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Special Technologies Laboratory

STL developed experimental instrument
STL developed experimental instrument - High resolution Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometer for post-detonation debris analysis

Established in 1986, the Special Technologies Laboratory (STL), located in Santa Barbara, California, is part of the Nevada-centered complex of facilities owned by the NNSA.

The STL specializes in the focused development of special-purpose devices, measurement instruments, and analysis methods tailored to the needs of the government end-user. The laboratory is skilled in fielding complex experiments for field deployment or laboratory application of measurement and analysis tools, as well as deployment of resources and technology to support global field requirements of the U.S. Government.

Since its creation in 1986, STL has developed a culture of innovation and a reputation for providing relevant solutions to difficult national security problems. The culture of the lab is one of sponsor focus, collaboration, quick response, and technical achievement. 

The applied technology laboratory, is a multi-mission support organization benefiting DOE stockpile stewardship, physical security, and nonproliferation organizations, as well as other programs associated with NNSS. 

STL developed Command and Control Software
STL developed Command and Control Software

Technical Staff

STL’s scientists and engineers are capable of taking a complex idea through the design, development, and proto-typing stages to provide sophisticated yet easy to use technical solutions in short periods of time. User friendliness, maintainability, reliability, and low operations costs are other distinctive characteristics of the laboratory work.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities 


  • Laser
  • Nuclear
  • Plasma


  • Analytical
  • Physical
  • Spectroscopic


  • Hardware architecture
  • Design, coding and testing
  • Multiple operating systems
  • Device drivers
  • Networking and security
  • Internet of things
  • Database
  • Model and Simulation
  • Software quality assurance (QA)

Electronic Fabrication

  • Flip-chip
  • Electronic assembly

Trace Detection Remote Spectroscopy

  • In-the-field, remote-sensing systems
  • Hyper-spectral measurements
  • Point-sensor arrays, trace detection
  • Ground-truth
  • Illumination and characterization of SWIR sensors

Visualization and Imaging Systems

  • Augmented vision tools
  • Image-based science and engineering

Technical Capability

Electronic Design, Integration, and Manufacturing

  • Quick Reaction Capability
  • System integration development (i.e., concept to instrument to deployment)
  • Electronic and mechanical prototype instrumentation
  • Custom electronic manufacturing and packaging (additive manufacturing)
  • Compact, low-power electronic design
  • Field ready instruments with user friendly interface
  • Technology deployment, training, test, and evaluation

Software Systems

  • Tactical command and control
  • Real-time situational awareness
  • Multiple platform operation
  • Plug-in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture platforms


  • Optical
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical

Cyber Technologies

  • Limited Objective Experiments

Radio Frequency (RF) Systems

  • Custom RF development
  • RF detection and characterization
  • Software defined radio
  • Custom antenna designs
  • Wireless/Smartphone technology
  • Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) firmware development

Radar Systems

  • Custom sensor systems
  • Compact, low-power, battery operated systems
  • Complete systems (communications, multi-sensing capabilities, operation focused)
  • Directional data
  • Testing and evaluation
  • Visualization

Laboratories and Special Facilities

  • Mass spectroscopy and chemical laboratories
  • Radiation
  • Small explosives (Boom-Box operations)
  • Wet chemistry laboratories
  • Electronic and mechanical assembly
  • Anechoic chamber
  • Electronic environmental testing
  • Electronic design and development
  • Portable laboratory trailers used to support field collections at NNSS and other Continental United States (CONUS) locations (Gas releases, FM Spectroscopy for Solids Liquid Crystal Polymer (LSP), Anomaly Verification LCP, Ground-based hyperspectral)