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Lawrence Livermore's Energy Directorate provides an array of scientific and technological expertise to help the Department of Energy meet its commitment of providing low-cost energy to sustain the U.S. quality of life and economic stability. The directorate's projects look to future trends and requirements in energy sources and uses. Energy's research, which ranges from short- to long-term work, is unlikely to be performed by commercial entities but is in keeping with Laboratory missions and expertise. The innovative work described in the article includes a nuclear waste repository that will be applying for its license in 2002; a thin-film, solid-oxide fuel cell that efficiently generates electricity yet produces little pollution; tests of a superconducting magnet energy storage system useful for leveling electricity usage loads; and a carbon sequestration technology to mitigate the adverse effects of fossil fuel use.
To study the properties of metals and alloys, Livermore scientists use positron spectroscopy, which is a powerful tool for locating the smallest defects. Increasingly smaller devices and thin films in the semiconductor and
polymer industries increase the challenge of detecting proportionately smaller defects. A void as small as several atoms can render a microdevice defective. Using a process called pair production, Livermore's linear accelerator and positron microscope now provide the world's most intense kiloelectronvolt positron source. Livermore's new positron microprobe, the facility's upgrade that will be completed in 1999, will offer 3D images faster and at better resolution than currently possible and will detect material defects at the atomic level.
and LLNL Disclaimers