July/August 2008 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory July/August 2008 July/August 2008 S&TR Staff

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  • July/August 2008

    National Nuclear Security Administration’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Also in this issue:

    • Embedded Sensors for Stockpile Stewardship

    • A Grand Simulation of a Nanoparticle

    • Safeguarding Nuclear Reactors

  • About the Cover

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    About the Review

    At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, we focus science and technology on ensuring our nation’s security. We also apply that expertise to solve other important national problems in energy, bioscience, and the environment. Science & Technology Review is published six times a year to communicate, to a broad audience, the Laboratory’s scientific and technological accomplishments in fulfilling its primary missions. The publication’s goal is to help readers understand these accomplishments and appreciate their value to the individual citizen, the nation, and the world. The Laboratory is operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. LLNS is a partnership involving Bechtel National, University of California, Babcock & Wilcox, Washington Group of URS Corporation, and Battelle in affiliation with Texas A&M University. More information about LLNS is available online at www.llnsllc.com. Please address any correspondence (including name and address changes) to S&TR, Mail Stop L-664, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, P.O. Box 808, Livermore, California 94551, or telephone (925) 423-3432. Our e-mail address is str-mail@llnl.gov. S&TR is available on the Web at www.llnl.gov/str.

    © 2008. Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. All rights reserved. This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. To request permission to use any material contained in this document, please submit your request in writing to Library Report Orders, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Mail Stop L-610, P.O. Box 808, Livermore, California 94551, or to our e-mail address str-mail@llnl.gov.

    This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, nor any of their employees makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

    Prepared by LLNL under contract DE-AC52-07NA27344

    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 cancer therapy.

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Research Highlights


    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 Lawrence Livermore.

    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

    29 Abstracts

    Scientific editor Jane P. Bearinger

    Managing editor Ray Marazzi

    Publication editor Carolin Middleton

    WriterS Arnie Heller, Kristen Light, Caryn Meissner, and Katie Walter

    art director and deSigner Daniel Moore

    Proofreader Pamela MacGregor

    cover PhotograPherS Michael Anthony and Jacquelin McBride

    Print coordinator Charlie M. Arteago, Jr.

    S&TR, a Director’s Office publication, is produced by the Technical Information Department under the direction of the Office of Planning and Special Studies.

    S&TR is available on the Web at www.llnl.gov/str

    Printed in the United States of America

    Available from National Technical Information Service U.S. Department of Commerce 5285 Port Royal Road Springfield, Virginia 22161

    UCRL-TR-52000-08-7/8 Distribution Category UC-99 July/August 2008

    July/August 2008

    S&TR Staff Contents

    20 Simulating the Biomolecular Structure of Nanometer-Size Particles

    Grand Challenge simulations reveal the size and structure of nanolipoprotein particles used to study membrane proteins.

    23 Antineutrino Detectors Improve Reactor Safeguards

    Antineutrino detectors track the consumption and production of fissile materials inside nuclear reactors.


  • 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 like Earth.”

    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 (cook12@llnl.gov) or

    Bruce Macintosh (925) 423-8129 (macintosh1@llnl.gov).

    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.” Contact: Jon