Also in this issue:
• Embedded Sensors for Stockpile Stewardship
• A Grand Simulation of a Nanoparticle
• Safeguarding Nuclear Reactors
About the Cover
About the Review
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Prepared by LLNL under contract
Partnering with private industry can provide
expertise that researchers at Lawrence Livermore
need to accomplish the Laboratory’s missions. At the
same time, companies that license and commercialize
Livermore technologies have an opportunity to achieve
great success. The Industrial Partnerships Office (IPO)
is Livermore’s primary connection to the private
sector and the conduit through which innovative
inventions are transferred to commercial firms. The
article beginning on p. 4 describes new efforts by the
IPO staff to increase licensing agreements and make
Laboratory technologies more attractive to external
collaborators. The cover shows a test stand for
ion-source development, a component of the proton
accelerator now licensed to TomoTherapy, Inc., for
3 Science Translated for the Greater Good
Commentary by Steven D. Liedle
4 The New Face of Industrial Partnerships
An entrepreneurial spirit is blossoming at
12 Monitoring a Nuclear Weapon from the Inside
Livermore researchers are developing tiny sensors
to warn of detrimental chemical and physical
changes inside nuclear warheads.
2 The Laboratory in the News
27 Patents and Awards
Jane P. Bearinger
Arnie Heller, Kristen Light, Caryn
Meissner, and Katie Walter
art director and deSigner
Michael Anthony and Jacquelin
Charlie M. Arteago, Jr.
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20 Simulating the Biomolecular Structure of
Grand Challenge simulations reveal the size and
structure of nanolipoprotein particles used to study
23 Antineutrino Detectors Improve Reactor
Antineutrino detectors track the consumption
and production of fissile materials inside
The Laboratory in the News S&TR July/August 20082
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Two planets found in nearby solar system
A team of international scientists, including three Livermore
researchers, discovered a solar system nearly 5,000 light years
away that contains two scaled-down gas giant planets. The two
planets are the same distance apart as Jupiter and Saturn are from
each other, but they are only half the distance from their parent
star as Jupiter and Saturn are from our Sun. “It looks more like
our solar system than any other system we’ve seen so far,” says
Livermore scientist Bruce Macintosh, “and it has room for a planet
The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment detected the
first evidence of these planets in 2006 when the star orbited by the
planets crossed in front of a star farther from Earth, producing an
effect called gravitational microlensing. In a microlensing event,
the nearer star’s gravity magnifies the light shining from the farther
star. The planets’ orbits of their parent star altered this magnification
in a distinctive pattern. After the initial microlensing discovery,
astronomers working at ground-based telescopes around the world
observed the event and helped analyze the data. Results from the
team’s research appeared in the February 15, 2008, issue of Science.
The two new planets have mass and separation ratios and
equilibrium temperatures similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn.
Their masses are about 71 percent of Jupiter’s mass and 90 percent
of Saturn’s. Their parent star is about 50 percent the mass of
our Sun. This exoplanetary system, the fifth to be detected via
microlensing, indicates that the Milky Way Galaxy is home to
many solar systems like ours.
Contact: Kem Cook (925) 423-4634 (email@example.com) or
Bruce Macintosh (925) 423-8129 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Study reveals seismic structure of deep Earth
Livermore scientists and collaborators from the University
of Washington, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and
Northwestern University are working to better understand the
seismic structure of deep Earth by examining the elastic behavior
of iron-containing minerals under extremely high pressures.
The researchers have determined for the first time the complete
elasticity of ferropericlase, an iron magnesium oxide found in
Earth’s lower mantle, through the high-spin to low-spin electronic
transition induced by high pressures.
The lower mantle composes more than half of Earth’s volume
and is subject to extremely high pressures and temperatures.
Pressure directly affects the electronic configuration of iron in
mantle minerals, such as ferropericlase. Iron exists in the high-
spin state at low pressure but changes dramatically to the low-spin
state under extreme pressure. The team found that this transition
causes ferropericlase to soften when pressures range from 40 to
60 gigapascals. Research results were published in the January 25,
2008, edition of Science.
According to team lead Jonathan Crowhurst of the Laboratory’s
Chemistry, Materials, Earth, and Life Sciences Directorate, the
lower mantle profoundly influences many terrestrial phenomena,
including some that are directly relevant to Earth’s inhabitants.
Characterizing the physical properties of the lower mantle
will allow researchers to test and refine geophysical models.
“Knowledge of this deep, inaccessible region is derived largely
from seismic data,” says Crowhurst. “It is particularly desirable to
measure under relevant conditions the acoustic characteristics of
candidate materials or mixtures.”