester more carbon, but it also is critical to understand…

Lab employees recognized with Secretary of Energy’s Honor Awards

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) employees, participating in five project teams, recently earned Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary’s Honor Awards. In addition, Karin King of the Livermore Field Office was honored for her role in the Leadership in Climate Action Team. Representing some of the highest internal, non-monetary recognition that DOE employees and…

Hot stuff: A new thermal pathway for a high explosive

TATB (1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene) is an important explosive compound because of its extensive use in munitions and world-wide weapons systems. Despite its importance, researchers have been trying to understand its response to temperature extremes for the past 50 years. A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) team has uncovered a new thermal decomposition…

Strategic Deterrence Academic Collaboration Team awards six scientists to support collaborative research

Six scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) were recently granted awards through the Lab’s 2023 Academic Collaboration Team (ACT) annual call for proposals. Awards support university research partners for up to three years to perform research in collaboration with Lab scientists and offer an important way to build long-term connections with…

Microbial research unravels a global nitrogen mystery

Ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms (AOM) use ammonia for energy and account for the annual oxidation of approximately 2.3 trillion kilograms of nitrogen in soil, freshwater, the subsurface and man-made ecosystems. But one major question that has remained unanswered for decades is how different AOM species coexist in the same environment: do they compete for ammonia or…

Underneath it all: building a better understanding of carbon use by soil microbes

Microbes are major drivers of carbon and nutrient fluxes in Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems; however, Earth system models used for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies typically exclude explicit representation of soil microorganisms. A team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) and…

Synthetic antibacterial minerals combat topical infections

The development of new antibiotics has stalled — new strategies are needed as the world enters the age of antibiotic resistance. To combat this challenge, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have found that synthetic antibacterial minerals exhibit potent antibacterial activity against topical MRSA infections and increase the rate of wound closure…

The hidden symphony of soil: decoding viral dynamics and microbial mortality after the first rainfall

Soil is a highly complex microbial habitat that is home to tens of millions of microbial populations, where biotic and abiotic factors shape microbial community structure. Moments of acute pressure on a community, such as rapid environmental changes or fluxes in resource availability, drive successional trajectories that result in altered community structures. One such…