GLEI Hosts Lawrence Livermore Research Leaders

On June 13th, CWRU and the Great Lakes Energy Institute hosted research leaders from the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL). CWRU faculty, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students attended. In a series of presentations, the LLNL representatives covered a variety of research subjects, including additive manufacturing, architected materials, energy storage, and bioscience, and introduced opportunities for students and postdocs. These subjects and initiatives connect to the national lab’s mission: to strengthen national security through world-class science, technology, and engineering.  

Dr. Anantha Krishnan, Associate Lab Director for Engineering, provided a brief overview of the primary responsibilities of and programs overseen by the LLNL. Funded predominantly by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), LLNL uses its annual budget of $2.1B to conduct ground-breaking research in 17 different facilities. The LLNL assesses and promotes nuclear security with its stockpile security program, utilities such as the Sierra supercomputer (the second most powerful in the world) for high performance computing, modeling, and simulating, and the National Ignition Facility (NIF), where experiments are challenged and validated. By pushing the edge of high-performance computing, LLNL tackles various challenges in both domestic and international security, including chemical and biological counterterrorism, intelligence, explosives security, and cyber security.

Another pillar of LLNL’s operations is its work in energy and environmental security. LLNL is working to increase the security and supply of U.S. energy while reducing environmental impacts as well as costs, ensuring more secure and safe methods to reliably distribute energy, and helping researchers understand the security challenges imposed by climate change and therefore develop effective solutions. Krishnan also emphasized LLNL’s multidisciplinary focus.

Chris Spadaccini, Director of the Center for Engineered Materials, Manufacturing, and Optimization, gave an overview of the LLNL’s recent projects and efforts to expand the horizons of additive manufacturing and architected materials. These endeavors are built on modeling and design processes known internally as Livermore Design Optimization Code (LiDO). LiDO takes advantage of topology optimization methods to deterministically design within a series of parameters, which can be applied to problems that can widely vary in terms of complexity, scale, and manufacturability. Through the use of LiDO and a combination of micro and nano scale manufacturing technologies, LLNL has been innovating manufacturing methods such as Projection Microstereolithography (PμSL), Large Area Projection Microstereolithography (LAPμSL), Direct Ink Write (DIW), and Computed Axial Lithography (CAL).

Anthony Van Buuren, Group Leader of Nanoscale Integration Science and Technology, presented an overview of energy materials, which at LLNL are focused on accelerating the adoption of functional materials through the integration of core capabilities. Projects draw from various fundamental disciplines, including energetic materials, actinides, nanomaterials synthesis, optical materials, computational materials science, as well as composites and soft matter. Several assets satisfy the needs of energy storage and security, including advanced porous and hierarchal designed materials, optimization of 3D energy structures, multi-scale modeling, and rapid delivery of optimized energy storage structures.

Ken Turteltaub, Division Lead for the Biosciences and Biotechnology Division, explained that his division’s mission is to anticipate and counter biological and environmental threats to our nation. The main foci of Turteltaub’s division include driving basic science, using predictive biology through advanced simulation and data analytics, improving the development of biological and environmental countermeasures, characterizing pathogens and other threats, and engineering deployable technologies.

Dr. Krishnan then provided more information about the various employment opportunities that LLNL annually offers. Opportunities are available to postdocs and PhD, graduate, post-education, and undergraduate students. Specifically for postdocs is The Lawrence Fellowship, a prestigious 3-year fellowship that is fully funded but has only four recipients each year. Departments of Science (~150 opportunities), Engineering (~50 opportunities), and Computing (~30-50 opportunities) all offer their own wide array of postdoc opportunities as well, likewise all spanning 3 years’ time. Many postdocs choose to stay at the LLNL in full time opportunities in the Department of Science primarily, but also within Engineering and Computing.

In Engineering, it is much more common to hire at the bachelor’s and master’s level. “Post College Appointees” (prior to master’s or PhD level) can work at LLNL and should they go back for another degree, could receive financial support from the lab to do so. Students can also engage in partnerships at several schools including UC Davis and UC San Diego. Junior and senior undergrads can participate in standard summer internships. To learn more and apply for an opportunity at LLNL, visit their Career website.