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Research Highlights

Berkeley Lab and City of San Jose Partner to Boost Clean Tech in Silicon Valley

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has partnered with the city of San Jose, California, to accelerate the advancement of clean energy technologies while helping San Jose and other cities achieve their environmental sustainability goals. The partnership brings together the extensive capabilities of San Jose's ProspeCT SV, a facility to showcase and validate technologies, with Berkeley Lab's focus on cutting-edge technology development and applied research.

The partnership will provide a critical linkage for clean tech companies between ProspeCT SV and the resources of Berkeley Lab, such as its technology transfer program, FLEXLAB, a series of building systems test beds opening in 2013, and CalCharge, a Berkeley Lab-CalCEF partnership supporting emerging battery companies in California. The ProspeCT SV facility will provide a space for companies to connect with private and public investors, as well as collaborate with academic and industry partners in Silicon Valley.

"A key priority for both Berkeley Lab and San Jose is to make cities more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable," said Horst Simon, deputy director of Berkeley Lab. "We see this partnership as an important way to align our research with San Jose's sustainability goals, and work together towards responding to the energy and environmental challenges of local communities."

—Julie Chao

LAMIS Wins a 2012 R&D 100 Award

Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry

Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry

Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry

LAMIS, which stands for Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry, has won a 2012 R&D 100 award. It was developed by a research team in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The R&D 100 awards are also known as the "Oscars of Innovation."

LAMIS is a technology that could loom large in the future of homeland security and planetary space exploration. It entails focusing the energy of a high-powered laser beam to a tiny spot on the surface of a sample to create a plasma plume for analysis. Each species of atoms or ions in the plasma will emit light with signature spectral emission peaks that can be measured to identify the specific isotopes of a chemical element within. LAMIS offers a faster, less expensive, green chemistry alternative to existing mass spectrometry techniques, and it can be carried out across vast distances.

Requiring only a laser beam and an optical spectrometer to perform real-time isotopic analyses of samples at ambient pressures and temperatures, LAMIS represents what may be the only practical means of determining the geochronology of samples on Mars or other celestial bodies in the Solar System. It also has many important applications here on Earth, including nuclear forensics aimed at non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and terrorism. The LAMIS development team included Rick Russo and Xianglei Mao of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division; Osman Sorkhabi, now with the LAM Research Corporation; and Alexander Bol'shakov, now with Applied Spectra, which co-nominated LAMIS with Berkeley Lab.

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