For years much of the work going on there has been science and technology in the dark, most of it classified. But in the months since the Sept. 11 attacks, there's been an effort to roll out some of the discoveries made there to fight the war on terrorism.
Soapy foams -- similar to a combination of hair conditioner and toothpaste -- have been developed to neutralize chemical and biological threats like anthrax. Another foam would help contain chemical or radiological particles disbursed by a dirty bomb -- making cleanup much easier.
Scientists have developed portable sensors that can sniff out and detect a menu of explosives at places like border crossings, security portals and top-secret facilities.
National security worries are a reason Sandia will hire a thousand workers this year -- not only for what could be immediate threats, but for future battles. And a water war could be one.
"Water is a commodity that will drive our civilization and people will fight for it and it's becoming scarcer," said one worker.
Robot research has also produced a fleet of military anti-technology vehicles. For the battlefield there are unmanned anti-tank vehicles. For counter-terrorism and law enforcement, robots have been designed to create diversions and perform surveillance.
Some of these innovations are rather unconventional, but then, America is fighting some unconventional foes.