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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


— Energy

Scientists announce breakthrough in quest for fusion power

In a perfect example of beating swords into plowshares, a team of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California reached a milestone in the quest for practical fusion power using a process designed for the development and testing of nuclear weapons. The announcement in the February 12 issue of Nature claims that the team used the world’s most powerful laser barrage to produce a controlled fusion reaction where more energy was extracted from the fuel than was put into it. Read More
— Space

Gemini Planet Imager snaps first direct image of exoplanet Beta Pictoris b

Following almost 10 years of development, the Gemini Observatory has debuted an advanced planet imaging instrument and captured a direct image of exoplanet Beta Pictoris b, signifying a breakthrough in our ability to analyze extrasolar planets. Called the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), the tool uses an advanced optics system with an infrared spectograph to retrieve direct images of young planets orbiting distant stars. Read More
— Military

DARPA's new 1.8-gigapixel camera is a super high-resolution eye in the sky

DARPA recently revealed information on its ARGUS-IS (Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System), a surveillance camera that uses hundreds of smartphone image sensors to record a 1.8 gigapixel image. Designed for use in an unmanned drone (probably an MQ-1 Predator), from an altitude of 20,000 ft (6,100 m) ARGUS can keep a real-time video eye on an area 4.5 miles (7.2 km) across down to a resolution of about six inches (15 cm). Read More
— Science

Record-setting 500 trillion-watt laser shot achieved

Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) have achieved a laser shot which boggles the mind: 192 beams delivered an excess of 500 trillion-watts (TW) of peak power and 1.85 megajoules (MJ) of ultraviolet laser light to a target of just two millimeters in diameter. To put those numbers into perspective, 500 TW is more than one thousand times the power that the entire United States uses at any instant in time. Pew-Pew indeed ... Read More
— Science

World's first hard X-ray free-electron laser images intact viruses

An international team of scientists has obtained the world’s first single-shot images of intact viruses – a technology that could ultimately lead to moving video of molecules, viruses and live microbes. The team was also able to successfully utilize a new shortcut for determining the 3D structures of proteins. Both advances were achieved using the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser – the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) – which scientists hope could revolutionize the study of life. Read More
— Digital Cameras

New software processes hundred-billion-pixel photos in seconds

Computer scientists from the University of Utah have developed computer software that allows editing of "extreme resolution" image files in a matter of seconds, a process that could previously have taken hours. Whereas existing editing suites require the full gigapixel image to be loaded into a computer's memory before manipulation can begin, the new development draws a lower resolution preview image from an externally-stored image into the editing screen. Users are said to benefit from being able to make image-wide modifications in seconds rather than hours and on devices normally not nearly powerful enough for such things. Read More
— Medical

New detection technology identifies thousands of bacteria and viruses within 24 hours

Researchers from a national security laboratory in the U.S. have announced a technology which can detect the presence of thousands of microorganisms in just 24 hours. Hundreds of thousands of probes on a 1 x 3 inch glass slide can look for the entire range of known viruses and bacteria in a single test, which could prove invaluable in product safety testing, medical diagnosis and bioterrorism detection and prevention. Read More
— Energy

World's largest laser takes first steps towards nuclear fusion reaction

The quest to create a controlled fusion reaction is underway at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF), with scientists reporting early progress ahead of ignition experiments which are due to start later this year. The ultimate aim of the world's largest laser - which is the size of three football fields - is to develop carbon-free, limitless fusion energy. Read More
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