The labs have expertise in nearly every scientific discipline. Personnel there work tirelessly to maintain and enhance national security and advance such crucial efforts as understanding climate change and developing sustainable sources of energy.
Technical staff from both Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos have more than 200 prestigious R&D 100 Awards, presented annually by R&D Magazine to recognize the top 100 technology innovations of the year.
One recent award to Lawrence Livermore recognized a revolutionary imaging technique that captures material and biological processes in action at a nanoscale-level of detail.
Los Alamos was honored for a digital X-ray imaging system that is battery-powered, self-contained, lightweight, and portable. The device will aid efforts in homeland security, inspection, and testing as well as in disaster relief and medicine.
Manufacturers take their electronics products and chips to Los Alamos to be bombarded with neutrons from a massive accelerator there—a beam of particles a million times more intense than in nature.
Why? To simulate in a very short time the long-term effects of cosmic radiation on integrated circuits—effects that engineers at such companies as Texas Instruments, Fujitsu, and Honeywell need to understand. Airplane manufacturers, for example, want to know of a circuit failure in a test bed, not in the air.
The regimen at Los Alamos helped set a global standard for the microelectronics industry.
Recognized for excellence in sustainability
Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos won the majority of the sustainability excellence awards presented in 2013 by the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. The sites earned these honors for exemplary efforts to improve energy, water, and vehicle-fleet efficiency as well as to reduce greenhouse gases, pollution, and waste.
These two laboratories play major roles in several core missions: maintaining the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, and emergency response.