Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)


FLC Region

Security Lab



P.O Box 5800
MS 1495
Albuquerque, NM 87185-1495
United States

Laboratory Representative


Organized and built as a result of atomic research that began in New Mexico in 1942, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has undergone many changes, especially in the types of scientific research and engineering programs carried out at the facilities. Sandia's primary mission remains ensuring that the nation has a reliable nuclear deterrent, but over the years other programs of a complementary nature or of particular national interest have been added. Almost from its inception, SNL has engaged in some type of technology transfer. Because Sandia's primary role for the DoE has been converting laboratory prototypes into usable products, the laboratory has been particularly effective over the past 30 years in sharing inventions, ideas and engineering know-how with private industry. Sandia's transferred technologies have become successful commercial products, accounting for thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in worldwide sales. With the emergence of a new threat to our national security--the declining competitiveness of key US industries in world markets--transferring technology from the national laboratories to the private sector has taken on important new dimensions. Like other DoE laboratories, Sandia has developed a broader, more aggressive technology transfer program to meet this new responsibility.


Sandia National Laboratories enhances the security, prosperity and well-being of the nation by responding to the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly dynamic and demanding world with broad-based research and development programs that create solutions contributing to military security, energy security, environmental integrity and economic competitiveness. Our longest standing program (within the military security mission area) is implementation of the nation's nuclear weapon policies through research, development and testing in nuclear ordinance, arms control and weapon surety. As a multiprogram laboratory, we also serve the nation through a variety of programs that directly contribute to both national energy security and environmental integrity. By working through partnerships with industry and academia based on road maps generated by industry, Sandia is able to assist in the development of multiple national infrastructures (such as manufacturing, information and transportation systems, and cost-effective health care technologies) that are critical to our mission of economic security and that also are day to the objectives of programs within the other mission areas. In this context Sandia technologies and contributions exhibit a dual-use character.

Tech Areas

Available Technologies
Displaying 1 - 10 of 182
Advanced Forms of Activated Carbon
Advanced Ultrasonic Device with In-Situ Height Adjustment for Improved Flaw Detection
Alternating Current Photovoltaic Building Block
Atomic Magnetometer
Automated Gloving System
Automated Molecular Biology Platform
Automated Transfer Function Generator
Bacteriophage Host-Range Expansion
Configuration Self-Scrubber for Xilinx Virtex-5QV FPGAs
Control System for Active Damping of Inter-Area Oscillations


No Funding for this lab
No Programs for this lab
Displaying 1 - 10 of 27
Advanced Power Sources Laboratory
Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research (ARM)
Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) - Core Facility
Combustion Research Facility
Design, Evaluation and Test Technology Facility
Design, Evaluation, and Test Technology Facility
Distributed Energy Technology Laboratory
Engineering Sciences Experimental Facilities (ESEF)
Engineering Sciences Experimental Facility
Explosive Components Facility


No Equipment for this lab
No publications for this lab
Success Stories

Sandia Decon Formulation Takes on Household Mold

A product based on a technology originally developed at Sandia National Laboratories is now available on the shelves of hardware stores across the country.

The product is Mold Control 500, distributed by Scott’s Liquid Gold of Denver and now available in Home Depot, Wal-Mart, True Value, Ace Hardware, and other home improvement stores. For around $30 a box, Scott’s Liquid Gold Mold Control 500 treats mildew- and mold-contaminated surface areas in the home, according to the package.

MC 500 is based on Sandia’s decontamination formulation (a.k.a. decon foam), developed for emergency cleanup of biological and chemical warfare agents following a terrorist attack. It is best known for its role in helping remediate anthrax-contaminated buildings in Washington, D.C., and New York in 2001.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.

“This is pretty exciting,” says Sandia researcher Mark Tucker, who leads the Sandia team that has developed, improved, and tested the Sandia formulation over the last 10 years. “Mold remediation wasn’t what we set out to do, but the formulation is effective at killing most microorganisms, so it is good to find uses beyond our original intent — especially uses that may improve public health."

The formulation kills fungi such as molds in much the same way it kills anthrax, says Tucker. Mold growths form films over their surfaces that, like the shells of anthrax spores, are difficult to penetrate. The formulation’s surfactants poke holes in the film, and its mild oxidizing components kill the fungal organisms. The formulation, when used as a foam, expands to fill space and thus gets into corners and other hard-to-reach places, and it sticks to walls and ceilings, giving the chemistry time to do its work.

Scott’s Liquid Gold has an arrangement with Modec, Inc., of Denver to sell Mold Control 500 in retail markets. Modec is one of two companies holding Sandia licenses to market and distribute products based on the Sandia formulation.

“Mold control is an up and coming issue,” says Modec President Brian Kalamanka. “We felt there was an excellent niche for this.”

Jeff Hinkle, Scott’s Liquid Gold senior vice president for marketing, says its recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval allowed shipping to retail outlets to begin in the fall. Stores began stocking MC 500 in November, and the product is expected to reach thousands more stores this month, he says.

Development of the Sandia formulation began in 1997, funded initially by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Chemical and Biological National Security Program. It has earned two patents, and several more are pending.

In addition to helping clean up contaminated buildings following a series of mailings of anthrax powder to recipients in Washington, D.C., New York, and Florida in 2001, the Sandia foam also was staged in the Middle East in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has played a role there in helping clean up hazardous chemical sites. Sandia’s two licensees, Modec Inc. and Intelagard Inc., have sold thousands of gallons of the formulation to municipal and state governments, the first responder community, and the U.S. military, among other users.

Tests at Sandia and Kansas State University in 2004 demonstrated the formulation’s effectiveness for killing the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), suggesting its use also might blunt the spread of other viruses such as the Norwalk (cruise ship) virus, avian influenza (bird flu), and the common flu.

The formulation now is being discussed as a potential solution to at least a dozen problems, among them hospital sanitization, meth lab cleanup, mold remediation in commercial buildings, and cleaning out agricultural pesticide sprayers in an environmentally benign way.

More information at

Scott’s Liquid Gold Mold Control, based on Sandia’s decon formulation, is now on hardware store shelves around the country. Here a box of the product sits on the shelf at a Home Depot store in Albuquerque, N.M. (Photo by Randy Montoya) 

Parachute Technology Airbag

In 1992, Sandia’s parachute development engineers partnered with Precision Fabrics Group, a leading manufacturer of military parachute material, to develop a new airbag with more than 60% reduced weight and volume compared to those used in passenger vehicles at the time. This technology entered the market just ahead of new regulations requiring all automobiles sold in the U.S. to have both driver and front-seat passenger airbags beginning in 1997.

Sandia and Precision Fabrics Group partnered via Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to rethink basic airbag design and create a more efficient and cost-effective product to meet the automotive industry’s needs. Key to this development was the use of a high-performance material, originally for military use, that surpassed the material used in airbags at the time. The Precision Technology Airbag was developed using lightweight, woven nylon material that was formerly used in military parachutes to ensure accurate delivery of nuclear weapons when dropped from supersonic aircraft. It was small enough to fit into a man’s shirt pocket when folded, but offered the same level of protection as conventional designs. Because less energy is required to inflate the lighter weight material, the airbag inflated faster than others on the market, deploying in approximately 19 to 24 milliseconds on the driver’s side compared to 25 to 30 milliseconds for a conventional airbag. Additionally, the smooth material reduced abrasions and burns that can occur in an accident when an inflating airbag encounters skin.

In addition to the airbag being easier to manufacture, its reduced size and weight were instrumental in enabling the installation of more airbags in vehicles. The technology gave automobile manufacturers the ability to include airbags in door panels to protect against side impacts, and, for the first time, to offer protection to rear passengers. Further, Sandia applied the expertise in fabric structures analysis used in the development of this airbag to later projects, including the construction, testing, and analysis of an airbag for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Environmental Survey Lander

CaptSandia researcher Kenneth Gwinn displays a prototype of the compact, lighter
airbag developed by Sandia and Precision Fabrics Group.ion

Advanced Nanomaterials for Energy Conservation and Temperature Regulation

Sandia National Laboratories’ original goal was to develop a self-resetting circuit breaker using vanadium dioxide. But through the creativity of a Sandia scientist and a businessman, Sandia technology has been transferred to the private sector and is poised to make a difference in the marketplace reducing energy needs for consumers in the U.S.

Sandia Physicist Paul Clem met a businessman with a company specializing in aerogel windows. William Kurtz told Clem that although they are great in the winter, aerogel windows get too hot in the summer. Clem thought he could adapt his thermochromic thin film material to solve this problem.

Sandia began working with IR Dynamics on developing the nanoparticles into a low cost, thermally dynamic technology that will be incorporated into a variety of products for smart regulation of solar heat. The team has developed nanoparticles that have tunable optical properties triggered by the environment: these nanomaterials transition to let the heat through when it’s cold outside and reflect heat when it’s warm. At cooler temperatures, this material is a clear insulator, but when it is hotter it becomes a metal that reflects infrared (IR) radiation while still transmitting visible light.

Vanadium dioxide particles (Photo credit: Sandia)

To transfer the technology from Sandia to IR Dynamics and the marketplace, a variety of mechanisms have been utilized. A $1.7M funds-in CRADA was used to develop thermochromic materials for control of IR transmission. The CRADA enables joint R&D as well as addressing new intellectual property developed during scale-up. Development of these thermochromic materials will suit environmentally-mediated applications including incorporating the nanoparticles into new windows, adding them to architectural plastics like those used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Water Cube, or high-performance athletic clothing. Many manufacturers are interested in IR Dynamic’s technologies because of their potential to satisfy increasing demand for energy efficiency and personal climate control.

CRADA Outcome

Learning about the Sandia thermochromic technology led to Kurtz starting a new company, IR Dynamics, to develop and market Sandia’s dynamic thermochromic materials. The first product IR Dynamics is developing is an easy-to-use film homeowners can apply to existing windows to reduce their heating and cooling bills, which Kurtz hopes to have on the market by late 2018.

After working together under two New Mexico Small Business Assistance projects to test the feasibility of creating products based on the thermally dynamic materials, work continues under the $1.7M CRADA and $1.95 million DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant. The external funding from the funds-in CRADA has, in turn, enabled Sandia development of other tunable optical material properties that meet Sandia’s enduring mission areas of integrated, adaptive optics and remote sensing. More sensitive physical sensors and new microfabricated optical structures are among the offshoot Sandia technologies, patents, and publications enabled by the partnership with IR Dynamics.

IR Dynamics is now licensing two technologies from Sandia. The company also has a User Facility Agreement with the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), which has led to three publications.

Research conducted during the NMSBA projects created the new joint intellectual property which gave the company the confidence to seek $2 million in A-round funding, IR Dynamics has also recently built out new offices and laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, and has hired six new employees. A B-round of funding is planned at the close of the ARPA-E grant period to scale up the manufacturing technology.

Madico, one of the largest providers of window films worldwide, is working with IR Dynamics to develop window film products and laminated ETFE structural film (an architectural membrane). The company also has a joint development agreement with HeiQ, a fabric finishing company that provides modified performance materials to major apparel brands.