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  1. Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) cryogenic experiments on the 60-beam OMEGA laser have strict requirements for the laser energy delivered on target to be power balanced in order to maximize target-irradiation uniformity. For OMEGA, this quantity (power balance) is inferred from measurements of the time-integrated energy and time-resolved, spatially integrated temporal profile of each of the 60 beams at the output of the laser. The work presented here proposes a general definition of power balance as measured at the laser output and discusses the conditions that are fundamental to achieving laser power balance. Power balance necessitates equal gain across all stagesmore » of amplification, equal net losses across each amplifier stage, equal frequency conversion (from 1053 nm to 351 nm) of all 60 beams, and equal beam path lengths (beam timing). Typical OMEGA ICF laser pulse shapes consist of one or more short (100-ps) “pickets” followed by a shaped “drive” pulse of 1 to 2 ns. For these experiments, power balance is assessed for the pickets and the drive independently, with the ultimate goal of achieving root-mean-square (rms) imbalance across all 60 beams of less than 2% rms on both. Our work presents a comprehensive summary of laser shot campaigns conducted to significantly improve laser power balance from typical rms values of 4.7% and 5.2%, respectively, to the 3% level for both features along with a discussion of future work required to further reduce the rms power imbalance of the laser system.« less
  2. Embodiments of the invention relates to conversion of hydrocarbon material including but not limited to coal and biomass to a synthetic liquid transportation fuel. The invention includes the integration of a non-catalytic first reaction scheme, which converts carbonaceous materials into a solid product that includes char and ash and a gaseous product; a non-catalytic second reaction scheme, which converts a portion of the gaseous product from the first reaction scheme to light olefins and liquid byproducts; a traditional gas-cleanup operations; and the third reaction scheme to combine the olefins from the second reaction scheme to produce a targeted fuel likemore » liquid transportation fuels.« less
  3. Despite the central role of soil microbial communities in global carbon (C) cycling, little is known about soil microbial community structure and even less about their metabolic pathways. Efforts to characterize soil communities often focus on identifying differences in gene content across environmental gradients, but an alternative question is what genes are similar in soils. These genes may indicate critical species or potential functions that are required in all soils. Here we identified the “core” set of C cycling sequences widely present in multiple soil metagenomes from a fertilized prairie (FP). Of 226,887 sequences associated with known enzymes involved inmore » the synthesis, metabolism, and transport of carbohydrates, 843 were identified to be consistently prevalent across four replicate soil metagenomes. This core metagenome was functionally and taxonomically diverse, representing five enzyme classes and 99 enzyme families within the CAZy database. Though it only comprised 0.4% of all CAZy-associated genes identified in FP metagenomes, the core was found to be comprised of functions similar to those within cumulative soils. The FP CAZy-associated core sequences were present in multiple publicly available soil metagenomes and most similar to soils sharing geographic proximity. As a result, in soil ecosystems, where high diversity remains a key challenge for metagenomic investigations, these core genes represent a subset of critical functions necessary for carbohydrate metabolism, which can be targeted to evaluate important C fluxes in these and other similar soils.« less
  4. High-performance optical pulse shaping is paramount to photonics and lasers applications for which high-resolution optical waveforms must be generated. We investigate the design and performance of a time-multiplexed pulse shaping (TMPS) system in which optical waveforms from a single pulse-shaping unit are demultiplexed and retimed before being sent to different optical systems. This architecture has the advantages of low cost and low relative jitter between optical waveforms because a single pulse-shaping system, e.g., a high-performance arbitrary waveform generator driving a Mach-Zehnder modulator, generates all the waveforms. We demonstrate an eight-channel TMPS system based on a 1 × 8 LiNbO 3more » demultiplexer composed of four stages of 1 × 2 Δβ phase-reversal switches that allow for demultiplexing and extinction enhancement via application of a control voltage modifying the propagation constant difference between adjacent waveguides. It is shown that optimal demultiplexing, i.e. low insertion loss and high extinction ratio between channels, requires optimization in dynamic operation because of the slow component of the switches’ response. Lastly, we demonstrate losses lower than 5 dB, extinction ratios of the order of 70 dB for a four-channel system and 50 dB for an eight-channel system, and jitter added by the demultiplexer smaller than 0.1 ps.« less
  5. The National Certification Standard for the Geothermal Heat Pump Industry adds to the understanding of the barriers to rapid growth of the geothermal heat pump (GHP) industry by bringing together for the first time an analysis of the roles and responsibilities of each of the individual job tasks involved in the design and installation of GHP systems. The standard addresses applicable qualifications for all primary personnel involved in the design, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of GHP systems, including their knowledge, skills and abilities. The resulting standard serves as a foundation for subsequent development of curriculum, training and certification programs,more » which are not included in the scope of this project, but are briefly addressed in the standard to describe ways in which the standard developed in this project may form a foundation to support further progress in accomplishing those other efforts. Follow-on efforts may use the standard developed in this project to improve the technical effectiveness and economic feasibility of curriculum development and training programs for GHP industry personnel, by providing a more complete and objective assessment of the individual job tasks necessary for successful implementation of GHP systems. When incorporated into future certification programs for GHP personnel, the standard will facilitate increased consumer confidence in GHP technology, reduce the potential for improperly installed GHP systems, and assure GHP system quality and performance, all of which benefit the public through improved energy efficiency and mitigated environmental impacts of the heating and cooling of homes and businesses.« less
  6. The role of proton-assisted charge accommodation in electron capture by a heterocyclic electron scavenger is investigated through theoretical analysis of the vibrational spectra of cold, gas phase [Py ⋅ (H{sub 2}O){sub n=3−5}]{sup −} clusters. These radical anions are formed when an excess electron is attached to water clusters containing a single pyridine (Py) molecule in a supersonic jet ion source. Under these conditions, the cluster ion distribution starts promptly at n = 3, and the photoelectron spectra, combined with vibrational predissociation spectra of the Ar-tagged anions, establish that for n > 3, these species are best described as hydrated hydroxidemore » ions with the neutral pyridinium radical, PyH{sup (0)}, occupying one of the primary solvation sites of the OH{sup −}. The n = 3 cluster appears to be a special case where charge localization on Py and hydroxide is nearly isoenergetic, and the nature of this species is explored with ab initio molecular dynamics calculations of the trajectories that start from metastable arrangements of the anion based on a diffuse, essentially dipole-bound electron. These calculations indicate that the reaction proceeds via a relatively slow rearrangement of the water network to create a favorable hydration configuration around the water molecule that eventually donates a proton to the Py nitrogen atom to yield the product hydroxide ion. The correlation between the degree of excess charge localization and the evolving shape of the water network revealed by this approach thus provides a microscopic picture of the “solvent coordinate” at the heart of a prototypical proton-coupled electron transfer reaction.« less

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