Gel fights biological and chemical weapons

More effective and more environmentally acceptable than methods currently in use, Livermore's new oxidizing gel holds the promise of effectively fighting both biological and chemical weapons (BW and CW). The work is part of a DOE-sponsored project with Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories.
Testing at Livermore was done using nontoxic simulants for biological and chemical agents such as anthrax, plague, variola, sulfur mustard, sarin, and VX. "Preliminary experiments with our peroxymonosulfate gel," says Ellen Raber, deputy department head of environmental protection at Livermore, "showed that it was 100 percent effective under laboratory conditions for all BW and CW simulants on all surfaces except for the VX simulant on carpet, where the gel was only 95 percent effective."
Now, the U.S. Army is testing the gel on actual chemical warfare agents. Before the gel is ready for use, additional tests will be done on live vaccine strains, and spraying systems will be evaluated. The team is also actively studying the level of cleanup needed for civilian settings.
Contact: Ellen Raber (925) 422-3985 (

Livermore scientists help discover quasar

A team of researchers from six institutions, including Lawrence Livermore, has discovered a quasi-stellar object having one of the most luminous starbursts ever seen.
The team's findings were announced during the 193rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas. Mike Brotherton, a postdoctoral fellow with Livermore's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, headed the team composed of scientists from Australia, the U.K., and the U.S., including Wil van Breugel and Adam Stanford of Lawrence Livermore. During 1998, the researchers conducted a search for new quasars and found more than a hundred.
Quasars are quasi-stellar objects that are exceptionally bright and exist in the center of a galaxy, generally outshining the entire galaxy. Discovered in 1963, the enigmatic quasars emit prodigious amounts of energy from a very compact source. The most widely accepted theory is that a quasar is powered by a supermassive black hole in the core of a more-or-less normal galaxy. Starbursts are events that create firestorms of stars, normally through the collapse of a gas cloud.
"We believe that the amount of gas involved is as much as one-tenth the mass of the Milky Way," Brotherton said. This same collision may have provided the gases (mainly hydrogen and helium) to power the quasar.
Contact: Mike Brotherton (925) 423-8127 (

Glaze to head virtual EUVL lab

James Glaze has been chosen executive director of the Virtual National Laboratory (VNL), a consortium of researchers from three Department of Energy national laboratories. They are working with industry to develop extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) into the next-generation technology for inscribing computer chips.
Glaze recently rejoined the staff at Lawrence Livermore and has assumed leadership of the project. The VNL combines researchers from Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley, and Sandia national laboratories into a single unit dedicated to developing EUVL. Established in 1996, the VNL is working with Intel, Motorola, and Advanced Micro Devices to develop short-wavelength projection lithography for mass production of integrated computer circuits.
A silicon chip technology and technology policy expert, Glaze served as vice president of Technology Programs for the Semiconductor Industry Association. Previously, Glaze spent more than a decade at three semiconductor firms and had directed development of laser systems for fusion research at Livermore.
Contact: James Glaze (925) 422-5411 (

Virtual lab for heavy-ion fusion

A Heavy Ion Fusion-Virtual National Laboratory (HIF-VNL) is beginning collaborative research and small experiments that will validate accelerator design of a major accelerator project to support Livermore's National Ignition Facility (NIF). The construction decision will be made as NIF begins operation in 2003. A memorandum of agreement for combining research on heavy-ion fusion has been signed by Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories. Berkeley's Roger Bangerter and Livermore's Grant Logan will be director and deputy director, respectively.
The goal is to develop more synergistic research and make more rapid progress in the development of heavy ion drivers using both laboratories' staff and facilities. The virtual lab's experimental initiative, called the Integrated Research Experiment, will also address scientific and technological issues of the accelerator in an inertial-fusion-energy power plant as well as target and beam transport issues.
Contact: Grant Logan (925) 422-9816 (
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