Quarterly News Tipsheet -- Research Highlights From Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Glass half full, half empty with trap - A researcher's ability to analyze environmental samples just got easier. Scientists at Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created an ion trap mass spectrometer that simultaneously analyzes negative and positive ions. No commercially available mass spectrometer has this feature. The bipolar capability is crucial in state-of-the art mass spectrometry applications, including laser desorption of aerosol particles for atmospheric monitoring.

This trap also improves the quality of data that can be obtained in a single measurement, thus reducing the amount of averaging required for high quality measurements. Pacific Northwest scientists tested the ion trap in 1998. The device has been demonstrated to companies that may be interested in commercializing this technology.

A bird's eye view of public lands - Instead of riding the range, ranchers and government agencies now can use an "eye in the sky" to determine the condition of public grazing lands. Remote sensing tools developed at Pacific Northwest for the intelligence community are being put to work to help monitor and manage range land. Manual monitoring, the current practice, addresses only a fraction of acres of public lands across the western United States.

But new satellite imagery, sensor technology and advanced geographic information systems can quickly provide data on any plot of land to help determine trends in range quality. These tools may assist ranchers who are required by law to provide data that indicates the impact of grazing practices on range land.

Pint-sized heat pumps - Pacific Northwest thinks small - when it comes to heat pumps. Researchers at the laboratory are developing a heat-actuated heat pump small enough to fit within the walls or floor of a home to provide efficient space heating and cooling. Increased efficiency comes from the fabrication of tiny channels within the heat ex

Contact: Media Relations
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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