Sandia Labs FY21 LDRD Annual Report


R&D 100 Gold Special Recognition in Green Technology Environmentally benign extraction of critical metals using supercritical CO2-based solvent. Sandia researchers were recognized for a method that uses environmentally harmless citric acid in tandem with carbon dioxide to detoxify coal tailings by extracting critically needed rare elements and more harmful components at the same time. The extraction improves the environment instead of destroying it as conventional mining may do. (PI: Guangping Xu) Watch the YouTube video.

Sandia researcher Guangping Xu adds coal ash into a citric acid mixture. This solution will be fed into a reactor—operating at about 70 times atmospheric pressure—where supercritical carbon dioxide aids citric acid in extracting rare-earth metals. (Photo by Rebecca Lynne Gustaf)

National/Federal Awards 2021 DOE Office of Science Award Co-designed Improved Neural Foundations Leveraging Inherent Physics Stochasticity (COINFLIPS) The COINFLIPS microelectronics co-design program , led by PI James Aimone, will

receive $6 million over the next three years. The research, done in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, New York University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Temple University in Philadelphia, will focus on designing a new kind of computer for solving complex probability problems. It is one of only 10 national laboratory-led projects selected for funding by DOE’s Office of Science. “What we want to do in this project is to leverage randomness. Instead of fighting it, we want to use it.” said Aimone, who has led many Sandia LDRD projects in the field. Separately, Sandia is lending its expertise to two other projects selected for funding—one in nanotechnology and computer modeling led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and another focused on improving the energy efficiency of information processing from sensors in autonomous vehicles, handheld devices and satellite led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The 2021 COINFLIPS microelectronics co-design research program awarded for funding by DOE’s Office of Science is a direct result of the successful workshop on AI-Enhanced Co-Design for Next- Generation Microelectronics that Sandia hosted April 2021. Conventional computers can look at the optical illusion on the left and normally only see a vase or two faces. Sandia is laying the groundwork for a computer that, like our brains, can glance many times and see both. (Image by Laura Hatfield)



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