R&D 100 Awards and Entries 1995–2017
Charliecloud enables software containers – packages of custom code, software or software environments – on high performance computers. The invention achieves portability, consistency, usability and security in 1,000 lines of open-source code. It runs on existing high performance computing systems with zero configuration, servers or extra processes.
Reid Priedhorsky and Tim Randles led the team of Michael Jennings, J. Lowell Wofford, and Jordan Ogas of Los Alamos and collaborators from the University of Bonn and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
GUFI: Grand Unified File Index, Winner
The Grand Unified File Index is the fastest software for searching metadata at the scale used by supercomputer and enterprise datacenters. This open-source software allows simultaneous secure queries of ultrascale metadata by multiple users and system administrators. Users can search billions of files in the file system trees and receive query results in seconds, without sacrificing the performance of the file system itself or impacting security.
Gary Grider led the team of David Bonnie, Jeff Inman, Dominic Manno and Wendy Poole.
In addition to the R&D 100 Award, GUFI won an award in the Market Disruptor-Products category. This award is designed to highlight any product that has changed the game in any industry.
Lighthouse Directional Radiation Detectors, Winner
The detectors precisely determine the location, amount and movement of a radioactive source in the presence of multiple sources. Gamma, fast-neutron and thermal-neutron detectors are small, lightweight, portable, high resolution and fast. Applications include environmental and geological surveys, emergency response, materials accountability and control, and situational awareness.
Los Alamos submitted the joint entry with Questa Instruments LLC, Phoenix International Holdings Inc., Sexton Corp. L. Jonathan Dowell and Dale Talbott led the team of Rick Rasmussen, Rick Rothrock, Sam Salazar, Theresa Cutler, Mark Wald-Hopkins, Kris Hyatt, Don Hyatt, Larry Bronisz, James Thompson, Chris Chen, David Fontaine, Adam Kingsley, Thomas Barks, Damien Milazzo, James Hemsing, Gary Sundby and David Allen. The team included collaborators from the U.S. Army; Quaesta Instruments, LLC; Phoenix International Holdings, Inc.; and Sexton Corporation.
In addition to the R&D 100 Award, this invention received an award in the Market Disruptor-Products category. This award is designed to highlight any product that has changed the game in any industry.
Watch a video about the technology here
Long-range Wireless Sensor Network, Winner
The Long-range Wireless Sensor Network grew out of the Lab’s decades of experience developing satellite components for the harsh space environment. The turnkey low-power sensor network is self-forming and self-healing and scales to hundreds of nodes for unattended operation. It can affordably collect, process and transmit data over long distances (19 kilometers point-to-point) in rugged, extreme and remote outdoor environments.
The Laboratory submitted the joint entry with West Virginia University. Janette Frigo led the team of Tracy Gambill, James Krone, Hudson Ayers, Shawn Hinzey, Kari Sentz, Xiaoguang Yang, Terra Shepherd, Richard Dutch, Louis Borges, Bobby Quintana, Ryan Hemphill, Michael Cai, Sanna Sevanto, Cathy Wilson, Joel Rowland, Thom Rahn, Kevin McCabe, Don Enemark, Michael Proicou, David Guenther, Stephen Judd, Armand Groffman, Alexandra Saari, Steven Veenis, Allison Chan, Bobbie Rappe, Tom Dufresne and collaborator Vinod Kulathumani of West Virginia University.
Watch a video about the technology here
Rad-Hard Single-Board Computer for Space, Winner
The lightweight, low-cost single board computer has radiation-hardened and mechanically-hardened electronics for satellites and other space applications. It is smaller and uses less power than any other space-grade computer currently available. Industry standard MicroTelecommunication Computing Architecture expands compatibility and interoperability. The invention leverages the Lab’s more than 50 years designing instruments for satellites and deep space missions.
Robert Merl and Paul Graham led the team of Zachary Baker, Justin Tripp, John Michel and Richard Dutch.
Silicon Strip Cosmic Muon Detectors for Homeland Security, Winner
Naturally occurring cosmic particles called muons “rain down” from the atmosphere and scatter significantly when they interact with high-atomic-number materials. Muon trackers use the scattering trajectory signature to detect shielded nuclear materials, explosives, and other items of interest. The slim profile of silicon strip muon detectors provides versatility and enables stealthy deployment into walls, ceilings and portable devices.
Nevada National Security Site Mission Support and Test Services LLC submitted the joint entry with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Los Alamos team included Chris Morris, J. Matthew Durham and Elena Guardincerri.
Universal Bacterial Sensor, Winner
The human immune system inspired the development of the Universal Bacterial Sensor — a unique technology that mimics biological recognition of bacterial pathogens. Like the immune system, the sensor recognizes all bacterial infections as early as before the onset of symptoms. The method uses only a small volume of sample and requires no prior knowledge of what the bacteria might be. It is inexpensive, field-ready, can be performed by a nonexpert and provides reliable answers within 30 minutes.
Harshini Mukundan led the team of Basil Swanson, Aaron Anderson, Jessica Kubicek-Sutherland, Ramamurthy Sakamuri and Loreen Stromberg.
Watch a video about the technology here
ViDeoMAgic: Video-Based Dynamic Measurement & Analysis, Winner
ViDeoMAgic analyzes digital video of a vibrating structure to extract structural-dynamics response information in high spatial resolution. Unsupervised machine learning algorithms then analyze those dynamic responses and extract the structure’s dynamics properties (resonant frequencies, damping & mode shapes) from the video data That data, in turn, can be used to assess the system’s health (with respect to damage and defects). High fidelity, in situ damage detection of civil, mechanical, and aerospace structures enables identification and remedy of incipient damage before it reaches the critical level.
Yongchao Yang led the team of David Mascareñas, Charles Dorn, Charles Farrar and Garrett Kenyon.
Clean-Energy Catalysts Without Precious Metals, Winner
Clean-Energy Catalysts Without Precious Metals uses inexpensive, Earth-abundant and easily sourced precursor materials for the synthesis of electrocatalysts for hydrogen-based fuel cells. The fuel cells produce electrical energy and emit one byproduct: water. Conventional fuel cells rely on costly precious metal catalysts, such as platinum. The new precious-metal-free electrocatalysts generate performance approaching that of precious metal catalysts but at a fraction of the cost.
Los Alamos submitted the joint entry with Pajarito Powder, LLC based on technology that Pajarito Powder licensed from the Lab. Piotr Zelenay led the Los Alamos team of Hoon Taek Chung, Edward Holby and Ulises Martinez. Pajarito Powder collaborators include Barr Zulevi, Alia Lubers, Geoff McCool and Sam McKinney.
Discrete Fracture Network Modeling Suite (dfnWorks), Winner
Discrete Fracture Network Modeling Suite (dfnWorks) is a computational suite that simulates and predicts the flow and transport of fluids through underground fractured rock. It covers length scales that range from millimeters to kilometers, can run on computers as small as a laptop and as large as a supercomputer and requires minimal effort to create representative models. Applications for dfnWorks include helping catch rogue nations performing underground nuclear tests and maximizing the extraction of natural gas, oil and geothermal wells while minimizing environmental impacts.
Los Alamos submitted the joint entry with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Carl Gable led the Los Alamos team of Jeffrey Hyman, Satish Karra, Nataliia Makedonska and Hari Viswanathan; with Oak Ridge collaborator Scott Painter.
Watch a video about the technology here.
Empowering the Development of Genomics Expertise (EDGE), Winner
Empowering the Development of Genomics Expertise (EDGE) Bioinformatics “democratizes” the genomics revolution by enabling any researcher or physician to analyze complex genomics data quickly and easily. The intuitive, web-based platform, which can be applied to a wide variety of genome-sequencing samples, addresses the problem of handling big data, without requiring users to possess bioinformatics expertise. EDGE brings the power of complex, big-data sequencing analysis to smaller research laboratories, including clinics, hospitals, universities and remote sites.
Los Alamos submitted EDGE as a joint entry with the Naval Medical Research Center. Patrick Chain led the Los Alamos team of Po-E Li, Chien-Chi Lo, Karen Davenport, Yan Xu, Pavel Senin, and Migun Shakya. Collaborators at the Naval Medical Center include Theron Hamilton, Kimberly Bishop-Lilly, Joseph Anderson, Logan Voegtly and Casandra Philipson.
High-Temperature Electric Submersible Pump Motor (HT-ESP), Winner
High-Temperature Electric Submersible Pump Motor (HT-ESP) is rugged and reliable, offering improved thermal performance compared to conventional submersible pumps used in deep underground and extremely hot environments. Whether electric submersible pump motors are used in drilling deeper for oil and gas reservoirs or tapping into geothermal resources of energy, they must operate in harsh, extremely hot environments. Current pump motors overheat and must be replaced often. To solve this, the Los Alamos and the Chevron Energy Technology Company research team developed two technologies for HT-ESP to lower the internal operating temperature of the motor.
Los Alamos submitted the HT-ESP as a joint entry with Chevron. Todd Jankowski led a Los Alamos team of Dallas Hill, Britton Lambson, James Stewart, Robert Bourque and Coyne Prenger. Chevron collaborators include Jose Gamboa, Daniel Hunt, Max Bough and Yamila Orrego.
National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) Toolset, Winner
National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) Toolset is a set of 10 science-based computational tools developed to assess long-term environmental risks of geologic carbon dioxide (CO2) storage sites. This novel toolset is the only product suite that allows rapid, site-specific quantitative and probabilistic risk performance evaluation of the whole geological CO2 storage system – from storage reservoir to overlying groundwater and the atmosphere. These tools support industry and regulatory stakeholders as they design and implement safe and effective geological CO2 storage projects to sequester large volumes of human-made CO2.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory submitted the joint entry with Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Rajesh Pawar led the Los Alamos team of Chris Bradley, Elizabeth Keating, Phil Stauffer, Shaoping Chu, Dylan Harp, Richard Lee, Bill Carey and George Guthrie.
Space Hazards Induced near Earth by Large, Dynamic Storms, Winner
Space Hazards Induced near Earth by Large, Dynamic Storms (SHIELDS) protects communication, navigation and scientific satellites orbiting Earth’s magnetosphere by predicting hazards resulting from solar storms that cause space weather. Space weather could damage onboard electronics in satellites and thus interrupt radio and television reception, disrupt the operation of cellphones and GPS, shut down the Internet and endanger military and civilian operations. Researchers developed the software platform to understand, model and predict this weather about an hour before it hits satellites, enabling instruments to be placed in a safe mode.
Los Alamos submitted SHIELDS as a joint entry with the University of Michigan. Vania Jordanova led the Los Alamos team of Gian Luca Delzanno, Humberto Godinez, J. David Moulton, Daniil Svyatsky, Michael Henderson, Steve Morley, Jesse Woodroffe, Thiago Brito, Christopher Jeffery, Alin-Daniel Panaitescu, Collin Meierbachtol, Earl Lawrence and Louis Vernon. University of Michigan collaborators included Gabor Toth, Daniel Welling, Yuxi Chen and John Haiducek.
Watch a video about the technology here.
WikiEpiCast framework combines mathematical models with clinical surveillance data and readership traffic from Wikipedia to forecast the spread and severity of diseases around the world. Successfully demonstrated on forecasting influenza in the United States, WikiEpiCast’s framework can be applied to any communicable disease. The tools being developed within WikiEpiCast present probabilistic forecasts, similar to how nightly newscasts present weather updates. As a result, such forecasts are easy for nonscientist decision makers to digest and in turn make informed decisions that could save lives and potentially mitigate the potential impacts of an epidemic or pandemic of a burgeoning communicable disease.
Los Alamos submitted the WikiEpiCast entry. Sara Del Valle led the team of Nicholas Generous, Geoffrey Fairchild, Kyle Hickmann, Reid Priedhorsky and David Osthus.
Hydrogen Safety Sensor, Winner
Hydrogen Safety Sensor makes filling up hydrogen-fueled vehicles a lot safer. Hydrogen gas is highly flammable, colorless and odorless and propagates very quickly if released into the air. The Hydrogen Safety Sensor is made of safe, durable and long-lasting ceramic sensor elements of the type used in automotive oxygen sensor technology. The safety sensors can be placed anywhere in the hydrogen supply chain, from hydrogen production and distributions to a critical component of the hydrogen pump at a filling station to a functioning safety component of the consumer product itself.
Los Alamos submitted the Hydrogen Safety Sensor as a joint entry with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Hydrogen Frontier, Inc. Eric Brosha led the Los Alamos team of Christopher Romero, Rangachary Mukundan and Cortney Kreller. Collaborators include Amanda Wu and Robert Glass of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Daniel A. Poppe of Hydrogen Frontier, Inc.
CCSI Toolset, Winner
Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) Toolset is a suite of computational tools and models that supports and accelerates the development, scale-up and commercialization of carbon dioxide capture technology to reduce domestic and global carbon dioxide emissions.
The invention addresses key industrial challenges, including developing a baseline for the uncertainty in simulation results. It is the only suite of computational tools and models specifically tailored to help maximize learning during the scale-up process in order to reduce risk.
National Energy Technology Laboratory submitted the joint entry with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Princeton University, West Virginia University, University of Texas at Austin, Carnegie Mellon University, and Boston University. Joel Kress of Physics and Chemistry of Materials led the Los Alamos team, which included Jim Gattiker, Sham Bhat and Peter Marcy of Statistical Sciences; Brett Okhuysen of Systems Design and Analysis; David DeCroix of Intelligence and Emerging Threats Program Office and Susan Sprake of Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation
Entropy Engine, Winner
Entropy Engine is a random number generator that addresses a key fundamental flaw in modern crypto systems—predictability. The invention strengthens the foundation of computer security by producing an inexhaustible supply of pure random numbers at speeds of 200 million bits per second. Entropy Engine uses the unique properties of quantum mechanics to generate true entropy (random numbers) in a way that makes it immune from all external influences.
Los Alamos submitted Entropy Engine as a joint entry with Whitewood Encryption Systems based on technology that Whitewood licensed from the Lab. Raymond Newell of Applied Modern Physics led the Los Alamos team of Glen Peterson of Applied Modern Physics and David Guenther of Space Electronics and Signal Processing, with collaborators Richard Moulds of Whitewood Encryption Systems, Jane E. Nordholt and Richard Hughes (retired Laboratory employees), Robert Van Rooyen of Summit Scientific Inc. and Alex Rosiewicz of A2E Partners, Inc.
PathScan provides security analytics for detecting computer network attacks. Traditional computer network security tools, which search for malware or network signatures, insufficiently protect from expensive data breaches. Traditional defense mechanisms—perimeter controls and end-point antivirus protection—cannot keep pace with these increasingly innovative and sophisticated adversaries.
Rather than detecting something that “looks” like a cyberthreat, PathScan searches for anomalous communications behavior within the network. The invention performs a statistical analysis of abnormal behavior across a network and identifies the lateral, reconnaissance and data staging behaviors of attackers.
Ernst & Young submitted PathScan, a joint entry with the Lab, based on technology licensed from the Lab. Michael Fisk, the Lab’s Chief Information Officer, led the Los Alamos team of Curtis Storlie of Statistical Sciences, Alexander D. Kent of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats Program Office and Melissa Turcotte of Advanced Research in Cyber Systems. Ernst & Young inventors include Joshua Neil, Curt Hash, Ben Uphoff, Alexander Brugh, Matt Morgan and Joseph Sexton.
Pulmonary Lung Model (PuLMo) is a miniature, tissue-engineered lung developed to revolutionize the screening of new drugs or toxic agents. Current screening methods may not accurately predict response in humans.
PuLMo has the potential to enable screening of new drugs more effectively by improving the reliability of pre-clinical testing and saving time, money and lives. PuLMo also could be used as a platform to study the flow dynamics of particles inside a lung for applications in drug delivery and particle/pathogen deposition studies.
Rashi S. Iyer of Information Systems and Modeling led the team of Pulak Nath of Applied Modern Physics; Jennifer Foster Harris, Ayesha Arefin, Yulin Shou, Kirill A. Balatsky and Jen-Huang Huang of Biosecurity and Public Health; Srinivas Iyer of Bioscience Division Office; Jan Henrik Sandin of Instrumentation and Controls; David Platts and John Avery William Neal of Applied Modern Physics; Timothy Charles Sanchez of Bioenergy and Biome Sciences and Miranda Huang Intrator of Richard Feynman Center for Innovation.
Watch a video about the technology here.
Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA) provides coupled, high-fidelity software capabilities to examine light water reactors’ operational and safety performance-defining phenomena at levels of detail previously unattainable.
The multiphysics simulation toolkit covers the range of physics necessary to predict the performance of currently operating commercial nuclear power reactors. This capability enables users to study, mitigate and manage problems identified by the industry to a level of understanding that is not available through other toolsets. VERA supports options for both high performance computing and industry-sized computing clusters in a manner that is accessible and easily understood for most users.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory submitted VERA, a joint entry with Core Physics, Electric Power Research Institute, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, North Carolina State University, University of Michigan and Westinghouse Electric Company. Christopher Stanek of Materials Science in Radiation and Dynamics Extremes led the Los Alamos work.
Engineered Quantum Dots for Luminescent Solar Concentrators, Special REcognition
A recipient of the Green Technology Special Recognition Award was the Los Alamos innovation called Turning Windows and Building Facades into Energy-Producing Solar Panels: Engineered Quantum Dots for Luminescent Solar Concentrators.
These revolutionary semitransparent windows contain highly emissive semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) that collect sunlight for photovoltaics and provide a desired degree of shading. The material can turn windows and building facades into electrical generators of nonpolluting power. The nontoxic dots absorb the sunlight, re-emit it at a longer wavelength and waveguide it towards edge-installed photovoltaic cells to produce electricity. This technology can transform once-passive building facades into power-generation units, which can be particularly useful in densely populated areas.
Los Alamos submitted the joint entry with co-developer University of Milano-Bicocca. Victor I. Klimov of Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy led the team of Kirill Velizhanin of Physics and Chemistry of Materials, Hunter McDaniel (former Los Alamos postdoctoral researcher, currently with UbiQD LLC), Sergio Brovelli and Francesco Meinardi (University of Milano-Bicocca).
Hybrid Optimization Software Suite (HOSS), Finalist
Hybrid Optimization Software Suite (HOSS) provides a simulation platform to conduct “virtual experiments” that help model and analyze materials phenomena that cannot be readily produced or studied in a laboratory or real-world setting. It is the first to combine finite-element and discrete-element methods with an all-regime computational fluid dynamics solver to generate accurate simulations of complex multi-physics problems, such as material deformation, fracture and failure analyses.
Earl E. Knight of Los Alamos’ Geophysics group led the team of Esteban Rougier and Zhou Lei of Geophysics and Antonio Munjiza of TetCognition LTD.
MarFS is a thin software layer that makes the technical advances generated by cloud-based storage available to classical POSIX use cases. The acronym “MarFS” is a combination of the word mar (Spanish for “sea,” alluding to the data lake) and File System. MarFS was written specifically to leverage cloud storage technology for high-performance parallel cold storage. The software maps directories and files in legacy systems, including those used by companies that handle vast amounts of data, to cloud-based object storage. MarFS is so flexible that it can adapt to new storage technologies as they are developed.
Gary Grider of the High Performance Computing-Division Office (HPC-DO) led the team of Kyle E. Lamb, David Bonnie, and Hsing Bung Chen of High Performance Computing-Design, Christopher Hoffman of High Performance Computing-Systems, Christopher DeJager, Jeff Inman, and Alfred Torrez of High Performance Computing Environments and Brett Kettering (HPC-DO.)
Photonic Band Gap Structures, Finalist
Photonic Band Gap Structures enable a new generation of high-current, high-power accelerators. Today, there are more than 30,000 particle accelerators operating around the world for use in basic science and applications in medicine, energy, environment, national security and defense. These accelerators use electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to nearly the speed of light, containing the particles in well-defined beams. Los Alamos developed photonic band gap structures to improve the quality and intensity of the beams.
Evgenya Simakov of Los Alamos’ Accelerators and Electrodynamics group led a team that includes W. Brian Haynes of Radio Frequency Engineering, Dmitry Shchegolkov, Sergey Arsenyev and Tsuyoshi Tajima of Mechanical Design Engineering.
Energy-integrated Detector for Energetic Neutrons (EDEN), Finalist
Energy-integrated Detector for Energetic Neutrons (EDEN) is a simple, passive, reusable neutron detector stack designed for nuclear fusion and other 1 MeV to 20 MeV sources. The system uses a stack of alternating high-density polyethylene (n,p) converter plates and image plates to detect the incident neutrons. The neutrons interact with hydrogen nuclei in the polyethylene, producing recoil protons that deposit their energy in the image plates. An image plate scanner reads the image plates.
EDEN surpasses existing technologies to image fusion neutrons via its low-cost combination of reasonable quantum efficiency, high spatial resolution, and large area detection. NIF has used EDEN to demonstrate neutron imaging inside the target bay on an 11.8 m line of sight at a fraction of the cost of systems using scintillator-based detectors. NIF is building two additional neutron aperture imagers using 20 cm x 40 cm EDEN detectors to enable 3-D measurements.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory submitted EDEN as a joint entry with LANL. Team: David Fittinghoff, Kim Christensen, Donald Jedlovec, and Nobuhiko Izumi (LLNL); Frank Merrill (Neutron Science and Technology, P-23) led the LANL team of Raspberry Simpson, Petr Volegov, and Carl Wilde (P-23).
Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is quickly becoming an essential tool for improving the safety—and efficient maintenance—of critical structures such as aircraft, pipelines, bridges and dams, buildings and stadiums, pressure vessels, ships, power plants, and mechanical structures such as amusement park rides and wind turbines.
Los Alamos engineers have developed SHMTools, software that provides more than 100 advanced algorithms that can be assembled to quickly prototype and evaluate damage-detection processes. It is a virtual toolbox that can be used to detect damage in various types of structures, from aircraft and buildings to bridges and mechanical infrastructure.
Dustin Harvey, of the Laboratory’s Applied Engineering Technology, and his team of R&D engineers, including Professor Michael Todd of the University of California-San Diego, developed SHMTools.
LARS is a small-scale radiography device that, for the first time, can provide continuous high-speed x-ray imaging of spontaneous dynamic events, such as explosions, reaction-front propagation, and material failure.
To image these types of events, scientists require the use of some type of penetrating radiography, which LARS provides. Laura Smilowitz, of the Laboratory’s Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy group, and her team and collaborators at CoRELabs developed this technology.
Designed for high-performance computers, MDHIM is a revolutionary software tool that performs more than a billion key/value inserts per second that can be retrieved in key order.
Today scientists analyze data visually, often turning data into images or even movies. Current simulations on high-performance computers, such as supercomputers, make visualizing data untenable because of the resources required to move, search, and analyze all of the data at once. MDHIM provides a solution to this complicated problem by identifying, retrieving, and analyzing smaller subsets of data.
Hugh Greenberg, of the Laboratory’s High Performance Systems Integration group, and his team of researchers and John Bent, of EMC, developed MDHIM.
Throughout the world, oil, gas, and petrochemical plants often use vessels and pipes to store or transport fluids. Over time, some of these vessels can corrode because of the caustic nature of the fluids inside them. PipeLIBS (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) is an elemental-analysis system that uses a laser beam to excite material so that it emits light at wavelengths characteristic of its chemical composition; it identifies the target elements and determines their concentration in a matter of seconds or minutes.
PipeLIBS makes it possible to inspect pipes, vessels, and other components already operational in the field and new pipes that are received from pipe manufacturers. PipeLIBS was developed by James Barefield, of Los Alamos’s Chemical Diagnostics and Engineering group, and his team.
AWS: A Revolutionary Laser-Based Nondestructive Inspection System, Winner
We have developed a technique known as Acoustic Wavenumber Spectroscopy (AWS), which generates images of hidden structural properties and/or defects. AWS generates such images by taking fast, full-field measurements of a structure’s steady-state response to periodic ultrasonic excitation.
AWS’s novelty is in its ability to extract local wave propagation properties by using continuous, periodic ultrasonic excitation and continuous-scan sensing, which enables noninvasive, high-rate and high-resolution ultrasonic imaging.
Taking measurements of a structure’s relatively high amplitude steady-state response yields significantly faster scans by avoiding many of the wave-reverberation and signal-to-noise-ratio issues associated with typical scanned ultrasonic measurements.
SAFIRE: Noninvasive, Real-Time, and Accurate Estimates of Oil Production, Winner
A multiphase flow meter, Safire provides noninvasive, real-time, and accurate estimates of oil production for every well. Safire achieves measurement rates as high as 100 readings per second (including computation time).
Safire is based on swept frequency acoustic interferometry (SFAI). SFAI uses frequency-chirp signal propagation (wideband ultrasonic frequency) through a multiphase medium to extract frequency-dependent physical properties of said medium. Reservoir engineers then use the propagation time and the attenuation of the chirp signal as a function of frequency to extract both fluid flow and multiphase fluid composition information.
Simple to use, Safire enables continuous measurements in fast-changing oil flows in rod-pumped wells, as well as other wells. Safire’s ability to provide accurate, real-time volumetric measurements of oil flow from wells means:
- better reservoir management,
- accelerated production, and
- huge cost savings by eliminating environmentally unsafe separations tank.
Cyto-AMP: Cell Acoustic Manipulation Platform
A microfluidic device, Cyto-AMP can differentiate between cells based on size, buoyant density, and speed of sound—properties that determine a cell’s acoustic contrast and are known cellular indicators of disease.
This instrument allows continuous microscale separation of single cells and easily separates bacteria from white blood cells, for example. Separating cells by using acoustic response would enable cell detection without labeling, thus simplifying sample preparation and reducing the number of necessary device components.
Cyto-AMP uses a standing surface acoustic wave to gently and instantly focus flowing cells from the center of a channel toward pressure nodes at the channel sidewalls. Cyto-AMP achieves such movement based on the response of cell physical properties to the acoustic field.
IsoFOX: Fuel-Oxidizer Solid-Rocket Propulsion System
A segregated fuel-oxidizer propellant system, IsoFOX is a breakthrough technology in solid rocket propulsion in terms of energy and safety.
IsoFOX takes advantage of a unique combination of novel materials under a radically new engineering design. Recent development of high-nitrogen and –hydrogen energetic molecules and systems at Los Alamos (containing little or no oxygen) enabled us to develop a segregated tandem system.
In this new system, the energetic material provides fuel from decomposition, which is then oxidized in a separate chamber by reacting with a solid oxidizer.
The chances of accidental rocket detonation or initiation are dramatically reduced because the fuel and the oxidizer remain separated until it is time to initiate fuel combustion. Moreover, both the fuel and oxidizer are completely insensitive to shock.
MagRay: Differentiating Between Benign and Explosive Liquids
Although most carry-on liquids at airports are benign—ranging from energy drinks to shampoos—there may be a select few that are actually liquid explosives carried aboard by terrorists.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a technology known as MagRay, which quickly and accurately differentiates between benign liquids (like fine wine or an energy drink) and liquids that pose a threat, such as esoteric and homemade explosive liquids. MagRay can perform such a scan in less than 20 seconds and with over 95% accuracy.
MagRay for the first time combines nuclear magnetic resonance with X-ray. MagRay is unique in that it has unlocked a new parameter— hydrogen content—not available to conventional MRI or X-ray alone.
Packaging is also not an issue, as MagRay easily looks through all kinds of packaging, from wood and paper to metal and plastics. MagRay can screen multiple bodies simultaneously without any loss in throughput.
KiloPower: Making Deep-Space Exploration Feasible Again, Winner
We have developed a small-space reactor known as KiloPower that can provide long-term power—approximately 15 to 30 years—to a deep-space probe or satellite. To produce electricity, KiloPower uses a nuclear fission system as a heat source that transfers heat via a heat pipe to a small Stirling engine-based power converter to produce electricity.
KiloPower uses plentiful uranium instead of scarce plutonium, generates 500 to 1500 watts of electricity, and minimizes hazards and guarantees performance as a result of its safe and simple design.
With KiloPower, it is possible for NASA and other government and industrial organizations to continue developing probes and spacecraft for the exploration of deep space. Other applications include providing power on the surfaces of planets, mobile power for forward-operating bases (of interest to the Department of Defense), and power in remote locations (of interest to intelligence agencies).
Mantevo Suite 1.0, Winner
Mantevo Suite 1.0 is the first integrated collection of full-featured mini apps developed to explore complex design spaces. Mini apps are exceptional performance applications, allowing earlier, informed design decisions for future computing applications. Major companies, universities, and laboratories use mini apps for these purposes.
Sandia National Laboratories led the work, which included Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment, NVIDIA Corporation, University of Bristol, and University of Warwick.
Los Alamos and LLNL co-developed the CoMD mini app, a simple proxy for the computations in a typical molecular dynamics application. The implementation mimics that of LANL’s SPaSM (Scalable Parallel Short-range Molecular dynamics) code. The OpenCL implementation enables testing on multicore and graphics processing unit architectures, array-of structures, and structure of-arrays data layouts.
MiniMAX: Miniature, Mobile, Agile, X-Ray System, Winner
MiniMAX is a compact, completely self-contained, battery-operated, portable x-ray imaging system. At just under 5 pounds, MiniMAX outperforms x-ray systems that weigh between 30 and 500 pounds and cost three to six times as much.
Applications for MiniMAX include
- homeland security (postal inspection of suspicious packages and explosive ordnance disposal),
- nondestructive testing,
- weld inspection,
- disaster relief (triage broken bones and identify corpses with dental x-rays), and
- field and veterinary medicine
Multi-Mode Passive Detection System, Winner
The Multi-Mode Passive Detection System (MMPDS) is a scanning device that uses naturally occurring muon particles from cosmic rays for rapid detection of unshielded to heavily shielded nuclear and radiological threats, explosives, and other contraband. MMPDS detects, identifies, and locates (in 3-D) nuclear and radiological threats. Additional modality enables explosives, precious metals, and narcotics detection.
MMPDS can scan vehicles, rail cars, and cargo containers. The automated, single-scan operation facilitates the flow of commerce for transportation hubs and border crossings. It produces no ionizing radiation and is completely safe for people, animals, plants, and food.
The Earth’s upper atmosphere is under constant bombardment by cosmic radiation that produces showers of secondary particles, which rapidly decay into a constant flux of highly penetrating muons (about 200 per square meter per second). Because the muon angular trajectory changes as a function of the density and atomic weight of the material traversed, a unique “signature” for the substance can be developed. The ability to identify distinct material density enables the MMPDS to detect unshielded to heavily shielded nuclear threats with near-zero false alarms. The system also includes a highly sensitive gamma detection capability, which quickly identifies the intensity and location of gamma-producing material.
The development history of MMPDS and its technology demonstrates the application of research to practical solutions for serious issues. Cosmic ray muons have been studied since their discovery in the 1930s. Christopher Morris (Subatomic Physics, P-25) led a LANL team that originally demonstrated the possibility of using charged particles to generate images of objects. Funded initially through the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, the team built a prototype and demonstrated the initial feasibility of the technology. The Lab, under a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Decision Sciences International Corporation, advanced the science of charged-particle imaging through the commercialization of the technology.
AMCASS: Automated Multi-Column Actinide Separation System
Currently, scientists perform actinide separations manually. Such processes are tedious, time-consuming, hazardous, and prone to operator error. To eliminate such problems, we have developed AMCASS (automated multi-column actinide separation system), a breakthrough technology that replaces all manual processes with fully automated functions.
A robotic chromatograph controlled by software, AMCASS separates actinide matrices from trace impurities in plutonium and uranium metals and oxides so that scientists can determine trace elemental constituents by using chemical analytical instruments without matrix interferences. AMCASS automates functions such as fluidics transportation, chemical separation, and auto-sampling. Fabricated by J2 Scientific, AMCASS uses software to control a robotic arm and pump systems to upload samples, aspirate solutions, collect fractions, and clean/regenerate columns without operator intervention.
AMCASS enables quick, precise, and automated sample analysis while reducing the use of raw materials and chemicals, thereby producing much less waste and minimizing radiation exposure to operators.
FuSS: Fuels Synthesized from Sugars
We have developed a chemical process that transforms biomass-derived molecules into fuels and platform chemicals. Known as FuSS (Fuels Synthesized from Sugars), this process is performed under relatively mild and energy-efficient conditions.
A breakthrough technology, FuSS enables a “direct-ring opening” of furan rings, which comprise four carbons and one oxygen atom. Furan rings are ubiquitous in biomass-derived molecules. Converting these rings into linear chains is a necessary step in the production of energy-dense fuels because such linear chains can then be reduced and hydrodeoxygenated into alkanes used as gasoline and diesel fuel. The ring-opening reaction requires relatively mild conditions using common acids as catalysts.
FuSS has the potential to
- reduce America’s dependence on oil
- decrease the production of harmful greenhouse gases
- ensure long-term availability of renewable materials used to manufacture consumer products
PathScan: A Leap Forward in Network Defense Technology
The software tool PathScan quickly analyzes data from a large computer network to identify—in real time—attacks on the network.
Hackers display traversal behavior when attacking a network. By traversal, we mean the movement of a hacker over a sequence of computers. Hackers have many reasons for this traversal, including searching for valuable data and establishing themselves throughout the network to avoid easy removal.
PathScan targets such traversal behavior by (1) building behavioral models that reflect normal activity, followed by (2) passively monitoring network traffic and comparing it with behavioral models. Our approach consists of the following steps:
- Build statistical models that reflect the historical network traffic between each pair of communicating computers on large computer networks
- Enumerate millions—even billions—of small paths within a network
- Analyze each path, testing whether observed data are similar to the historical behavior according to the models built in step 1, or alternatively, that the data appear to be caused by a hacker moving along such a path
Using this approach, PathScan detects hacker infiltration of a network before the hacker can access its secure assets or cause network disruption.
MPDV: Multiplexed Photonic Doppler Velocimeter, Winner
As recently as 1 year ago, scientists measuring shock wave surface velocities typically collected 4 channels of velocimetry data, and used extrapolation, assumptions and models to determine what was occurring in regions of the experiment that were not observed directly. Thanks to advances in probes, digitizers, and the technology available in the telecommunications industry, those scientists were recently able to record 96 channels of data for a fraction of the original cost using a newly constructed multi-channel PDV (Photonic Doppler Velocimetry) system. This is a paradigm shift of tremendous magnitude for these researchers, and the country!
Alternative systems used by experimental scientists typically collected 4-16 channels of data. These were limited by the cost and complexity of setting up and operating either the Fabry-Pérot or VISAR (Velocity Interferometer System for Any Reflector) systems. The Fabry-Pérot at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a 2000 square foot facility which cost multiple millions of dollars, and took years to build. Experiments can be run adjacent to the facility, with 2 physicists, 2 engineers, and several technicians setting up and operating the very sensitive and complex equipment. Multiple channel VISAR systems can be transported via semi truck trailer, with fewer staff. A portable four channel PDV system can be set up over one to two days at the experiment site using a Class IV laser. The portable MPDV can also be set up in a matter of days, with no special laser safety requirements, and returns at least 32 channels of data. On March 7, 2012, a record of 96 channels was achieved using 3 MPDV units. In that record event, the staff was being cross trained, so there were a total of 6 specialized employees present. In future events, the equipment will be set up and operated by one staff person per 32 channel system.
In the words of customers Dr. D. Holtkamp and Dr. M. Furlanetto, “…the use of your systems has saved Los Alamos National Laboratory (and the taxpayers) many millions of dollars.” They further state, “This capability has truly ushered in a new era in experimental dynamic testing and will result in far more comprehensive understanding of these experimental systems now and in the future.”
Interferometric optical velocimetry is one of the primary diagnostic methods for shock physics, pulsed power, and hypervelocity experiments as well as commercial applications in vibrometry. The purpose of velocimetry is to measure a velocity time history for a surface of interest during the course of an experiment or measurement. Surfaces may be driven to km/s velocities and may also exhibit multiple discrete velocities and/or dispersive effects due to ejecta production in explosively driven experiments. Velocity is determined by measuring the Doppler shift of optical illumination reflected from a moving surface.
Such wave profiles are used to determine fundamental shock physics quantities, diagnose component and system performance in vibrometry and for complex experiments to provide data to compare with model predictions.
- Acoustic vibrometry
- Architectural: micron displacements (motion) when used as a displacement interferometer
- Micron displacement studies for materials
- Aerosol particle plumes
Sequedex is a revolutionary software package that can chew through one human genome’s worth of DNA analysis in 30 minutes on a single core of a laptop while you are using the other cores to read R&D Magazine. Sequedex gets its performance boost by combining keyword recognition technology from web search engines with evolutionary theory, placing short “reads” of DNA from any organism on the Tree of Life. Sequedex makes it possible for a scientist to explore a community of microorganisms by analyzing the DNA from a spoonful of dirt, during the course of an afternoon, using equipment that could be carried on the back of a mule.
- Medicine: infectious diseases, tracking drug resistance and cancer genomics.
- Ecology: monitoring and management by profiling microbial communities.
- Chemical manufacturing: discover industrially useful enzymes, develop sequence-based controls for fermentation processes.
- Consumer products: measure effects of consumer products on microbial communities in oral care, feminine care, skin care and gardening.
- Works for any organism, even microbes and viruses never seen before, because of its basis in evolutionary theory.
- Works for short reads (as short as 30 bases, where a base is one “letter” of DNA) where other approaches fail.
- 250,000 times faster than the most commonly used approach—the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST)—in typical application, and more than 50 times faster than the fastest commercial product.
U-TURN: Turning Uranium Around, Winner
We have developed U-TURN (Turning Uranium Around), a cost effective, safe and environmentally green process that produces two innovative uranium iodide reagents, UI3(1,4-dioxane)1.5 and UI4(1,4- dioxane)2. U-TURN requires no retooling or specialized equipment, gives reproducible and high-yielding product, can be applied at an industrial scale and is easy to use. U-TURN stands to revolutionize uranium chemistry, catalysis, materials science and energy.
- Future sustainable energy. One hurdle to developing safer, advanced nuclear fuels is the difficulty in producing the uranium starting materials needed for research. U-TURN overcomes this hurdle and could “change the game” for nuclear energy/waste as well as create a new industry for using depleted uranium.
- Waste cleanup. U-TURN provides a nondestructive path forward for more than 5,300 metric tons of depleted uranium metal waste as well as waiting for disposition at sites across the United States.
- Nitrogen fixation and fertilizer/crop production. U-TURN could one day help lower the cost of crop production throughout the world: catalysts developed using U-TURN reagents could dramatically improve the Haber-Bosch process that converts nitrogen and hydrogen to ammonia. Ammonia is used as a feedstock to produce nitrogen-based fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate and urea.
- Cost effective. The U-TURN process costs 100–140 times less to produce its reagents than it does for competitive processes to produce their reagents.
- Safe and easy to make. The U-TURN process is so straightforward that a novice chemist could synthesize our products—simply mix the starting materials and walk away. The process is performed at temperatures as low as 25°C (room temperature) using conventional glassware in a traditional laboratory setting.
- kEnvironmentally green. U-TURN does not use toxic chlorine-containing compounds along with high temperatures or mercury iodide along with low temperatures, as do current methods.
Valveless Laser Processing, Winner
Hermetically sealed containers commonly used in electronics, aerospace, and medical applications are initially leak tested and periodically analyzed to sample their contents. Valves, which can be unreliable, are costly and impractical to use because of their weight and volume limitations. By omitting valves, organizations sacrifice test effectiveness and periodic maintenance and have little choice but to perform surveillance activities by destructive means. We have developed a novel, nondestructive process that uses a single laser to remotely penetrate, sample and reseal hermetically sealed containers. Our access and resealing process includes a unique laser alloying technique that prevents cracks on crack-prone materials, permits the final seal to be recertified, and allows the sealed container to be resampled and reused repeatedly. Our process also enables modern leak detection methods. In medical devices, such as pacemakers, the inability to detect leaks has resulted in loss of life.
- Environmental remediation: Remotely accesses and reseals containers with known or unknown contents, such as rocket fuels, chemical weapons or other high-hazard materials
- Nondestructive analysis: Allows sampling, recertification and reuse of containers typically analyzed by destructive means
- Leak testing: Allows for modern leak detection on pacemakers and other implantable medical devices
- Eliminates need for valves and their associated weight, volume and material costs
Operates safely and remotely without exposing personnel to hazardous materials
- Lowers process cost and duration: able to access, evacuate, backfill, seal and leak test in one setup
- Allows resealed container to be certified to the highest standards
Backpack LIBS: Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy
For the first time ever, we have miniaturized the equipment to conduct atomic emission analysis so that it can be carried on an operator’s back. Our technology, Backpack LIBS (laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy), uses multiple pulses of a high-intensity laser beam to break down basic elements of a sample into unique wave spectrums to determine what the sample is made of. Backpack LIBS weighs only 25 pounds, is ergonomically designed, and is easy to use. Moreover, the safety features of Backpack LIBS ensure that an operator is safe from laser beam exposure and does not even need to wear safety glasses. As a result of its portability, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness, Backpack LIBS inexpensively takes atomic emission analysis from a traditional laboratory setting into the field.
- Detecting nuclear and other hazardous materials. Organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tasked with verifying foreign states’ adherence to nuclear nonproliferation treaties can use our Backpack LIBS to conduct international inspections related to the use of nuclear materials. First responders can also use Backpack LIBS at accident sites where chemicals or other hazardous materials are present.
- Verifying construction materials. Operators can use Backpack LIBS to confirm the authenticity (purity of content) of structural components such as bolts and steel beams.
- Studying cave environments. Backpack LIBS can provide elemental analysis of cave environments, which will enable scientists to draw conclusions about caves found on other planets.
- Safe. Backpack LIBS employs both hardware and software safeguards that significantly reduce the risk of injury to the operator and others in the work area—it is so safe that laser safety glasses are not required.
- Portable. Weighing only 25 pounds, Backpack LIBS is self-contained and designed to be controlled from a small computer screen located right next to the operator’s hand.
- Accurate. Uses a high number of channels (6,144) to analyze and identify any element in the periodic table. Diminishes the potential for spectral overlap that causes false positives. Backpack LIBS achieves a 92 percent rate of accuracy in identifying samples that include aluminum and steel alloys, magnets, graphite and uranium in glass and ore samples.
Creating Inexpensive and Fabrication-Free Nanocomposites
Engineered nanomaterial composites (nanocomposites) promise new levels of performance for just about any material manufactured today. Now, imagine being able to create custom polymer nanocomposites in a matter of seconds, with no restrictions on composition, shape or size. Imagine that these innovative polymer nanocomposites can be made electrically conductive, catalytically active and spectroscopically sensitive, all for less than $1 per square centimeter. Well, imagine no longer, as we have developed a process that can quickly create nanocomposites consisting of tailored metal nanoparticles grown on conducting polymer thin films. These materials are realized by processing a conducting polymer solution into a thin film or membrane. This polymer then acts as a substrate on which we can spontaneously grow metal nanoparticles by simply immersing the film in a solution of aqueous metal salt precursors, such as silver nitrate or platinum(II) chloride.
- As a substrate for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. We can use our nanocomposites to enhance the Raman signal generated from a surface-adsorbed chemical or biological molecule. This enhanced sensitivity makes our nanocomposites ideal for detecting and identifying trace toxic industrial chemicals, toxic industrial materials, and even chemical warfare agents.
- As a catalyst in organic synthesis. We can use our nanocomposites as efficient catalysts for organic synthesis (constructing organic compounds via organic reactions).
- Exhibit enhanced sensitivity over competing materials.
- Can be produced at unmatched cost levels—less than $1 per square centimeter.
- Can be processed into almost limitless shapes, sizes and form factors, some of which are not possible with conventional lithographically defined nanomaterials.
Genetically Engineered Magnetic Algae
Imagine being able to extract algae from vast ponds by simply using a permanent magnet. By genetically engineering a gene from soil bacteria into three types of algae, we have done exactly that. Some soil bacteria are known as magnetotactic, which means that they follow the Earth’s magnetic field to avoid exposure to atmospheric oxygen concentrations. By genetically modifying algae so that they are also “magnetic,” it is possible to use a permanent magnet to separate the algae from solution.
- Harvesting algae for biofuel production. Because the source of gasoline and diesel has a finite reserve, the world turns more and more to alternative fuels, such as biofuels. Our magnetic algae make the process of algae harvesting easy and cost effective, thus taking a leap toward becoming a viable product for manufacturing biofuels for the world market.
- Producing magnetic particles. Our technology can also be used to produce magnetic particles. Applications for such particles range from medical (detecting various forms of cancer) to electronic (developing high-density information storage).
- Startlingly cost effective. Harvesting algae accounts for approximately 15–20 percent of the total cost of biofuel production. Using our magnetic algae can reduce such costs by more than 90 percent.
- Easily scalable. Magnetic algae allow the use of permanent magnets for algae harvesting, which is easily scaled to industrial levels. Rare-earth magnets are already used at industrial scales (tons/day) in the mineral industry.
- Eco-friendly. Unlike conventional approaches, production of magnetic nanoparticles does not use toxic precursors and surfactants as the starting materials.
- Enabling. It is now possible to select genetically transformed cells by simple magnetic separation.
Hollow Fiber Structured Packings for Distillation
Our Hollow Fiber Structured Packings for Distillation is a novel packing system for use in petrochemical distillation towers–it eliminates the need for conventional packing materials and can attain significantly higher separation efficiencies (>20 percent) and column capacity (>25 times). Refineries currently use trays or other structured packings for distillation–issues include interruptions in production due to flooding risks, poor separation efficiency, low productivity, high energy consumption, significant CO2 emissions and large size. Our Hollow Fiber Structured Packings for Distillation address and minimize these issues.
Our Hollow Fiber Technology can be used to replace the conventional packing materials used in current industrial processes such as:
- Petrochemical industry separations: olefins, paraffins, gasoline
- Mixtures of olefins and paraffins are products of petroleum crude oil “cracking” and must be distilled to separate out the more valuable chemical commodities, such as pure olefins and paraffins (ethylene/ethane, propylene/propane, n-butane/iso-butane, etc., with carbon number C2–C6), gasoline and other products.
- Cold-temperature (cryogenic) distillation to separate:
- Atmospheric air into its primary components (nitrogen, oxygen, argon)
- Light hydrocarbon mixtures (ethane/ethylene and propane/propylene)
- Vacuum distillation for heavy hydrocarbon mixtures (xylene mixtures)
- Higher efficiency petrochemical distillations
- Reduction in current distillation risk factors such as flooding, giving a wider operating window 3
- Increased refinery throughput
- Potential to completely change the appearance of today’s refineries, producing a much smaller plant in both area and height
- Smallest plant footprint, smaller towers in both height and diameter
- Readily used as retrofit for existing refinery plants
- Reduced energy usage as higher productivity and less heat is used to drive the process
- Reduced CO2 emissions with reduced fossil fuel needed for the distillation process
Indago’s unique approach to deep-context data searches meets today’s demands for the rapid and accurate analysis of content. Indago provides in-line analysis of large volumes of electronically transmitted or stored textual content; it rapidly and accurately searches, identifies and categorizes the content in documents, or the specific content contained in large data streams or data repositories (i.e., any kind of digital content that contains text) and returns meaningful responses with low false-positive and false-negative rates. Indago performs automated annotation, hyperlinking, categorization and scoring of documents, and its ability to apply advanced rule-syntax concept-matching language enables it, among other things, to identify and protect sensitive information in context.
Indago’s capabilities meet the needs of many applications, including
- Product marketing
- Scientific research
- Patent research
- Law enforcement
- Foreign policy
- Rapid search, identification, annotation
- Accurate results for user-specified targets
- User-specified targets
- Energy-efficient and affordable
Versatile, eco-friendly and inexpensive, Polymer-Assisted Deposition (PAD) synthesizes materials and forms thin films and coatings with properties tailored to the requirements of a specific product, component, or application. PAD is one of several solution-based deposition methods that begin with direct application of a chemical solution to a surface. PAD differs in its use of special organic polymers in the solution that prevent the metal from unwanted chemical reactions; keep the solution stable; and ensure that coatings are even and uniform with excellent control of physical properties. Heating the coated chemical precursor in the presence of a desired gas forms the intended substance.
- Energy conservation—solid-state lighting, photovoltaics, superconductors
- Electronics—flat-panel displays, memory devices, microwave components, sensors, capacitors
- Structural materials—hard coatings, as on cutting tools
- Materials science—nanostructured materials
- Nuclear science—neutron beam targets
- Broad, expanding range of materials synthesized, including complex and composite substances, as well as nanoparticles and foams
- Objects of almost any size and shape coated, including large, uneven, 3D and complex surfaces
- Simple, consistent process, making switching from one substance to another fast and easy
- Environmentally benign technique—using nontoxic chemicals that can be recovered and reused
- Much lower costs—reducing them by a factor of 10 or more compared to vapor deposition
NanoCluster Beacons: Shedding Light on Specific Nucleic-Acid Targets, Winner
NanoCluster Beacons (NCBs) use a collection of a few atoms of silver as fluorescent reporters and are designed to bind with specific nucleic acid targets, such as pathogenic DNA. Once bound with a specific target, a NanoCluster Beacon lights up, emitting fluorescence approximately 200 times greater than that in the unbound state. The resultant emission can be viewed with the naked eye under ultraviolet (UV) light. NanoCluster Beacons come in a rainbow of colors available for multiplexed analysis.
Reversible, inexpensive and easy to use, NanoCluster Beacons are superior molecular probes for detecting targets such as influenza DNA, human oncogene (cancer) sequences and molecular disease sequences (such as sickle cell anemia).
- Human Health Care: NCBs can be used to identify pathogenic DNA. In addition, NCBs can identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms that play important roles in many human diseases. Variation in human genomes affects how individuals develop diseases and how individuals respond to pathogens and therapeutic agents (vaccines and drugs) used for treatment, thus NCBs can be used for personalized medicine
- Contrast Agent for Fluorescence Microscopy: NCBs are more photostable than organic dyes, come in a rainbow of colors and can be turned on and off reversibly. NCBs can, with a good fluorescence microscope, be visualized at the individual nanocluster level. These fluorescent properties make NCBs useful for both conventional and new single-molecule-based super resolution imaging methods.
- Quantitative Biology: NCBs can be used to count individual RNA molecules inside a cell. The direct enumeration of RNA copy number helps scientists study sophisticated gene regulatory networks for a better understanding of cellular function.
- Enable easy identification of specific nucleic acid targets in samples with the naked eye (under UV light).
- Provide point-of-care testing (diagnostic testing at or near the site of patient care), easily differentiating single-nucleotide polymorphisms at room temperature.
- Achieve a signal-to-background ratio of approximately 200—over five times better than that of conventional molecular beacons.
- Nearly an order of magnitude cheaper than conventional molecular beacons (MBs)—$0.30 per nanomole for NCBs as opposed to an average of $3.00 per nanomole for MBs.
TAPSS: Trapped Annular Pressure Shrinking Spacer, Winner
Conventional drilling fluids used to drill deepwater oil wells are at the mercy of heat. Trapped behind pipe, such drilling fluids, when exposed to the heat from oil, undergo thermal expansion. The resultant pressure in such pipes can be as high as 12,000 pounds per square inch 25,000 feet below the ocean floor, leading to catastrophes such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. To prevent future disasters, we have developed TAPSS (trapped annular pressure shrinking spacer), a fluid that shrinks—rather than expands—when heated, thus preventing the buildup of pressure that can lead to lost production, or far worse, catastrophic oil spills.
- Deepwater oil wells: When used, TAPSS can (1) avert catastrophic failure of oil wells worth as much as $200 million to $300 million, (2) eliminate lost production time and (3) prevent disastrous damage to the environment.
- Provides relief from annular pressure buildup for life of well (and beyond)
- Functions on its own, requiring no adjustment or modification
- Requires no maintenance and scales to any size annulus
- Applies to any well around the world
- Requires minimal time to set up equipment
Th-ING: Thorium Is Now Green, Winner
Imagine a nuclear reactor that is safe because it would never melt down. The key to creating such as reactor is thorium, a lustrous silver-white metal that is only slightly radioactive—you could carry a lump of it in your pocket for a while without harm.
Current methods used to produce thorium materials are expensive, environmentally hazardous, and dangerous to personnel. We have developed a new method that circumvents these pitfalls to produce a new thorium chloride reagent, ThCl4(DME)2. Our cost-effective, safe, green and scalable method will not only enable the use of stockpiled nuclear waste as fuel but also help establish thorium-based reactors as a key sustainable energy source for the future.
- Thorium-based nuclear reactors: Such reactors are scalable (a 100-megawatt power station could be made for the same cost as an airplane) and function at lower temperatures (thus converting energy more efficiently). Moreover, thorium is three times more available than uranium—enough to last hundreds of years.
- Materials and chemistry: Thorium and thorium compounds have numerous applications, from aircraft engines and spacecraft, to heat-resistant ceramics, high-quality lenses for cameras and scientific instruments and mantles for natural gas lamps, oil lamps and camping lights.
- Cost-effective: Costs only $30 per kilogram to produce, as compared with other products, which cost as much as $5,000 per kilogram to produce
- Environmentally green: Our process is quantitative, does not produce wasteful solvent ring-opening/polymerization and does not waste thorium (95% production yields).
- Safe: Does not require high temperatures or the use of hazardous chemicals such as chlorine gas or carbon tetrachloride
QKarD: Quantum Cryptography in a Smartcard
An ever-increasing amount of our personal and business lives is conducted on mobile devices, yet our mobile communications are ever more vulnerable to hacking. We have brought the superior security of quantum cryptography to handheld devices with our advances in the design and miniaturization of quantum communications technology. As part of a smartphone or other mobile device, the QKarD works by communicating with a trusted authority via optical fiber to generate secure random-number cryptographic keys to encode and decode information. The keys stored in the QKarD are available for use once the QKarD is undocked so that all forms of mobile communications, transactions, and authentication can be made secure. The laws of quantum physics and information theory ensure that the keys will never succumb to computer attack and that attempts to steal or copy keys can be detected and foiled, ensuring provable security for all uses now and into the future.
QKarD secures communications in a handheld, portable format for
- Smartphone calls, texting, banking and other online transactions
- strong authentication for access to secure facilities or for border crossings
- digital rights management controls and electronic voting
- Future-proof security of quantum cryptography now in a handheld device
- Minimal processing requirements that are compatible with mobile communications
- Long-term security eliminates the costs of managing security software
RCE-CDR: Reactive Co-Evaporation by Cyclic Deposition and Reaction
Although superconductor wires offer zero loss in electric power applications and enable smaller devices such as generators, a key obstacle for broad market acceptance remains the cost of the high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. The cost/performance metric is currently too high for wide commercial acceptance of superconductor wire. Our RCE-CDR process uses a reel-to-reel tape deposition process, fed through a rotary heater, which allows us to scale-up coating to wider tapes, uses less-expensive starting materials and also provides higher throughput. Our process further increases yields, and all of these factors lower the manufacturing costs of HTS wire to a level suitable to create large commercial markets.
The primary application of our RCE-CDR process will be to fabricate lower-cost, higher-performance superconductor wire for a variety of electric power devices:
- Rotating machines, such as large electric generators and motors
- Superconducting transmission cables
- Superconducting magnets, such as those used in MRI devices
- Delivers higher currents in a magnetic field compared with current superconductor wire
- Increases production throughput and yield of superconductor wire
- Lowers wire production costs more than 20 times
DAAFox: Environmentally Friendly Secondary Explosive, Winner
We have developed a new synthesis method to manufacture a version of diaminoazoxyfurazan (DAAF), which we call DAAFox. DAAFox possesses an ideal combination of physical characteristics that makes it powerful (requires less explosive to achieve the same yield as other explosives), insensitive (resists accidental ignition, which makes it a “safe” explosive), “green” (the synthesis method is environmentally friendly), and easy to produce and scalable (one-step process that produces a batch in only four hours). This revolutionary combination of characteristics makes DAAFox an ideal secondary explosive, which can be used as an explosive booster for applications that require both insensitivity and enhanced performance.
- Serves as an explosive booster, which acts as a bridge between a low-energy explosive and a low-sensitivity but typically high-energy explosive.
- Serves as a main-charge explosive for Department of Energy applications.
- Possible replacement for PBXN-7, a common booster used in fuzes by the
- Department of Defense in their military ordnance.
- Works in high-temperature and -pressure environments for oil and natural gas drilling, mining, quarrying and construction applications
- Uses environmentally friendly materials, such as water, sodium bicarbonate, and OXONE, a nontoxic bleaching agent used to sanitize swimming pools (The manufacturing process yields only salty water as a waste product.)
- Maintains particle size and purity from batch to batch, thus ensuring robust and predictable explosive results
- Yields a safe and high-performing material that compares favorably with existing benchmarks for safe and high-performance explosives
- Uses an easy, one-step process to produce an explosives batch in only four hours
- Scales easily to large quantities without negatively impacting the product’s beneficial characteristics
MOXIE: Movies of Extreme Images, Winner
Imagine taking a 1,000-frame movie of a sparkplug firing, just once. With MOXIE, a photographer wouldn’t even break a sweat, as the camera can take more than 4,000 frames at 20 million frames per second. Because each pixel has its own detector, amplifier, analog-to-digital convertor and memory—with thousands of channels operating in parallel—MOXIE can achieve high frame rates, a large number of frames and unprecedented sensitivity required to enable diverse imaging experiments that even the most sophisticated cameras available today cannot accomplish. Furthermore, the unique, in-line, self-shielded design allows images of visible light, x rays, gamma rays, protons and neutron sources to be recorded with high efficiency.
- Facilitates nuclear weapon certification without nuclear testing by taking x-ray movies of full-scale mock explosions used to verify calculations
- Enables scientists to study material equations of state, fusion plasma, discharge formation, shock physics and fracture mechanics
- Improves the range of experiments in Schlieren photography, x-ray fluoroscopy, neutron radiography, proton radiography and visible-light photography
- Records detailed movies of detonating improvised explosive devices and facilitates ballistic studies
- Provides virtually unlimited frame depth, thus enabling the camera to image even the most difficult transient events from start to finish
- Uses a highly parallel array of amplifiers and analog-to-digital converters in a supercomputer-like architecture, resulting in a sustained data rate of 20 million frames per second
- Simultaneously exhibits high-frame rates and extreme sensitivity, thus reducing the cost and size typical of enormous flash sources by at least an order of magnitude
- Images with unprecedented efficiency and dynamic range virtually any particle type, from visible light to x rays, protons and gamma rays
Solution Deposition Planarization (SDP), Winner
Superconducting wire is to electric power transmission what fiber-optics has been to communications. But superconducting wire is still too costly to manufacture. Solution Deposition Planarization (SDP) will not only reduce production costs, it will also support much higher power densities. Amazingly, the SDP process is simpler, with virtually no toxic manufacturing wastes.
- Long-length energy transmission lines (zero line loss)
- Wind turbine generators (lighter, smaller and more powerful)
- Large industrial electric motors (more efficient, more compact)
- Naval propulsion motors (smaller, lighter, reduced vibration and noise)
- Functional semiconductor layers used for photovoltaic solar arrays, plasmonics, electro-optics
- Reduces the cost of superconductor substrate preparation
- Enables new, stronger, better substrate materials
- Replaces several current manufacturing steps
- Requires no strong acids
- Almost no solid or liquid waste
- Increased power density by enabling layered superconductors
Imagine a revolutionary manufacturing technology that easily produces wires and cables that have greater conductivity than any other metal alloy, possess greater tensile strength than steel, operate at room- or even high-temperature environments, do not require cooling, and are not subject to current density, magnetic field quench or temperature quench. Known as Ultraconductus, this technology grows long-length metallic nanotubes while simultaneously cladding them within a metal matrix. As a result of this process, electrical current can jump between and along the ends of the metallic carbon nanotubes, thereby increasing the net electrical conductivity of the metal matrix by at least 100 times.
- High-voltage cables used to transmit power to homes and businesses around the world, as well as motors and generators that power everything from simple electronics to complex manufacturing systems
- Electrical wires used in everything from simple electronic devices such as cell phones and televisions to specialized applications in which the tensile strength of copper or aluminum conductors is insufficient
- Magnetic storage devices that enable the use of alternative energy sources that require enhanced grid stability and use wind, solar or other intermittent energy sources
- Yields annual energy savings of approximately 150 billion kilowatt-hours of energy and an associated $15 billion in cost savings by replacing just one-half of existing high-voltage cables with Ultraconductus-produced cables
- Possesses 10 times the tensile strength and up to 100 times the conductivity of copper
- No need for expensive cooling to achieve ultraconductivity
- Creates lighter-weight, smaller cross-section conductors that greatly reduce the infrastructure needed to support heavy cabling
Ultrasonic Algal Biofuel Harvester, Winner
The Ultrasonic Algal Biofuel Harvester uses ultrasonic fields to harvest and extract from algae its lipids and proteins and recover the water, all in one integrated system. No other technology uses one single method to obtain all three valuable components of algae. Using acoustic-focusing technology and very minimal electrical energy, the Harvester dewaters and concentrates the algal cells, lyses the algal cells and separates the lipids and proteins. The lipids, or oils, in the algae can be refined into biofuel, the proteins used for animal feedstock, and the water recycled. The system uses no solvents and membranes, making it environmentally benign, and has no moving parts, resulting in very little needed maintenance. Because of its small size and energy efficiency, this technology can be used directly at algae growth ponds, reducing the need for high-cost transportation of algae in its medium to processing areas, thus further reducing biofuel production costs.
- Provides a low-cost, environmentally benign and energy-efficient source of algal lipids for use in biofuels
- Creates a valuable source of protein to feed production animals such as cattle, poultry and fish
- Produces carbohydrates that can be used to produce ethanol or methane
- Makes algal biofuel more cost-competitive with current fuels, significantly increasing the availability and viability of biofuels in the near future
- Eliminates the traditional use of hazardous solvents in extracting algal lipids and the associated risks to the environment and humans
- Reduces the need to transport large quantities of algae to processing areas, lowering power consumption and transportation costs in the production of biofuel
- Recycles water for immediate re-use
- Allows for batch or continuous processing of algae
Cyber RADAR: Real-time Automatic Detection and Response
In recent years, the threat to computer systems from clever phishing scams, insider threats, destructive cyber worms and computer viruses has intensified, dramatically heightening the need for cyber security. The Cyber RADAR (Real-time Automatic Detection and Response) system detects and responds to threats automatically, in real time. The Cyber RADAR suite of four integrated components monitors a computer network, detects changes, decides which changes constitute threats and quarantines targeted computers. It completes all four steps in as little as 20 seconds, continuously protecting even a large network of 20,000 or more computers from costly attacks.
The Cyber RADAR computer-network security system can be used
- in private company computer network systems
- institutional computer network systems, such those as at national laboratories, or
- hospitals and military computer network systems
- Replaces human intervention with automatic, real-time response
- Stands guard and responds 24/7, eliminating dependence on standard work hours and work days
- Reduces time and money spent on repairs after cyber attacks
- Reduces computer downtime
- Isolates compromised computers without disrupting other network users
- Detects and takes action against previously unknown threats
- Modular design easily integrates with existing computer security systems
High-Throughput Laboratory Network
The High-Throughput Laboratory Network (HTLN) is a modular system that can receive, assess, and screen 10,000 influenza samples per year, generating their full genome. In “pandemic mode,” HTLN can monitor selective human genes at up to 50,000 samples per month in support of public health monitoring. Using the most advanced robotics and technologies available, HTLN easily runs 24/7 with fewer than eight operators. Originally designed to guide public health policies and vaccine development to counter emerging pandemics associated with any influenza virus carried in a primary avian host, HTLN can be quickly modified to sample, assess, and screen any infectious disease agent.
- Monitors pathogens in the bio-pool along migratory animal paths
- Expedites widespread collection and testing of influenza samples
- Provides early data to guide public health policies and vaccine development before a pathogen becomes the next human pandemic
- In pandemic mode, works to process high volumes of human samples quickly and accurately to support ever-changing public-health needs
- Provides the first entry in a global network system that processes samples, isolates the influenza, analyzes genomes, characterizes the phenotypes and stores relevant samples for reference
- Tracks data from field-sample collection to the completed and assembled genome
- Makes possible global surveillance as a result of HTLN’s automated sequencing and efficient influenza-handling techniques
- Shortens dramatically the time needed to guide the selection of effective vaccines
- Incorporates a modular design that is easily reconfigured to respond to emerging threats
PLFS (Parallel Log-Structured File System)
To prevent having to restart lengthy intensive computing as a result of a system failure, massively parallel computing systems rely on checkpointing, a process that saves a “snapshot” of an application’s current state. At present, concurrent and random-access checkpoint writes to a shared file require unnecessary disk-seeking and file-locking at the parallel storage system, a process that drastically reduces bandwidth. Our Parallel Log-structured File System software decouples concurrent access and reorganizes random logical writes into sequential physical writes, thus enabling applications to write in parallel at near-optimal storage bandwidth.
- Improves write bandwidth for checkpoints of large parallel applications
- Reduces N-N checkpointing times by reducing disk seeks through its use of sequential, log-structured writing to data storage
- Distributes container subdirectories across multiple metadata servers
- Achieves near-optimal storage bandwidth
- Reduces checkpoint time up to several orders of magnitude, even on the largest supercomputers
- Frees resources that are expensive and limit the use of the machine
- Works regardless of application I/O pattern for unmodified applications
- Works across multiple file systems
Artificial Retina Project: Restoring sight through science, Winner
Members of the Artificial Retina Project developed a bioelectronic implant that restores useful vision to patients blinded by retinal diseases. The project, funded by the Department of Energy's Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Second Sight Medical Products, was jointly submitted by Los Alamos, Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California, California Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, the University of California at Santa Cruz and Second Sight Medical Products. John George of the Lab's Applied Modern Physics Group led the Los Alamos team.
High Resolution UV Relay Lens: A New Lens for Particle Size Distribution, Winner
It has long been recognized that under shock-loaded conditions, metals can create complex ejecta phenomena depending on the properties of the specific material and the initial shock conditions. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) researchers have been collaborating with National Security Technologies, LLC, the management and operating contractor for the Department of Energy’s Nevada Test Site (NTS), to develop a high-resolution UV holography lens for use in experiments conducted by LANL scientists at the NTS and other locations. This lens is part of an in-line Fraunhofer holography diagnostic that will help scientists measure the size, shape and position of metal (liquid) particles emitted from a shock-loaded metal. With these measurements, Los Alamos scientists can extract the ejecta particle size and velocity distributions for a variety of metals and shock-loaded conditions. These data will be used to develop theoretical models for conducting nonnuclear experiments that safely simulate atomic experiments.
Holography offers the unique capability to record distributions of particles over a 3-D volume. This holography diagnostic using the new UV holographic lens can be integrated with other diagnostics such as x-ray radiography to fully characterize ejecta size, velocity, and mass distributions. These measurements can be done for a variety of shock conditions and metals leading to a better understanding of how materials respond under shock-loaded conditions. One of the benefits of the holographic diagnostic is that it allows scientists to capture 3-D information of the fast-moving particles (many km/sec), making it easier for them to assess the size and velocity distributions of the particles. The new UV holography lens will improve the current resolution capability significantly, potentially allowing particles down to 0.5 microns (a human hair measures 80 to 100 microns) in diameter to be measured. There are no other UV holography systems on the market capable of measuring ejected particles of this size.
Lasonix: A New Method to Fabricate Three-Dimensional Microelectronics, Winner
Lasonix is a new approach for fabricating insulators, semiconductors and metallic conductors to form standard semiconductor microcircuits, metallic connections and pathways and vertically integrated circuits. The fabrication method grows electronics in three dimensions, rather than on a particular substrate, allowing for vertical interconnection and integration of planar substrates into electronic “blocks” or micromodules. In addition, microscale vacuum electronics, high-frequency electromagnetic devices, optoelectronics and power-switching electronics can all be created with Lasonix, thus enabling hybrid systems to be fabricated. Vast improvements in device and system performance can be achieved through vertical integration of complex micromodules and devices. Lasonix combines all the advantages of a rapid prototyping technology with advanced microelectronics fabrication.
- 3-D semiconductor devices for high-speed systems
- Power electronic switching systems
- Specialized power relays
- Hybrid optical, semiconductor and terahertz systems
MagViz: MRI for Carry-On Liquids, Winner
MagViz is the first product based on a new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a form that uses ultralow magnetic fields. Like traditional MRI, MagViz identifies chemicals by measuring the magnetic interactions of their protons with the local molecular environment. However, to measure the proton signal, MagViz uses an applied external magnetic field about 10,000 times weaker than that used with traditional MRI and therefore provides a proton signal whose frequency is 10,000 times lower than traditional MRIs. This signal is detected using highly sensitive magnetic-field detectors called superconducting quantum-interference devices, or SQUIDs. Traditional MRI uses radio receivers.
- Detection of liquid explosives in airport carry-on luggage
- Medical imaging for patients for whom traditional MRI is unsafe (e.g., people with active medical implants, pregnant women or soldiers with embedded shrapnel)
- Medical imaging in remote or underdeveloped areas (e.g., battlefields, accident sites, rural areas, Third World countries)
- Quality control on production lines
SIMTECHE: CO2 Capture Process, Winner
The SIMTECHE CO2 Capture Process captures and compresses the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by advanced fossil fuel power plants and other industrial operations. Based on the reversible reaction of CO2 and cold water, our process pulls CO2 out of flowing mixtures of gases and traps individual CO2 molecules within tiny molecular cages made of water. Once separated from the gas stream, the CO2 hydrate can be decomposed to regenerate CO2 gas at elevated pressures for sequestration or sale on the emerging CO2 market. Informed control of thermodynamic conditions throughout the process and efficient reactor design reduce parasitic power losses and minimize incremental costs. The SIMTECHE CO2 Capture Process is proven and now poised to reduce CO2 emissions at industrial scales.
- Captures CO2 emitted by integrated gasifier combined-cycle (IGCC) power plants burning coal, petroleum coke, natural gas or biomass
- Captures CO2 emitted by coal-fired power plants using high-purity oxygen for combustion
- Compresses CO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) for use in enhanced oil recovery or sequestration in underground geological formations
- Purifies high-pressure hydrogen for use in hydrotreating, petrochemical synthesis and refinery operations
TeraOps Software Radio: Supercomputing Power for Space Applications, Winner
Our innovative TeraOps Software Radio moves the concept of software radio into space, where it can be used to dramatically extend the lifetimes of electronic systems aboard satellites and in space payloads. Proving off-the-shelf commercial products for use in unique space-saving, lightweight, and cost-effective configurations, our resultant system generates supercomputing power in a compact unit that weighs only 14 pounds. Our TeraOps Software Radio also uses revolutionary high-level languages to program the software. Despite the sophistication of the underlying hardware, such languages are easy to use and are flexible enough to ensure that the latest innovations in software are incorporated into high-performance hardware.
- Principal application is for space-based products, such as satellites, spacecraft and other payload functions
- Extended application is ground and airborne communications, including vehicle-mounted communication systems, reconnaissance systems and cell-phone base stations
BAM: Breath Acetone Monitor: A Pain-Free Way to Check Blood Sugar
Almost everyone knows someone who has diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health, in 2007 approximately 23.6 million people in the United States alone had this disease. Every day, diabetics must prick their fingers anywhere from 3 to 10 times to test blood-sugar levels. Such tests help doctors adjust diet, medication, and exercise to ensure patient health. Because such testing is painful, many diabetics minimize daily testing routines, which in turn puts them at risk for myriad complications. The Breath Acetone Monitor (BAM) replaces painful blood-based testing with pain-free breath analysis. BAM uses a microplasma discharge in conjunction with either a small spectrometer or a single-channel photo detector to analyze breath acetone. The sensitivity of these sensors is so acute that BAM can easily measure breath acetone levels of healthy individuals. With the frequent use of BAM, a diabetic’s improved health is but a breath away.
- Enables diabetics to painlessly monitor blood-sugar levels.
- Allows clinics, hospitals, and other public-health facilities to quickly and easily screen patients who are at risk for diabetes.
- Helps medical personnel and trainers monitor how diet and exercise affect fat burning. Such monitoring would help the obese lose weight safely and prevent athletes who train heavily from experiencing debilitating fatigue or other ill health effects.
3-D Tracking Microscope, Winner
The 3D tracking microscope is the only system capable of following small (~10 nm) protein-sized objects moving through three dimensions at rates faster than many intracellular transport processes. The 3D tracking microscope can follow the transport of nanometer-sized particles at µm/second rates with a spatial accuracy of approximately 100 nm for each axis (X, Y and Z). This enables one to follow individual protein, RNA or DNA motion throughout the full three-dimensional volume of a cell to see where a particular biomolecule travels, the method it takes to get there and the specific proteins it may be interacting with along the way. Conventional laser scanning confocal microscopes (LSCMs) are valuable tools for academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies, comprising a roughly 225 Million$/yr market. LCSMs enable 3D rendering of cellular structure, but can not follow individual protein motion in three dimensions. The 3D tracking microscope can do everything a conventional LSCM can do and much more. It can track single labeled molecules in three dimensions as well as render 3D images with single fluorophore sensitivity.
This microscope will advance our understanding of disease at the molecular level by enabling researchers to follow, step by step, the transport of important signaling proteins involved in complex signal transduction cascades:
- Signal transduction cascades that have run haywire cause a number of human diseases, ranging from cancer to anaphylactic shock
- Disruption of these corrupt pathways is a clear target for therapeutics
- Proper and controlled disruption of these pathways demands a better knowledge base concerning the exact proteins involved and their kinetic and spatial relation to one another—information readily obtained with the 3D tracking microscope
Laser-Weave®: New approach for synthesizing inorganic fibers, Winner
Laser-Weave® is a new approach for synthesizing inorganic fibers that allows for arbitrarily complex braiding patterns, including patterns that could not be produced mechanically, certainly not in a single mechanical stage. Laser-Weave provides a simple, low-cost route to the synthesis of fine, refractory-metal fibers and their compounds, as well as improving their underlying fiber strength, elasticity and toughness. Laser-Weave uses lasers with chemical vapor deposition to grow inorganic fibers and intertwine them rather than requiring the fibers to be mechanically assembled or intertwined after they are grown. Laser-Weave combines all the advantages of a rapid prototyping technology with advanced metallurgy and textile production methods.
Fibers and fabrics produced by Laser-Weave can be used in
- Power plant insulation
- High-temperature appliances
- Fire protection clothing
- Aerospace shields
- Commercial appliances
ECAS: Equal Channel Angular Sintering
ECAS forms solid nanocrystalline-ceramic parts from powders of ceramic nanocrystals, which have sizes of 100 nanometers or less. The size of the nanocrystals in an ECAS-produced part is about the same as that of the starting nanocrystals. In the more than 100 years since sintering was invented, this is the first time the size of the starting nanocrystals has been preserved in a finished sintered part. ECAS is also one of the few processes to produce nanocrystalline ceramic parts that are “fully dense,” that is, parts whose densities approach their theoretical maximum. We believe ECAS can also reduce a part’s nanocrystal size to less than that of the starting nanocrystals. Moreover, ECAS can easily be scaled to produce large parts and has the potential to be developed into a continuous process for a production line.
ECAS can produce fully dense, nanocrystalline-ceramic parts from a wide variety of nanocrystal powders to provide the following benefits:
- Preservation of the starting nanocrystalline powder size in a finished part’s nanocrystals to enhance all properties (mechanical, electrical, dielectric, optical, thermal, magnetic, etc.)
- Full density, maximizing part properties
- Reduction of finished part’s nanocrystal size to 5–10 nanometers
- Continuous processing, reducing production costs
Gloveport Retrofit: Upgrading Enclosures with 21st Century Technology
In collaboration with Getinge-la Calhène, LANL has developed a new type of gloveport that will enable operators to quickly and easily change out gloves in gloveboxes. Once these new gloveports are installed, operators will be able to replace worn gloves safely because our gloveport’s innovative ring design eliminates any chance of residual contamination from radiation or other toxins.
This gloveport retrofit benefits any organization that conducts work in a controlled environment:
- Pharmaceutical, biochemistry and medical research organizations
- Chemical and forensics laboratories
- Space exploration (the Microgravity Science Glovebox, which will operate aboard the Destiny space station)
- Semiconductor assembly plants and other clean rooms used by industry
- Nuclear research facilities, such as national laboratories
- HAZMAT operations
Camera on a Chip, Winner
Our Camera on a Chip is a 2-centimeter by 2-centimeter "hybrid chip," a combination of a microelectronic chip with a 720×720-pixel array of silicon photosensors and a metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chip with a corresponding array of control-and-processing circuits. The resulting device achieves performance far exceeding that possible with either of those technologies alone. It has light-detection (quantum) efficiency of greater than 90 percent from 450 to 650 nanometers, a minimum exposure time of 50 nanoseconds, and a minimum interframe time of 300 nanoseconds. The camera can be triggered to capture frames at the times of greatest interest during a fast event or an event with changing time scales. It also stores three frames “on-chip” and is relatively insensitive to the stray radiation normally present in radiography experiments. It gives scientists a single sub-microsecond imaging tool that combines 20 years of advances in silicon CMOS microelectronics and photosensor technology.
- Making radiographic movies of ultrafast phenomena, with protons (instead of x-rays) as the illuminating source
- Capturing events that start slowly but evolve rapidly, such as the behavior of slowly cooked high explosives
- Producing high-speed movies of fast processes over a wide range of visible or near-visible wavelengths
Portable Acoustic Cytometer, Winner
The Portable Acoustic Cytometer is the world’s first truly portable and affordable flow cytometer. Our instrument uses acoustic waves instead of a complex fluidics system to focus the cells into a tight stream for analysis. Acoustic focusing concentrates the cells as they are focused and gives the cells more time in the laser beam, making possible both greater throughput and greater sensitivity. Our cytometer’s capabilities surpass those of conventional flow cytometers without the complex and expensive components that drive up their size, complexity, and cost. In addition, our instrument eliminates the need for large volumes of purified water, a scarce resource in many parts of the world. The Portable Acoustic Cytometer brings the diagnostic power of high-performance flow cytometry to more researchers and healthcare providers around the world.
The Portable Acoustic Cytometer can be used for any of the analyses currently done with conventional flow cytometers in research and clinical laboratories:
- High-throughput screening of potential new drugs
- Typing blood cancers and analyzing compatibilities for tissue transplants
- Screening for cancer markers or infectious agents
- Monitoring cell populations and subpopulations to assess patients’ responses to anti-retroviral or chemotherapy drugs
EpiCast: Epidemiological Forecasting Simulation Model
Medical researchers around the globe are racing the clock to develop a vaccine to combat a deadly strain of avian influenza that could trigger a global human pandemic. While the H5N1 avian virus is highly infectious among birds, it has not yet spread among humans. However, the fear is it could soon mutate into a form that can. To help epidemiologists understand the spread and impact of the next influenza pandemic, we developed EpiCast (Epidemiological Forecasting), a software package that creates a synthetic model population based on census data, randomly assigning “virtual people” to households, workplaces, schools, and other community settings where disease transmission could occur. Each person has an individual probability for infection and can become infected or infect others. Taking advantage of EpiCast’s unprecedented level of detail, epidemiologists have successfully evaluated various medical and nonmedical mitigation strategies that could be used to counter a pandemic influenza outbreak.
- Obtaining realistic preparation and response data for policy makers and health officials to develop mitigation strategies to counter potential pandemics
- Modeling potential bioterrorist attacks to enable development of preparation and response strategies
- Simulating alternative models such as social epidemics (trends in crime and drug use), idea adoption behaviors, etc.
Muon Tomography Scanner
Our muon tomography scanner uses ambient cosmic-ray muons as the radiographic probe to scan cargo for high-density threat materials such as uranium or plutonium. The scanner plots the incoming muons’ initial trajectories, then registers all outgoing muons on the opposite side and correlates them to the first measurements. The software compares the muon-track plots and notifies the operator when it determines that outgoing muons have been deflected by a dense object within the scanner. The complete scan and data analysis are conducted in less than one minute—allowing customs officials to maintain border security without impeding commercial traffic flow.
Our muon tomography system can scan
- tractor-truck trailers at border-crossing points
- cargo containers as they are unloaded at port facilities and airport cargo terminals
Cities and high-security installations also can use these scanners to provide highly selective protection of their geographic area and people.
Muon tomography scanners will greatly increase border security against nuclear threat materials by
- detecting unshielded materials via their emissions and density
- detecting shielded materials via their density without additional radiation dose
- performing the scan quickly without additional risk to personnel
RaveGrid: Raster-to-Vector Graphics for Image Data
RaveGrid software converts a digital image represented by pixels to a “vector” image represented by polygons. (Such a vector image is far easier to scale or process than a pixel image.) On a Pentium IV laptop with 1 GB of RAM, RaveGrid vectorizes an image containing up to 20 megapixels at a rate of 0.5 megapixel per second. RaveGrid also compresses an uncompressed pixel image as it vectorizes the image, typically reducing storage requirements by a factor of 4. RaveGrid can also identify objects in an image from specified criteria such as size, shape or color. RaveGrid is compatible with the new scalable vector graphics (SVG) standard of the World Wide Web Consortium as well as with the Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) format.
- image scaling to the pixel resolution of a particular digital display or Web-page layout
- image compression to reduce image-storage or bandwidth requirements
- encryption of vectorized images in text files
- image searches in large databases or on the Internet
- automatic analysis of reconnaissance or surveillance images
Super CNT Fibers
Spun from carbon nanotubes—the strongest, stiffest material known—our Super CNT Fibers have one-tenth the density and four to five times the specific strength (strength per density) and specific stiffness (stiffness per density) of the best carbon fibers now used to make advanced structural composites. We achieve this superior performance by spinning Super CNT Fibers from ultralong (~1 millimeter) carbon nanotubes that have only two walls and a hollow center, giving them low density. The use of Super CNT Fibers will ultimately increase the fuel efficiency of commercial aircraft by reducing aircraft weight and increase the stealthiness of combat aircraft by reducing aircraft radar cross-section. The use of these fibers will also reduce space-launch costs by reducing the weight of rockets and spacecraft and improve sports-equipment performance by reducing weight and increasing strength and stiffness.
Super CNT Fibers will enhance the performance of the advanced carbon-fiber structural composites used in
- sports equipment
WAIL: Groundbreaking Approach to Ground-Based Cloud Probing
WAIL (wide-angle imaging lidar) is a ground-based lidar system specifically designed for probing dense clouds. Like standard lidar, WAIL uses a vertically aimed pulsed laser to illuminate the atmosphere and a receiver to collect the laser photons that are scattered back to Earth. Because its receiver collects only those photons that strike the cloud base and travel straight back along the beam, standard (“on-beam”) lidar reveals primarily a cloud’s height. In contrast, WAIL works “off-beam.” Its receiver collects photons that have scattered throughout the entire cloud and have returned from large distances beyond the incident beam. Therefore, WAIL’s signal carries information from deep inside the cloud, and users can infer cloud thickness and mean opacity in addition to height.
- Probing clouds to increase our understanding of their role in the global climate system and hydrological cycle
- Assessing how clouds and fog affect atmospheric visibility for aviation safety
- In the future, environmentally supporting troops confronted with fog, dust, sand, smoke and other impediments to visibility
- Also in the future, probing any strongly scattering medium in the environment such as turbid coastal waters, sea ice, snow, icy moons, such as Jupiter’s Europa, etc.
ENABLE: Energetic Neutral Atom Beam Lithography/Epitaxy, Winner
Employing an energetic collimated beam of neutral nitrogen or oxygen atoms, ENABLE comprises a dual-function nanofabrication technology capable of both growing thin films and etching high-aspect-ratio nanostructures. It is unique in that its low-temperature operation spares the activation of diffusive and other unwanted surface chemical changes that are drawbacks of existing nanofabrication processes. Because its precise high-aspect-ratio nanoscale etching and rapid high-quality thin film growth capabilities can be readily combined, ENABLE technology is theoretically capable of fabricating details down to 1 nm or less in size, giving it greater versatility than current nanofabrication processes.
- Wide bandgap semiconductors
- Solid-state lighting
- Ultraviolet and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and lasers
- Multicolor flat-panel display technologies
- Room-temperature spintronic-based devices
- Photovoltaic devices
- Photonic crystal devices
- High-quality dielectrics (super capacitors)
- High-capacity microbatteries
- NEMS and MEMS structures
- Micro- and nanofluidics
Green Primaries: Enviro-Friendly Energetic Materials, Winner
Green Primaries are designed to replace the ubiquitous lead-based primary explosives that are currently polluting human tissues and the environment with neurotoxic lead residues and have been doing so for nearly 400 years. Not only nontoxic both in their manufacture and detonation products, Green Primaries are also superior to lead primaries and all other current experimental substitutes in that they are insensitive to spark and can be manufactured in several variants. These chemical variations exhibit differences in explosive energy and in impact and friction sensitivity, making Green Primaries adaptable to diverse explosive and transportation requirements. In addition to being more environmentally friendly through the elimination of heavy-metal residues, Green Primaries are safer to manufacture because they pose no danger for explosion during the manufacturing process.
- Civilian ammunition (both hunting and law enforcement)
- Military ammunition and explosive devices
- Mining, excavating and demolition detonators
- Projectile propellants
- Industrial motors, actuators and valves
- Gas generators
- Miniaturized explosive systems
MICHELLE: A Software Tool for Three-Dimensional Modeling of Charged-Particle-Beam Devices, Winner
MICHELLE simulates the operation of a wide variety of charged-particle-beam devices. To perform a simulation, MICHELLE calculates the electrostatic fields, the magnetostatic fields and the particle trajectories in the device under steady-state or slowly varying field conditions. MICHELLE can model intense or relativistic particle beams, particle injection into the device volume, and secondary-electron emission produced by particle collisions with the device walls. MICHELLE’s calculational space can be decomposed into as many as 9 million volume elements, providing unprecedented spatial resolution for this type of code.
MICHELLE can also calculate up to 200,000 particle trajectories, which is also unprecedented. It is the only code that provides accurate simulations of several advanced guns and collectors used in high-power microwave tubes. Physical insight provided by these simulations has saved years of trial and error in the laboratory and led to longer-lasting microwave tubes for defense-radar systems, more cost-effective tubes for satellite-communication systems, and higher-power tubes for particle-accelerator and deep-space communication systems.
MICHELLE has been used to simulate the operation of
- gridded, multibeam, sheet-beam, and annular-beam electron guns for high-power microwave tubes
- multibeam and multistage depressed electron
- collectors for high-power microwave tubes
- complete (gun-to-collector) high-power microwave tubes
- ion thrusters for deep-space missions
- beam transport in particle accelerators
PixelVizion: An NPU-Embedded Visualization Accelerator for Large Data Sets, Winner
As imaging and video technology continues to advance, the need to process, analyze, sort and manipulate large data sets has grown tremendously. The image compositing function has become a visualization bottleneck. PixelVizion is the first Network Processor Unit (NPU)-based computer visualization tool that addresses this bottleneck. It brings single-pass network data transmission and on-the-fly image compositing that yields an order-of-magnitude increase in interactive response times. PixelVizion is a hardware-assisted, lossless, highly scalable, high-frame-rate solution to the visualization bottleneck of image compositing. It composites extremely large volumes of data at rates that are 10 to 20 times faster than those of current compositing technologies. As a cost-effective, commercial, off-the-shelf solution, PixelVizion removes the need for an expensive network interconnect and accommodates a variety of software rendering packages.
- Orthopedics, rehabilitation, sports science
- Virtual medical training
- Specialized diagnostic imaging
- Virtual skin grafting
- Weather patterns
- Large-scale scientific problems
- Animation and special effects
- Video game graphics
- Film postprocessing
Reconfigurable-logic arrays already accelerate computation 10 to 100 times in many important applications, but to be maximally useful, this technology must be accessible to the scientists developing new applications. Most application developers have relatively little hardware-design experience.
Trident provides accessibility. It is a high-level-language compiler that supports floating-point data types and operations. It translates scientific algorithms that use floating-point mathematics into hardware circuits mapped onto reconfigurable-logic arrays. Putting it another way, Trident accepts C language input containing floating-point calculations and translates this language into field-programmable-gate-array hardware. It allows computational scientists to explore partitioning their code between software and hardware.
- Trident translates scientific algorithms in C containing floating-point mathematics into field-programmable-gate-array hardware. Without a compiler such as Trident, the reconfigurable hardware is not accessible to the computational scientist.
- In the future, Trident, combined with tools to locate computationally intensive regions, may be used to identify blocks of code suitable for acceleration through the use of reconfigurable-logic arrays.
ACSi: Aligned-Crystalline Silicon Films on Non-Single-Crystalline Substrates
Our aligned-crystalline silicon (ACSi) film deposition process achieves high-performing, near-single-crystalline silicon films on low-cost, large-area, non-single-crystalline substrates by using ion-beam-assisted deposition (iBeam) texturing. No other technology combines the high performance of single-crystalline silicon wafers with the low cost of amorphous and polycrystalline silicon films on non-single-crystalline substrates. By providing a means to improve the performance (or reduce the cost) of silicon-based devices, such as solar cells and flat-panel displays, our ACSi technology promises to fundamentally alter the semiconductor industry.
Our ACSi process promises to vastly improve the quality of silicon-based products—offering high quality at a price comparable to lower-quality products currently available. Our process also offers the option of manufacturing these products on a flexible substrate, leading to the development of durable solar cells that could be wrapped around a building or used as roofing shingles, curved or flexible TV monitors or computer screens and electronic billboards of nearly any conceivable size, expanding market possibilities to new flexible electronic products.
Silicon (in either amorphous, polycrystalline or single-crystalline form) is the most widely used material in the semiconductor industry, with multibillion-dollar applications in
- solar cells (films and wafers)
- flat-panel displays (such as TV and computer monitors, mobile-phone and PDA
- displays and electronic billboards)
Converting InfiniBand to High-Performance Computing
Developed for storage area networks, InfiniBand was a latecomer to a market already dominated by other products. As a result, sales of the technology lagged. It did, however, capture the attention of the national laboratories, which saw it as a potentially superior interconnect for supercomputing clusters. Taking the initiative, the labs pushed for additional development, communicated their needs in annual workshops, provided test-bed clusters larger than any available in the private sector, offered financial support through Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration “PathForward” contracts and organized the OpenIB Alliance, comprising InfiniBand vendors and developers and the DOE laboratories. These efforts resulted in an entirely new market—and a new future—for InfiniBand.
InfiniBand can now be used as an interconnect for clustered supercomputers used for
- solving classified weapons validation and verification problems
- pursuing basic research
- modeling epidemiological and pharmaceutical problems
- supporting oil and natural gas exploration
- simulating aircraft performance, cockpit procedures, weapons systems and
- battlefield maneuvers
- modeling aerospace problems
EnergyFit: Cool, Fast, Reliable Computing
EnergyFit is self-aware, self-adapting software that automatically reduces the energy consumption of a processor in a computing system by as much as 70 percent with minimal impact on performance. In addition to reducing energy bills, EnergyFit ultimately lowers temperatures in computer systems, which in turn leads to better reliability. That is, as per Arrhenius’ equation, for every 10°C decrease in temperature, the long-term reliability of the electronics in the system doubles. By reducing the thermal envelope of processors, EnergyFit allows the footprint of a data center to be shrunk, lowering the total cost of ownership and providing an environmentally friendly solution that can generate sustainable revenue.
- Supercomputing centers
- Financial data centers
- Desktop computers
- Data-center servers
- Internet service providers
- Search-engine farms
- Sensor networks
- Embedded processing systems (e.g., cell phones, automobiles, airline reservation systems, multimedia portable players, network routers on the Internet, video-gaming consoles such as Sony PlayStation Portable or anything that has an embedded processor)
EPD 1.0: Multifunctional Element Detector for Immediate Response
Our Element Presence Detector (EPD 1.0) merges the multiple-element characterization of atomic emission spectroscopy (AES) with the low power and gas consumption of a novel microwave-induced plasma. The result is the first multifunctional, portable, and affordable analytical instrument to characterize air particles, liquids, and surface particles on site and in real time. Because other AES instruments require thousands of watts to operate and weigh up to 800 pounds, they are hardly portable, being confined to the laboratory and occupying valuable bench space. These analytical instruments, which primarily perform only solution analyses, deliver analytical results only after the fact through complex sample collection, digestion, and analysis. In contrast, our portable EPD 1.0 instantly notifies workers of safety or quality concerns at the workplace, enabling prompt corrective action at a substantially lower cost than can be obtained with inductively coupled, plasma-based instruments.
- On-site hazardous air particulate monitoring for manufacturing facilities
- In-line quality control for industrial processes
- Laboratory analysis
- On-site element characterization: includes such applications as underground water source monitoring and environmental air quality monitoring
File Scrub: Review, Cleansing and Trusted Transfer Tools for Files
File Scrub and File Scrub Trusted Copy are security software applications designed to review files for the identification and elimination of sensitive information. Both File Scrub applications detect and remove hidden data in a review process designed to prevent the inadvertent or intentional release of sensitive materials, resulting in a cleansed file. File Scrub Trusted Copy (formerly know as Multi-Platform Trusted Copy, or MPTC) has additional features that provide the user with a consistent and regimented workflow for the transfer of the cleansed file to a removable medium for distribution outside classified and closed work environments.
Both File Scrub products also search for user-supplied keywords and phrases, enabling a careful review of files to ensure organizational data security protocols. File Scrub then creates an encrypted log containing information about who conducted the review and when, what was found, and what information is contained in the newly created cleansed version of the file. By running on a comprehensive set of operating system platforms (Solaris, Linux, Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh OS X), both products permit the simplification of training requirements and the maximization of existing resources.
- Review of government and corporate files for hidden, classified and sensitive data before releasing the documents to other agencies, the public and the news media
- Protection against inadvertent release of personal private information such as medical, legal and financial information
Kokopelli Air Sampler
Kokopelli is a revolutionary air sampler that collects particulates directly into a laboratory-analysis well plate, virtually eliminating the possibility of cross contamination as the samples are retrieved, transported to an analysis laboratory and loaded into an analysis instrument. The simplicity of the engineering design enhances its reliability in the field. The flexibility in its sampling schemes allows the operator to select among a wide variety of sampling modes including sampling on triggers and collecting variable-duration samples. Finally, Kokopelli can be operated remotely via a cellular modem or Internet link. Thus, it is suitable for long-term, unattended operations.
- Our device can be remotely adjusted to vary the sample volume and duration.
- Flexibility in its sampling schemes allows the operator to select among a wide variety of sampling modes, including sampling on triggers and collecting variable-duration samples.
- Kokopelli’s flexibility makes it ideal for long-term surveillance in both civilian and military applications.
- It can be deployed outdoors at high-risk or high-traffic locations such as at stadiums, national parks, mass-transit systems, city streets or parks, livestock feedlots, poultry farms and military installations.
- It can also be used to monitor indoor air quality in facilities such as hospitals, cruise ships, airports or airliners, sports arenas, manufacturing facilities and embassies.
Large-Area Grid and Scintillator Assembly for High-Energy Radiography
Our scatter-rejection grid and attached scintillator are part of a flash-radiography camera system at the Los Alamos Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrotest facility, where researchers assess the implosion symmetry of chemical explosions with mock nuclear components. Our scatter-rejection grid is the first to operate successfully for any application using megavolt radiography. The grid is composed of 137,000 precisely aligned, 0.9-mm-diam holes penetrating a 40-cm-thick cylinder of tungsten constructed from 120 cast layers. The scintillator is similarly composed of photoetched stainless steel layers, stacked to form a matrix loaded with long Lu2SiO5:Ce scintillating crystals. As part of a digital camera system, our precisely aligned grid and scintillator matrix allow us to image an item as thin as a piece of aluminum foil through a foot or more of steel. By taking advantage of the wide dynamic range now available with solid-state imaging devices, they are perfect for imaging low-contrast features inside thick objects.
- Flash radiography—producing still images and million-frame/second x-ray movies of rapidly moving objects at very high contrast
- Nondestructive testing—examining manufactured items for weld defects or casting voids
- Gamma-ray spectroscopy—rejecting Compton scatter from radioisotope sources
- Nuclear resonance fluoroscopy—detecting landmines and “dirty bombs” from a distance
- Medical therapy—reducing scattered radiation from a surgical “gamma knife”
- Balloon-borne astronomy—assisting gamma-ray imaging of the universe
Derived from the highest-energy polyazido precursors synthesized in our laboratory, a variety of ultrapure nanomaterials of diverse architectures can be produced quickly and inexpensively. Controlled pyrolyses of tetrazine- and triazine-derivative compounds are performed under mild conditions requiring no vacuum systems, no extraction, no carbonization, no purification, and generating no toxic byproducts. The results are carbon nanospheres and nanopolygons and diamond-hard carbon nitrides of multiple, reproducibly generated nano-architectures suitable for a diversity of research and manufacturing applications.
Derived from the highest-energy polyazido precursors synthesized in our laboratory, a variety of ultrapure nanomaterials of diverse architectures can be produced quickly and inexpensively. Controlled pyrolyses of tetrazine- and triazine-derivative compounds are performed under mild conditions requiring no vacuum systems, no extraction, no carbonization, no purification, and generating no toxic byproducts. The results are carbon nanospheres and nanopolygons and diamond-hard carbon nitrides of multiple, reproducibly generated nano-architectures suitable for a diversity of research and manufacturing applications.
- Fillers for high-performance automotive tires
- Pigmentation and protective coatings
- Electrical and thermal conductivity control
- Diamond-hard surface coatings on tools
- Lithium ion battery anodes
- Microelectromechanical gas and humidity sensors and hydrogen-storage devices
- Shock-absorbent structural reinforcements and elastic membranes
- Filtration reagents
- Biocompatible implant coatings
- Nanomaterials for miniaturized electronics and biological sensor/response mimics
NARQ: Network Automated Response and Quarantine
NARQ, Network Automated Response and Quarantine, is a software program that instantaneously quarantines computing devices that are infected with malicious self-replicating programs (“worms”). NARQ’s innovative network mapping capability locates devices every 15 minutes. By enabling technicians to organize connections between switches without having to physically trace wires, NARQ automatically removes threats to a network without disrupting other systems. This capability increases productivity and saves operating costs by developing detailed physical interconnects. NARQ is a robust, generic program that can be used with different hardware vendors, integrating easily with a variety of products.
- Immediately locates all devices on a network
- Plans and optimizes the topological arrangement of the network
- Provides computer policy enforcement
- Provides network engineering and trouble-shooting
ParaView is an open-source, scalable, multi-platform, parallel visualization framework, built on top of the popular Visualization Toolkit (VTK) and currently used by more than 30 laboratories and universities worldwide. The goal of this three-lab project is to develop scalable parallel processing tools with an emphasis on distributed memory implementations. ParaView includes parallel algorithms, infrastructure, I/O, support, and display devices and requires all software developed to be delivered open source. The combination of ParaView and high-performance graphics hardware has opened up a new level of interactivity with large data sets, helping researchers around the world better visualize many types of data—from global climate modeling to intricate fluid dynamic simulations. As the world’s most scalable visualization platform, ParaView leverages cutting-edge parallel rendering algorithms and uses the leading technology in commodity PC clusters and graphics hardware to interactively visualize some of the world’s largest data sets.
- Scientific visualization and analysis of thermal, mechanical, particle, fluid flow, radiation transport, and transient dynamics simulation results
- Visualization tasks as varied as network traffic analysis and geographic exploration
- Global climate modeling, intricate fluid dynamic simulations, weapons verification, and astrophysics studies
ReLocATE: Reconfigurable Logic Accelerated Traffic Engine
ReLocATE is a hybrid software/hardware package compatible with traffic simulation suites such as the Los Alamos Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS) now in use by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It makes use of a unique application of super-computing clusters and reconfigurable logic, speeding up traffic simulation by dividing road data into two categories: simple two-lane roads and more complex, multilane road segments and intersections. Simulation of the simple two-lane roads is then done through the use of field-programmable gate arrays. Microprocessors handle the rest. ReLocATE can perform 390,000 street updates per second per node, accelerating traffic simulation by 3.2 times real time, making it a far more useful tool during emergencies in large cities. Simulations that once took days can now be done in eight hours. This product is a revolutionary step, demonstrating next-generation implementation of super-computing applications: special purpose processors (e.g., reconfigurable logic) combined with microprocessors to produce a system with unparalleled computing power and capacity.
- Emergency Evacuations: ReLocATE’s speed—combined with TRANSIMS’ data—can make it possible to try out scenarios, quickly find the best approach, and implement a maximally efficient traffic plan even in a very large city.
- Urban Planning: ReLocATE is also valuable on a day-to-day basis. When used with TRANSIMS, it can assist with routine transportation planning, providing fast answers to complex development questions ranging from the most efficient routes for new highways to the impact proposed routes will have on neighborhoods.
CartaBlanca: High-Efficiency, Object-Oriented, General-Purpose Computer Simulation Environment, Winner
CartaBlanca brings the tremendous efficiency of the Java programming language to the world of scientific computing. CartaBlanca is a state-of-the-art, object-oriented simulation software package poised to offer next-generation modeling and simulation capabilities to scientists in a number of disciplines. Written in the "developer friendly" Java language, it enables computer code developers to simulate complex nonlinear effects such as airflow through a turbo booster, blast effects on buildings, or heat transfer along a semiconductor. Because it is a Java-based software package, the code is much easier to use, manipulate and modify than codes based on programming languages such as FORTRAN or C++. CartaBlanca takes advantage of the improved execution speed offered by the HotSpot™ compiler and opens up the field of physical modeling to a much broader set of programmers. CartaBlanca is modular and allows for rapid software application or simulation code prototyping; strong, extensive compiler checking; plug-and-play module insertion for modeling physical systems; solutions with consistent results and integrated unit and regression testing.
- Aerospace engineering
- Animation and special effects
- Computational fluid dynamics
- Fluid/solid interactions
- Automotive design
- Weapon/target interactions
- Pharmaceutical processing
- Homeland defense
MESA: Measuring Enzyme-Substrate Affinities, Winner
MESA is a low-cost assay for detecting the binding of drugs to proteins (and other biomolecules and cell structures) without the biasing influence of added fluorescent molecular labels. The assay images drug-protein binding using atoms intrinsic to drug molecules themselves. Because of this label-free detection, MESA captures and quantitates all drug-protein binding, including potentially therapeutic and potentially toxic bindings. This allows MESA measurements to generate a complete therapeutic index early in the drug-development process. Today's high drug-development failure rate—the primary cause of the high cost of new drugs—is driven by the inability to measure more than an infinitesimal number of protein-drug interactions. MESA's ability to measure a very large number of these interactions and its resulting early detection of toxicity could save hundreds of millions of dollars in drug-development costs.
- Drug development: screens label-free drugs against all body proteins in 24–72 hours, compared with extant technologies that test drug effects on less than 0.5% of body proteins
- Personalized medicine: allows screening of individual patients for potential drug responses, enhancing drug prescribing and reducing adverse reactions
- Target validation: facilitates identification of new protein targets for drug therapies, a necessity for treating currently intractable or incurable diseases
- Label-free accuracy: provides far more accurate data than that obtained with fluorescently labeled molecules
nanoFOAM: Metal-Nanofoam Fabrication Technique, Winner
We developed the nanoFOAM technique to produce self-supporting, nanoporous metal foams by igniting a pressed pellet of a special compound in an inert atmosphere. The compounds are high-nitrogen transition-metal complexes synthesized with a low-cost, high-volume method that we developed. Nanofoams produced to date include iron, cobalt, copper and silver. The nanofoams have pore diameters of 20 nanometers to 1 micrometer, surface areas as high as 258 meters-squared per gram, and densities as low as 0.01 gram per cubic centimeter. These values compare favorably with those of silica aerogels, the lightest known solids.
Nanofoams could be used to improve the efficiencies of
- the catalytic production of ammonia, sulfuric acid, fuels, plastics, and other chemicals and products
- oil-refining processes and electrical generation from fuel cells that run on hydrocarbons
- silver biocidal filters that destroy liquid or airborne germs on contact
Nanofoams could also be used to
- improve the strength and heat-transfer properties of jet-turbine blades while decreasing their weight
- reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides from internal combustion engines and coal-fired power plants
- remediate chlorohydrocarbons in the environment
- enhance the sensitivity of biomedical detectors
NESSUS: Probabilistic and Uncertainty Analysis for Large-Scale Complex Systems, Winner
NESSUS is a general-purpose tool for computing the reliability of engineered systems. It was originally developed by a team led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) as part of a 10-year NASA project to develop a probabilistic design tool for the space shuttle main engine. Recently, a team consisting of members from Los Alamos National Laboratory and SwRI enhanced and applied NESSUS to the Laboratory’s weapon reliability assessments for Stockpile Stewardship Program. New features include support for extremely large multi-physics models, a sophisticated Java-based graphical user interface, three-dimensional probability contouring and results visualization, advanced design of experiment and sensitivity analysis, probabilistic input database and interfaces to ABAQUS, ANSYS, LS-DYNA, MSC.NASTRAN and ParaDyn.
BeFinder: Rapid Assay for Beryllium Detection
A 45-minute assay for the presence of beryllium, BeFinder provides an inexpensive and unambiguous method for assessing the health and safety risks to beryllium-industry workers and for protecting the public from exposure to this toxic metal. With chronic, degenerative lung disease the potential consequence of even a small exposure to beryllium particles, a fast, accurate detection assay is now available for industries that use beryllium in manufacturing (e.g., electronics, sporting goods, tools, jewelry, and dental crowns), as well as for companies or agencies that perform environmental testing of potentially contaminated sites. BeFinder provides a convenient, inexpensive, and highly portable method for frequent and reliable testing, promoting prompt remediation and preventive measures. BeFinder is being considered as a NIOSH and ASTM standard for beryllium screening.
Beryllium detection in the following situations:
- Sites contaminated by prior industrial use of beryllium or by illegal or inadvertent disposal of beryllium-containing waste
- Manufacturing environments: electronics, sporting goods, tools, jewelry and dental apparatus
- Aerospace industry and other R&D environments in which beryllium and its alloys are used in development of new electrical and mechanical components
- DOE complex at which beryllium is widely used in weapons manufacture and maintenance
Diode-Directed Marx Modulator: Pulsed-Power Source with Ground Breaking Architecture
A team of engineers at Los Alamos has developed a new type of solid-state Marx modulator with the demonstrated ability to control pulse width, duty factor and wave shape from one pulse to the next. The team attained this result with a circuit architecture that significantly improves the fault tolerance, efficiency and compactness of Marx-style modulators and combines it with precise process control. A Marx modulator with these capabilities opens the door to advanced applications ranging from health care to space vehicles to homeland defense, all in a package roughly 100 times lighter and smaller than a comparable device costing 10 times as much.
Our modulator will make possible smaller, lighter, less expensive and more capable versions of products and devices and enable other, entirely new applications. Some examples:
- Defense: electronic warfare, nuclear stockpile maintenance
- Homeland security: portable inspection and decontamination machines
- Health and medicine: low-cost x-ray machines and water-treatment systems
- Aerospace: plasma generators to manage air flow or reduce radar reflectivity
- Industry: discharge reactors to improve energy efficiency and control pollution
- Micro power: essential power conditioning for advanced micro power sources
Hands-Off Sampler Gun: An Investigator's Best Friend
In recent years, high-visibility courtroom trials and television shows such as CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) have heightened public attention to sample collection and recordkeeping. Unfortunately, devices used to collect samples are often highly specialized, require separate procedures to use and could expose an investigator to hazardous substances. Moreover, recordkeeping is usually done by hand, a time-consuming, error-prone process. The Hands-Off Sampler Gun overcomes these shortcomings. It comes with a universal adapter that can use virtually any type of sampling media, a hands-off loading/unloading mechanism that eliminates direct contact with a sample and a built-in electronic data-acquisition system that eliminates manual recordkeeping. These features make the Sampler Gun an investigator's best friend.
- Environment/ecology: enables investigators and scientists to examine containers and drums; inspect food products; collect solid, liquid, and gas samples; map vegetation and track wildlife and scrutinize archaeological and cultural sites
- Forensics: collects evidence for all types of suspected crimes, ranging from burglaries and narcotics trafficking to murders and arson
- Homeland security: helps first responders assess threats involving radioactive, chemical or biological agents
- Inspections: Other potential users include healthcare providers, supply-chain safety assessors, pharmaceutical inspectors and doping testers at sporting events
LITES: Laser Reader for Personal Neutron Dosimeters
LITES measures the surface densities of microscopic “pits” chemically etched on the surfaces of clear-plastic dosimeter chips. During etching, a pit forms at the intersection of a neutron-produced “damage track” and a chip surface; the pit density is proportional to the neutron dose. Existing chip-reading methods count the pits one by one. In contrast, LITES measures the simultaneous, collective effect of the pits on a laser beam passing through a chip by measuring the intensity of the light scattered by the pits. LITES accurately reads neutron doses up to 5 rem for a 15-hour etch, meeting the DOE's requirement for neutron dosimetry, while conforming to the Los Alamos standard etch time. For a 6-hour etch, LITES accurately reads neutron doses up to 50 rem, making LITES useful for accident dosimetry as well as routine dosimetry. In addition to the applications cited below, LITES can be used to measure the amount of radon gas in a home from radon's alpha-particle emissions.
LITES can be used to measure the neutron exposure of
- workers at accelerator facilities
- workers at facilities at which weapons-grade plutonium is handled
- airline flight crews
The Lustre File System Technology
The Lustre project started three years ago as an exploration of object storage on the Linux platform. Lustre introduced an innovative object storage software stack that enables modular development of client/target networking, storage management, and file system modules to address high performance computing (HPC) requirements for scalable file management for the terascale Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative computing environment. The file management solution scales to tens of gigabytes/sec, tens of thousands of file operations/sec, management of tens of thousands of clients and thousands of storage devices and dozens of metadata servers. Lustre is targeted for the extremely large-scale Linux Cluster Supercomputing environment. It has a networked environment with three types of systems: clients with access to the file system, object storage targets that control persistent storage but have extensive capabilities for “on-controller-processing,”and cluster-control nodes that handle metadata updates and arbitrate file system security.
HP and Cray, Inc., offer products that use this technology. An open source version is available from Cluster File Systems, a file systems technology company. The object file systems technology is applicable for
- high performance simulation
- data warehousing
- web indexing
- other extremely large-scale computing applications
Mobile and Modular Nuclear Facilities
In the United States, there are more than 100 nuclear facilities whose combined acreage is equivalent to the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. Many facilities have thousands of metric tons and millions of liters of various nuclear material wastes, as well as contaminated tools and clothing, metal scrap, solvents and other waste. Unfortunately, no infrastructure exists for characterizing, treating and packaging these wastes. The traditional solution to this problem has been to construct waste-handling facilities on site, but such facilities are expensive to build, only to be torn down once their mission is complete. To address this problem, Los Alamos has developed a mobile and modular transportainer that meets stringent safety and security requirements stipulated by the DOE. This portable and self-contained “trailer” can be customized to carry the equipment and resources necessary to characterize, treat and package waste or perform other nuclear operations.
These facilities can be used to
- house operations related to nuclear processes, waste characterization, treatment and packaging
- protect the public and the environment by containing hazardous cleanup operations
- serve as command and operation centers for nuclear, chemical, biological and
- forensics investigations related to natural disasters, accidents or terrorist acts
Network Express: Software for Modeling Systems Properties of Biological Response Networks
Network Express models the interdependent genetic, metabolic and signaling processes of biological response networks for systems-level analyses of cellular responses to external stimuli. Representative stimuli include drugs, radiation, allergens, toxins, microorganisms and other agents involved in inflammation. Both experimental data and metabolic/genetic information are used to generate the networks, which are refined through computational optimization. This predictive tool provides graphical output for precise description of network responses. It has demonstrated the capability for subtle discrimination among responses to apparently similar drugs and has been used to model human signaling networks as well as ecological and agricultural networks.
- Biological target identification: identifies key network genes and proteins in a biological response, accurately targeting them for therapeutic intervention
- Drug discovery: yields precise drug comparisons, guides drug development by identifying “copycat” drugs and unanticipated side effects
- Personalized health care: evaluates most beneficial therapeutic regimen on patient-specific basis
- Environmental remediation: accurately models ecological networks involved in fundamental ecosystem processes
- Agricultural pest management: models interactions between plants and plant pests, identifying most-effective points for intervention
NOx HyCat: New Catalytic System for Diesel Engines
No catalytic system has yet been commercialized that can eliminate nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the exhaust of vehicles powered by diesel and other lean-burn engines. The problem is temperature: a successful system must operate over the full range of temperatures found in vehicle exhaust: 150°C to more than 500°C, the low temperatures being the most problematic. Our NOx HyCat is the first catalytic system to span that temperature range. The system includes a brand-new, iron-containing, zeolite catalyst that is augmented with cerium-manganese oxide, an oxidizer that produces a near-optimum ratio of NOx components to speed up the catalytic reaction and enable the zeolite to operate efficiently as a low-temperature catalyst. We combine this new low-temperature catalyst with a conventional high-temperature catalyst in a "dual-bed" configuration that provides high rates of NOx conversion over the broadest temperature range ever achieved. It operates efficiently from 113°C to as high as 600°C, includes no expensive precious metals, requires no complex engine controls, and is compatible with existing manufacturing techniques.
The NOx HyCat is the first NOx-reduction system for diesel engines that can be used in such vehicles as
- light and heavy trucks
Reversible Electrotint Windows
Most office buildings are literally made up of windows—for example, the Sears Tower in Chicago has 16,000. During spring and summer, the heat from sunlight, coupled with the heat from people, lights, computers and other equipment, often means that buildings must run air conditioning until the outside temperature falls to freezing. Permanently tinting the windows presents a different problem during the fall and winter when sunlight helps keep buildings warm. To address these problems, we have developed windows that can quickly go from a colorless to a deeply colored—or mirrored—state and back again. Our windows let in 75% of visible light during fall and winter and block 90% of light during spring and summer.
- Energy-efficient building windows: DOE estimates that optimizing heat gains and losses through architectural windows and enhancing the use of daylight can save the United States 5% in energy consumption annually.
- Rear- and side-view automotive mirrors: For this market, our technology eliminates headlight glare, thereby reducing automotive accidents. Unlike conventional electrochromic mirrors, our Electrotint mirrors are more stable in sunlight. The present market for rear- and side-view mirrors is estimated to be worth $550 million and growing at 20% per year.
Scenario Library Visualizer: The Calm During the Storm
On September 24, 2004, Hurricane Jeanne struck the Florida coast, knocking out electricity to more than 1.7 million homes, businesses and institutions. In just eight days, first responders restored power, thanks in part to the Scenario Library Visualizer (SLV). SLV is a software package that consists of a catalog of presolved scenarios that a user can modify electronically to analyze and visualize electrical blackouts during an unfolding natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tsunami, or a man-made catastrophe, such as an industrial accident or terrorist attack. Based on such predictions, first responders can restore power quickly to the neediest areas. SLV generates results within four hours. Moreover, SLV provides decision makers and concerned citizens detailed information about power availability and schedule restoration. SLV runs on medium-performance laptops preferred by first responders and requires minimal training to use.
- Predicts damage to electrical infrastructures, thus enabling first responders to restore power quickly
- Helps planners, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, create and evaluate emergency response plans and contingency action plans
- Can be used to assist in the training of first responders, as well as local, state and national decision makers
VICTOR: New Paradigm for Artificial Visual Perception
VICTOR (Vectorized Image Characterization by Triangulation, and Object Reconstruction) is a software package that provides a versatile and comprehensive computational framework for developing new algorithms for artificial visual perception. Using principles from cognitive psychology to emulate human visual perception, VICTOR recognizes objects with complex shapes, regardless of orientation or apparent size, as well as objects with moving parts. VICTOR performs many object-recognition tasks now performed by humans. To recognize an object, VICTOR converts a pixel image to a high-quality vector image, typically reducing the size of a JPEG image by a factor of about four and the sizes of other image types even more. Image compression can be performed independently of object recognition and is fast enough for real-time video applications. VICTOR's modular structure can accommodate a wide range of existing algorithms used for artificial visual perception, as well as algorithms to be developed in the future.
- Reducing digital-image storage requirements
- Analyzing x- or gamma-ray images of cargo containers
- Analyzing medical x-rays, dental photos or satellite-reconnaissance photos
- Helping robotic vehicles navigate
- Helping military robotic vehicles identify targets
- Rendering 3D objects from freehand 2D sketches
- Enabling visual-object search engines
- Developing algorithms for image understanding and machine vision
Originally designed as a low-cost version of a supercomputer, a computer cluster consists of a group of connected computers that work together as one. Unfortunately, setting up and managing such clusters is tedious and prone to mistakes, thus making clusters much more difficult to use than supercomputers. To address this problem, we developed the Clustermatic software suite. Clustermatic increases reliability and efficiency, decreases node autonomy, simplifies programming, reduces administration costs, and minimizes a user’s reliance on unpredictable software. As a result, Clustermatic enables commodity-based cluster networks to compete with their higher-cost and -profile super-computer cousins by scaling to largest cluster configurations, providing predictive monitoring that reacts to mode failures and creating a one-system view of an entire cluster.
High-performance computing (HPC) applications include
- nuclear weapons, other defense programs
- weather-pattern and climate simulation, forest-fire data gathering, viral modeling
Applications related to LinuxBIOS include
- motherboard manufacturing
- embedded systems (such as iRobot.com’s PakBot)
- caching appliances for web content, DVD players, fiber-channel analyzers
Confocal X-Ray Fluorescence Microscope, Winner
Our microscope uses x-ray fluorescence to nondestructively measure the concentrations of elements within a tiny quasi-spherical “probe volume.” The microscope moves the x-ray probe volume on or through an object to measure elemental concentrations on the object’s surface, beneath a specific spot on the surface or throughout the object’s interior. The microscope measures the concentrations of a wide range of elements with parts-per-million sensitivity. It can analyze objects as thick as a few millimeters with a spatial resolution of 15 micrometers.
- Analysis of fine-art paintings, i.e., nondestructive studies of valuable paintings in situ
- Identification of elements present in radioactive waste for conversion to forms suitable for long-term storage
- Inspection of Space Shuttle thrusters
- Quality control of pharmaceuticals
- Characterization of new types of films for the semiconductor industry
- Analysis of crime scene evidence—enhances forensic information provided by other types of microscopes
mpiBLAST: A High-Speed Software DNA plus circuit board Catalyst for Genetic, Winner
BLAST, an open-source software package distributed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, has become the ubiquitous genomic-sequencing tool in molecular biology. With mpiBLAST, our open-source parallelization of BLAST, we have dramatically enhanced BLAST’s throughput and minimized its response time. The mpiBLAST software uses a new process known as in-memory database segmentation, in which a database is chopped into memory-sized pieces so that each compute node searches only a distinct portion of the database. When each portion has been searched, the message-passing interface (mpi) handles the communication to merge the results from each compute node. Thus, a search of a 300-kilobyte query that took 1,346 minutes (22.4 hours) using BLAST takes only a few minutes with mpiBLAST.
- Enables quick identification of previously unknown viruses, e.g., the SARS coronavirus, West Nile virus, and different strains of AIDS and cancer
- Accelerates complete genomic sequencing of organisms and drug discovery, reducing bioterrorism threats via pathogen detection and identification
- Contributes to other medical efforts, e.g., phylogenetic profiling and pairwise genome alignment
- Provides a more effective data-mining technique, e.g., technique could help identify and correlate intelligence and reconnaissance information and parallelize internet search engines
Plasma-Torch Production of Spherical Boron Nitride Particles, Winner
Particles of heat-dissipation filler can be added to the resin packaging around an integrated circuit to improve thermal management. Crystalline boron nitride, with the highest thermal conductivity of any ceramic, would be the most effective filler material except that it naturally forms as irregular platelets. Only spheres have the right rheological (material flow) characteristics for semiconductor packaging tools and techniques. We have succeeded in melting crystalline (hexagonal) boron nitride by injecting the natural platelets into a hot (>3,500 kelvin) plasma, whose nitrogen-atom-rich environment stabilizes boron nitride, allowing it to be heated to its melting point. The particles melt, form spheres and retain that shape when cooled. Ours is the first process to produce crystalline boron nitride spheres.
Our plasma-torch method produces a variety of materials:
- spherical crystalline boron nitride for integrated-circuit packages
- oxide spheres for integrated-circuit packages
- carbon nanotube threads with the highest strength-to-weight ratio for ropes and
- other structures
- photocatalysts for hydrogen generation and water purification
- supported metal catalysts for crude-oil refinement, catalytic converters and polymers
- metallic and carbon-coated metallic nanoparticles as fuel components
- oxide nanoparticles, possibly for next-generation armor
10-Gigabit Ethernet Adapter: Speed Really Changes Everything, Winner
Have you ever tried to download a high-resolution graphic, movie or video game from the internet? Such downloads can take hours, and if you’re lucky, your computer will not lock up, and the download will come through successfully. Now, imagine that by installing a simple adapter into your computer, you could transfer information up to 148,000 times faster than a high-speed modem connection and up to 23,000 times faster than a DSL connection. This “super-adapter’s” plug-and-play installation, reliability and unprecedented speed will revolutionize how computers and the internet positively impact our lives.
- Entertainment markets, e.g., video editing and animation, video- and music-on-demand, video games and file-sharing applications such as iTunes, Kazaa, Napster and Gnutella
- Worldwide modeling and simulation markets, e.g., global weather and wildfire predictions, contagious disease communicability, galaxy formations and supernova explosions, financial market forecasting and human genome sequencing
- Data acquisition and data mining markets, e.g., military intelligence and reconnaissance, basic-science research (fusion, bioinformatics, aerospace) and data warehousing
- Medical applications, e.g., interactive distance education (for patients and medical personnel), expedited patient care and enhanced diagnostic imaging
Aerosonic: Acoustic Concentrator of Aerosol Contaminants
An inexpensive, low-maintenance, piezo-electric device, Aerosonic generates focused, resonance-based sound pressure to concentrate aerosols. The concentrated aerosols can then be directly isolated for analysis. Alternatively, when added as a front-end concentrator to existing low-sensitivity, hand-held detectors, Aerosonic increases detector sensitivity. Its light weight and low power consumption make it an ideal add-on. Functioning independently as a “filterless” filter, Aerosonic can—by removing the concentrated material—eliminate such air pollutants as diesel-engine combustion particulates, toxic byproducts from restaurant-kitchen exhaust and airborne bacteria in hospitals.
- Facility safety: front-end sensitivity enhancer for hand-held detectors such as optical classifiers and particle sizer
- Air-pollution control: “filterless” filter for diesel-exhaust particulates, combustion exhaust from restaurant kitchens, airborne bacteria in hospitals
- Homeland security: concentrator for aerosol chemotoxins and biotoxins to facilitate their analysis
Be Safe: Assay for Rapid Environmental Beryllium Detection
A 30-minute assay for the presence of workplace beryllium, Be-Safe provides an unambiguous method for assessing the health and safety risks of workers from exposure to the toxic metal. With chronic, degenerative lung disease the potential consequence of even a small and transient exposure to beryllium particles, a fast, accurate detection assay is needed for industries that use beryllium in manufacturing products such as electronics, sporting goods, tools, jewelry and dental apparatus. Be-Safe provides a convenient and inexpensive method for frequent and reliable workplace testing, thereby promoting prompt remediation and preventive measures.
Workplace beryllium detection in the following:
- Department of Energy complex in which beryllium is widely used in weapons manufacture and maintenance
- Manufacturing environments producing electronics, sporting goods, tools, jewelry and dental apparatus
- Aerospace industry and other R&D environments in which beryllium and its alloys are used in development of new electrical and mechanical components
BioNetGen: Software for Modeling Biological Signaling Complexity
BioNetGen is a software package that creates precise and comprehensive models for a wide array of biological regulatory systems, which often cause disease when they function abnormally. These models facilitate the design of more-focused experiments to test actual cellular signaling configurations (i.e., molecular species and reactions) and to evaluate the therapeutic potential—and potential side effects—of candidate drugs and drug targets inside cells. With its modeling flexibility, the software narrows the field for drug targets and defines what are potentially the most useful drugs, thus promoting the development of novel drugs and helping to reduce R&D costs in the pharmaceutical industry.
- Predicting possible and probable signaling configurations in various cell types (guides experimenters in designing the potentially most informative protocols)
- Analyzing molecular forms and complexes that arise within the dynamics of signaling reactions
- Identifying promising strategies for drug intervention, thereby directing design initiatives for drug synthesis
- Evaluating probable effects on signaling of candidate drugs that act inside cells before animal or human testing
DMFC-20 Portable Power System
The DMFC-20 is a compact, highly energy efficient, direct methanol fuel cell power system that is designed to deliver 20 watts of electric power for use in portable military applications. Portable devices are also in great demand in the civilian sector, and potential industrial partners are interested in moving the DMFC-20 to the commercial market. When operated for a month, the DMFC-20 can provide up to 10 times the energy density (or specific energy) of batteries. A lightweight, integrated methanol sensor ensures that the DMFC-20 operates with maximum fuel-conversion efficiency. The DMFC-20’s high specific energy and very efficient fuel conversion distinguish our system from other direct methanol fuel cells.
- portable electronics
- battery chargers
- household tools
- long-operating air-quality sensors (e.g., carbon dioxide sensors)
- remote road signs
- camping equipment
- electric scooters (hybrid systems with rechargeable battery)
- auxiliary power
- battery chargers
- deployed field sensors
GN-5: A Portable Gamma-Ray and Neutron Instrument
GN-5 is a lightweight, robust, versatile instrument with the following key features:
- detects gamma rays with high energy resolution using a high-purity germanium (HPGe) crystal
- uses a bismuth germinate (BGO) scintillator to suppress parasitic Compton signals that can obscure gamma rays
- compares gamma-ray signals with an extensive library of relevant gamma-ray energies
- includes sophisticated electronics and software for accurate, real-time radioisotope identification with minimal user training.
Operated alone, the BGO scintillator can be used to quickly scan containers for evidence of radioactivity. Once gamma rays are detected, the HPGe detector identifies the radioisotopes present. Comparison of the count rates from the two GN-5 neutron detectors (one shielded with cadmium) provides information about the possible presence of hydrogenous materials (e.g., explosives) in containers.
GN-5 can be used to detect smuggled nuclear and other dangerous materials or proliferation activities at many critical locations:
- border crossings
- harbors, airports
- tunnels, bridges
- office buildings, sports arenas, convention centers
- vulnerable installations, such as dams and power plants
- facilities at which nuclear-proliferation activities are suspected
MIST: Magnetic Imaging of Superconducting Tape
One of the stumbling blocks in manufacturing thin objects (such as superconductors) and miniscule objects (such as computer chips) is minimizing and perhaps even eliminating defects and imperfections. In many instances, defects and imperfections lead to less-than-stellar performance and even costly malfunctions. But how can one detect nanosized defects in objects that are so tiny to begin with? To address this problem, we have developed a combination of magnetic sensors and computer software known as MIST (magnetic imaging of superconducting tape) that noninvasively and nondestructively detects microscopic defects in superconducting tape and minuscule objects such as integrated circuits and other nanotechnological devices. For superconducting tape, MIST tests the fabricated tape for defects so that the manufacturing process can be adjusted to avoid producing “bad” coated conductors.
- Detecting microscopic and gross defects and imperfections in superconducting tapes likely to play an important role in generating and transmitting electrical power
- Testing currents in electronic and computer circuits
- Optimizing magnetic-hard-drive storage
- Enhancing quality-assurance and -control in the manufacture of nanosized objects
PAD: Polymer-Assisted Deposition of Metal-Oxide Films
PAD uses an organic polymer and one or more metal compounds dissolved in water to deposit high-quality films of nearly any metal oxide on nearly any shape or substrate. The organic polymer binds to the metal ions or complexes in the solution to prevent them from precipitating or forming other inorganic compounds. The result is a stable, homogeneous chemical solution that coats objects uniformly—an essential part of PAD’s ability to form high-quality films.
PAD produces higher-quality films with a greater range of chemical compositions than is possible with other chemical solution deposition techniques. Vacuum deposition techniques can also produce high-quality, metal-oxide films. But because PAD does not require a vacuum system, PAD is easier and less expensive to use.
PAD can deposit amorphous, polycrystalline or epitaxial films with thicknesses of 10 nanometers to hundreds of nanometers or more. The only requirement for the substrate is that it be stable in oxygen up to 400 degrees Celsius or slightly more. Metals, ceramics, glass and silicon can be used as substrates.
PAD can be used to make films for
- flat-panel displays
Stripper Microhole Technology
Microhole technology is a paradigm shift for the drilling industry. It has the potential to allow much cheaper access to the remaining small pockets of oil in stripper fields (economically marginal fields that produce ~10 barrels of oil/well/day). In the past, 6- to 12-inch-diameter wells were necessary to support exploration as well as large-flow production during a well’s commercial life. Drilling technology advances and progress in miniaturizing electronics and sensors have facilitated use of microholes (1-3/4 in. to 2-5/8 in. dia.) reducing oil recovery costs in shallow, economically marginal fields; increasing the number of accessible oil reserves; and reducing environmental damage. We proved to a skeptical industry that “it can be done.” We integrated and adapted existing technologies into a drilling system that allowed construction of a 497-ft.-deep demonstration stripper microhole at the Teapot Dome oil field near Casper, Wyoming, in September 2003.
- Reviving production in economically marginal oil and natural gas fields
- Exploring for shallow oil and gas at greatly reduced cost
- Acquiring high-quality seismic data through the drilling of inexpensive holes to place sensors in an ultraquiet environment
- Monitoring primary and enhanced production processes for reservoir management
- Producing coalbed methane at remote locations
Superhard, Ultratough Nanocomposites
Diamond is the material of choice for most abrasive applications because of its superhardness. Unfortunately, its use is limited because diamond is brittle and prone to fracture. We have solved the brittle-fracture problem by developing a novel nanostructured composite that consists of diamond particles embedded in a matrix of nanocrystalline silicon carbide. This nanostructured matrix halts the growth of cracks that lead to fracture. Our nanocomposites are the toughest, most durable diamond composites ever produced. They set a new performance standard for next-generation abrasives. In addition, our innovative synthesis technique can be extended to tailor the properties of other superhard materials.
Our diamond nanocomposites possess the performance-critical properties required to replace current tungsten carbide and diamond abrasives in a broad range of applications:
- Composite inserts for drilling bits in the oil and gas industry
- Super-abrasive components for high-impact mining, grinding and cutting environments
- High-speed tool surfaces for machining nonferrous alloys and hard ceramics
- High-temperature dies for wire drawing
- Anvils for high-temperature, -pressure materials research
BASIS: High-Confidence Biothreat Detection and Characterization, Winner
The Biological Aerosol Security and Information System (BASIS) is a technology for protecting civilian populations against terrorist aerosol releases of microorganisms capable of inducing lethal infection. It enables the detailed identification, localization and time-of-release pinpointing of select aerosol-released organisms. In turn, this precise detection facilitates the expeditious treatment of exposed individuals before symptomatic onset, a medical response capable of saving lives. By reducing the rate of false positives to nearly zero, BASIS prevents the potential disruption of civilian life that such false alarms would likely provoke. It protects civilian populations by expeditiously mobilizing medical responses and providing detailed forensic evidence about organisms used in bioterrorism, thereby engendering a broader umbrella of readiness and facilitating criminal investigations. BASIS can be deployed in a broad spectrum of locations where population clusters could be targeted by bioterrorists.
- Population centers (e.g., transportation terminals/portals)
- Border checkpoints
- Seats of government
- Critical infrastructure nodes (e.g., power plants)
- Tunnels and bridges
- Sports and entertainment venues
CARISS: Integrated Elemental and Compositional Analysis, Winner
CARISS (Compositional Analysis by Raman-Integrated Spark Spectroscopy) is the only field-deployable instrument that provides a complete chemical analysis (elemental and compositional) of a material at close, stand-off, and remote distances. CARISS uses two laser beams to conduct such analyses. The rugged instrumentation, highly adaptable to real-world analysis situations, provides rapid—less than two minutes per sample—“hands-off,” measurement, reducing analysis time and cost by at least a factor of 100. Designed for analysis in the field, CARISS can fit into a briefcase or a lunchbox, depending on the application. The versatility and portability of the instrument will allow it to sample Martian surface materials from a Mars rover, verify the composition of bobsled runners at the Olympic Games to enforce international rules and regulations and detect carbon in soil for use in terrestrial carbon sequestration programs aimed at reducing global warming.
- Carbon detection (organic and inorganic) in soil
- Soil monitoring for the presence of toxic metals and harmful organic compounds
- Chemical agent detection for homeland defense and customs surveillance efforts
- Identification of materials used in weapons of mass destruction
- Industrial process control and mining operations
FIRETEC: Physics-Based Wildfire Model, Winner
FIRETEC is the first physics-based, three-dimensional (3-D) computer code designed to simulate the constantly changing, interactive relationship between fire and its environment. It does so by representing the coupled interaction among fire, fuels, atmosphere, and topography on a landscape scale (hundreds or thousands of meters). FIRETEC combines physics models that represent combustion, heat transfer, aerodynamic drag and turbulence with a computational fluid-dynamics model that represents airflow and its adjustments to terrain, different types of fuel (vegetation) and the fire itself. Unlike the empirically based models currently used in the field, FIRETEC simulates the dynamic processes that occur within a fire and the way those processes feed off and alter each other. FIRETEC provides a sophisticated analytical tool for fire, fuel and land managers and has significant potential to help prevent loss of life, property and natural resources.
- Predicting wildfire behavior in rugged terrain under various atmospheric conditions
- Optimizing fuel-management strategies
- Investigating how fire interacts with various fuels
- Determining causes of dangerous changes in a wildfire's behavior
- Providing realistic simulations for training inexperienced fire fighters
FlashCT™ is a high-speed, industrial computed tomography (CT) scanning system for producing high-resolution, three-dimensional (3-D) images of the external and internal geometries of objects. Once appropriate only for laboratory use, its vastly improved software and off-the-shelf components now make it feasible for high-throughput, in-line manufacturing applications. As a result, FlashCT is being used in unforeseen ways, notably in the mass production of customized parts. New uses of FlashCT are beginning to make significant changes in the way manufacturing is done. FlashCT applies to any process that requires the nondestructive scanning of an object. Its use in prototyping mass-produced custom devices (mass customization) streamlines the manufacturing process, increases throughput, reduces overall manufacturing costs, is clean, and eliminates environmentally harmful by-products used in other processes.
- Prototyping mass-produced, customized, orthodontic devices
- Inspecting parts or components for quality-assurance purposes
- Comparing “as-built” hardware to design intent
- Recreating parts when design drawings are no longer available
- Evaluating manufacturing errors
- Inspecting archaeological, geological and paleontological samples
Flexible Superconducting Tape, Winner
The world’s need for electricity has led to rising power costs; dependence on oil and coal, both of which are becoming scarce; and rising pollution levels. An ideal solution to this problem would be a technology that can transmit electricity with no resistive losses. The Laboratory has developed a superconducting tape that carries high currents in high magnetic fields at liquid-nitrogen temperatures. At such temperatures, the tape carries current with no resistance and is flexible enough to be wrapped into a tight coil with no loss of superconductivity. The innovative tape design can carry 200 times the electrical current of copper wire. Widespread use of this tape will reduce costs associated with electrical power transmission and generation and reduce the electrical requirements of the planet, thus conserving resources and reducing global pollution.
- Instruments that require large amounts of power, such as power transmission lines, motors, generators and transformers
- Magnetic resonance imaging for medical diagnostics
- Superconducting magnets that can play a role in magnetically levitated trains and research accelerators and colliders
- Fault current limiters and current leads
- Nuclear magnetic resonance instruments used in the chemical industry
Green Destiny, Winner
Green Destiny is the world’s most efficient supercomputer. For nearly a year, Green Destiny has run without any downtime in a dusty 85º F warehouse that has no facilities for cooling, humidification control or air filtration while occupying less than 6 square feet and drawing at most 5.2 kilowatts of power for the 240-processor system. Conventional supercomputers require customized, expensive infrastructure, e.g., cooling, or even a new building. Green Destiny redefines “performance” as much more than speed at any cost, the current ranking criteria for supercomputers. And, because many projects and institutions do not have the money to invest in or sustain the total cost of ownership of conventional supercomputers, the supercomputing capacity and efficiency provided by Green Destiny is recognized worldwide as an affordable and environmentally sustainable alternative. Green Destiny is a platform for high-performance computing tasks.
- Traditional Web hosting and Web-server farms
- Financial services
- Space and satellite communications
- Scientific applications
- Desktop supercomputing
- Smart house
PowerFactoRE: Suite of Reliability Engineering Tools for Optimizing the Manufacturing Process, Winner
PowerFactoRE is a comprehensive methodology and an integrated suite (toolkit) of reliability engineering tools that introduces a new way of thinking about the manufacturing process. The result of an effective collaboration between the Laboratory and Procter & Gamble, it comprises a unique set of proven methods, statistical and analytical tools, simulation software, procedures and training that enable manufacturing line managers to understand reliability losses and to correct seemingly isolated defects in the manufacturing process. PowerFactoRE gathers and analyzes production data, fits the data with accurate statistical distributions to build a simulation of the system and validates the system model. It allows a manufacturer to improve the current system or to evaluate a completely new configuration. It can be applied across a wide range of businesses to increase productivity, guide capital investments, and increase production. It is currently being used in more than 200 plants worldwide.
- Predicting, reducing and preventing manufacturing equipment failures
- Improving product quality and increasing throughput
- Improving bottom-line results through higher reliability
- Reducing operating and capital expenses
Super-Thermite Electric Matches, Winner
Have you ever attended an elaborate fireworks display choreographed to music and other special effects? To achieve such awe-inspiring shows, experts in pyrotechnics use electric matches, which consist of small ignition elements specifically designed to ignite fireworks remotely and with precise timing. Unfortunately, conventional electric matches use lead-containing compounds that are extremely sensitive to impact, friction, static and heat stimuli, thereby making them dangerous to handle. In addition, these compounds produce toxic smoke. The Super-Thermite electric matches produce no toxic lead smoke and are safer to use because they resist friction, impact, heat and static discharge through the composition, thereby minimizing accidental ignition. They can be designed to create various thermal-initiating outputs—simple sparks, hot slag, droplets or flames—depending on the needs of different applications.
The principal application is in the entertainment industry, which uses fireworks displays for a variety of venues, such as sporting events, holiday celebrations and musical and theatrical gatherings. Secondary applications include
- triggering explosives for the mining, demolition and defense industries
- setting off vehicle air bags
- igniting rocket motors
Advanced, Single-Rotor Turbine (ASRT) Engine
The Advanced, Single-Rotor Turbine (ASRT) Engine is a revolutionary centrifugal-turbine design featuring the compressor and turbine sections cast as a single piece. The design channels fresh outside air through the hollow turbine blades as the air travels to the combustion chamber, cooling the blades without mixing unheated air with the combustion products. This design also increases efficiency by preheating the air destined for the combustion chambers. The ASRT engine design can be used in any application that currently uses the centrifugal gas turbine. Because the ASRT engine design cools the critical turbine section, it allows the engine to operate either at higher temperatures, using its fuel much more efficiently, or conventional temperatures but be constructed from cheaper, lower-temperature alloys. Additionally, the one-piece compressor/turbine reduces engine complexity and weight, reducing manufacturing, operating and maintenance costs, and increasing the engine’s standard operating lifetime.
- Jet engines for small aircraft
- Turboshaft engines for turboprop aircraft, helicopters, tanks and other vehicles
- Distributed-power generators at industrial and commercial sites and aboard ships
- Residential distributed power units
- Portable personal power units
DSN-CC: Distributed Sensor Network with Collective Computation
DSN-CC, a distributed sensor network with collective computation, is an economical, portable and potentially concealable detection system. It consists of a set of smart sensor nodes that communicate with neighboring sensors to cooperatively solve a sensing problem. It can detect and locate events such as a gunshot or a vehicle passing through a tunnel delivering detection to the source. Sensors near the event collect the raw data, “compare notes,” negotiate a conclusion as to what the signal is and where it originated, and propagate the conclusion across the network, eliminating the need for a central processing station. Users obtain DSN-CC conclusions by listening in to any part of the network. Because the information and subsequent conclusions ultimately exist everywhere on the network, only short transmissions are required. The sensors can be small enough to be disguised as a rock.
- Signal detection by military, federal government, commercial businesses and the general public
- Ground-based surveillance, weapons proliferation detection, home-intruder detection and critical-facilities protection
- Medical diagnostics once miniaturization with nanotechnology becomes feasible
Electrotint: Reversible Tinted Windows
Keeping office buildings with thousands of windows comfortably cool, particularly during the spring and summer months, can be a daunting task. Electrotint windows, developed in collaboration with ElectroChromiX, Inc., can quickly go from a colorless to a deeply colored—or mirrored—state and back again. The windows have been designed to let in 75% of visible light during fall and winter and block 90% of light during spring and summer. The proprietary dyes and chemical formulations used in Electrotint windows and mirrors do not rely on hazardous chemicals and will not degrade, swell, break down seals or evaporate, problems that are common to conventional electrochromic windows. Electrotint formulations integrate easily into modern architectural and vehicular designs and manufacturing processes and are cost-effective, reducing the price per square foot (base window excluding control systems) by 80–95% compared with solid-state electro-chromic windows.
- Energy-efficient building windows—optimizing heat gains and losses through windows and enhancing the use of daylight can save the U.S. approximately 5% in energy consumption each year
- Rear- and side-view vehicle mirrors—elimination of headlight glare, can reduce automotive accidents
The gravity brake is a simple, reliable mechanical brake for protecting and positioning hoisted loads, such as diagnostic tools that are being lowered or raised within a vertical shaft. The hoisting cable connects to the top of the gravity brake and the load attaches underneath the gravity brake. As the load is lowered (or raised), the gravity brake is subject to the lifting force of the hoist and the downward (gravitational) force of the load. A sudden loss of the lifting force causes the gravity brake to swing its brake pads outward until they contact the shaft walls. The brake uses the load’s weight to generate the requisite braking force. If the sudden loss is accidental, the gravity brake prevents the load from free-falling down the shaft. If the loss is intentional, the brake precisely positions and suspends the load within the shaft. The gravity brake can be configured to work in varying shaft geometries and sizes and to support varying load weights. It is an inexpensive, reliable mechanical braking system that can provide fail-safe mechanical backup to electronic braking systems.
- Preventing hoisted loads from free-falling within a vertical shaft or tunnel
- Positioning loads, such as testing or diagnostic equipment, precisely within vertical shafts
LANS-alpha Turbo-Simulator: New Approach to Simulating Turbulence
The LANS-alpha Turbo-Simulator is a fast, accurate and very cost-effective modeling tool used for numerically simulating the effects of turbulence at a user-prescribed length scale (alpha). Its predictions agree accurately with classic turbulence experiments. Because it uses a novel mathematical approach, its capabilities are unique among existing turbulence simulators for preserving the essential properties of convection and circulation in numerical calculations of turbulent flow. In many comparison tests, its performance in speed and accuracy considerably exceeds that of other turbulence simulation methods. Scientifically, it is derived from basic principles that readily incorporate additional physical processes, so it is flexible and easy to learn and use. For numerically predicting turbulence effects, the LANS-alpha Turbo-Simulator provides benefits that are unavailable with any other turbulence simulation method.
- Estimating the effects of turbulence at limited spatial and temporal resolution
- Extending the computational capability of existing numerical codes
- Modeling turbulence in areas such as global climate modeling; industrial design of wings, propellers, and jet engines; control of production processes that use turbulent fluid flows
Molecular Tagging: The Key to Effective Disease Diagnostics and Therapeutic Intervention
Have you ever put a wrong word in a crossword puzzle? When this happens, it tends to throw off the entire puzzle, principally because one word can affect others. The same thing can happen when trying to unravel something infinitely more complex, such as the human genome, in which an unsigned base may hold the key to unraveling a disease-related gene. This unique molecular-tagging technique uses site-specific stable-isotope markers to enhance the specificity, accuracy, sensitivity and throughput of conventional mass spectrometry, a technique that could help “interpret” the human genome and functional proteome. Using such data, scientists can better understand how cells work and how diseases operate at a molecular level. Such knowledge will help doctors develop new pharmaceuticals and treatment options for a variety of genetic diseases.
- Large-scale DNA and protein analyses performed quickly, easily and cost-effectively
- Screening for genetic variants—may help scientists unravel the nature of many genetic diseases
- Identification and quantification of cellular proteins (particularly those whose expression levels are affected by disease), as well as any post-translational modifications (the sensitive markers for diseases)
RESOLVE: Automated Software for Protein Research
Have you ever watched a television show with poor reception? The fuzzy picture on the screen often makes it difficult to discern the characters and the action, making for a frustrating evening at home. In the world of proteomics, the new RESOLVE software helps researchers get clear pictures of protein structures, allowing the researchers to develop new pharmaceuticals and to understand how proteins work. A fully automated software package, RESOLVE improves the accuracy and detail of protein images obtained from x-ray crystallography. RESOLVE then interprets these images and builds accurate atomic models of the proteins. Used across the globe by more than 20 pharmaceutical companies and more than 300 academic institutions, RESOLVE produces a detailed model of a protein's shape, which defines its biological activity. RESOLVE provides a quick and cost-effective means of generating high-quality models.
- Helping researchers develop more effective pharmaceuticals and treatments for genetic diseases ranging from epilepsy and hemophilia to asthma and many types of cancer
- Enhancing scientific understanding of protein functions ranging from defensive and hormonal to transport and enzymatic
ROB: Reagentless Optical Biosensor
The Reagentless Optical Biosensor (ROB) quickly identifies and quantifies pathogenic proteins in complex fluid samples such as serum. ROB consists of two main components: a protein-specific assay cartridge and a sensor readout unit. Modeled on host-pathogen interactions, its membrane-based assay provides highly specific and sensitive detection of pathogens. The hand-held biosensor, based on evanescent excitation, minimizes background interference, greatly reducing the chance of false positives. ROB is battery operated, reagent free, simple to use (a single step) and fast (yields results in less than 15 minutes). Because the assay is contained in an inexpensive disposable cartridge, ROB can detect different pathogens with the quick switch of the cartridge. ROB requires little or no training for users and supplies robust sensitivity and specificity at lower costs than competing technologies.
- Detecting contamination in global water and food supplies
- Diagnosing infection resulting from biothreat agents or naturally occurring diseases in primary care settings
- Monitoring the effectiveness of medical treatments
- Helping to track, in realtime, the onset and spread of epidemics
- Surveying and identifying production facilities where illicit substances are being made (e.g., bioweapons)
The Sonic Separator is a new apparatus that uses sound waves to separate gas mixtures. A pure (single-frequency) tone sent through a gas mixture in a closed tube causes the mixture to separate, with one component of the mixture enriched at one end of the tube and the other enriched at the other end. The Sonic Separator requires only an off-the-shelf signal generator as well as amplifiers and speakers that can be purchased at any electronics outlet. The Sonic Separator is a simple, reliable and small-scale technology appropriate for high-tech industries that cannot use the traditional separation methods of distillation and diffusion. In addition, the Sonic Separator separates even notoriously difficult isotope and isomer mixtures. It operates at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure and accomplishes gas separation with no release of toxic gases.
- Separating tritium from hydrogen for fusion energy, a potential source for a global energy supply
- Supplying stable isotopes specifically for medical MRIs
- Expanding the currently limited supply of carbon-13, nitrogen-17 and oxygen-17 required by hospitals and biological and medical research facilities
Take-Off™, a metabolic plant stimulant, increases plant photosynthesis rates by coordinating a plant’s uptake of nitrogen from the soil and its use of carbon dioxide for growth. As a synthesized version of a naturally occurring plant metabolite (an amino acid), Take-Off accelerates growth—thereby speeding plants to maturity and harvest—and enhances yield without the use of growth hormones. It can be applied as a spray to a plant’s leaves or added to water and nutrient solutions to be absorbed by the plant’s root system. Both application methods are equally effective. Some of the benefits Take-Off provides, minus the growth hormones that necessitate expensive compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, include multiple crop cycles per acre in each growing season, reduced water and fertilizer requirements through shortened growing time and a reduction in polluting nitrate runoff from fields through increased nitrogen uptake.
- Fresh vegetables
- Citrus fruits
- Fresh flowers
- Biomass (plants raised to be burned as fuel or used as quick-growing ground cover in areas damaged by mining or wildfire)
GENIE: Evolving Feature-Extraction Algorithms for Image Analysis, Winner
GENIE (GENetic Imagery Exploitation) mimics evolution in order to create more-effective algorithms for detecting features in digital images produced by a variety of remote-sensing techniques. GENIE assembles an initial set of low-level image-processing algorithms (e.g., edge detectors, texture measures and spectral operators) and then tests each algorithm’s ability to find the feature of interest. The “less fit” algorithms are discarded; the “more fit” ones are combined to produce superior ones. After several generations of survival of the fittest, the resulting algorithm is highly optimized. Although features and imagery constantly change, GENIE’s ability to evolve superior algorithms allows it to find the features of interest in nearly any set of images.
GENIE can be used to
- map damage caused by wildfires, snowstorms, tornados, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes or terrorist attacks
- monitor environmental changes or crop health
- track population growth
- detect signs of disease in medical images
- detect defects in products made in assembly lines
- detect weapons and explosives at airport security checkpoints
- detect suspect vehicles in traffic
- create maps of craters, canyons and plateaus on other planets to assist in choosing landing sites
Analysts with no programming experience can quickly learn how to use GENIE to evolve algorithms that extract specific features from digital images.
GENIE’s results can be reused to help GENIE build up its “understanding” of complex tasks. (For example, after GENIE learns to find water, it then can easily learn to find beaches.)
GENIE learns to ignore unimportant image-to-image variations such as atmospheric haze or variations in overall illumination.
AMS/IB: Tool for Protecting Data and Verifying Container Contents
The Attribute Measurement System with Information Barrier (AMS/IB) is a modular inspection technology for verifying the contents of sealed containers without revealing any sensitive or proprietary information about those contents. It was developed as an accurate means of monitoring compliance with nuclear disarmament treaties. The system allows inspectors to verify that sealed containers hold nuclear material from dismantled weapon components without compromising sensitive information about the components’ design. It uses simple hardware and software shielded against electronic surveillance or tampering to gather and analyze sensitive information but transmit only nonsensitive pass/fail results. The AMS/IB technology has been accepted as the International Atomic Energy Agency’s preferred approach for future arms control verification.
- Monitoring international compliance with treaties for disarmament and nuclear-materials control
- Verifying the contents of nuclear-material containers in storage
- Protecting sensitive personal information obtained from security checks based on whole-body imaging technology
- Conducting quality-control inspections on food and drug products without revealing proprietary information
- Verifies disarmament treaty compliance without jeopardizing sensitive data
- Promotes international cooperation with nuclear-materials control
- Protects the public from incorrectly stored nuclear materials
- Helps prevent the spread of both nuclear materials and nuclear-weapons technology
- May enable more stringent airport security screening while protecting individuals’ privacy rights
CO2 Laser Welding of Quartz
Quartz, in its glass form, is an extremely transparent, heat-tolerant, and stable material widely used in industrial and consumer products. Welding is one method of forming quartz into finished products. As traditionally done with hydrogen/oxygen torches, welding is a cumbersome operation that, even when performed by a highly skilled glass blower, yields an irregular, potentially contaminated product. Our new laser welding method produces cleaner, more precise welds quickly and simply. Our method uses a computer-controlled, continuous-wave CO2 laser, a motion table and a vacuum-pump system to position, hold and fuse pieces of quartz glass. A standard shop vacuum removes any contaminants before they can adhere to the quartz surface. Based on the thickness, size and shape of the quartz pieces and the wavelength and power range of the laser, a technician programs the computer with the appropriate motion-table feed rate and laser settings. The weld is then automatically made and can be repeated as needed.
Quartz is used to manufacture everything from headlamps to fiber optics. In every industry that uses quartz, there is a need to join pieces together. In the burgeoning number of high-tech industries (e.g., semiconductor, medical, environmental testing, laser technology and aerospace), there is a need to join pieces of quartz precisely and without introducing contamination, a task for which laser welding is ideally suited.
- Our method makes quartz welding an efficient, automated, hands-free procedure.
- Laser welds can be replicated innumerable times, even by inexperienced technicians.
- Lasers produce precise, full-penetration welds that can withstand repeated exposure to the high-temperatures used in semiconductor manufacturing.
- Contaminant-free, laser-welded quartz products readily meet the purity standards of high-tech industries.
- After the initial outlay for equipment purchases, laser welding is very inexpensive.
- Using a laser to weld quartz eliminates the need to store large quantities of explosive pressurized gas and to work with torch flames.
CONTOUR: New Residual-Stress Mapping Technique
CONTOUR is a new technique for making high-resolution maps of residual stress at cross sections within a structural part. It is a simple, cost-effective way to predict, and therefore minimize, the residual stress produced in such parts when they are forged, treated or welded. The technique is less expensive and more versatile than neutron-diffraction methods. It is also far easier to use and has higher resolution and greater accuracy than conventional sectioning. Because it draws on widely available software and tools (wire electric discharge and coordinate measuring machines), CONTOUR could revolutionize the way manufacturers and materials testing labs measure residual stress.
CONTOUR can map the internal residual stresses in
- the structural parts of aircraft, destroyers, steam boilers, rail systems and bridges
- transmission gears in automobiles
- jet-engine turbine blades
- nuclear-reactor control rods and neutron reflectors
- welds of any type
- Detects residual stresses before they cause catastrophic failure
- Helps to improve the design of structural parts
- Can improve the safety and reduce the cost of national transportation systems, automobiles, jet aircraft and nuclear reactors
- Will improve the strength of welds, which are so common in industrial society
Diana TV: Single-Channel Digital HDTV and Analog Transmissions
Diana (digital & analog) TV is a method of transmitting TV signals compatible with both digital high-definition television (HDTV) sets and standard analog TV sets in the same channel and is meant for use during the national transition to digital HDTV. We accomplish this by placing much of the high-resolution digital image data in the letterbox lines that will be imposed on the analog picture by the wide-screen format of HDTV and by
- fitting some of the digital signal in the time between frames of the analog broadcast
- fitting more of the digital signal in areas of the analog signal that have previously been used inefficiently
Diana TV broadcasts a fully digital HDTV signal that is also compatible with analog TV sets for entertainment, news, education, teleconferencing and public service. This technology can also be used in a closed-circuit TV system that must provide both analog TV and digital HDTV signals, such as in-house corporate presentation networks, distributed lecturing on university campuses and information/emergency networks in buildings and at factory sites.
Diana TV can have a positive impact upon most of the nation. By implementing this technology, TV broadcasters will be able to
- provide high-quality digital HDTV signals more quickly, cheaply and universally
- provide superior digital HDTV images in fringe areas while eliminating digital-picture interruption problems
- encourage more HDTV sets to be sold, reducing per-unit costs
- allow each household to choose between the two qualities of TV imaging and make the changeover at a time of its choosing
- serve the public by freeing bandwidth for expanding the wireless-communications world of pagers, cell phones, business communications, bank transactions and many other services
Disorder Management of Optical Fibers for High-Bit-Rate Data Transmission
Disorder management removes a major barrier to high-bit-rate data transmission over distances of a few hundred kilometers or more through high-speed fiber-optic communications systems. By reducing the data-transmission errors caused by random variations in the optical fibers’ light-transmission properties, we can achieve reliable long-distance data transmission at 160 gigabits per second per fiber channel—more than 10 times the rates of existing long-distance fiber-optic systems. We reduce data errors through disorder management, developed with theoretical methods normally applied in statistical physics. Disorder management ensures that future high-speed fiber-optic communications systems will meet the exponentially growing world demand for data-transmission capacity.
High-speed fiber-optic communications systems are used mainly to transmit data across the internet. High-volume users include national and international stock exchanges and banks, airlines, insurance companies, health services, publishing houses, news agencies, research institution and telecommunications companies. High-speed fiber-optic communications systems can also be used to network supercomputers separated by hundreds of kilometers or more.
Disorder management is an enabling technique for
- meeting the transmission requirements of future internet expansion
- reducing current internet bottlenecks and sluggishness caused by inadequate bandwidth
- meeting the demands of emerging bandwidth-hungry internet services such as video on-demand
- efficiently networking distributed supercomputers
IMAGENE: Ultrasensitive DNA Analyzer
IMAGENE is an ultrasensitive DNA analyzer that images electrophoretic separation of DNA as it occurs. It thereby generates images of the entire ensemble of separating DNA molecules at any point during “separation time,” rather than a sequence of piecemeal detection signals at a time subsequent to the separation process. IMAGENE’s unique waveguide imaging system markedly improves both the speed and accuracy of DNA analysis. It also permits direct analysis of DNA mutations, an extremely labor-intensive process with existing technologies. IMAGENE’s simplicity, speed, accuracy and versatility underlie its range of application to human genome analysis, genetic-predisposition diagnosis, expeditious pathogen screening for bioterrorist and public-health scenarios and assessment of forensic evidence.
- Final stages of sequencing for the Human Genome Project
- Expeditious identification of potentially pandemic microorganisms
- Accurate discrimination of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria
- Routine diagnosis of predisposition to chronic illness
- Forensic evidence analysis that preserves the original evidence
- Protein analysis for basic research and biomedical screening
- Research—assisting in the accurate completion of genome-mapping projects
- Public health—protecting populations from bioterrorism
- Medical diagnosis—intervening more quickly in infections and eliminating uncertainty in genetic-predisposition diagnosis
- Forensics—reducing the possibility of misinterpreting DNA evidence
Multi-Platform Trusted Copy: Information Assurance File Review and Transfer Tool
Multi-Platform Trusted Copy (MPTC) is a cyber security software application used to review computer files for specific elements that can hide sensitive or harmful information. MPTC detects and, in specific cases, removes hidden data. MPTC also searches for user-supplied keywords/phrases and, as part of a comprehensive review, provides a function to open the file in its original application, permitting examination of the keywords/phrases, pictures and other nontext objects identified in the review. MPTC produces a “cleansed” version of the file and provides for transfer of this “trusted copy” of the file to a removable medium for further distribution. MPTC also generates encrypted logs containing information about who conducted the review and when, what was found, and what information was transferred. Log-file detail could also help identify the person who hid it.
MPTC provides the federal government with a robust tool to review documents for hidden, classified, or sensitive data before releasing the documents to the public or news media. In the private sector, MPTC could be used to prevent the transfer of hidden proprietary, personal or security-related information, particularly important in the legal, medical, and financial sectors.
- Provides a more thorough review than a visual examination or basic ASCII keyword search, thereby increasing confidence that hidden information is removed or accounted for
- Provides an audit trail by preserving the history of review actions, findings and transfers in encrypted log files
- Minimizes the risk (and therefore the consequences) of inadvertent release of sensitive or confidential information
- Uses the same intuitive interface and simple three-step process—select files for review, review files and transfer files—on Solaris, Linux, Windows NT and Windows 2000 platforms. This commonality simplifies training requirements and maximizes use of existing resources
- Reviews numerous file types, including any ASCII or binary format (text files, some CAD files, computer source code and so forth) and Microsoft Office (97/2000) files
Polyphase Converter-Modulator: Compact High-Voltage, High-Power System
The Polyphase Converter-Modulator is a compact indoor power system that generates 140-kilovolt, 11-megawatt pulses with a 1.1-megawatt average power. Our system incorporates three interconnected innovations: (1) the use of low voltage for most of the work (the voltage is stepped up just before output and only when needed), (2) high-power, three-phase conversion (DC to AC to DC) at 20 kilohertz and (3) the exploitation of electromagnetic circuit resonance for power conversion and voltage multiplication. Key components we further developed for our system are from technologies proven in the traction-motor industry (high-speed trains): boost-transformer cores of amorphous nanocrystalline material and high-energy-density, self-clearing capacitors.
Our system can provide power or high-voltage pulses for the following:
- Pulsed klystron radio-frequency amplifiers for particle accelerators, including the Spallation Neutron Source’s linear accelerator, for which our system was developed
- Neutral-beam modulators for plasma heating and fueling in fusion-energy research
- Flue-gas scrubbers on industrial stacks
- Pulsed-discharge equipment that breaks down hazardous biological agents
- DC conversion for coast-to-coast ties between power grids
- Shipborne energy-conversion systems for radar applications
- Directed-energy weapons using particle beams, microwave energy and free-electron lasers
- Compact—one-third the size of a conventional system
- Safe—low-voltage input, with high voltage produced only when needed and in a single, contained enclosure
- Environmentally friendly—no large oil tanks or secondary containment needed outdoors
- Fault tolerant—inherently self-protective against short circuits
- Quiet—no transformer “hum”
- Inexpensive—about one-half the cost of previous technologies
2002 Other Award Submissions
5-kW High-Value Standby Power Fuel Cell System
Free-Space Quantum Cryptography, Winner
Secrets—diplomatic, military and, increasingly, business secrets—must be exchanged secretly. To help with this important task, we have developed Free-Space Quantum Cryptography, a new system for distributing the random-number cryptographic "keys" used to encode and decode information. Users generate and share a key by sending and receiving single photons through open air or space over an insecure, high-speed laser communication channel. Each key permits secure exchanges on the same laser communication channel or over an insecure phone line, internet connection or radio link. The laws of quantum physics and information theory ensure that the keys will never succumb to computer attack and that attempts to steal or copy a key can be detected and foiled. For distances under 10 kilometers, key distribution takes less than a second.
Free-Space Quantum Cryptography provides secure communications
- in metropolitan areas—between banks, corporate offices or off-site stock-trading centers and central stock exchanges
- on the battlefield—between ground bases or land-, sea-, air- or spacecraft
- between any two points on Earth, by using an intermediary satellite
- Enables secure day or night communications between any two users that can see each other or an intermediary station, in nearly any kind of weather
- Thwarts any computer attack that can be launched now—or in the future—unlike the systems now used for internet transactions
- Detects eavesdropping and continues secure transmissions despite it, thereby discouraging perpetrators
- Permits absolutely secure domestic and international electronic fund transfers, now amounting to over $2 trillion per day worldwide
- Gives remote users secure access to broadband internet nodes
Tandem-Configured Solid-State Optical Limiter, Winner
Imagine that you are aboard an aircraft and that the pilot has just been hit with a laser beam. Although the beam lasts for a tiny fraction of a second, its intensity destroys the pilot’s eyesight.
Now imagine a device that looks like a simple colored lens (with an ambient light transmittance at 65%) but can reduce by 400-fold intense beams of light from devices such as lasers. Known as optical limiters, these devices consist of a metallo-phthalocyanine dye embedded onto a polymer matrix. Made from solid materials, optical limiters can be designed in many colors or shapes, from the special windows designed for aircraft, armored personnel carriers and tanks to the night-vision helmets worn by soldiers across the globe.
Because an optical limiter is a type of film, it can be retrofitted into many existing optical systems, such as
- laser goggles and night-vision goggles
- special sensor protectors
- video cameras
For the limiter to work, it must be placed in a focal plane so that there is sufficient energy density to activate it.
- Protects the human eye or other sensors from the damage caused by intense light
- Sustains a maximum energy of 10 millijoules
- Absorbs light beams as focused as 2 x 10–6 square centimeters
- Consists of solid materials that are robust and long lasting
SCORR: Supercritical CO2 Resist Remover, Winner
Short for supercritical CO2 resist remover, SCORR is a new technology that could revolutionize photolithography processes in industry. SCORR is based upon the physical properties of supercritical fluids (SCFs). These special properties enable SCFs to remove coatings, residues and particles from very small features in integrated circuits (ICs), which are used in applications that range from cellular phones and electronic equipment to computers and household appliances. SCORR also eliminates rinsing and drying steps presently used in IC manufacture, thereby eliminating the generation of millions of gallons of water per fab per day.
SCORR applies to any manufacturing process that requires photoresist removal. For example, SCORR
- removes photoresists, residues and particulates from ICs
- removes photoresists from flat-panel displays, thus increasing reliability while decreasing pixel size
- increases information density in optical storage media (e.g., CDs, DVDs and CD-ROMS)
- eliminates stiction (surface adherence) in MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems)
- Provides a unique cleaning process compatible with the latest low-k materials and smaller (<0.18 µm) dimensions necessary to advance the industry in the future
- Removes photoresists, post-ash, -etch and -CMP (chemical-mechanical polishing particulates) residues from metallized, nonmetallized and ion-implanted semiconductor wafers
- Costs much less than existing photoresist-stripping solvent systems
- Strips resists in roughly half the time required by current technologies by eliminating both rinse and dry steps
- Reduces or eliminates the use of water as a final rinse step of the removal process
- Reduces or eliminates the use of inorganic acids, organic photoresist strippers and associated organic solvents presently used to dry wafers
GAMMArrays: Genomic Analysis Using Multiplexed Microsphere Arrays
With the completion of the sequencing of the first human genome, increasing attention is being focused on understanding genetic variation—the differences in the genetic code among individuals. It is estimated that there are several million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), single base differences, in the human genome. These variations hold the key to understanding individual differences in disease susceptibility and response to treatments.
To decipher the effects of genetic variation on human health, we have developed GAMMArrays, a tool that enables the rapid and efficient scoring of SNPs. We use robust DNA sequencing chemistry in conjunction with encoded microsphere arrays measured to simultaneously analyze many SNPs in a single sample. Rapid analysis by flow cytometry can be completed in just a few seconds and universal microsphere arrays encoded with “digital velcro”—mathematically derived nucleic acid tags—provide experimental flexibility.
Clinical, research and forensic laboratories will use GAMMArrays to
- diagnose diseases and disease susceptibility
- determine optimal treatments for disease
- identify new disease genes and drug targets
- identify bacterial and viral strains, cultivars and livestock breeds
Use robust sequencing chemistries, as well as widely available thermocyclers and flow cytometers
- Incorporate sample preparation compatible with conventional laboratory automation
- Conduct parallel analysis of many sites at rates of several samples per minute
- Universal microsphere arrays provide experimental flexibility
LECIS Protocol Converter Box
The “plug-and-play” ease with which computer users connect and use new pieces of equipment has long eluded laboratory workers because laboratory devices from different manufacturers use different communications protocols (languages). This problem usually ties system integrators to a single vendor for the devices they link and complicates system integration and upgrades. Our LECIS Protocol Converter Box, a hardware/software combination, standardizes communications protocols by making systems compliant with the open-architecture device-control standard—ASTM E1989-98 LECIS—which was formalized by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in 1998. The box translates any device’s proprietary protocol into the standard. It currently offers four hardware interfaces, allowing connection to any laboratory device and controller: two serial ports (USB and RS-232), an Ethernet port (TCP/IP for inter- and intranet connections) and a parallel port (commonly used for printer connections). For users with simpler needs, a single-circuit box is available with one serial port.
We developed the converter box to standardize automated systems in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields. The activities for which such systems are used include high-throughput screening, sample preparation, genetic sequencing and analytical chemistry procedures. But the protocol converter box is not limited to controlling laboratory equipment. It can be used in any application that requires deterministic device control. It will find application in the following settings: clinical, environmental, military and industrial (for example, the semiconductor industry, the automotive industry and the petrochemical industry).
The converter box provides an inexpensive solution to standardization ($950 vs $35,000–$50,000 with competitors) along with the following additional benefits:
- Freedom to use any device from any manufacturer
- Option to integrate standardized systems without replacing devices already on hand
- Compatibility with any computing platform
- Support for distributed device control
- Support for deterministic device control
- Ease of installation and maintenance
Novel Mass Tagging for Rapid Molecular Analyses
Now that scientists have mapped the human genome, an even greater challenge has come to light: making sense of the vast amount of information contained in a genome. Mass spectrometry (MS) is a promising tool for rapid, rigorous, and sensitive analyses to meet this challenge, but some advances are needed to increase its specificity and accuracy for analyses at the genomic level.
Our novel Mass Tagging technique uses site-specific stable-isotope labels to enhance the specificity, accuracy, sensitivity and throughput of conventional MS for functional genomics and proteomics analyses. With the data gathered from such enhanced analyses, researchers will better understand “how cells work” and how diseases work at a molecular level, which may lead to new treatment approaches or the development of new pharmaceuticals.
- Provides fast, easy and cost-effective large-scale DNA and protein analyses using conventional mass spectrometers
- Screens for genetic variants, which will contribute to unraveling the nature of many genetic diseases
- Validates DNA sequencing data and resolves sequence ambiguities left open by gel electrophoresis
- Identifies and quantifies cellular proteins on a large scale to generate protein expression profiles, an important step toward understanding “how cells work”
- Identifies and quantifies post-translational modifications, which are at the core of intracellular communication, coordination and regulation
- Analyzes contact interfaces in protein/protein and protein/DNA complexes to help reveal the mechanisms of action for protein machines
- Surpasses the capabilities of MS alone, opening the door to a whole range of new applications in genomics and proteomics
- Offers a built-in means for double-checking the accuracy of results
- Requires only tiny amounts of material to conduct analyses—our technique collects more data from less material
- Makes it possible to analyze membrane-bound and scarce proteins, both of which are difficult if not impossible to analyze with other methods
PRESCILA Neutron Rem Meter
Conventional neutron rem meters use gas detectors with bulky, heavy moderators to monitor exposure to neutron radiation. PRESCILA (Proton Recoil Scintillator Los Alamos) is a new neutron rem meter that replaces gas detectors with a combination of fast- and slow-neutron scintillators for a wide energy response (0.025 eV to 20 MeV). PRESCILA provides excellent sensitivity and accuracy, and because it eliminates heavy moderators, it is in a hand-held, lightweight (4 lb) package that can be maneuvered into tight spaces and lifted repeatedly without straining the user. Already compatible with most current neutron counters, PRESCILA is ready for licensing and commercialization.
PRESCILA can replace thousands of neutron rem meters currently being used to protect worker health in the following areas:
- Nuclear power plants in the United States and abroad
- Particle physics research facilities (high-energy particle accelerators)
- Plutonium-processing facilities (transuranic materials handled in gloveboxes)
- Fusion research centers in the United States and abroad
- Radiotherapy facilities used for cancer treatment
- Oil-exploration projects (neutron-generating isotopic sources that help identify oil-bearing strata)
- PRESCILA’s wide energy response makes it appropriate for monitoring everything from neutron-generating isotopic sources to high-energy accelerators.
- Superior sensitivity allows for more-accurate dose measurements and shortens monitoring time, allowing surveyors to limit their own exposure.
- Superior maneuverability allows PRESCILA to access spaces too small for conventional rem meters.
- PRESCILA’s negligible weight eliminates user injuries caused by repeatedly lifting conventional meters, which can weigh as much as 30 lb.
- PRESCILA’s elimination of the conventional expensive-to-produce moderator reduces its purchase price. Its elimination of the gas detector, which must be replaced every 3 years, reduces maintenance costs.
SQUID Array Microscope: Ultrasensitive Tool for Nondestructive Evaluation
Short for SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) Array Microscope, SAMi possesses the unsurpassed sensitivity and millimeter resolution to examine materials nondestructively and noninvasively. SAMi’s linear array of 11 high-temperature SQUIDs detect and characterize the extent and nature of features or flaws in conductive and poorly conductive material several centimeters thick. Its eddy-current induction scheme enables it to probe at many depths in the sample simultaneously—giving the operator a three-dimensional view of any feature or flaw. It is portable and can be used under typical laboratory conditions (i.e., without special magnetic shielding and on room-temperature samples).
The SAMi has many applications in fields which require nondestructive evaluation (NDE) in difficult regimes (i.e., where the material under inspection is deeply buried, hidden by a nonconductive layer, etc.).
- Industrial applications include aviation (determining aircraft flightworthiness), manufacturing (conducting quantitative analysis during development and design) and any other industry where parts/components must be routinely inspected for minute flaws or fractures.
- Defense applications include the NDE of nuclear-weapons components as part of the stockpile stewardship program at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
- Biomedical applications include an existing SAMi spin-off instrument which can measure the magnetic fields generated during brain activity. Studies with this spin-off instrument can help further our understanding of neuronal organization.
- Uses multifrequency eddy-current generation to conduct simultaneous probing of the sample at multiple depths—yielding a three-dimensional view of any feature or flaw
- Requires no physical contact with the sample
- Conducts analysis and spectral decomposition in near real-time or off-line at the user’s convenience
- Produces results in a completely nondestructive (SQUIDs are passive sensors) and essentially noninvasive (the induced eddy-currents produce less than a microwatt of power) fashion
SuperHENC: Mobile, Super-High-Efficiency, Neutron-Coincidence Counting System for Nondestructive Assay of Transuranic Waste
Scientists at Rocky Flats had a dilemma: They had to know how much plutonium was in each waste shipment bound for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) if they were to have any assurance that the load would meet WIPP requirements. But how could they measure the amount of plutonium quickly, safely, and accurately without opening each carefully sealed box—especially when the boxes were very large?
To solve this Pandora problem, we developed SuperHENC, a high-efficiency passive neutron-counting system for the rapid assay of large containers of waste contaminated with transuranic elements. SuperHENC consists of the following components:
- a standard-size truck trailer containing a loading dock, assay chamber and control room
- an assay chamber with polyethylene-shielded, high-pressure helium tubes and amplifiers to count neutrons from spontaneous fission of plutonium-240
- a loading dock to weigh and transfer boxes into the chamber
- a control room containing data-reduction and analysis systems
- a BNFL Instruments Inc., Gamma Energy Analysis system for isotopic measurements of uranium and transuranic elements
SuperHENC was designed to have two key applications:
- It conducts nondestructive assays of plutonium in transuranic (TRU) waste in 1,900-liter standard waste boxes (SWBs) containing a variety of waste types (debris, metal, mixed materials).
- It assays standard 55-gallon (208-liter) drums used in TRU waste shipments to WIPP.
SuperHENC is the most efficient existing neutron-counting system for waste measurement:
- It reduces neutron-count time to an average of 30 minutes while meeting both Department of Energy (DOE) safeguards requirements and WIPP criteria for waste acceptance.
- It reduces the requirement for physical standards for different matrices because its assay is largely independent of waste type.
- It incorporates new software advances in cosmic-ray background reduction.
- It enables packaging of large objects in waste containers, reducing time, cost and worker radiologic exposure.
2001 Other Award Submissions
Medium Energy Neutral Atom Imager, MENA
ANDE: Advanced Nondestructive Evaluation System, Winner
ANDE is a detector system that uses ultrasonic interferometry and resonance to identify the contents of sealed containers, either through direct contact or from a distance of up to 15 feet. ANDE consists of a sound projector, a laser vibrometer and an electronics package containing a computer, database and transducer system. Other features include the following:
- identifies contents of sealed containers in less than 30 seconds
- measures physical properties of contents
- operates in hazardous environments
- adapts for characterization of single-drop samples
- operates over a broad frequency range with high resolution
- can be used with sensitive materials such as high explosives
- allows continuous monitoring
ANDE’s primary application is in the area of national security. It can also be used for law enforcement and environmental monitoring and is easily adapted for industrial and medical applications:
- identifies all common chemical warfare agents in munitions and storage containers
- identifies hazardous chemicals in unlabeled containers
- identifies illicit materials stored inside legal materials
- accurately determines liquid levels, even in thick-walled tanks
- monitors water quality inside tanks and pipes
- detects wall corrosion inside sealed containers
- determines physical properties of chemicals (e.g., process control in chemical industry)
- detects contamination and spoilage of foods inside bottles and cans
- can monitor downhole fluid (oil, brine, etc.) for the petroleum industry
- tests single-drop pathological and biological samples
Almost everyone can benefit from this technology. ANDE can save lives and property by safely identifying real threats, such as chemical warfare agents and other highly toxic chemicals before people and the environment are jeopardized. It can prevent public concern by quickly exposing false threats before they attract attention. ANDE can also improve the quality of life through its medical applications and benefit industry through its numerous commercial applications.
Air-Breather Fuel Cell Stack for Portable Power Applications
The increasing number of portable electronic devices on the market today—from laptop computers to remote-controlled toys—is creating a demand for improved, more environmentally friendly battery technologies. Until recently, electrochemical fuel cells were too complicated and expensive to meet the need because they required cooling, humidification, and pressurization subsystems to operate. The new Air-Breather Fuel Cell Stack for Portable Power Applications, however, is small, reliable, cost competitive, and requires no peripheral devices. The unit’s only components are the fuel-cell stack itself (a finned, cylindrical device somewhat larger than a D-cell battery) and a small canister (with a miniature pressure regulator) that provides hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen fuel combines with oxygen that diffuses into the stack from the surrounding air. The only products of the Air-Breather are electrical power and water, which serves to maintain the moisture necessary for the unit’s performance. A rechargeable fuel canister lasts three times as long as a conventional battery. And Air-Breathers can easily be ganged together for higher-power applications.
The Air-Breather is primarily designed for powering portable electrical devices with small power needs, including flashlights, laptop computers, remote-controlled toys and radios.
- Air-Breathers are small, compact, reliable, inexpensive, silent and relatively light.
- They last at least three times as long as conventional batteries.
- They are environmentally clean. They produce no byproducts that must be cleaned up, disposed of or stored.
ChemDen: Chemical Denitrification Process
The need for an inexpensive, effective, and robust denitrification process is of global importance. As the world population grows, so does the generation of nitrate waste. Agricultural activity, use of fertilizers, and industrialization have increased the hazards of nitrate pollution, reduced the availability of drinking water, and polluted the world’s waters. Increased demand for denitrification is inevitable. Chemical Denitrification (ChemDen) addresses this need.
ChemDen transforms nitrates to harmless gaseous nitrogen in a simple, inexpensive chemical process. ChemDen does not require high capital investment, is easy to operate, and is not sensitive to changes in flow, concentration, and temperature of a waste stream. Because the process operates at moderate temperatures and pressures, it is far less energy intensive and, consequently, more cost effective than current nitrate treatment methods. ChemDen is an innovative, simple, inexpensive and robust process to address a challenge of global importance.
- Eliminates nitrate pollutants produced by steel, fertilizer, paper and explosives industries
- Eliminates nitrates in agricultural runoff
- Is an inexpensive, fast way to ensure an unpolluted supply of drinking water
- Municipalities, restaurants, fisheries and resorts have an inexpensive way to denitrify wastewater and drinking water
- Can help revive marine “dead zones”
- Does not produce secondary wastes
- Does not require large capital investment
- Is not energy intensive
- Eliminates a significant health and environmental problem
Integrated Focusing Scanner (INFOSCAN)
Our invention, the Integrated Focusing Scanner (INFOSCAN), combines for the first time a dynamic, variable-power focusing lens and a large-angle laser-beam scanner into a single, integrated optical device. The dynamic lens permits adaptable focusing of light to or from an optical fiber or optical storage medium (such as a compact disk) while the beam scanner deflects the beam over a continuous large angle—all in a compact, energy-efficient package with no moving parts. This achievement will enhance a variety of important optical technologies to make them faster, more robust, and less shock-sensitive. In fact, virtually any optical device which incorporates a lens and beam deflector may benefit from the increased flexibility, speed, and stability of the INFOSCAN.
- High-speed, high-density optical data storage and retrieval
- Interconnecting communication and processing networks (both fiber and line-of-sight)
- Faster, high-resolution laser printing and scanning (bar-code reading)
- Space-based optical data transfer and communications
- Accurate target tracking for military purposes
- Noninvasive biopsy, medical imaging and treatment
- Combines dynamic laser focusing and scanning in a compact, integrated unit
- Allows motion and vibration compensation in data-transfer and data-storage applications
- Improves reliability, speed and flexibility of optical communications networks
- Provides faster, more robust and energy-efficient replacement for mechanical laser-beam-steering components
- Allows inexpensive, densely packed, parallel arrays of devices to be easily manufactured
Los Alamos Monitor for Air Particulates (LA-MAP)
Our one-of-a-kind, portable Los Alamos Monitor for Air Particulates (LA-MAP) identifies in real time all hazardous elements of the periodic table, both metal and nonmetal. It monitors in situ and continuously, and operates effectively either indoors or outside. Our invention is unique in its ability to tell workers immediately if an industrial operation is exceeding air-particulate standards. LA-MAP is up to a thousand times more sensitive for air-particulate monitoring than the other field methods available. The novel design of the instrument, including miniaturization of many of the parts, enables the device to be the size of a computer monitor and weigh only 55 pounds. LA-MAP will help save lives and prevent debilitating lung disease.
- Provides vital real-time, in situ air-particulate monitoring for manufacturing processes
- Detects hazardous metals and nonmetals present in air particulates
- Gives people and companies instantaneous feedback on workplace air quality
- Enables safer, cleaner fabrication of nuclear weapons, missiles, aircraft and satellites
- Improves air monitoring in civilian manufacturing of certain autos, home tools, computers, golf clubs and bicycles
- Characterizes air quality for environmental monitoring and pollution control
- Warns workers immediately if air-particulate standards are exceeded
- Provides tool to prevent chronic beryllium disease, asthma and other lung disabilities
- Improves workplace environmental conditions
- Decreases human and financial costs of occupational disease and disability, and saves lives
- Increases worker productivity and job satisfaction
- Improves ability to provide a clean environment
Molecular Dynamics Lattice Gas
Our molecular dynamics (MD) lattice gas is a hybrid simulation method that uses a discrete-space approximation to study molecular self-organization and self-assembly processes involving ions, monomers, polymers, polymer aggregates and chemical reactions. By superimposing two three-dimensional (3-D) lattices representing matter and force fields, we have developed a simulation tool that incorporates detailed molecular reactions—e.g., force-field propagation, molecular rotations and chemical reactions—not tracked with conventional lattice gas methods. We have used our algorithms to model the hydrophobic effect, hydrocarbons in water, phase separations, amphiphilic fluids, complex fluids at mineral interfaces, micelle formation and self-reproduction, membrane stability and the dynamics of templating polymers such as RNA and PNA (ribonucleic and peptide nucleic acids).
Our MD lattice gas is suited to modeling a variety of molecular phenomena such as
- the dynamics of biomimetic membranes used in state-of-the-art sensors
- membrane attachment and diffusion processes important to pharmaceutical products
- rock wettability details important for efficient oil extraction
- subsurface plutonium transport
In concert with laboratory experiments, our simulation tool is also being used to shed light on the molecular self-assembly and self-organization processes required to bridge nonliving and living matter.
Our MD lattice gas fills a modeling gap between traditional MD and lattice gas methods. It thus offers unique computational capabilities for studying complex molecular interactions on nanometer to micrometer length scales and over time scales of nanoseconds to seconds.
Portable DNA Quantifier for Environmental Analysis
The Portable DNA Quantifier (PDQ) for Environmental Analysis is the first field instrument that can rapidly and accurately quantify minute amounts of DNA in soil and biological samples despite the presence of interfering contaminants. We have made this possible by combining ultraviolet- and visible-light absorption and fluorescence in one unit. The PDQ also incorporates novel software that infallibly directs an operator through the sample preparation process, thereby ensuring the most-accurate detection and measurement of the DNA. The software then delivers the results in precise, detailed data tables.
- Hazardous-materials assessment by first-responders and their associated “fly-away laboratories” to ascertain the presence or threat of a biological release
- Investigative operations for sampling soil to detect potential biological warfare agents in or around facilities—for military or attribution activities
- On-site crime-scene analysis of DNA from blood, semen, bone, or other sources
- Pathogen detection in the agriculture/food industry (e.g., the meatpacking industry)
- Molecular biology applications, including the quantification of DNA yields, DNA fragments for subcloning, DNA amplification products and DNA contamination in drug preparation
- Optimization of polymerase-chain-reaction conditions in any lab practicing genetic analysis techniques
- Multifunctional instructional aid for university laboratories
- Reduces time needed to quantify DNA in contaminated samples
- Requires minimal training for successful operation
- Provides precise, easily understood results
- Achieves laboratory flexibility and results with a field-portable unit
- Precludes chain-of-custody issues related to crime-scene evidence
- Allows rapid response to releases of toxic biological substances
Our technique produces radiographs of solid objects using protons instead of x-rays. Up to 14 radiographs—each with submicrosecond resolution—can be taken in rapid succession to create movies of fast events such as detonations. Eventually, three-dimensional (3-D) movies of an object’s internal structure with hundreds to thousands of frames may be possible. The technique can also measure very small density changes, identify the elemental composition of an object and provide magnified views of an object. Protons can also be detected more efficiently than x-rays can. In addition, the distances in which protons are attenuated in a thick, dense object can be closely matched to the object’s dimensions.
Proton radiography movies can be used to study the performance of internal combustion engines, jet turbines, high explosives and nuclear weapons. Proton radiographs can also be used for medical imaging.
- Shows how a fast event such as a detonation evolves
- Permits images to be made of shock fronts or combustion waves within metal containers
- Helps identify individual parts of complex metal objects such as engines and weapon systems
- Has the potential to make 3-D movies of the internal structure of fast events
- Reduces the health risks associated with existing medical x-rays by producing medical images at low proton doses
- Produces radiographs of thick, dense objects with high information content
QTL Biosensors: Luminescent, Conjugated-Polymer-Based Detection
The quencher-tether ligand (QTL) luminescent biosensor is a breakthrough tool based on a new science. It detects biological molecules through a quenched-fluorescence-recovery approach. The high sensitivity of certain fluorescent polymers to quenching is a recent discovery and represents a new field of scientific inquiry. This high quenching sensitivity has been captured in the design of the QTL biosensor.
In tests, the QTL biosensor has successfully detected avidin, streptavidin, and cholera toxin, all proteins. These tests have proved the extensibility and range of its capabilities, and QTL Biosystems LLC, a startup company we formed based on the innovative technology, is working to develop and market the detection capabilities of the QTL biosensor. Because of its portability, robustness, sensitivity and flexibility, the biosensor has the potential to revolutionize biomedical research and open new frontiers in biotechnology and medicine. It can rapidly detect and identify biological and chemical agents such as viruses, bacteria, proteins and chemical and biological warfare agents. In addition to sensing and medical diagnostics, it shows tremendous promise for the development of new products for pharmaceutical and biomedical research and for monitoring biological functions such as immune system response.
- Simple to operate—little or no training required
- Great flexibility—a wide variety of biological and chemical agents can be detected, including previously undetectable molecules
- Comparable sensitivity to the best currently available techniques with much greater simplicity and ruggedness
- Instantaneous response (results in less than 1 second, compared with an hour for competing methods)
- Inexpensive equipment—QTL instrument costs less than $2,000, closest competitor costs at least $50,000
- Small—single detection units could potentially be the size of a scientific calculator
Applicable to both large and small biomolecules
Radiation Litmus Paper
In a simple, unambiguous manner, Radiation Litmus Paper warns its wearer of radiation danger as the exposure occurs. The solution visible in the transparent viewing window dramatically changes color when the amount of radiation reaches a predetermined dose level, and those levels can be set over a large dynamic range. Radiation Litmus Paper is sturdy and lightweight, making it practical for use in a wide variety of field situations. Unlike other dosimetry methods, it is a stand-alone product that requires no additional instrumentation or power source. Once activated, it continues to deliver real-time, accurate readings for up to 24 hours. The cost per unit of Radiation Litmus Paper makes it an attractive alternative for people like emergency response personnel who need dosimetry only occasionally.
- Provides real-time exposure data to emergency response personnel who unexpectedly encounter hazardous radiation situations
- Allows radiologists and nuclear medicine professionals to work up to their prescribed radiation limits without exceeding them
- Informs patients treated with iodine-131 when the radiation dose they are emitting has decreased enough to avoid endangering family members by proximity
- Detects radon gas in homes or offices
- Provides independent information and inexpensive peace of mind for neighbors of nuclear facilities
- Offers a combination of features unmatched by any other dosimetry method
- Provides instant visual readings in a clear and unambiguous manner
- Eliminates the need for extensive radiation training
- Has a long shelf life, allowing the consumer to use it at a moment’s notice without wondering about batteries or calibration
- Uses chemicals that are completely nontoxic and environmentally benign
Spent Fuel Coincidence Counter (SFCC)
The Spent Fuel Coincidence Counter (SFCC) is the only nondestructive assay device that measures the plutonium content of spent-fuel assemblies. The SFCC will enable managers of nuclear breeder reactors to account for their spent fuel quickly and accurately, which means they will be able to protect plutonium from proliferation activities.
- Measures plutonium content of breeder-reactor spent fuel
- Measures plutonium content of fresh mixed-oxide fuel
- Plutonium measurements are quick and accurate
- Computer interface makes the collection and analysis of data easy
- Reduces the probability that weapons-grade plutonium will be diverted to nonpeaceful uses
TeleMed: Virtual Medical Record System
An internet-based client/server software application, TeleMed draws patient data from widely distributed data repositories to build a virtual medical record (the graphical patient record, or GPR) on an authorized physician’s computer. The GPR is multimedia, combining textual records and radiological images that may have been generated over time in many different institutions. TeleMed displays all elements of the medical record along a time line and makes full data accessible through clickable icons and pull-down menus. An edit mode allows the user to create or modify a record or annotate it by attaching text or audio observations. TeleMed is written in Java programming language and is an implementation of the open interface standards developed by CORBAmed, the Object Management Group’s healthcare task force. Public-key encryption allows TeleMed to certify the authenticity of all users and secure all data transfers.
- Managing the care of individual patients, especially those with chronic illnesses that require long-term observation and treatment (e.g., drug-resistant tuberculosis)
- Conducting remote medical consultations between primary-care physicians and specialists to speed diagnosis and treatment decisions
- Tracking immunizations to ensure widespread protection against vaccine-preventable diseases
- Managing clinical trials on new pharmaceuticals
- Tracking diseases in the population while preserving patient anonymity (TeleMed can separate patient identities from clinical data.)
- Compiling case studies for use in medical training
- Runs on any platform—Windows PC, Macintosh, UNIX (including Linux)—and on both relational and object-oriented databases
- Requires no administration—can run on a removable flash memory card
- Reaches a broad audience through open interface standards and Internet implementation—ultimately extensible worldwide
- Enables simultaneous data access by multiple users
- Eliminates laborious reviews of poorly organized hard-copy records, saving time and money
- Protects patient identity and data integrity through public-key encryption
Thermal Ionization Cavity (TIC) Ion Source for Mass Spectrometry
- Can increase ionization efficiency 10 to 100 times over that of conventional ion sources
- Provides direct isotopic analysis without dissolution or pretreatment of samples
- Provides simultaneous isotope ratio analyses for multiple elements
- Offers rapid, field-based analysis of refractory particulates
- Interfaces with fast, efficient, robust portable mass spectrometers
- Provides capability for precise, on-site thermal ionization analysis
Because the TIC ion source is an effective on-site isotope ratio screening tool, there is considerable interest from nonproliferation agencies, which need a rapid method for the determination of isotope ratios in nuclear particles. Applications important to those concerned with commercial and academic geological and environmental science include
- process control, quality control and other nuclear and chemical industry concerns
- teaching and studies carried on in smaller college and university laboratories
- determination of heavy-element or nuclear contamination in water, soil and air
- studies of metal bioavailability in mammals and ultratrace metals in animal tissues
- numerous geological applications such as ascertaining geological ages, providing data for paleoclimate reconstructions, studying subsurface radionuclide transport and hazards assessment
Users of the TIC ion source will enjoy many benefits from improvements over traditional techniques for acquiring thermal ionization data. They will likely appreciate most (a) the reduced sample size for convenience and when material is scant and (b) the enormous savings in time realized from the simple preparation of samples, from the multiple-element analysis and fast throughput, and from the on-site capability. Users will also benefit from high performance, ease of use and low cost. In addition, the TIC source will extend the use of thermal ionization analysis and make the process available to researchers in small laboratories.
Tomographic Gamma Scanning (TGS) System
Tomographic gamma scanning (TGS) accurately measures gamma-ray-emitting radioisotopes in large samples containing heterogeneous material, such as residues from nuclear material processing facilities. Transmission-corrected, gamma-ray emission computerized tomography is used to determine the location and quantity of selected radioisotopes within sealed containers that hold up to 83 gallons. High-resolution gamma-ray spectroscopy is used in both transmission and emission computerized tomography scanning modes to allow accurate measurements of gamma-ray peaks in complex spectra.
- Assays radioisotopes arbitrarily distributed in heterogeneous matrix material
- Examines residues from weapons-production facilities to meet requirements for nuclear material safeguards
- Measures transuranic waste to meet the acceptance criteria for disposal at the
- Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
- Locates gamma-ray-emitting materials inside sealed containers to facilitate repackaging operations
- Assesses medical and nuclear reactor waste products
The TGS system is a versatile, nondestructive assay technique that benefits nuclear safeguards and waste management operations by improving performance and reducing costs. TGS systems play a significant role in closing and decommissioning Department of Energy nuclear facilities, replacing lower-throughput methods such as calorimetric assay. TGS systems reliably meet performance requirements for characterizing transuranic waste. The imaging capability of TGS systems facilitates repackaging operations and reduces exposure to personnel. Because the performance of TGS systems is insensitive to matrix composition, TGS systems can be used in numerous applications. The versatility and accuracy of the technique is unprecedented.
TRANSIMS: Transportation Analysis and Simulation System
TRANSIMS creates a virtual metropolitan region with a comprehensive representation of its population, the population’s activities and the transportation infrastructure. Building upon these factors, TRANSIMS simulates the movement of individuals across the transportation network, including their second-by-second use of vehicles. This virtual world of travelers mimics the traveling and driving behavior of real people in the region. It captures the travelers’ responses to conditions of the transportation system. For example, when a trip takes too long, individuals find other routes, select alternative transportation modes (e.g., car pools or buses), leave at different times or decide to stay at home or at the office during peak hours.
- Enables city planners and analysts to predict the effects of transportation infrastructure changes, from a new traffic light to the construction of a new transit system
- Predicts the reliability of the transportation infrastructure for meeting traveler day-to-day expectations
- Calculates environmental and other effects, such as emissions estimates, energy consumption, traffic congestion and the transportation infrastructure’s effect on quality of life, productivity and the economy
- Simulates the executed travel of individuals, thus ensuring a realistic model of real-world patterns and events
- Incorporates feedback, which enables the TRANSIMS travelers to “learn” and adapt their “behavior” for predicted conditions
- Adds new and better measures of effectiveness, such as system reliability, improved equity analyses, and improved emissions estimates to assess the performance of transportation system changes
- Saves local, state and federal governments time and money because they can use TRANSIMS to determine the effects before implementing a change in the real world
2000 Other Award Submissions
- Automated Video-Microscopic Imaging and Data Acquisition System
- Dynamic Crystalline Phase Detection (DCPD)
- Electroexploded Metal Nanoparticles
- Optical Pharmacokinetics System: Noninvasive In Vivo Measurement of Drug Concentrations in Tissue
Acoustic Stirling Heat Engine, Winner
Our new heat engine efficiently converts heat to intense acoustic power in a simple device that comprises only pipes and conventional heat exchangers and has no moving parts. The acoustic power can be used directly in acoustic refrigerators or pulse-tube refrigerators to provide heat-driven refrigeration with no moving parts, or it can be used to generate electricity via a linear alternator or other electroacoustic power transducer. The engine’s 30% efficiency and high reliability make medium-sized natural-gas liquefaction plants (with a capacity of up to a million gallons per day) and residential cogeneration economically feasible.
- Combustion-powered liquefaction of natural gas to recover gas now flared at remote and offshore oil wells
- Residential cogeneration for more efficient energy use
- Local combustion-powered air separation and liquefaction to reduce transportation costs for industrial gases
- Solar- or waste-heat-powered generation of electricity
- More efficient than other no-moving-parts heat engines
- Made from inexpensive, low-tech hardware
- Highly reliable
- Environmentally benign
Atmospheric-Pressure Plasma Jet (APPJ), Winner
The Atmospheric-Pressure Plasma Jet (APPJ) produces a high-flux gas stream of reactive chemical species that can clean, decontaminate, etch, or coat surfaces—at atmospheric pressure and low temperature. Until now such plasma treatments could take place only in vacuum. Spraying surfaces in the open air, somewhat like a fire extinguisher, the plasma jet can convert a vast range of organic residues or toxins into water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other nontoxic gases—in a minute or less. And unlike other atmospheric-pressure plasma sources, whose high temperatures limit their use to indiscriminate “burning” rather than selective chemical reactions, the plasma jet’s gas stream is cool enough to treat paper without scorching it.
- Cleans the steel draw rolls used to produce nylon
- Deposits silicon dioxide films onto plastics and other materials
- Removes photoresist from silicon wafers
- Etches polyimide, tungsten, tantalum, silicon and silicon dioxide
- Makes teflon wettable so it can bond with other materials
- Removes graffiti
- Decontaminates surfaces exposed to chemical or biological warfare agents or surfaces containing radioactive materials
- Has potential for sterilizing food-processing and medical equipment, restoring art and cleaning clothes and carpets
- Cuts time and cost and eliminates solvents in cleaning the steel draw rolls used to produce nylon or in processing semiconductor wafers
- Could improve the taste and shelf-lives of foods and beverages stored in plastic containers
- Removes graffiti without damaging underlying surfaces
- Allows equipment contaminated with chemical or biological warfare agents to be reused or contaminated areas to be reinhabited
- Concentrates removed radioactive waste into a small filter
CHEMIN: Miniaturized X-Ray Diffraction and X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument, Winner
CHEMIN quickly and unambiguously identifies the elements and the minerals or synthetic crystals in powders and fine-grained samples. An inch-square charge-coupled device (CCD) records both the x-ray fluorescence spectrum and the pattern of diffracted x-rays from a sample held in the path of an x-ray beam—the fluorescence spectrum characterizes the chemistry of the sample, and the x-ray diffraction pattern reveals the crystalline makeup. The first instrument optimized for collecting both kinds of data, CHEMIN condenses the functions of large x-ray diffraction and x-ray fluorescence laboratory instruments into a miniature package, small enough to hold in your hands. CHEMIN gathers high-resolution data from less than a milligram of sample material.
Some of the applications of CHEMIN include
- identifying the elements and crystalline constituents of tiny samples—particularly useful when material is costly, rare or difficult to fabricate
- determining the nature of contaminated material—CHEMIN can fit inside a glove box or shielded container
- sampling the feedstock in industrial processes for which mineral content is crucial to the integrity of the product, such as steel and cement production
- analyzing geologic samples for mineral content, especially when minute amounts must be recognized—e.g., when testing for precious minerals or dilute hazardous material
- assaying powdered rock for mineral content at mining sites
- Thorough, rapid analysis of any powder or fine-grained sample
- Less than a milligram of material needed for analysis
- Samples require little preparation
- Small, lightweight instrument—easily set up anywhere electricity is available
PREDICT: New Approach to Product Development, Winner
PREDICT (Performance and Reliability Evaluation with Diverse Information Combination and Tracking) is a method of estimating the performance or reliability of a product when test data are scarce or unavailable. PREDICT accomplishes this by (1) documenting and exploiting the expert knowledge of a company’s designers, engineers, and scientists; (2) folding uncertainties about the product’s expected performance into its calculations and (3) mathematically combining expert knowledge and uncertainty with a wide variety of existing “hard” data. Hard data includes information such as performance results of similar products, test data from components of the product in question, and output from computer models of the product. As a “product” itself, PREDICT consists of customized training, a reference book, and sample tools (worksheets, mathematical formulas, computer codes) that users are taught to adapt to their particular situation.
PREDICT is designed (1) to estimate the performance of products while they are still concepts, that is, early enough to provide guidance for design changes before the expense of prototyping, and (2) to forecast the future performance of existing systems that cannot be tested but that must be guaranteed to perform as required when they are needed.
For analytically predicting performance, PREDICT provides the following benefits:
- Captures and exploits a company’s greatest asset—the expert knowledge of its employees
- Prevents costly manufacturing surprises and product recalls
- Provides guidance for prototype testing, resource allocation, and design and process changes
- Monitors product/system performance through changes
- Reveals and clarifies interactions in the system
- Develops a formal record of knowledge to guide future product development
Real-Time, Puncture-Detecting, Self-Healing Materials, Winner
Our real-time, puncture-detecting, self-healing materials, called INSTALARM Materials, provide instant electrical detection of punctures in personal protective clothing, storage containers, and related hazardous-materials applications. The materials are compatible with audible, visual, or computer alarm systems, and are flexible enough to be configured for almost any application. A unique layered construction allows INSTALARM Materials gloves or suits to trigger an alarm when two conductive layers, sandwiched within the material, are brought into contact with one another by any piercing object. In addition, the conducting layers are of a “gooey” substance that can reclose over certain breaches, making the material self-healing for many applications.
INSTALARM Materials can be used for puncture detection in
- personal protective equipment—gloves, garments, biohazard suits, masks
- containers—storage containers (for chemicals, biohazards, radionuclides), disposal bags, natural gas lines and oil pipelines
- environmental containment—geomembranes (hazardous-waste sites/landfills and petroleum-storage areas)
- many other places where it would be good to know if and when a breach has occurred
INSTALARM Materials could save lives by instantaneously warning of material punctures, thereby minimizing workers’ exposure to chemicals, biohazards and radioactive contamination. They will also save time by eliminating the need for time-consuming glove-testing procedures, increase workers’ confidence in their ability to safely perform hazardous tasks within critical time periods and allow immediate implementation of emergency procedures in the event of a breach.
REED-MD: Computer Code for Predicting Dopant Density Profiles in Semiconductor Wafers, Winner
REED-MD is a computer code that accurately and efficiently predicts dopant density profiles in ion-implanted semiconductor wafers. Optimal semiconductor device performance depends on the careful control of these profiles which, until now, has required lengthy, expensive trial-and-error experiments. By simulating the paths of thousands of ions, REED-MD produces profiles more quickly and cheaply than those obtained from experiments. And the quality of REED-MD’s profiles rivals or exceeds that obtained experimentally. The code also has high accuracy for values of implant parameters that produce profiles difficult or impossible to measure experimentally.
REED-MD is currently used primarily by Motorola, but IBM and Intel are also emerging as serious users of the code. REED-MD can be used to
- explore new combinations of implant ions and semiconductor targets
- study existing ion/target combinations at very low ion implant energies
- study the effects on implantation of amorphous or oxide-coated surfaces
- explore new implantation methods
- validate dopant density profiles obtained experimentally
REED-MD’s speed, accuracy, flexibility and cost-effectiveness provide unprecedented power to explore new designs for semiconductor devices. It not only identifies useful ion/target combinations quickly and cost-effectively but also obtains dopant density profiles at the low ion energies for which it is difficult to obtain useful measurements. REED-MD will provide the profile data needed for the semiconductor industry to develop the next generation of faster microelectronic devices.
Sulfur Resistant Oxymitter 4000™, Winner
Our product, the Sulfur Resistant Oxymitter 4000™, is the world’s only sulfur-resistant oxygen sensor for automatic combustion control. This sensor comprises a patented ceramic-electrode-based oxygen cell and proprietary brazing and packaging techniques, and it has survived over 12,000 hours of continuous operation in a high-sulfur and high-temperature environment. The unique ceramic–metal oxide-electrode in our sensor decreases the need for frequent replacement or calibration and will save manufacturers and electrical utility companies money and save our nonrenewable fossil fuel resources.
The Oxymitter 4000 will replace traditional platinum-zirconia oxygen sensors and find applications in
- coal- and oil-fired industrial boilers
- sulfur-recovery boilers
- municipal utility companies burning high-sulfur coal or heavy fuel oil
- process heaters and furnaces that use waste gases
- spent-acid furnaces
Thanks to the Sulfur Resistant Oxymitter 4000, automatic combustion control will be affordable and available to more industries around the world. Because it is totally sulfur resistant, the Oxymitter 4000 has been proven to last 40 times longer than a traditional platinum-zirconia sensor in a high-sulfur, high-temperature environment. The Oxymitter 4000 does not have to be recalibrated as often as platinum-zirconia sensors, which means maintenance expenses, downtime and staffing requirements will be reduced. As automatic combustion control becomes more affordable, more industries will be likely to use it. This in turn means there will be less wasted fossil fuel, and the air pollution, acid rain and greenhouse gases associated with power generation and industrial manufacturing will be greatly minimized.
Applications of Stable-Isotope-Assisted Mass Spectrometry
Stable-isotope-assisted mass spectrometry is an elegantly simple technique for verifying sequencing data and detecting genetic variations that combines the ease and efficiency of stable-isotope labeling with the speed of mass spectrometric analysis. Our technique is fast, accurate, inexpensive, easily automated, and bypasses the need for radioactive or fluorescent labels, both of which require careful handling and disposal. In our technique, we first amplify a target DNA sequence using stable-isotope-labeled nucleotides and then compare the masses of labeled and unlabeled fragments. The difference in masses, the mass shift, reflects the nucleotide composition of the fragment.
Our high-throughput DNA analysis technique will have application in
- verifying DNA sequencing data
- detecting sequence variations, including single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)
- studying DNA-binding proteins
Stable-isotope-assisted mass spectrometry is an easy, efficient labeling and analysis technique that saves time and money. Other benefits of our technique are that it
- rapidly determines the nucleotide composition of a DNA fragment, regardless of its conformation,
- resolves sequence ambiguities left open by gel electrophoresis,
- contains built-in means for double-checking results,
- eliminates the need for resequencing to verify results, and
- bypasses the need for radioactive or chemical labels.
ARIES: Advanced Recovery and Integrated Extraction System
- Cuts open and physically separates nuclear weapon components
- Uses safe and waste-free techniques to destroy the weapon’s classified shape and geometry
- Converts classified plutonium components into either unclassified plutonium metal or plutonium oxide
- Packages the final product into two hermetically sealed containers
- Decontaminates containers so that they are safely and easily removed from the plutonium glovebox environment
- Uses nondestructive assay techniques to quantify and qualify each container’s contents without altering or opening the sealed containers (Technique enables containers to be readily inspected by international community)
- Removes plutonium from the core of surplus nuclear weapons, thereby reducing worldwide nuclear arsenals
- Converts the plutonium so that it can be either used as nuclear fuel in commercial light-water reactors or stored and inspected by the international community
- Eliminates components attractive to terrorists or black-market profiteers
- Demonstrates to the world—and particularly to nuclear nations such as Russia—that the United States can follow through on its commitment to reduce the nuclear weapons stockpile
- Minimizes the generation of additional radioactive and hazardous waste
- Ensures worker safety by reducing the potential for radioactive contamination and exposure
Bone-Shaped Short-Fiber Composites
Our bone-shaped short-fiber composites incorporate a new fiber design that allows their use in load-bearing applications. The bone-shaped fibers solve a long-standing dilemma that increasing the strength of conventional short-fiber composites simultaneously increases their brittleness. Our new composites can be used to make a wide range of load-bearing composite systems such as steel-fiber-reinforced concrete, polymer-fiber-reinforced polymer-matrix composites and advanced ceramic-fiber-reinforced metal- and polymer-matrix composites.
Our composites can be used for almost any structural application:
- Concrete infrastructures such as roads, bridges, airports, buildings and sidewalks
- Motor vehicle parts such as connecting rods, cylinder blocks, pistons, crowns, stabilizer bars, transmissions and fenders
- Aircraft flooring, helicopter blades, space booms (which extend payloads from a spacecraft or satellite) and landing gear
- Composite ballistic armor for police car bodies, tank armor and shipboard armor
- Numerous other industrial structural applications
Bone-shaped short-fiber composites
- open up the use of short-fiber composites in numerous load-bearing applications such as concrete infrastructures
- adapt easily and inexpensively to current fiber and composite fabrication techniques
- reduce labor costs and the time needed to construct concrete infrastructures
- reduce the cost of maintaining highways and other concrete infrastructures through their longer service life
- improve the safety of highways and bridges by arresting crack growth in concrete and preventing catastrophic failure
- meet the need for lighter-weight, durable components in the auto and aerospace industries
Flash 3D Computed Tomography
Flash 3D Computed Tomography (CT) opens new vistas for practical industrial CT. Until now, three-dimensional (3D) data acquisition and reconstruction would take hours or days on special high-end workstations. With Flash 3D CT the same task on one Windows NT workstation is 100 times faster. Combining state-of-the-art, large-area, amorphous-silicon detector arrays with precision control and joining reconstruction and 3D viewing software have produced the most time-efficient and cost-effective way to obtain 3D CT images. Flash 3D CT can use x-ray, neutron and isotopic sources.
Our CT system can execute the following industrial applications in two or three dimensions:
- portable and stationary x-ray CT for structural evaluation
- nuclear waste inspection
- reverse engineering, with output suitable for rapid prototype machines
- inspection and verification of component assemblies
- nondestructive materials evaluation
- evaluation of process development
- detection of material defects
- rapid flaw detection in oil field pipes before insertion
The benefits of our technology include
- speed (up to 100 times faster than other 3D CT imaging)
- better resolution than other 2D or 3D CT systems
- high sensitivity (allows lower imaging dose)
- near-real-time imaging (instant feedback)
- distortion-free image (no lenses)
- long lifetime (highly radiation resistant)
- light weight and compactness relative to existing technology
- portability, rapid setup and simple calibration
- flexibility (use with any x-ray source from 70 to 450 kilovolts)
- lease of use (integrated acquisition, reconstruction and 3D viewing software)
High-Throughput Genotyping for Medical Diagnostics and Gene Discovery
Our analytical technique determines the identity of nucleotide bases at specific sites in DNA using fluorescently labeled microspheres and flow cytometry. Multiplexed analysis, using soluble arrays of microspheres, enables the analysis of dozens or even hundreds of individual sites in a single sample with an analysis time of less than one minute. This new approach offers a combination of analysis throughput and cost-effectiveness that surpasses available methods.
Our technology will find applications in both clinical and research laboratories for
- detecting genetic mutations associated with specific diseases or drug responses
- identifying genes associated with specific diseases or drug responses
- identifying individual cultivars or variatypes within or among populations
- DNA fingerprinting of humans or other animals, plant cultivars or microbial varia-types
The benefits of our technology over existing analytical techniques include
- measurement speed (less than one minute per sample)
- parallel analysis (up to 64 tests per sample)
- widely available hardware (flow cytometer)
- experimental flexibility
- compatibility with laboratory automation
Nonlinear Resonant Ultrasonic Inspection
Nonlinear acoustical techniques of interrogation are the frontier of acoustical nondestructive testing. These techniques offer the most sensitive acoustical measurement of damage in existence today. Nonlinear resonant ultrasonic inspection (NRUI) is the first of several nonlinear methods that will eventually be available. NRUI offers previously unimagined sensitivity, fast application and easy interpretation.
NRUI can be broadly applied in
- detecting physical changes in rock cores
- monitoring damage and aging in concrete and cement
- detecting flaws in aircraft and spacecraft components
- inspecting composite materials, bridges and other transportation infrastructure
- detecting cracks and other damage in assembly-line-manufactured items such as automobile components
The benefits of our technology over existing nondestructive analysis methods are in
- increased sensitivity
- getting results without a test standard
- monitoring damage over time
- future cost savings in assembly-line manufacturing
PCMCIA Microcontroller Card and an Open-Architecture, Miniature Card Crate
The Los Alamos/Boeing PCMCIA Microcontroller (PCM) Card and card crate replace the need to use a laptop or desktop computer to control PC cards. The primary use of the PCM card and crate is for compact, autonomous data acquisition, processing and communication. The crate houses up to five commercial PC cards for expanded functionality, including various data recording speeds and dynamic ranges, global positioning system timing and location, linear flash-card data storage, data encryption/authentication and various data telemetry. The microcontroller and memory on the PCM card ensure interfacing capability similar to that of a personal computer. Data retrieval may be made via flash-card recovery or serial-link transmission. The PCM card and card crate can operate unattended for over 16 days on a single battery.
The PCMCIA Microcontroller Card and card crate will find applications as
- an unattended ground sensor integrated with a data logger for unattended acquisition and retrieval of infrasound measurements
- acoustic, geophone, magnetometer, infrared, chemical-biological, or radionuclide sensors for field monitoring activities
- a stand-alone card for monitoring environmental exposure and activity
The benefits of the PCMCIA Microcontroller Card and card crate will include
- an open-architecture design that allows for inexpensive use of commercially available PC cards
- a configuration that allows for multiple-card functionality
- a low-power design that allows for multiple-week, battery-powered operation
- compact packaging that provides diverse, unobtrusive data-logging applications
- a built-in, high-fidelity recorder that allows for rapid interfacing for sensitive measurements
Rapid Assay of Protein Folding
Our rapid assay of protein folding uses the folding of a green fluorescent protein (GFP) to monitor the folding of a test protein. It does this by linking the two proteins in a hybrid molecule with the characteristics of both. When the hybrid is synthesized in a host cell or cell-free extract, the GFP achieves its fluorescent capability only if proper folding has taken place. Because robust folding is an excellent indicator of solubility, our method enables researchers to identify—quickly and easily—the soluble proteins necessary for research into protein structure and function.
This technology’s primary application is as a high-throughput analytical tool for identifying the soluble proteins needed for medical research, drug discovery and improvement, chemical industrial processes and basic research into the structure and function of proteins. It is equally applicable to directed evolution techniques for improving protein solubility, opening the door for those techniques to be used on all proteins.
The rapid assay of protein folding provides the following benefits:
- Supports high-throughput analyses for examining large numbers of proteins
- Provides a fluorescent indicator proportional to the amount of soluble protein in a sample
- Determines protein folding and solubility in single cells, cell colonies and cell-free extracts
- Works for all proteins, even when function is unknown
- Exploits techniques, materials, and equipment already familiar to molecular biologists
- Eliminates the need for external reagents, which are costly and sometimes toxic
SPECTRA: Small, Phased, Eight-Channel Transmit/Receive Analyzer
SPECTRA is a small, low-power, vector network analyzer for probing objects or systems. Direct digital synthesis produces very pure sinusoidal signals on any of its eight transmitting channels. These signals can be swept over a wide set of frequencies in the ultrasonic range with high output levels. The signal frequency and phase are completely computer programmable. SPECTRA can receive numerous response signals from the probed system on any of its eight receiving channels. This information translates to phase and magnitude parameters from which to identify the system’s frequency response. A frequency transformation calculation produces the time domain response.
Developed initially for use on national security systems, SPECTRA’s ruggedness, portability, low cost and flexibility make it applicable to many industrial uses. Our analyzer
- inspects operating mechanical devices (valves and solenoids)
- inspects sealed containers containing hazardous materials
- measures the frequency response of electrical networks
- analyzes the transfer function of passive or active devices (filters)
- inspects open-loop control systems (such as might run the head on a disk drive) while the loop is operating in closed-loop mode
- measures the phase margin, bandwidth and gain of amplifiers
- measures frequency-dependent impedances of electromechanical components
- examines performance of nonlinear electrical components (mixers or frequency-translation devices)
SPECTRA combines most features of other analyzers to offer the following benefits:
- low cost
- portability (ideal for field applications)
- flexibility in types and number of signals transmitted, systems probed and characteristics analyzed
- high performance
Virtual Pinhole Microscope
Confocal microscopes have become an invaluable imaging technology for producing high-resolution, three-dimensional (3-D) images. However, existing confocal imaging systems have significant technical shortcomings and remain expensive. Our Virtual Pinhole Microscope (VPM) is an inexpensive hardware and software system that provides true confocal imaging capabilities to conventional optical microscopes. Exploiting state-of-the-art technologies for scanned illumination, detection, and data acquisition and processing, the VPM is a high-performance imaging system that transcends many performance and application limitations of existing confocal microscopes.
The VPM has applications in many fields requiring quantitative 3-D microscopic imaging, including
- physiology, biochemistry, biophysics and cell biology research
- clinical applications and research, for example, in vitro fertilization, cloning, gene therapy and histological exams without biopsy
- material science, geology, metallurgy and other fields that study the microstructure of natural and manufactured materials
- forensic science, including the examination of features of microscopic evidence
- diagnostic and quality-control applications for microcircuit/micromachine manufacturing
Confocal microscopes provide improved image contrast and spatial resolution in three dimensions. The VPM provides
- a simple yet flexible, reliable, compact and cost-effective way to add confocal capabilities to conventional optical microscopes
- fast, light-efficient confocal imaging with transmitted light, fluorescence and reflected light
- simple, flexible solutions for confocal endoscopy, spectral imaging and other advanced applications
Cyrax™: Portable, 3-D Laser-Mapping and Imaging System, Winner
Cyrax™ is an integrated hardware and software solution to three-dimensional (3-D) data capture. The laser radar rapidly scans physical structures to acquire accurate geometric descriptions of real scenes, and the software supports visualization, modeling and export to common 2-D and 3-D computer-aided design programs. Cyrax produces digital images, like those created by a digital camera, but with true and accurate 3-D information so that each data point has precisely known coordinates.
Cyrax is targeted at several different markets for which the digital capture of the physical world has been difficult, impossible or cost prohibitive. Among them are the following:
- Architecture/engineering/construction (AEC)
– document as-built condition of facilities for revamp work
– site surveying and terrain mapping
– field positioning and layout
- Manufacturing and mechanical
– rapid prototyping
– reverse engineering
– robotic vision
– equipment fit-up check for AEC applications
– 3-D digital cataloging of parts
– motion picture special effects
– historical archiving of important structures and artifacts
- Performs reality capture even for inaccessible objects that were previously impossible or prohibitively expensive to capture
- Saves time and cost by an order of magnitude over existing methods
- Reduces construction time which, in turn, makes manufacturers more competitive
- Allows geometrical description of historic objects to be captured and shared with scholars and others interested in visualizing or reproducing the objects
- Allows 3-D information acquired at a site to be sent electronically to engineering and design offices, and allows information to be shared instantly by many experts at diverse locations
Low-Smoke Pyrotechnics, Winner
Combining an energetic, nitrogen-rich fuel with nonmetallic oxidizers and unprecedentedly low levels of metal coloring agents, our new pyrotechnic mixtures produce clean flames that generate virtually no smoke or ash. Our mixtures enhance the deep, bright colors typical of traditional pyrotechnics and offer a reliable alternative to black-powder-based propellants at a reasonable price. A thousand years after the invention of black powder, our mixtures make it possible for the first time to produce spectacular fireworks of any size that are safe and effective in either indoor or outdoor settings.
Our low-smoke pyrotechnic mixtures are currently designed for
- indoor fireworks—stage fireworks used for entertainment in theatrical productions, films and rock-and-roll concerts; stage or aerial fireworks used for celebration at political rallies and sporting events; and table-top fireworks used for education in chemistry demonstrations
- 9outdoor fireworks at annual celebrations or at nightly theme-park displays
Potential future applications for our mixtures include
- low-smoke propellants in military rockets
- safe, noncorrosive propellants for deploying automobile air bags
Our new, low-smoke pyrotechnic mixtures have a number of advantages over traditional pyrotechnic formulations. Our mixtures
- generate environmentally friendly, gaseous products: nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water
- minimize the risk of respiratory illnesses because virtually no smoke or ash is produced
- greatly reduce the amount of metal salts needed to color the flame and thereby prevent dangerous levels of toxic metals from accumulating in the soil and groundwater
- increase safety during shipping because the fuel and oxidizer can be transported separately and mixed at the destination
- produce more intense colors in a wider variety of hues
- create comparable pyrotechnic effects with half of the material weight that has traditionally been used
SOLVE: Creating Three-Dimensional Pictures of Protein Molecules from X-Ray Diffraction Spots, Winner
Because three-dimensional (3-D) pictures of proteins provide important information about the way in which proteins operate, they are indispensable to applications in biotechnology and health care. SOLVE is the first expert system that produces 3-D pictures of protein structure by automatically solving for the missing information in x-ray crystallography. Its speed—it is faster than any other available method—and ease of operation make it suitable for the rapid analysis of the shapes of protein molecules.
Currently used in government, academic and commercial laboratories, our technology can be applied to
- rational drug discovery and thus to the design of new, improved drugs
- the engineering of enzymes with new catalytic properties useful in the rapid breakdown of toxic waste and in rapid chemical synthesis
- the engineering of robust, heat-tolerant enzymes useful in chemical manufacture
- Creates accurate pictures of proteins from x-ray diffraction data
- Constructs pictures fast (typically 6 minutes to 5 hours versus 1 to 2 days)
- Is automated (even the analysis and evaluation of starting solutions, that is, educated guesses about the arrangement of the heavy atoms in a protein)
- Evaluates numerous solutions (500 to 1,000 versus 1 to 10)
- Is easy to operate (a novice technician can operate the system, whereas an expert in crystallography is required for other related software applications)
Underground Radio, Winner
Underground Radio is the first portable radio receiver able to support two-way voice communication through hundreds of meters of solid rock. It achieves high sensitivity and low noise by using a detector made of high-temperature superconductor material, which loses all electrical resistance at liquid-nitrogen temperatures or below. Underground Radio’s signals are indicated by a flashing light, or messages can appear on a pager-like alphanumeric display. With a bandwidth of several kilohertz—more than 1 order of magnitude larger than that of other through-the-earth radio systems—Underground Radio can also be used for voice communication.
- Alerts miners to underground conditions during fires or rockfalls
- Locates miners trapped underground
- Provides convenient, portable underground communication
- Provides control and data links for robotic mining machines
- Accurately determines the positions of underground machines
- Provides portable underwater radio communication
- Makes downhole magnetic-field measurements for mineral exploration
- Saves lives during mining emergencies
- Assists rescue efforts following cave-ins
- Gives miners “roam” capability
- Improves the mobility of robotic mining vehicles and machines
- Guides mining machines to important mineral resources
- Allows divers and people in small submersible craft to communicate underwater
- Locates mineral resources more accurately than existing techniques
GeneFinder: Ultrasensitive Gene-Detection System
GeneFinder is a rapid, highly sensitive system that directly detects and quantifies specific nucleic-acid sequences in complex genomic samples. The system couples a two-probe hybridization protocol with two-color fluorescence detection of single molecules to create an invaluable tool for finding sequences characteristic of a specific taxonomic group, physiological function or genetic trait. GeneFinder is poised to revolutionize medical diagnostics and numerous other applications that rely upon accurate detection of short DNA or RNA sequences.
- Medical diagnosis for detecting genetic disorders, early-stage bacterial or viral infections and early-stage tumor development
- Environmental analysis for monitoring the presence of minute quantities of biological-warfare agents and for determining levels of pathogens in public waters
- Quality control of food products, including screening for pathogenic bacterial and viral strains such as E. coli and Salmonella
- Forensic analysis of minuscule crime-scene samples
- Analyzes samples as dilute as 40 attomolar (40 • 10–18 molar) in 5–10 minutes
- Detects single molecules and thereby eliminates the need for enzymatic amplification by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
- Identifies DNA or RNA sequences as short as 24 nucleotides in a genome of 3 billion nucleotides
- Determines the absolute number of molecules containing a target sequence
- Reduces the cost per assay by over an order of magnitude
- Eliminates the risks of sample contamination associated with PCR
- Provides a continuous, automated analytical technique that saves time and minimizes manual labor
Optical Tool Locator
The Optical Tool Locator (OTL) is an optical system designed for use on a precision lathe to position the cutting tool edge on the ideal path to make a precision contoured part. The OTL is especially useful for tight-tolerance and delicate machining operations. Machinists use it to (1) set tools accurately in three planes without touching the tool or the part, (2) detect and accurately replace damaged or worn-out tools and (3) measure tool radius at the machine. This unique three-in-one system makes it possible to easily meet a level of precision that has been difficult to reach in the past. With this new level of precision, machinists avoid costly, time-consuming and frustrating rework on parts that do not pass a final inspection. A tool-setting system with the accuracy and three-in-one capability of the OTL is not commercially available.
Although the OTL was designed for defense applications, it could be widely used in the machine tool industry. According to the Association for Manufacturing Technology, the United States machine tool industry was an $8.6 billion business in 1997. The OTL can play a useful role in the high-precision end of the business, which we estimate is at least $1 billion per year. Precision machine tool companies make high-precision delicate parts, which require accurate tool setup, for industries like automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, medical and oil and gas.
- Accurately locates tools without touching the tool, the part or the fixture that holds the part
- Increases the accuracy of machine tool setups, which reduces costly and time-consuming rework
- Replaces complex manual procedures now commonly used for setting, measuring and inspecting tools
- Reduces human error because it is accurate and easy to use
- Allows the use of inexpensive tool inserts for precision machining, which reduces cost
- Sets tools with nonconductive coatings, unlike some widely used electronic touch probe systems
- Can be adapted to many different machine configurations because it is controller independent
NTvision: Breakthrough Camera Technology
NTvision is an intelligent, digital surveillance camera system that not only records an event but also analyzes the images it captures to detect any change to the number, characteristics or position of objects in a scene. From this analysis, it creates a visual key pinpointing every changed object, formats the information in hypertext markup language (HTML), and makes it available to authorized users through an intranet or Internet connection only seconds after an event occurs. NTvision can be programmed to ignore inconsequential changes in a scene (shifting light and shadow) and discard the images of events that produce no lasting effect (a passing car or person).
NTvision is available to monitor and secure valuable or sensitive inventories at sites such as
- nuclear materials storage facilities
- medical and pharmaceutical laboratories
- corporate office suites and office buildings after hours
- construction sites
- warehouses and factories
- vehicle parking structures, storage yards or depots
- aircraft maintenance facilities
- retail and wholesale businesses
Additional applications lack only field testing, after which NTvision will be useful for studying animal behavior, lightning and the growth and behavior of microscopic organisms (a camera can be attached to a microscope). It will also be able to record and analyze mechanical or physical abnormalities in large, rotating industrial machinery.
- Automatic analysis of recorded images
- Accurate, detailed accounting of physical changes to objects in a scene
- Immediate data access for authenticated users by intranet or Internet
- Fully functional local and networked configurations
- Wide-ranging, programmable features
- Simple, inexpensive upgrades and extensions
- Intuitive user interface with standard Web browser (no other user software required)
Passivating CdZnTe Detector Surfaces with Energetic Oxygen Atoms
We use energetic oxygen atoms to form a thick, uniform layer of oxide on the surface of CdZnTe radiation detectors. This passivating layer has high resistivity, is chemically stable and protects the detector. Our process works effectively at low substrate temperatures (~25°C), thus avoiding the detrimental changes in material properties that occur at elevated temperatures. By reducing the noise caused by surface leakage current, our process significantly improves the ability to resolve peaks in gamma-ray spectra. The result is improved performance, an expanded operating range and increased stability for CdZnTe-based gamma- and x-ray spectrometers. A 25% improvement in resolution has been realized for the gamma-ray peak of cesium-137 with a passivated commercial detector.
Our passivation process will improve the performance and manufacturing yield of CdZnTe detectors, especially large-volume detectors, making gamma- and x-ray spectrometers more efficient and widely available for
- nuclear materials safeguards, detection of nuclear smuggling, treaty verification and nuclear weapons dismantlement
- nuclear medicine and diagnostic imaging
- environmental monitoring and restoration
- planetary sciences, astrophysics and geophysics
- industrial uses of radiation and radioisotopes
Our process can also be used to passivate other compound semiconductor materials (such as HgCdTe, GaAs, GaP and InP), improving the performance of electronic devices made with them.
- Improves the energy resolution, dynamic range and durability of CdZnTe detectors for quantitative spectroscopic measurements
- Enables development of more-compact, low-power gamma- and x-ray spectrometers
- Improves image quality for medical diagnosis while lowering radiation doses to patients
- Enables wider use of CdZnTe detectors in space exploration and industrial applications
- Doubles manufacturing yields for large-volume, spectrometer-grade CdZnTe detectors
- Exploits revolutionary advance in performing low-temperature surface chemistry
RadNet: Protocol for Communicating with Remote Detectors
RadNet is a simple, bandwidth-efficient procedure for relaying measurements over existing local networks and the internet. It can link hundreds—even thousands—of instruments to networked computers, allowing two-way communication between instruments and computers. Since September 1997, the protocol has been adopted as the nuclear industry standard for three groups of radiation detectors—contamination, area and air monitors—and for generic sensors that measure temperature, volume, pressure, flow, vacuum, wind speed and wind direction. The protocol is flexible enough to allow data transmission from any instrument that takes measurements.
- Real-time, remote monitoring, control and calibration of radiation detectors, pollution detectors and other sensors
- Monitoring over the internet—useful for safeguarding nuclear material as required by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
- Monitoring of instruments in control-intensive processes such as manufacturing or power generation
- RadNet allows new and old instruments made by any manufacturer to communicate over existing local networks and the Internet.
- More than 6,000 instruments of different makes can be connected to a single local network.
- Thousands of computers on a network can receive instrument data in real time without significantly impacting the network.
- Monitoring computers do not require reconfiguration if new instruments are added to the network—a RadNet packet from an instrument contains all the information a monitoring computer requires to decode the packet.
- Once a networked computer is set up to “listen” for the data broadcast by instruments, ancillary services—automatic paging, email alerts and database storage of instrument readings—can be easily employed.
RAFEL: Regenerative-Amplifier Free-Electron Laser
The RAFEL employs a unique optical feedback scheme to produce infrared laser light at the highest peak power achieved to date in a compact free-electron laser (FEL). The result is a rugged source of coherent light with a wavelength that can be adjusted from 3 to 20 micrometers and with a peak laser-beam power of 50 megawatts—at least 10 times higher than that of the nearest FEL competitor.
The RAFEL can be used to
- cut, drill or weld single- or multicomponent materials
- perform laser surgery
- produce pure starting materials for medical isotope production
- conduct basic research on materials properties
- measure greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
Used as noted above, the RAFEL can achieve the following:
- Process single- and multicomponent materials at the wavelength best suited to each material. At present only two types of single-component materials can be processed with existing high-power lasers, which have fixed wavelengths
- Perform laser surgery at a wavelength of 6 micrometers, minimizing damage to collateral tissue. Laser surgery is now performed at 3 micrometers, a wavelength that causes considerable collateral damage
- Assist in producing medical isotopes for cancer treatment or medical imaging (Only FELs offer high-power, tunable radiation of the proper wavelength.)
- Provide high-power, tunable infrared radiation to study material properties, such as high-temperature superconductivity
- Be transported around the world to measure greenhouse gases; other FELs are too big and delicate to be moved
SCORR: Path to Least Photoresistance
SCORR is a two-step photoresist-removal process: (1) a CO2-based supercritical fluid solvent penetrates and softens the photoresist and (2) a pulsed solvent flow completely removes the photoresist from the semiconductor wafer. Because it does not use corrosive or toxic chemicals, SCORR reduces aqueous and nonaqueous wastes and the cost of treatment necessary before waste discharge. The waste generated as concentrated, spent resist is nonregulated and nonpolluting. Finally, SCORR does not affect previously applied thin-film metallizations. It is the only nonhazardous, nontoxic photoresist-removal system fully compatible with existing integrated-circuit manufacturing processes.
- Removes hard-baked photoresists from both metallized and nonmetallized semiconductor wafers
- Effectively cleans most organic contaminants (oils, greases, lubricants, and residual solvents) from inorganic substrates (silicon, glass, metals, and ceramics) without altering the substrate surface (It is, therefore, well suited for precision-cleaning applications.)
- Is applicable to other manufacturing processes requiring photoresist masking, such as the production of optical waveguides and flat-panel displays
- Uses a nonflammable, nontoxic, biodegradable, virtually inexhaustible solvent
- Helps the semiconductor industry comply with federal and state environmental regulations by significantly reducing hazardous emissions while producing only nonregulated, nonpolluting wastes
- Is compatible with both metallized and nonmetallized semiconductor wafers
- Removes photoresists faster than current technologies (see Comparison Matrix)
- Uses a solvent whose cost is about 10% that of other photoresist-stripping solvents
- Replaces water with supercritical CO2 in the final rinse step of the photoresist removal process
Sealed-Container Sampling Tools
The Los Alamos Sealed-Container Sampling Tools allow the user to drill into a closed container, extract a sample of the contents (liquid, gas or flowable powder) and permanently reseal the point of entry without ever exposing the container’s contents. Three models offer different advantages. Model A drills, samples and reseals the container in a single step. It can be reused on different containers. Models B1 and B2, which stay in place in the container wall, allow multiple samples to be taken from the same container without redrilling. B1 and B2 can also serve as attachments for plumbing, valves, or analytical instruments. All three models work with a common, battery-powered hand drill, which eliminates the need for power cords or other outside power sources.
- Investigating suspected caches of chemicals, nuclear materials or biological agents destined for weapons of mass destruction
- Enforcing drug and environmental laws
- Checking containers at emergency and disaster sites
- Sampling industrial chemicals for verification and quality control tests
- Rapidly neutralizing (introducing water into) ammonium nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO) barrels prepared as terrorist bombs
- Monitoring and venting storage containers
- Transferring liquids into and out of containers
- Small, hand-held, fully portable
- Maneuverable in tight spaces
- Easy to use
- No release of container contents, before or after sampling
- Completely safe: no hazards for the user or the environment
- Usable at any spot on the container: top, sides or bottom
- Applicable to every size, composition and type of container (not just 55-gallon drums)
- No need to move or open containers
- Low purchase and per-use cost
- No need to access more than a few square inches of the container’s exterior
WAND: Waste Assay for Nonradioactive Disposal
WAND solves a national waste disposal problem by rapidly inspecting paper and other types of low-density waste generated in nuclear-material-handling areas for radioactive contamination. At detection levels and throughputs exceeding those of any commercially available system, it determines whether the radioactivity of waste is low enough to meet government standards for waste disposal in public landfills. It is an automated and cost-effective method for screening potentially contaminated waste. WAND has been approved by the Department of Energy (DOE) for verifying releasable waste from the Plutonium Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Because it detects a wide range of alpha, beta and gamma emitters, WAND can be used for waste inspection and radiation surveys at a variety of nuclear facilities:
- American and British nuclear research laboratories
- nuclear power reactors
- commercial nuclear facilities
- nuclear medicine facilities
As a nuclear waste screening system, WAND offers the benefits of automation, sensitivity, high-volume throughput and cost-effectiveness. Its use will mean that wastes disposed of in expensive, low-level radioactive landfills are not inflated with wastes that are clean enough to be disposed of in public landfills. WAND will also ensure that wastes from nuclear process streams that are disposed of in public landfills do indeed meet the contamination criteria for such disposal.
ASR Detect™: Diagnostic Method for Analyzing Degrading Concrete, Winner
- Identifies alkali-silica reaction (ASR) in concrete through colorful, easy-to-interpret staining of two ASR gels
- Differentiates ASR from other causes of degradation with ASR-specific reagents
- Eliminates need for special equipment and extensive training
- Diagnoses ASR deterioration in time for remediation that forestalls structural repairs or replacements
- Reveals proximity of ASR to different aggregate components
- Avoids the radioactive materials of other diagnostic methods
- Provides reliable diagnosis in less than five minutes for less than $1 per concrete sample
- Analyzing the integrity of concrete in structures such as highways, bridges, dams, railroad ties and culverts on the site
- Finding ASR before structures are irreparably damaged
- Identifying aggregate components triggering ASR
- Evaluating concrete mix designs for ASR potential
- Expanding studies of all factors associated with ASR’s occurrence
- Allows many structures to be tested quickly
- Opens the door to discovering and eliminating widespread degradation in the nation’s infrastructure
- Eliminates expensive repairs and replacements by identifying ASR early enough for remediation
- Enables research into improved concrete mixes and better remediation treatments
- Supports efforts to develop ASR-free concrete for the future
DryWash™ is a fast, nontoxic dry-cleaning process based on liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) that is applied through high-speed fluid jets. Liquid CO2 is an odorless, nonflammable, nonhazardous solvent that effectively removes oils, sweat and dirt from a wide variety of fabrics. Both efficient and environmentally friendly, DryWash is the needed replacement for the hazardous dry-cleaning methods currently used.
DryWash cleans most linens, throw rugs and everyday or fine garments—even furs, leathers, suedes and items with sequins. It can be used worldwide by retail dry cleaners, hotels, military installations, corporate facilities, nursing homes and hospitals. Future applications include dishwashing and decontaminating machined parts. Eventually, small-scale versions of DryWash may be used in homes for cleaning laundry and dishes.
- Uses a nonflammable, nontoxic, inexhaustible solvent
- Does not deplete the ozone or pollute the ground water
- Helps the dry-cleaning industry comply with federal and state environmental regulations because the process minimizes hazardous wastes and emissions
- Cleans in half the time required for conventional dry-cleaning processes
- Reduces dry-cleaning costs by lowering energy consumption,
run times and labor costs
- Reduces soil redeposition on fabrics, or graying, leaving laundered garments bright and clean
Falcon: Breakthrough Software for Simulating Oil Reservoirs, Winner
- Enables high-accuracy modeling of large, economically important oil fields by using a novel linear-equation solver
- First-ever fully implicit reservoir simulator scalable to thousands of processors
- First oil reservoir simulator to harness the power of high-end parallel computer technologies for industrial use
- Allows quantitative assessment of predictive variability resulting from inconclusive geological data
- Enables best- and worst-case economic analyses of oil and gas fields
- Calculates “what if” operational scenarios for reservoirs
- High-accuracy modeling of large fields with complex physics
- Decision-making in formulating oil recovery strategies and schedules
- Planning of facilities at production sites
- Appraising property for making leasing decisions for oil fields
- Developing long-term economic strategies for oil recovery
- Simulating underground pollutant dispersion
- Enables, for the first time, high-speed, fully implicit simulations of complex fields
- More accurate production estimates for large oil fields that produce over half of the world’s oil
- Faster turnaround time for predictive reservoir studies
- Better risk assessment and estimation of uncertainties from reservoir simulation predictions
- One hundred times faster than other simulators
- Improved yield from primary and secondary oil and gas recovery operations
- Improved oil field production
- Better manufacturing capabilities from improved industrial modeling and simulation
Plasma Source Ion Implantation for Enhancing Materials Surfaces, Winner
With our Plasma Source Ion Implantation (PSII) process, nitrogen or carbon ions are implanted into metallic surfaces to improve the surface hardness and wear characteristics of components for automobiles, aircraft, machine tools and prosthetics, without requiring elevated target temperatures or employing carcinogenic or hazardous chemicals. PSII can also be used to enhance the adhesion of coatings applied to targets in an integrated plasma-based process. PSII provides the ability to enhance the surfaces of either large, complex parts weighing many tons or large numbers of individual components, leading to decreased treatment times and dramatic reductions in processing costs (compared with conventional ion beam implantation costs).
- Low-temperature surface hardening of chromium-plated dies, industrial tooling and other high-precision components for increased component lifetimes and decreased manufacturing downtime
- Surface treatment of aluminum and magnesium components for improved wear lifetime
- Surface treatment for enhanced coating adhesion without the use of chemically hazardous pretreatments or interlayers
- Makes benefits of ion implantation practical by dramatically reducing treatment costs and complexity
- Can be applied to large components or large batches of small components
- Increases lifetime of treated components by up to 50 times
- Produces no hazardous effluent
- Can reduce the effluent from chromium-plating processes
- Opens new areas of surface-treatment capabilities for lightweight alloys (e.g., aluminum and magnesium)
- Creates new market area (estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars)
Rapid Size Analysis of Individual DNA Fragments, Winner
Our analytical technique measures the size of individual DNA fragments by means of a derivative of flow cytometry. Analysis rates approaching 100 fragments per second allow enough data to be collected in 3 minutes to accurately determine the DNA fragment size distribution in a sample. Although capable of measuring fragments as small as 212 base pairs, the technique is best suited to analyzing fragments greater than 10,000 base pairs in length.
Our technology will find applications in both research and clinical laboratories for
- identifying bacterial strains in epidemiological studies
- determining antibiotic resistance
- detecting mutations
- controlling the quality of large insert clone libraries for human genome studies
- analyzing restriction fragments
- characterizing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products
The benefits of our technology over existing analytical techniques are in
- measurement speed (3 minutes versus 20 hours)
- accuracy (2% versus 10%)
- linear response (versus compressed migration in electrophoresis)
- resolution (equals that of electrophoresis in the range of 20,000–30,000 base pairs and is greater for larger fragments)
- sample size (picograms versus micrograms)
- quantitative analysis (provides direct counts of fragments versus an indirect measurement based on calibration)
- independence from DNA conformation (measures both linear and circular DNA)
Automated Chemical Analysis System
- Uses an automated system to process soil samples for the detection of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a group of hazardous chemicals targeted by the
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Standardizes laboratory chemistry, thereby yielding consistent interlaboratory results
- Automates analytical chemistry, thereby improving process time, minimizing worker exposure to potentially hazardous materials and lowering laboratory costs
- Incorporates “plug-and-play” technology into laboratory system configurations and component integration
- Incorporates computational data interpretation and storage, which minimize skilled technical staff time and mounds of paperwork
- Processes and analyzes samples at the site (mobile system transported in a custom 18-wheeled semi-trailer truck)
- Manages samples and data flow through the system applications
- Characterizes soil samples to detect PCBs
- Accelerates the removal of hazardous waste from government and industrial sites, thus expediting waste minimization, waste management and environmental restoration efforts
- Supports mandatory environmental site-monitoring activities
- Contributes to standardizing analytical characterization and sampling methodologies
- Processes 30 samples in a 24-hour period
- Reduces cost of sample analysis by as much as 50%
- Minimizes operator error and enhances worker safety
- Conducts analyses on-site, thereby eliminating the cost and safety precautions necessary to transport samples to a distant laboratory
- Reduces costly data interpretation time and cumbersome paper files and associated paperwork
- Collects all waste solvents and samples for recycle or disposal
- Cleans itself, thereby eliminating cross-contamination and reducing down-time
Automatically Controlled Three-Phase Centrifuge
The Automatically Controlled Three-Phase Centrifuge is a successful union between an ingeniously designed centrifuge and an “intelligent” fuzzy controller emulating human expert knowledge in running the machine. Developed for immediate field needs and used on a portable computer, the fuzzy model automates control of a complex, nonlinear, multivariable process for environmental cleanup and oil recovery. It also significantly improves an already successful centrifuge operation.
- Enables worldwide use of a process that separates oil field and oil refinery wastes (oil- water-solid emulsions often classified as hazardous) into salable oil, reusable water, and harmless solids
- Can be used to efficiently clean up oil spills that cause serious environmental problems
- Can be used in separation processes carried out in the steel industry
- An “intelligent” fuzzy controller such as the one used with the centrifuge is applicable to nonlinear systems that depend on expert knowledge
- Allows operator to change process limits easily.
- Reduces man-hours per job, on-site time, and training time.
- Improves quality control of oil recovered from sludge.
- Enables worldwide use of a separation process that has a 100 percent rate of success.
- Can be modified to include additional capabilities such as safety and environmental features or new parameters for the separation process.
Detector for Noninvasive Fluid Characterization
The Detector for Noninvasive Fluid Characterization is the first instrument that characterizes materials by determining their physical properties in a single swept-frequency measurement that takes less than 20 seconds. The detector also identifies a large number of liquids inside sealed containers, monitors mixtures, emulsions and concentration variations, and analyzes biomedical samples as small as one drop. Easy to hold with one hand, our detector is highly suited to field use in a whole range of applications.
- Identifies hazardous chemicals contained in unlabeled storage tanks
- Identifies the octane rating of gasoline
- Accurately and noninvasively determines liquid levels even in thick-walled tanks
- Provides feedback information on the physical properties of chemicals (for example, concentration of solutions, mixtures, and emulsions), which makes it ideally suited for process control in the chemical industry
- Identifies all common chemical warfare compounds and their most significant precursors in munitions and industrial containers
- Monitors and detects contamination and spoilage in food
- Rapidly tests single-drop pathological and biological samples
- Can be adapted for diagnosing osteoporosis and arthritis
- Detects corrosion and depositions inside sealed vessels
- Operates over a broad frequency range with high resolution
- Characterizes materials directly by determining their physical properties
- Eliminates the risk of human exposure to hazardous materials
- Uses the container cavity as a high-quality resonator to amplify the acoustic wave
- 100 to 1,000 times; therefore, it requires very low power (less than 1 volt)
- Combines the capabilities of several instruments in one, while being portable for field use
ERUPT: Comprehensive Volcano SimulatorFeatures
- Provides graphical simulation of almost all known types of volcanic activity in real-time animations
- Transforms supercomputer modeling capabilities into an easy-to-use PC program
- Allows high level of parameter control through intuitive graphical interface suitable for all computer skill levels
- Builds color-coded, two-dimensional cross section of resulting layers of volcanic products
- Illustrates cumulative landscape effects of separate vent locations and separately timed eruptions
- Includes erosion and seismic faulting
- Offers multimedia capability for inclusion of volcanic sounds
- Education for grades K through 12
- Advanced studies for undergraduate and graduate students
- Public education for civil defense—raising public awareness in areas that would be directly affected by eruptions
- Prediction of the potential eruption effects at existing volcanoes
- Research by postgraduates and professional volcanologists—testing hypotheses about the evolution of existing volcanoes
- Makes comprehensive volcano modeling accessible to everyone
- Presents calculational results as colorful animations easily understood by everyone
- Educates by offering information otherwise available only through first-hand observation of active volcanoes
- Captures the interest of students of all ages with dramatic realism
- Raises public awareness of volcano hazards by illustrating the possible effects of future eruptions
FacSim—A Facility Simulation Program for Nuclear Material Processing
FacSim is an object-oriented program that models the operation of nuclear material processing facilities. It provides detailed calculations of the locations, amounts, and types of nuclear materials in a processing stream over time. These calculations are needed to both evaluate and enhance international nuclear safeguards.
- Evaluate and optimize nuclear material safeguards at
- Nuclear fuel reprocessing plants
- Nuclear fuel fabrication facilities
- Nuclear weapons disassembly facilities
- Simulate diversion scenarios for testing anomaly-detection algorithms
- Evaluate the safety, risk and material accounting measures for essentially all material processing operations in the nuclear fuel cycle
In the near future, tens of metric tons of plutonium from nuclear fuel reprocessing and weapons dismantlement will enter the global energy economy each year. Ensuring that effective international safeguards are applied to this material to prevent its diversion for nuclear weapons poses a major challenge for the International Atomic Energy Agency. FacSim is a powerful tool for evaluating and optimizing nuclear safeguards to ensure that the expanding nuclear energy market does not increase the risk of nuclear diversion.
FASTAC: UV System for Controlling Bacteria in Opaque Fluids
FASTAC is a system that reduces and controls bacteria levels in opaque industrial fluids and turbid water without the use of chemical biocides. A novel combination of an intense source of monochromatic ultraviolet (UV) light and a specially designed flow chamber, FASTAC is the only UV system available that can treat opaque fluids, and it is the first technology that offers a safe and efficient replacement for the toxic chemicals currently used to treat fluids. Additionally, FASTAC provides the first UV system that may be cost-effective for treating large volumes of fluid.
- Reducing and controlling bacteria levels in opaque metalworking fluids in order to minimize health hazards for the millions of automotive, aerospace, farm-equipment, construction-equipment, and machine-shop workers exposed to fluid mists.
- Treating contaminated ballast water on commercial cargo ships and tankers in order to reduce the number of harmful, nonindigenous species introduced into U.S. waters.
- Decontaminating aquaculture systems, wastewater, cooling towers, process water and drinking water.
- Efficiently treats large volumes of highly opaque fluids or turbid water
- Emits a UV wavelength that kills microorganisms without breaking down industrial fluids; the UV source can also be tuned to emit wavelengths appropriate for other liquids
- Eliminates the need for chemical biocides, thereby reducing health risks for over 1.3 million industrial workers, extending the lifetime of the fluids and lowering the volume of hazardous waste produced
- Provides more energy-efficient and effective treatment of wastewater and process water than conventional UV technologies
- Costs less than conventional UV treatment systems or chemical biocides, in spite of the initial investment
High-Temperature Superconducting, High-Gradient Magnetic Separation (HTS HGMS)
Our high-temperature superconducting, high-gradient magnetic separation (HTS HGMS) system removes pollutants from solids, liquids, and gases. Because it is a physical separation process, no additional chemicals are required, which means the system introduces no pollution of its own. By using an HTS magnet to enable separation, we have developed a small, lightweight, portable HGMS system that is easy to operate and maintain. It can be used by industry for waste minimization and pollution prevention and by DOE to clean up polluted sites and process nuclear materials.
- Decontamination of soils or waste water that contains radioactive isotopes, heavy metals or other hazardous materials
- Purification of drinking water supplies
- Kaolin clay processing
- Purification of feed stocks and raw materials
- Desulfurization of coal
- Utilization of low-grade ore reserves
- Recovery of valuable mineral oxides and metals
- Enables small-scale portable separation of paramagnetic compounds for decontamination or resource recovery
- Easy to install, operate and maintain because of its compact refrigeration system
- Allows high-gradient magnetic separation to be used in the field to clean up contaminated soil and water
Loki: Parallel Supercomputing with Commodity Components
Loki is a parallel computer built entirely from high-volume, personal computer technology. Commodity parallel processors based on the Loki design can provide any organization with general-purpose supercomputing capability for less than one-third the price of its nearest competitor. All software components of the machine are based upon on the Posix-compliant Linux/GNU operating system, and all source-code software is provided, which allows customers to adapt the operating system to their specific needs. Our use of an optimized version of the industry-standard message-passing interface library provides enhanced parallel programming capabilities.
- Provides general-purpose supercomputing capabilities for research, engineering, and business organizations
- Performs computationally intensive modeling and simulation in computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis of thermal and mechanical properties, electromagnetics and other technical disciplines
- Provides network server capabilities for management information systems, information transmission for Internet and intranet operations, Web indexing and large-scale databases such as medical records keeping
- Provides users with dedicated, easy access to fast and efficient supercomputing capabilities
- Involves low hardware maintenance costs
- Consists of a flexible architecture that allows customers to buy only those resources required for their particular problem
- Takes advantage of a standard PC/PCI architecture. Users can add PCI devices to each node to augment the computation or communication capabilities of the machine. As a result, individual system components may be upgraded without rendering the rest of the system obsolete
- Allows users to adapt the operating system to their specific needs (because the source code can be modified)
MDH-1000: Hydrogen Purification System
The MDH-1000 can produce hydrogen with a purity greater than 99.9999 percent from commercial gas cylinders (reagent-grade hydrogen typically has a purity of 94.6 percent) or from other impure hydrogen sources. The heart of the MDH-1000 is a metal membrane that separates hydrogen from other gases—with minimal auxiliary equipment—at flow rates over 10 times greater than that of any other hydrogen filter. The membrane is robust and has a long operational life. Moreover, the materials in the membrane are inexpensive. The MDH-1000 unit itself has several safety features that help to reduce the hazards of working with hydrogen.
- Ultrapure hydrogen is used to purify the silicon that goes into microelectronic devices. Increasingly, ultrapure hydrogen is also used to produce high-purity iron and steel, which have the superior magnetic properties that are required for high-efficiency electric motors, alternators, and generators. The MDH-1000 does not only provide ultrapure hydrogen for these applications, but it can also recover the hydrogen used in them or the hydrogen produced in other industrial processes.
- In the future, ultrapure hydrogen will be needed for proton-exchange membrane fuel cells to generate electricity at central and remote power plants. Ultrapure hydrogen also has the potential to replace the fossil fuels now used to power automobiles.
- About $160 million per year can be saved by using the membrane technology employed by the MDH-1000 to produce ultrapure hydrogen for purifying the silicon used in microelectronic devices made throughout the world.
- On-site production of hydrogen from methane or methanol is particularly important in Europe, where there are restrictions on transporting large quantities of hydrogen. Therefore, the MDH-1000 can play an important role in Europe.
- Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells—the most promising type of fuel cell for electric vehicles—require ultrapure hydrogen to operate efficiently. The MDH-1000 provides this purity at much lower cost than other sources, improving the economic viability of many fuel-cell applications. Using ultrapure hydrogen in fuel cells to power automobiles would eliminate the pollution now produced by fossil fuels and reduce worldwide dependence on fossil fuels.
Nanoporous Polymers: "Magic Materials" for Water Purification
- Clean organic compounds in water to parts-per-trillion levels
- Generate a binding between organic contaminants and the polymer that is 100,000 times greater than that generated by activated carbon, the most commonly used absorbent
- Consists of reversible, selective, and efficient absorbents
- Work equally well in water or air
- Eliminate the need for activation—the “turn on” process
- Easy to manufacture—one step away from commercially available materials
- Can be fabricated as granular solids, powders, and membranes
- Do not leach organic contamination during the treatment process
- Separate organic contamination from water, thereby preserving municipal water supplies (e.g., remove hazardous organic compounds from drinking water)
- Recycle industrial waste water by using a continuous on-line process (e.g., clean up toxic organics at nuclear waste sites)
- Clean up oil or organic chemical spills, especially in water (e.g., tanker spills in oceans)
- Remediate in situ hazardous organics in underground water (e.g., remove DNAPLs, or dense nonaqueous phase liquids, from water)
- Clean up organic explosives (such as TNT) at Department of Energy and Department of Defense sites
- Can be used as optical materials (e.g., laser safety goggles) and catalysts
- Can be used in much the same way as biological enzymes (e.g., enzymes for various hydrolysis reactions)
- Supply high-quality water, thereby improving people’s living standards
- Save and conserve valuable resources by recycling both the water and the polymeric materials used to purify it
- Reduce organic pollution in water (parts-per-trillion levels)
- Decrease cleanup costs because the polymeric materials can be used again and again
- Curtail filtration time by using nanoporous membranes
Quantum Cryptographic Key Generator
The Quantum Cryptographic Key Generator produces and distributes digital keys that can be used to encode and decode messages between two parties separated by up to 100 kilometers. A key is generated and distributed only at the time that the messages are sent, and the key and the message can both be transmitted on the fiber-optic cables currently used by telephone companies worldwide. The quantum properties of the key generator detect and foil any attempt to steal or copy a key.
- The key generator can provide secure communications in metropolitan areas between banks, between off-site stock-trading centers and central stock exchanges, between corporate offices and between offices of federal agencies such as the FBI or the National Security Agency.
- In the near future the key generator could provide secure communications—using a low-Earth-orbit satellite—between cities anywhere in the world.
- The key cannot be cracked, stolen, or copied—attempts to do so can be detected.
- The key is invulnerable to computer attack.
- The key generator could secure confidential electronic fund transfers—now amounting to $2.3 trillion per day worldwide.
- The key generator could permit certification of public keys for Internet transactions—projected to be a $50 billion per year industry within 10 years.
RCSD: Remote Container-Sampling Device
- Opens, samples, neutralizes and vents containers filled with unstable or unknown hazardous materials
- Handles containers of various shapes and sizes (from spray cans to 80-gallon drums)
- Punctures containers by using an internal piston and air pressure, thus reducing the possibility of spontaneous ignition
- Functions from a remote location (as far away as 100 feet), thus ensuring operator safety
- Adapts to conventional emergency response equipment
- Opens unstable, pressurized or unknown containers during emergency response activities
- Samples, vents, neutralizes or transfers chemical contents from damaged containers to new containers
- Benefits the following potential users:
- hazardous materials teams
- fire and police departments
- hazardous device teams (for example, bomb squads)
- environmental restoration teams
- waste site remediation crews
- Enables personnel to operate the device from a safe location (up to 100 feet from the hazardous material container)
- Reduces the possibility of spontaneous ignition through the use of a self-contained breathing apparatus air cylinder that provides a compressed-air power source
- Limits the number of employees typically required to work in close proximity to a pressurized drum or hazardous chemical container
- Reduces the amount of equipment used during an operation, thereby diminishing potential fragments (shrapnel) in the event of an explosion
- Reduces emergency response costs by conducting operations on-site with fewer people
ROAM: Real-Time Optimally Adapting Meshes
Our ROAM software package
- functions as a terrain database server for real-time applications, such as flight simulation, virtual reality and sensor testing and evaluation
- provides scene generation systems with very accurate terrain geometries
- maintains real-time rates regardless of the size of the gaming area or the resolution of the underlying database
- answers terrain-specific queries in real time (e.g., is there a clear line-of-sight between specific positions?); these answers are exact (i.e., correct for the finest level-of-detail data)
- allows databases to be reused across different hardware platforms and gaming scenarios
- allows databases to be produced automatically from standard geographical datasets
- Flight simulation and avionics testing
- Video games
- Virtual reality that involves terrain (for example, large-scale environmental or geophysical modeling)
- uses portable terrain databases that are automatically produced from standard datasets—a process that saves time and money
- produces high-quality terrain using remarkably few graphics resources (polygons), thereby freeing resources for other uses (such as rendering targets or backgrounds)
- produces quantitatively accurate terrain geometry with an error-metric output, which is important for test and evaluation applications
- guarantees that independent, noncommunicating simulations can achieve consistent results
1997 Other Award Submission
High Performance Storage System, Winner
PLASMAX: Plasma Mechanical Cleaner for Silicon Wafers, Winner
PLASMAX combines a plasma with mechanical vibration to be the first in situ, dry, noncontact process for removing particulate contamination from silicon wafers. It can clean wafers inside a plasma chamber even between the individual steps of the plasma process. PLASMAX leaves the surface of materials undamaged, uses inert gases and no solvents, and releases nonpolluting byproducts. Moreover, it is effective, energy efficient, fast and inexpensive.
PLASMAX is designed for cleaning particulate contamination from wafers during the fabrication of integrated circuits. It can also be used for reclaiming blank silicon wafers widely used to test equipment cleanliness; currently such wafers are discarded at losses of tens of millions of dollars. With PLASMAX, we can also clean magnetic storage disks and decontaminate radioactive dust from instruments and weapons. In the future, our process will be used for cleaning compact disks, flat panel displays, medical instruments, and optical components.
- Allows dry, in situ, noncontact cleaning of silicon wafers during multistep plasma processes
- Enables engineers to develop new plasma process steps essential to producing advanced chips but too "dirty" to be considered in the absence of a suitable cleaning method
- Cleans, in seconds, the whole surface of a wafer regardless of its size, during one cleaning step; prevents contaminating particles from redepositing
- Supports pollution-free manufacturing and, at the same time, increases productivity
- Uses a flux of ions and electrons to drive the removal of particles, the same method used for etching fine device features, and is thus eminently suited for cleaning such features
- Reduces integrated-circuit manufacturing costs because the cleaning tool retrofits to processing chambers and requires no additional clean-room space or deionized water
Transportable Remote Analyzer for Characterization and Environmental Remediation (TRACER), Winner
- Only method that provides remote elemental analysis of solids and liquids using a compact, movable probe
- Measurements can be performed in the field
- Measurement times are less than 1 minute per sample
- Automated operation
- Direct measurement capability reduces analysis times and costs by more than 200 times compared with laboratory analysis
- Rapid determination of toxic and hazardous materials in the environment
- Analysis of materials in locations to which access is restricted (e.g., down a borehole or in a pipe or glovebox)
- Rapid screening of toxic materials in soils at contaminated locations (e.g., Superfund sites)
- Characterization and monitoring of decommissioning and decontamination activities at facilities such as chemical plants, plating operations and nuclear power plants
- Can be used by the mining industry to locate high-yield ore bodies for prospecting, to increase the selectivity of extractive mining and for process control
- Can be used onboard robotic systems to survey hazardous environments
- Evaluating the condition of the national infrastructure (i.e., bridges, railways, and buildings) based on parameters such as corrosion, protective coatings and metal embrittlement
- Measurements can be carried out in the field, thereby providing rapid and immediate determination of the presence of toxic materials.
- Measurements can be carried out remotely, many tens of feet from the main instrument, and materials for which access may be restricted can be analyzed.
- Instrument does not require a highly skilled operator.
- Materials can be analyzed in situ, without transport of collected samples back to an analytical laboratory, thereby minimizing the time and costs associated with conventional laboratory analysis.
- Remote analysis minimizes the exposure of workers to harmful materials.
Advanced Laser-Driven Fuel Ignitor
Across the globe the most common method used to ignite fuel in jet engines is capacitive discharge ignition. It ignites fuel only at the wall of the combustion chamber, a process that results in less than optimal engine performance and a fuel-rich environment (a costly effect because not all the fuel is used). The Advanced Laser-Driven Fuel Ignitor overcomes engine performance limitations by controlling in an optimal manner the energy delivery to the fuel medium. The ignition takes place within the optimum zone of a gas turbine engine combustion chamber, thereby yielding leaner fuel-air mixtures. Moreover, it does not use an ignition plug, thereby increasing by 80 fold the mean time between unscheduled removals.
- Igniting fuel in military and commercial gas turbine engines used in aircraft
- Igniting and stabilizing the flame of gas-fired turbine engines used for ground-based electrical power generation
- Pumping oil and gas
- Enabling spin-offs applicable to the medical and laser-cutting and machining industries
- Initiating combustion within internal combustion engines that use diesel or gasoline fuels
The Fuel Ignitor has the potential to
- eliminate in-flight shutdowns, delays and cancellations, and unscheduled removals of ignition components
- enable reliable relight at altitudes in excess of 45,000 feet, thereby permitting longer range and more economical flights
- enable earlier intervention in the relight process, thereby enhancing engine reliability and safety
- reduce pollutants in engine exhaust, significantly decreasing the environmental effects caused by aircraft traffic
Bubble Chamber Spectroscopy for Trace Chemical Detection
Bubble chamber spectroscopy, a new form of light absorption spectroscopy,
- measures extremely small quantities of chemicals in very dilute solution
- uses the "amplification" property of a superheated solvent to detect a target molecule's absorption of laser light
- detects molecules through absorbed wavelengths of light
- provides sensitivity 10 times greater than other optical absorption methods
Bubble chamber spectroscopy was developed for trace chemical analysis. It provides increased sensitivity in measurements made for performing environmental monitoring; improving forensics; and providing quality assurance in the production of pharmaceuticals, processed foods and ultrapure solvent for the semiconductor industry.
Bubble chamber spectroscopy is applicable to molecules in solution. Many techniques-mass spectrometry, e.g., become overloaded when presented with part-per-trillion dilutions. This new technique will detect molecules by their absorption of light. It is applicable to a wide variety of molecules because light absorption is a general process. It does not rely on a special property like fluorescence. Finally, it has been used to detect molecules dissolved in liquid propane solvent, a nontoxic, organic solvent that evaporates cleanly when finished, leaving no liquid waste.
Diamond-Window Optical Cell for Fluid Monitoring
- Provides visual monitoring of phase behavior in fluids under high-temperature/high-pressure conditions
- Isolates single-phase regions in multiphase fluid streams
- Derives accurate density readings from refractive index measurements
- Replaces slow, problematic autoclave methods with a fast, easy optical technique
The Diamond-Window Optical Cell is especially useful for hydrothermal systems, which have temperatures and pressures exceeding water's critical point. The cell allows an operator to directly observe phase behavior and determine phase boundaries in fluids, providing a quick way to measure refractive index and density in single-phase regions. Until now, density measurements under hydrothermal conditions were done with an autoclave, a method that is so time-consuming that full characterization of aqueous wastes destined for hydrothermal treatment has not been completed. It provides the vital data that enables development of hydrothermal treatment for a wide range of complex wastes, and it is the right on-the-job monitoring device for fluid-waste treatment systems with frequently changing feeds. The Diamond-Window Optical Cell is not limited to hydrothermal systems; it works equally well at lower temperatures and pressures and on any optically transparent fluid.
- Rapid characterization of fluids destined for hydrothermal treatment
- Development of hydrothermal and nonwater-based treatment systems
- Easy-to-operate, real-time monitoring for working systems
- Remediation of complex military and industrial wastes, reducing them to benign products
Distributed-Data Imaging System
- Merges eight separate data streams to create seamless process simulations (no gaps or bars) with a workstation cluster
- Produces high-resolution, near-real-time, animated visualizations with adjustable display tiles and color rendition dependable enough to pinpoint specific numerical regions
- Uses commodity parts to achieve supercomputer quality at desktop prices
Replacing supercomputers with linked workstations wherever affordable, high-quality, visualizations are needed.
- Scientific studies at supercomputer centers:
- Weather and ocean current modeling
- Topological and seismic modeling
- Chemical reaction and biological process modeling
- Power generation modeling
- Hydrodynamic modeling (fluids/flow simulation)
- Product and service development in private industry:
- Creation of movie and video special effects
- Discovery of oil, gas and mineral deposits through seismic modeling
- Development of new drugs through pharmacological modeling
- Refinement of airplane, ship and automobile designs through hydrodynamic modeling
- Innovation in engine design through combustion modeling
- Improvement of airline scheduling and freeway design through traffic flow modeling
- Provision of investment services through financial modeling
The Distributed-Data Imaging System is the first visualization system to blend separately generated graphical data streams into a near-real-time moving image as good as one coming from a single dedicated supercomputer. The data bandwidths of eight linked workstations are merged to build a single data stream that delivers high-speed transmission, high resolution, high frame rate and excellent color rendition. Our system makes supercomputer visualization affordable without the expense of a supercomputer.
Electrolytic Decontamination of Oralloy
Without producing any primary waste stream, our electrolytic decontamination process quickly cleans oralloy hemishells from dismantled nuclear weapons to the levels of swipable alpha activity required for transporting and storing them. With the process, we have reduced plutonium and americium contamination by more than 6 orders of magnitude. We have also demonstrated the viability of this technique for decontaminating radioactive-material containers in order to remove them from gloveboxes and for decontaminating gloveboxes.
- Decontaminating the oralloy hemishells of nuclear weapons for safe disposition
- Decontaminating radioactive-material containers (cans) for removal from gloveboxes
- Decontaminating gloveboxes for in situ reuse, recycle or disposal as low-level waste
Electrolytic decontamination of oralloy for nuclear weapons dismantlement is now the baseline technology in the Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons complex. Because it removes the plutonium and americium contamination from oralloy hemishells without producing any primary waste stream, this technology is also attractive for use in other countries. It is a key enabling technology for reducing the global nuclear threat. It also offers a safer, more effective means of cleaning radioactive storage cans in order to remove them from gloveboxes and of decontaminating the gloveboxes themselves. It minimizes the waste produced in cleaning cans and could save millions of dollars in future disposal costs for surplus gloveboxes.
Falcon: Advanced Reservoir Simulation Software
- The first production-quality oil reservoir simulator to harness the power of high-end parallel computer technology
- 100 times faster than its competitors
- High-accuracy modeling of large, economically important oil fields in their entirety
- Quantitative assessment of predictive variability resulting from inconclusive geological data
- Enables best- and worst-case economic analyses of oil and gas fields
- Calculates "what-if" operational scenarios for reservoirs
- Decision-making in formulating oil recovery strategies and schedules
- Planning of facilities at production sites
- Accurately appraising property for making leasing decisions for oil fields
- Developing long-term economic strategies for oil recovery
- Simulating underground pollutant dispersion
Falcon makes it feasible for the first time to perform detailed simulations of large oil fields, which account for over half of the world's oil production. Worldwide, reservoirs produce 70 million barrels of crude oil per day. Of this production, 40 million barrels are from huge fields that cannot be modeled with present-day computer simulation software. With Falcon, it is now practical to model these fields. In addition, Falcon represents a paradigm shift in how the oil and gas industry predicts future revenues from their properties. Current reservoir models give one prediction of oil production that contains inaccuracies. With this single answer, decision-makers cannot assess any risk in their billion dollar decisions. Falcon, however, quantifies probabilistic limits of simulation predictions for the first time.
Flexible Superconducting Tape
Our Flexible Superconducting Tape is a major advance in superconductors that operate at liquid-nitrogen temperature: it can be wound on a tight radius (about 13 millimeters) with no loss of superconductivity, and it can carry high currents (about 20 amperes) in the presence of a high magnetic field (2 teslas) oriented to produce the greatest loss of superconductivity. We have achieved these results by depositing highly crystalline films of superconducting material onto strong flexible metal tape that is commercially available. In the absence of an external magnetic field, this crystalline film can carry current densities of 2.4 million amperes per square centimeter.
Because the Flexible Superconducting Tape carries high supercurrents when cooled with inexpensive liquid nitrogen and is physically flexible, it can replace the resistive wire now used in many electrical applications. Power applications include power transmission lines, magnetic energy storage devices, fault current limiters, motors, generators, transformers and magnetic separators.
Our tape can also be used in current leads, small elements with low thermal conductivity that conduct electricity from components at room temperature to components at liquid-helium temperature. Equally important, the Flexible Superconducting Tape can be used to produce high-efficiency magnetic coils for medical applications such as magnetic resonance imaging and to manufacture microwave cavities for digital communications and particle accelerators.
Our tape has the flexibility and can carry the currents required to replace resistive wire in most electrical applications. Because electrical current heats resistive wire, wasting energy, Flexible Superconducting Tape will increase the electrical efficiency of any application in which it is used.
Flow-Through Ion Gun
The Flow-Through Ion Gun is a new type of tool that can clean surfaces or deposit thin films of many different kinds of elements and chemical compounds onto both conducting and insulating surfaces. By cleaning surfaces just before deposition, the gun can produce thin films with superior adhesion. It can also deposit thin films up to 2 to 10 times faster than by normal deposition methods. Thin films produced with our gun are up to 10 times smoother than those produced with other guns. Our gun can also produce thin films that have highly oriented crystalline structures.
The Flow-Through Ion Gun can apply thin-film coatings to parts used in the automotive, aerospace, and aircraft industries. Our gun can also be used in various cleaning and coating processes in the semiconductor industry.
Existing coating applications will benefit from the improved-wear characteristics resulting from the stronger thin-film adhesion that our gun produces. The superior adhesion of thin films deposited with our gun will also open up new possibilities in coating technology, including decorative coatings and coatings on jewelry, without producing chemical wastes requiring treatment, as is presently the case in the electroplating industry.
The higher deposition rates possible with the Flow-Through Ion Gun will allow more manufactured parts to be coated per hour, which will decrease coating costs. Higher deposition rates will also reduce the time and cost required to make semiconductor devices. The smoother thin films produced by our gun have superior properties that will increase the quality and value of coated parts or semiconductor devices.
Coating machine tools and jet-engine parts with the highly aligned crystalline thin films that can be deposited with our gun would improve their longevity and performance.
Light Applique System Technique (LAST)™ Armor
- Light weight—approximately 50 percent lighter than equivalent steel armor
- Modular design—tiles are seamlessly bonded together into larger panels
- Easy to install—use of hook-and-loop techniques allows installation of modular panels in a C-141 aircraft in about 1 to 2 hours
- Easy to repair—individual bullet-damaged, 4-inch-square tiles can be easily replaced
- Provides complete protection from the 7.62 Ç 54R Soviet light-machine-gun bullet as well as other small-arms fire such as the 5.56 AP, Soviet AK-47, and the NATO 7.62 AP (all at muzzle velocity)
The LAST Armor was initially designed to protect the cockpit crew of the US Air Force C-141 Starlifter transport aircraft during flight operations into areas of low-intensity conflict. The armor is currently being adapted to the C-17 and C-130 aircraft for the same purpose. Other potential applications for the armor include
- counter panels in banks and convenience stores to protect tellers and clerks
- door and floor panels in police cruisers to protect law enforcement personnel
- protection of critical electronic and hydraulic systems and crew members from catastrophic engine failure in commercial airliners
- body armor to protect diplomats and business people
Without the LAST Armor, C-141 aircraft on peacekeeping missions are vulnerable to small-arms fire that can cripple or eliminate them. In addition, the armor provides affordable, lightweight protection to people in all walks of life who are at risk from small-arms attack.
Note: LAST is a registered trademark of LAST Armor, Inc.
Micro-Atmospheric Measurement System ( µ-AMS)
The Micro-Atmospheric Measurement System (µ-AMS) monitors airborne concentrations and size distributions of aerosol emissions as a function of position and time. It not only measures the total mass of particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter, but also collects and sorts 0.1- to 10-micrometer-diameter particles, providing real-time data on eight particle size channels. Collected aerosols are then available for later analysis to determine their composition and emission sources. It also measures atmospheric temperature and humidity as a function of position and time. A lightweight (13 pounds), compact and self-contained suite of sensors, the µ-AMS can be deployed aboard a remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) or other mobile platform. Data are radioed to a ground control operator, allowing the operator to maneuver the RPV in order to track an emission plume in real time.
- Monitoring airborne aerosol concentrations at site boundaries of multistack industrial plants
- Determining concentration and source of aerosols present in an urban airshed (such as the air mass over the Los Angeles basin) in real time
- Measuring aerosol emissions from diffuse sources, such as hazardous-waste storage sites or land undergoing environmental remediation
- Tracking hazardous emission plumes as part of an emergency response system
- Collecting emission data required to develop plume transport models
The µ-AMS is the only system of its kind that can be deployed aboard small, mobile platforms to monitor and collect atmospheric aerosol emissions. By providing real-time monitoring of airborne emissions, the µ-AMS makes possible more thorough monitoring of industrial emissions and real-time tracking of inadvertent releases of hazardous aerosols. Mounted on an RPV, the µ-AMS is a versatile, cost-effective means of monitoring airborne emissions. Conversely, the advent of a lightweight instrument like the µ-AMS opens markets for the RPV, a newly affordable technology itself.
Multiresolution Seamless Image Database (MrSID)
MrSID is a set of cross-platform software applications that compress large images and image databases. Based on the discrete wavelet transform (DWT) image-compression technology, MrSID allows fast transmission and viewing of massive images in a seamless manner and at multiple resolutions. For the first time, the user can decompress only a specific portion of interest from the larger compressed image. Depending on color depth and image content, MrSID achieves high compression ratios-from 25:1 for 8-bit gray-scale images to 100:1 for multispectral images-without perceptual loss of image quality.
Originally developed for use in geographic information systems, MrSID now has the potential for much wider applications. It can be used as an efficient method for storing and retrieving photographic archives; it can store and retrieve satellite data for consumer games and educational CD-ROMs; and it is well suited for use in vehicle navigation systems. Moreover, MrSID holds promise for being used in image compression and editing for desktop publishing and nonlinear digital video software.
Although it must compete with numerous software packages, some of which have already become industry standards, MrSID will be the software of choice for applications in which interface standardization is less important than the features our product offers. The following are the most important benefits that MrSID brings to the market:
- seamless, multiresolution viewing of large images
- memory-efficient storage and transmittal of information
- capability to decompress a specific portion of the larger compressed representation
- wide public access to geographic information via the internet
Palladium Membrane Reactor
The Palladium Membrane Reactor generates ultrapure hydrogen from water and methane in a single step, overcoming the thermodynamic limitations of conventional multistage production processes. It can also be used to recover tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) from water and methane with extremely high efficiencies.
The Palladium Membrane Reactor is being used to recover tritium from radioactive waste water that has accumulated in the nation's weapons complex, decontaminating the water in the recovery process. It has been selected as the technology for recovering tritium from exhaust from the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. It holds promise as a much more efficient means of generating hydrogen for industrial chemical synthesis, such as the production of ammonia for fertilizers.
For radioactive waste processing, the Palladium Membrane Reactor replaces traditional methods that produce secondary radioactive waste with a direct process that produces no concomitant waste. In the fusion fuel cycle, it will process fusion reactor exhaust in a once-through, direct method that avoids the expensive and hazardous holding tanks for radioactive gases associated with other methods. For producing industrial hydrogen, it will replace seven traditional methane-steam reforming steps with a single step.
PC-GSAS: Crystal Structure Analysis Software for the Personal Computer
PC-GSAS, a full-featured crystallographic analysis system for the personal computer (PC) or laptop,
- performs simultaneous analysis of single- and polycrystal (powder) diffraction data from both x-ray and neutron sources
- makes visualization easy with integrated graphical display routines
- offers quantitative texture analysis
- makes all functions quickly accessible with a multilevel, menu-driven interface
This new software allows laboratory users of IBM-compatible PCs to determine crystal structures and crystalline properties from multiple sets of x-ray and neutron diffraction data. PC-GSAS is important to researchers in essentially any field in which properties of molecular and crystal structure are of interest.
- Crystal structure analysis on convenient, inexpensive computers
- User-friendly interface for easy mastery of all functions
- Combination of data-analysis tools with word processing, spreadsheet generation and graphical presentation on a single computer
Plume-in-a-Box: An Emergency Response Trainer
Plume-in-a-Box is the first emergency response trainer to simulate instrument response to any hazardous release into the environment. Connected to the Global Positioning System (GPS), our training tool can be used anywhere in the world to simulate emergencies to which trainees must respond appropriately and within realistic periods of time. Our prototype has been fully tested in the field, and our final product is ready for commercialization.
Plume-in-a-Box is primarily used to simulate environmental releases of radioactive materials to which trainees must respond. Other possible exercises include simulations of transportation accidents involving hazardous waste of any type (not only radioactive) and industrial accidents such as those that can occur in chemical production facilities. In the near future, our system will provide instrument results for airborne plume concentrations in simulated emergencies such as accidental releases from nuclear weapons factories.
- Simulates any hazardous release into the environment
- Introduces high level of realism into emergency training exercises
- Instantaneously provides trainees with consistent data
- Requires fewer people to control an exercise because the system is interactive--the exercise controllers are queried by the specially designed software
- Is lightweight and fully waterproof--therefore portable and suited for use outdoors under any weather conditions
- Can be used anywhere in the world because it accesses the GPS
Predictive Code for Superplastic Forming
Based on a finite element method incorporating constitutive relations that describe the material properties of specific metals, the Predictive Code for Superplastic Forming (SPF) predicts optimal pressure schedules, overall forming time, and final thickness distribution before a partês forming process begins. Our code takes the guesswork out of the industrial SPF process.
The Predictive Code allows the SPF process to be used for
- manufacturing complex aircraft parts, especially those made of titanium alloys
- producing aluminum chassis for the next-generation cars
- manufacturing jet turbine blades from super alloys, such as Inconel 718
- near-net-shape manufacturing of future nuclear weapons parts
Under a cooperative research and development agreement with Flameco Plant, we successfully developed our code and then applied it to the SPF process used in the manufacture of aircraft parts.
The SPF process optimized by our code results in faster and cheaper manufacture of aerospace parts with complex geometries. At Flameco, our Predictive Code enables manufacture of perfect parts the first time, every time, and with each new design.
Quick-Flip Locator for Micromachining
The Quick-Flip Locator enables precision machining of complex miniature parts. The locator snaps onto a magnetic chuck with a positioning error of less than 0.25 micrometer and can hold millimeter-size geometrically shaped parts. For multistep fabrication, the part travels in the locator from one machine to another or is flipped on a single tool to allow machining of both sides. The part does not have to be relocated between machining operations. Machining accuracy with the locator is 100 times greater than with conventional part holders.
- Machining 1- to 2-millimeter-diameter beryllium hemishells to precise tolerances
- When joined, the shells will form laser targets for the Department of Energy's inertial confinement fusion program
- Diamond-turning small optics on both sides precisely and without damage caused by accidentally touching a surface during fabrication
- Machining components for nanotechnologies (small motors, machines, and assemblies)
- Accurate two-sided machining of large parts, such as laser optics or silicon wafers
The Quick-Flip Locator holds millimeter-size parts for multistep machining that must be done to submicrometer tolerances. It not only enables both sides of a part to be machined to an accuracy of 0.25 micrometer, but also speeds the fabrication process by eliminating time-consuming machine tool realignment and part setup between fabrication steps. On small parts requiring multiple machining steps, for which setup and inspection time account for a large fraction of the total cost, our Quick-Flip Locator offers significant savings.
Sliding-Arc UV Flashlamp
Our Sliding-Arc UV Flashlamp produces ultraviolet light with a wavelength of 240 to 340 nanometers at a flash intensity of 1 joule per square centimeter. Light of this intensity can crystallize the silicon used in the liquid-crystal displays of laptop computers and thereby increase the brightness of the display. Our flashlamp produces ultraviolet light with a uniformity of ±5 percent over an area of 15 centimeters by 15 centimeters and should be able to process an entire liquid-crystal display in one flash. In addition, our flashlamp uses only metal and glass or ceramic components in the region where the flash is produced; this eliminates the possibility of carbon contaminants on the processed surface.
Our flashlamp can be used to crystallize the amorphous silicon in liquid-crystal displays, activate the phosphor in electroluminescent displays, produce atomic oxygen for removing (ashing) the photoresist used to fabricate semiconductors, perform UV-assisted chemical-vapor deposition of thin films at low temperatures for semiconductors, break down hazardous materials in liquid-waste streams and prepare polymer surfaces for better adhesion of thin films deposited on them.
Liquid-crystal displays—By crystallizing the amorphous silicon in the circuits of these displays, our flashlamp can increase the speeds of the circuits by factors of 100 to 800 (faster circuits produce brighter displays) and will allow the circuits to be placed directly on the glass substrate to reduce costs.
Electroluminescent displays—At present these displays require expensive glass that can withstand the high temperatures required to activate their phosphors. However, our flashlamp should be able to activate phosphor on substrates at room temperature, permitting the use of low-cost substrates. This could make electroluminescent displays competitive with liquid-crystal displays in existing applications and an attractive choice for high-definition television applications.
Solid-State Electrochemical Carbon Monoxide Sensor
Our solid-state electrochemical sensor uniquely combines high sensitivity, fast response, and durability in detecting dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. It can detect 1 part per million of CO in air in less than 60 seconds at 600 degrees Centigrade, and it returns to baseline (that is, to preexposure steady-state conditions) within minutes once the gas is removed. This rapid and reliable return to baseline means that it will sound few false alarms. Because it operates at elevated temperatures (400 to 700 degrees Centigrade), our sensor is also suited to monitoring combustion processes in order to improve their efficiency.
- More sensitive and reliable CO detectors than now available for homes and industry
- CO source detectors and dosimeters
- Active combustion control
For measuring CO levels, our sensor offers higher sensitivity, faster response time and greater reliability than is now possible with commercial sensors. This sensor easily meets OSHA standards for detecting the maximum permissible exposure to CO (35 parts per million), and it does so with little likelihood of sounding false alarms. Its elevated operating temperatures also suit it to monitoring combustion processes; it thus enables active combustion control for the first time.
The Solution Monitor measures on line, continuously and in real time surfactants or any constituents that foam or bubble. Unlike conventional techniques that measure the specific constituents of a process stream, the Solution Monitor measures a property of a process stream.
The Solution Monitor eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals, thereby ensuring the safety of workers and the environment. It requires no specially trained technicians or complex algorithms to conduct an analysis.
The Solution Monitor can control or drive a process, as well as automate and optimize the addition of process reagents. For example, during cleaning operations, the instrument can be set to maintain a predetermined level of a particular surfactant.
- Monitoring of surfactant, or surface-active agent, concentrations for the cosmetics, soap, food-processing and cleaning and washing industries
- Monitoring for oil in water and for head formation and stability in brewing or fermentation
- Controlling surfactant (soap) levels, as well as determining when rinsing is complete, two key processes of interest to industrial cleaning, cleaning-in-place processes, laundries and dry cleaners
- Controlling, in an automated fashion, surfactant levels in electroplating baths
- Determining if residual surfactants are present during the recycling or reusing of purified water
- Uses no hazardous chemicals, thereby eliminating the potential risk to workers and the environment
- Conducts continuous on-line measurements, unlike conventional techniques, which take 30 minutes or more to conduct an off-line analysis
- Requires no trained personnel or complex algorithms to interpret the instrumentês output
- Costs less than $1,000 to produce, as compared with $10,000 for conventional instruments
SuperScan Counterfeit Currency Detector
SuperScan uses NIR spectroscopy and chemometric analyses to discriminate between genuine and counterfeit U.S. currency. Through the use of computational algorithms that amplify even the tiniest differences—differences that are invisible to well-trained eyes and conventional currency scanners—SuperScan quickly and reliably confirms or refutes a billês authenticity.
SuperScan detects counterfeit U.S. $20 and $100 bills, including "superdollars," the near-perfect copies of $100 bills that evade detection by conventional currency scanners. In addition, it can authenticate turquoise gemstones, determining whether a particular stone is natural, treated or fraudulent.
Future applications, which require only the compilation and testing of additional spectral reference libraries to become feasible, include authenticating other denominations of U.S. currency, currency from other countries, other types of documents, and other semiprecious stones, such as coral, amber and lapis.
Because of its relative stability, U.S. currency is one of the preferred currencies for use worldwide-two-thirds of the U.S. currency in circulation is in foreign hands. The stability of the global economy is thus disproportionately linked to the stability of U.S. currency. Unfortunately, U.S. currency is among the easiest of the world's stable currencies to counterfeit. Because a currency's value hinges on public confidence, a steady trickle of fakes can threaten the currency's integrity-which in the case of U.S. dollars has a global impact. SuperScan's ability to identify counterfeit notes, including superdollars, so they can be removed from circulation will reduce the funds available to support terrorist activities, will bolster the dollar's stability, and will thus improve global economic and political stability.
Transportable Actinide Mass Spectrometer (TAMS)
The TAMS system provides quick, accurate, on-site analysis to identify and determine the enrichment level of uranium and plutonium isotopes. It combines proven, reliable actinide chemistry and mass spectrometry techniques in a self-contained system that is small, compact, and easily transportable. TAMS analyzes nuclear materials in less than 30 minutes, allowing prompt intervention if contraband nuclear material is identified.
TAMS can be used whenever one needs a quick, accurate identification and enrichment-level determination of uranium and plutonium compounds, especially when such analyses must be done in the field. It is suited to
- determination of the extent and sophistication of nuclear proliferation in governments, extremist political groups, and terrorist organizations
- determination of nuclear materials composition entering or exiting a country
- assessment of the value of smuggled nuclear materials
- analysis of nuclear accident severity
- analysis for nuclear materials research
- Easily transportable to remote locations
- Provides dependable analysis accuracy of 10% or better
- Completes analyses in 30 minutes or less
- Requires no sample preparation
- Rugged, dependable and inexpensive
- Easy to operate
Wide-Energy Neutron Detection Instrument (WENDI)
WENDI measures the amount of neutron radiation, or dose, received by human beings who work at nuclear power plants or other facilities where neutron radiation is present or who live near such facilities. This accurate, sensitive, and versatile neutron dose meter incorporates nontoxic tungsten to extend the response of the meter to high-energy neutrons and to improve the accuracy of its intermediate-energy response. WENDI is the first new design in neutron dose meters in 30 years.
- WENDI measures neutron dose over a wide range of neutron energies.
- WENDI is the only neutron dose meter that accurately measures the dose of high-energy neutrons.
- times the sensitivity of its nearest competitor.
- WENDI measures neutron dose with uniform angular response.
WENDI measures neutron dose for people working in the following environments: nuclear power plants, medical centers where accelerators are used to treat cancer, oil-well-logging sites, research centers that use particle accelerators and nuclear-materials laboratories.
In the future WENDI can be used to measure neutron dose received by personnel at fusion power plants, should such plants become a reality.
WENDI's high accuracy over a wide range of neutron energies (from 0.025 eV to 10 MeV) will allow more efficient use of radiation workers. WENDI's high sensitivity will ensure a safer environment for people living near nuclear facilities. WENDI's ability to measure the dose from high-energy neutrons will allow more efficient use of workers at medical and research particle accelerators.
X3D: Three-Dimensional Unstructured Grid Toolbox
X3D provides 2- and 3-D grid generation, grid optimization, and grid maintenance tools for static and dynamic modeling and simulation applications. It generates adaptive hybrid structured and unstructured grids for modeling complex multimaterial geometries, including analytic and nonanalytic surfaces and it optimizes grids to provide necessary resolution while minimizing the number of required elements.
X3D dynamically adapts grids, preserving material interfaces, so that moving fronts, changing volumes and other features can be accurately followed over time. And finally, X3D's user-extensible data structures and libraries are easily interfaced with existing user-generated application software.
X3D can be used to model virtually any 2- or 3-D problem that can be described by partial differential equations. However, because X3D is the only 3-D hybrid grid-generation software with adaptive and time-dependent capabilities, it is particularly well suited for the following applications:
- semiconductor manufacturing process simulations such as material deposition and etching
- geologic models of fluid flow and material transport
In addition, X3D's unique capabilities to generate grids for multimaterial geometries with nonanalytic surfaces make it ideal for static grid generation for modeling semiconductor devices.
X3D enables scientists and engineers to realistically model complex, multiple-material, 3-D structures that change over time. In addition, it minimizes required computer resources by preserving interface integrity and minimizing the number of nodes required for application-specific calculations. Easily modified through user-extensible data objects, user-defined commands, and easy-to-use interfaces for linking with existing user-specified application software, X3D is well suited for a wide range of practical applications.
Acoustic Resonance Spectroscopy Chemical Fill Detectors, Winner
The Acoustic Resonance Spectroscopy (ARS) Chemical Fill Detector is the first instrument to use acoustic signatures to noninvasively identify fill materials inside closed containers. Moreover, our portable detector uses an automated identification algorithm to provide rapid and reliable results in the field.
Originally developed as a noninvasive inspection tool for treaties on chemical weapons destruction, the ARS Chemical Fill Detector is suitable for any application that requires the noninvasive identification of fill materials in sealed containers. It can therefore be used for the inspection of containers filled with hazardous waste and as a quality-control tool in the manufacturing and packaging of chemical products. The ARS technique holds promise for being used in applications that go beyond fill identification, such as detection of salmonella in eggs and measurement of intraocular pressure.
The ARS Chemical Fill Detector allows noninvasive identification of fill materials and therefore eliminates the risks to human health and the environment associated with exposure to the materials. The analysis is fast and fully automated. The ARS detector can be operated easily and efficiently in the field because it is battery powered, lightweight, and easy to use.
HIPPI-SONET Gateway, Winner
- Transmits computer data cross-country at 800 million bits per second
- Provides wide-area networking via commercial telecommunications carriers
- Tailors bandwidth to user need through a system of multiple fiber-optic links
- Uses special features of its multilink system to avoid failed networks and to correct single-bit data errors
- Connecting widely separated high-performance computing centers, such as the national laboratories, the national supercomputing centers, and many university campuses
- Providing high-speed, wide-area networking for commercial users who have computing sites at more than one location
- Combining low-rate data streams from multiple sources for simultaneous, high-speed transmission
By connecting widely separated supercomputing centers, the HIPPI-SONET Gateway allows researchers to perform combined computations, matching different parts of a problem to the computers that are best able to run specific parts of the code. Through this approach, the strengths of separate supercomputing centers can be pooled to address world-class problems too complex for any single facility. The same possibilities will be available to commercial users who need to connect their own geographically separated computing centers for data sharing and problem solving. Additionally, through its ability to simultaneously carry data streams from many different sources, the Gateway will support the growing number of users for the nation's information superhighway (the Internet and the World Wide Web, for example) and will accommodate those users' increasingly high bandwidth requirements.
Hydride-Dehydride Recycle Process, Winner
- Recovers plutonium from nuclear warheads, making dismantlement possible
- Processes plutonium for storage in a form that is visually accessible for disarmament treaty verification
- Eliminates components that might attract nuclear terrorists or black-market profiteers
- Isolates and recycles dangerous materials (plutonium hydride and hydrogen gas) within a closed system
- Dismantling nuclear weapons and extracting their plutonium for safe storage
- Cleaning plutonium-contaminated equipment used in manufacturing or research
- Reducing worldwide nuclear arsenals
Without our new Hydride-Dehydride Recycle Process, nuclear weapons dismantlement is extremely difficult, if not impossible. By allowing plutonium to be recovered from nuclear warheads in a single, waste-free step, our process eliminates workplace and environmental hazards associated with previous plutonium recovery methods. Transfer of this technology to other nations will reduce global nuclear danger.
We have developed the Índigo-830 laser system for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the noncancerous increase in the size of the prostate gland. Our system is unique because it is based on laser thermotherapy. The Índigo-830 combines an air-cooled, laser-energy source and a fiber-optic delivery system. The laser energy is delivered through a sterile optical fiber probe, which is fitted with a high-temperature-resistant, light-diffusing tip. The light-diffusing tip is guided by the urologist, using a cystoscope, through the urethra into the prostate tissue, where it evenly distributes a predetermined amount of infrared laser energy. Excess prostate cells are killed throughout the treatment area. Shrinkage of the prostate tissue then takes place over the following few weeks, and the prostatic urethra is preserved.
In addition to the primary application for treatment of BPH, interstitial laser thermotherapy is a meaningful application in other areas where tumorous and benign growths can be accessed with minimal invasiveness. Regulatory hurdles prevent us from claiming different applications until clinical trials have verified the claims, but examples of potential applications are
- prostate cancer
- diskectomy (for spinal problems)
- lumpectomy (breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, fatty tumors)
- wart removal
- selective destruction of other types of diseased tissue
We believe that our interstitial laser thermotherapy may revolutionize the treatment of BPH. Ongoing expanded FDA trials are intended to demonstrate the benefits of
- greater patient comfort
- less trauma
- fewer complications
- no blood transfusions (which eliminates the risk of hepatitis or AIDS infection)
- faster recovery and shorter convalescence
- lower patient cost
Microsensor for Volatile Organic Compounds, Winner
- Permits real-time environmental monitoring
- Provides reversible sensing; that is, it can be used again and again; time between use and reuse is <10 seconds
- Does not generate hazardous waste
- Compact, inexpensive, and power efficient
- Robustness of covalent bonding provides long-term stability
- Ultrasensitive detector of organic toxins; current detection limit to 20 parts per billion
- Only sensor that can track aromatic, chlorinated, and simple hydrocarbons
- Compatible with silicon (semiconductor) technology, allowing it to be mass produced on microchips
- Real-time environmental monitoring
- Plume/site remediation
- Industrial waste stream characterization
- Air-quality monitoring (stack and ambient)
- Storage-tank leak detection
Our microsensor is the only chemical sensor that can be reliably used for long-term, real-time, continuous monitoring of volatile organic compounds in air, water, and possibly soil. Because of its compactness, the microsensor can easily fit in areas difficult to access with conventional sensor systems. With an array of microsensors, toxins can be fingerprinted—they can be specifically identified—and organic plumes can be characterized for size, concentration, and movement. Our microsensor costs one-twentieth the price of competitive sensors, resulting in large cost savings to buyers.
Polymer Filtration System, Winner
The Polymer Filtration (PF) System incorporates advanced metal-ion recovery technology in a compact, cart-size apparatus. Our system
- uses water-soluble, metal-binding polymers in combination with ultrafiltration
- selectively captures valuable metal ions for direct reuse, preventing the formation of sludge
- easily meets EPA discharge limits, reducing industry liability
Current: Recovering metal ions from electroplating rinse waters and recycling them to the original electroplating baths
- Processing the waste streams from mining operations and acid mine drainage
- Recovering silver from photofinishing and printing wastes
- Eliminating trace impurities from municipal waste water
- Removing toxic metals from drinking water
The PF System is the next-generation technology for recovering, concentrating, and recycling metal ions from industrial waste waters, thereby conserving valuable resources and reducing pollution. In its current application for the electroplating industry, the system can be sized for both large and small operations and can eliminate the formation of at least 50,000 tons of metal-containing sludge per year. Potentially applicable to virtually every field requiring advanced metal recovery techniques, the PF System is a revolutionary process that will affect industry worldwide.
Acoustic Fluid-Level Sensor
The Acoustic Fluid-Level Sensor is noninvasive; it uses advanced acoustic measurements that do not require special mounting or fixing techniques (gels or epoxy cement). It is universal and inexpensive; at less than $800 per unit, this system can be used with a variety of containers, container sizes, and fluids. The Acoustic Fluid-Level Sensor is also accurate and adaptable to different needs; the fluid level can be directly determined to a resolution of ≈1 mm in height, fluid density can be measured, and the physical condition of the container can be characterized.
- Monitoring hazardous waste storage containers
- Monitoring bulk containers of chemical munitions for international treaty verification
- Remote monitoring, through satellite tracking, of the amount of chemicals or other liquids in railroad tanker cars for accurate, real-time inventory
- Monitoring large reservoir tanks, such as water, oil, and industrial chemical tanks
- Industrial monitoring and process control for pipes, reactor vessels, boilers, and stills
- Multipurpose and noninvasive, it can accurately monitor stored chemical and radioactive hazardous wastes for container integrity and contents verification
- Has wide-ranging industrial applications, such as monitoring industrial processes for improved productivity and enhanced process control
- Can be easily adapted for remote monitoring of hundreds of thousands of railroad tanker cars for an accurate, real-time inventory that can save industry millions of dollars
Alkyl Cobalt Dicarbollide Extractant
We have developed an efficient, selective Alkyl Cobalt Dicarbollide Extractant (ACE) for cesium and strontium that requires no hazardous chemicals and produces no hazardous waste. Robust, recyclable, and effective for use with acidic, alkaline, or neutral media, it fills a broad range of laboratory and industrial uses.
- U.S. and international nuclear power utilities can use ACE to monitor spent-fuel storage pools, reprocess spent fuel rods, and establish safer on-site waste storage.
- Analytical laboratories can use ACE to monitor nuclear contaminants in the environment.
- Private and government agencies can apply the technology to the environmental restoration of contaminated sites.
- No toxic solvents or mixed wastes to threaten the environment
- Recovery of cesium-137 and strontium-90 for commercial applications
- No loss of costly extractant
- Less expensive than competing technologies
All-Solid-State Four-Color Laser
Our laser is the first all-solid-state multicolor laser, the first all-solid-state laser to directly generate blue light, and the first commercially viable laser to produce all three primary colors. It consists of a fiber-optic waveguide that is doped with triply charged praseodymium and ytterbium ions and pumped by an infrared diode laser. It is efficient, operates at room temperature, and offers diffraction-limited beam quality.
- Optical data storage
- Color reprographics
- Biochemical diagnostics
- Full-color projection displays
- Photodynamic therapy
- Flight simulators
- High-resolution printing
- Chemical sensors
- Process monitoring
- Laser entertainment
- Our laser's simple construction and all-solid-state design will result in extended life and reliability.
- It may enable four times greater data-storage density than is possible with current optical storage media.
- It can serve as a single-component replacement for the three separate lasers found in color reprographic systems, and it can replace the orange dye lasers and their expensive pump lasers required now for photodynamic therapy.
- It holds promise for multiplexed, multicolor output from a single, compact package and for violet and ultraviolet output.
Automated Spectrographic Measurement of Uranium Enrichment
The Automated Spectrographic Measurement (ASM) system is the first automated system for uranium solution measurements. It is also the first x-ray system to measure both the concentration and enrichment of uranium solutions. It consists of two assay stations for passive gamma-ray and x-ray fluorescence measurements. Two unique features of the measurements are the use of transmission sources to correct for sample-solution matrix effects and automated daily calibration checks. A robot moves samples between the two assay stations and performs all mechanical movements associated with the shutters and doors. An operator can execute all operations manually if the robot is out of service.
Produces near-real-time measurement information for uranium or plutonium process control at fuel fabrication plants
The ASM system improves nuclear material processing, control, and accountability by automating gamma-ray measurement techniques. Automation cuts the measurement time for uranium solutions from hours to minutes. Compared with analytical chemistry methods, measurement reliability is high and personnel exposure to ionizing radiation is reduced, because human operator involvement is low. The result is higher-quality analyses at a lower cost. Automated, precise measurements at reprocessing and production facilities in the United States and abroad can help assure the world community that nuclear material is adequately safeguarded.
AVATAR is a software tool that automatically couples two distinct software algorithms—deterministic and Monte Carlo—used to solve radiation transport problems. This coupling increases computational efficiency and user productivity and is adaptable to a variety of computer modeling problems. AVATAR comes with an easy-to-use graphical user interface called Justine, which applies smart and adaptive mesh generation techniques to solve complex radiation transport calculations.
Radiation transport problems occur in many different industries. AVATAR can be used to help solve complex software modeling problems for
- oil and gas exploration
- medical planning and treatment (e.g., boron capture therapy, positron emission therapy, photon and neutron oncology)
- microelectronics processing (ion doping of electronic substrates)
- nuclear power (refueling design, decontamination, decommissioning, waste disposal)
- spaceship power generation
- accelerator design and analysis
- radiation shielding and other related nuclear fields
AVATAR revolutionizes radiation transport calculations by bringing very powerful and highly developed software tools to bear on challenges facing the scientist, engineer, and physician. With AVATAR, the engineer and the scientist can analyze modeling problems and enhance design quality. The physician can apply years of effort devoted to developing very complicated human models with minimal effort, thereby easily and accurately extracting detailed information to assist in diagnosis and treatment of patients. AVATAR allows people in very diverse fields with little knowledge of radiation transport phenomena to apply complicated transport codes at the push of a button.
We have developed a Beryllium-Aluminum-Silver Alloy that is especially appropriate for aerospace applications yet will improve any aluminum component that must be lightweight and very stiff. It is approximately equal in strength and ductility to the most widely used aluminum alloy, yet lighter in weight and stiffer. It has good thermal and electrical conductivity, high specific heat, and excellent microstructural stability.
- Structural components for aircraft and spacecraft
- Electronic packaging and electronic-equipment racks for aerospace use
- Sporting goods such as bicycles, tennis racquets, skis, and golf club shafts
- Wheelchair frames
- Lighter-weight aerospace structural components for increased payloads and greater operating efficiency
- Fabrication with conventional metal-processing methods such as rolling, forging, and extrusion
- Volume savings in the amount of material needed for a structural component
- Lower processing costs than those for nonmetallic composites
Computer-Controlled On-Machine Polishing
Computer-Controlled On-Machine Polishing (COMP) improves the finish of diamond-turned surfaces by a factor of 3 without removing the workpiece from the machine. COMP can finish ground optical surfaces with geometries that are difficult or impossible to polish by conventional methods. The polishing algorithm, translated into machine language, permits either the uniform removal of material or the correction of surface geometry by the selective removal of material.
- Reduces the scatter from single-point, diamond-turned metal surfaces for applications requiring wavelengths shorter than the infrared
- Produces polished surfaces in geometries such as aspherics and non-axially symmetric contours, which are difficult or impossible to polish by conventional techniques
- Permits the machine finishing of special-purpose molds for products such as contact lenses, optical devices, plastic boxes, and cosmetic cases
- Can be used for fiber-optic connectors, pistons for cryogenic engines, and many other non-optical applications requiring small, precision, diamond-turned parts
- Reduces or eliminates expensive, time-consuming hand polishing
- Can be retrofitted to diamond-turning and grinding machines to enhance their versatility
- Provides the precision machining industry with the means to improve the quality of diamond-turned surfaces, therefore creating a much broader use for these parts
- Provides the optical community with the means to polish complex optical surfaces quickly and accurately
Composite Lightweight Affordable Spacecraft Structure (CLASS)
We have designed, built, and tested an affordable satellite structure that is strong, lightweight, and very stiff. The first of its kind, this primary spacecraft structure is made completely of advanced polymer-composite materials and provides substantial improvement over aluminum designs in its payload-to-weight ratio. Its modular design is simple to construct and saves production time and expense over typical composite manufacturing processes.
- Satellite and aircraft structures for commercial and military use
- Optical structures such as receivers and reflectors
- Stable structures used in photolithography
- Lightweight structures for recreation
- High-performance structures for automotive and offshore racing
- Corrosion-resistant marine structures
- Increases the ratio of payload mass to structure mass
- Lowers the cost per pound of payload in orbit
- Greatly improves structural performance per unit of weight
- Offers the performance of advanced composites for the cost of aluminum alloys
Cryptand Resin is a reusable solid polymer for selectively removing toxic ions from aqueous solutions that
- removes fluoride and hydrogen fluoride from acidic solutions
- removes mercury, lead, and cadmium from neutral to basic solutions
- concentrates selected ions from dilute and mixed-ion solutions, recovering them for efficient disposal or recycle
- Removes fluoride and hydrogen fluoride from acidic waste and process streams, such as the electrowinning baths used to extract zinc and copper from ore and the etching baths used during the manufacture of semiconductor chips
- Removes mercury, lead, and cadmium from waste streams generated during battery production and electroplating
- Removes heavy metals from drinking and ground water
Cryptand Resin is more selective, more stable, and more versatile than any comparable product. The toxic ions in a waste or process stream often make up only a small fraction of the total volume; Cryptand Resin's selectivity enables it to concentrate the toxic components so that the remainder of a waste stream can be discharged or an industrial process can proceed more efficiently. Therefore, Cryptand Resin reduces waste by isolating the hazardous components of a waste stream. In addition, it can save money by reducing disposal costs by recovering valuable materials, such as hydrogen fluoride, for sale or reuse and by protecting expensive equipment from fluoride corrosion.
Data Embedding enables the noise intrinsic to electronic data to be used for data storage and transmission; through the use of Data Embedding, the noise becomes an additional communication channel. Because embedded data are hidden in the noise and are therefore not detectable, Data Embedding takes a novel approach to transferring and protecting information.
- Increases the amount of information that can be sent from space and over communications networks within existing constraints on bandwidth, data rate, or file size
- Protects proprietary or security-related information sent through open communication channels
- Prevents tampering with forensic and other legal evidence
- Links related data, such as patients' personal information with medical records, and protects confidentiality, as required by the Privacy Act
- Improves copyright protection by making it easier to detect infringements
- Combines media to improve richness of information
Data Embedding is a novel method for protecting, storing, combining, and transmitting information. By exploiting the noise intrinsic to all digital data, it expands the capabilities of data storage and transmission systems and opens new possibilities in multimedia communication products. And, by undetectably modifying digital files, it protects sensitive information, authenticates data files, and prevents tampering.
The Eccentric-Motion Lathe is an industrial turning lathe that
- cuts asymmetrical parts from single pieces of metal
- uses linear motors for positioning the cutting tool
- runs without the continuous addition of lubricants
- Fabricating in a single step convoluted parts that previously required several steps on separate machines. Examples include complicated engine parts such as camshafts, crankshafts, and rotary engine pistons; and biomedical products such as artificial hip, shoulder, and wrist joints.
- Adding versatility to the fabrication processes used in new product development.
The Eccentric-Motion Lathe is the first industrial lathe to accomplish a long-time dream of machine tool designers: using linear motors to drive the movements of the cutting tool. The special characteristics of linear motors—precise positioning, rapid response, and no linear momentum loss during directional changes—allow our lathe to cut complex, asymmetrical parts that previously required multiple tool setups and customized holding assemblies. The Eccentric-Motion Lathe runs without the continuous addition of lubricants; the small amount of lubrication required is permanently sealed inside the lathe's ball-bearing trackways and never needs to be renewed. As a result, no hazardous solvents are needed to clean oily residues from fabricated parts.
High-Density Read-Only Memory (HD ROM)
Built of robust materials, such as steel or iridium, our HD ROM is the first nonmagnetic, nonoptical data storage device that permits data densities of 23,000 megabits per square inch, which is 180 times greater than possible with the available CD-ROM technology. Depending on the material from which the HD ROM is made, its estimated lifetime can be as high as 5,000 years (for iridium). Data stored on the HD ROM in alphanumeric and graphical formats can be recovered without the use of a bit-stream interpreter (or reader). Data stored in binary format also can be readily retrieved because we describe on the HD ROM, in human-readable form, the instructions needed for the interpreter to read binary data.
Anyone who must generate archives needs reliable, long-lasting systems for data storage. Our HD ROM is reliable and long lasting, and it also allows very high data densities, a capability that reduces storage space and thereby storage costs. The HD ROM was developed for immediate application to archives and data-intense computing. Some other applications for our HD ROM are in the areas of finance (bank transaction records), geology (seismic records and oil deposit mapping), defense (surveillance mapping), astrophysics (catalogs of objects and events), and entertainment (audio and video masters).
A huge amount of information can be stored on an HD ROM. On a high-carbon steel cylinder that is approximately 2 millimeters in diameter and 25 millimeters in length, 1 alphanumeric character can be stored per square micron, which translates into the equivalent of two complete sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Data stored on the HD ROM will survive for the lifetime of the system; therefore, data transfer and backup to new physical media are no longer required. In comparison with CD-ROMs, which are today's cheapest media, HD ROMs are 200 times less expensive over a 50-year data life cycle.
High-Efficiency Thermal Ionization Cavity Ion Source for Mass Spectrometry
- Offers 10 to 100 times higher efficiency for thermal ionization: up to 90% efficiency for lanthanides and other easily ionized elements and 1% to 10% efficiency for actinides
- Can be used on all types of mass spectrometers and separators
- Decreases analysis time
- Decreases amount of sample that needs to be analyzed
- Increases sample throughput
- Low-cost, disposable crucibles
- Low power requirements (<120 watts) with high heating efficiency
Any research area that requires thermal ionization mass spectrometry to measure elemental concentrations and to analyze isotopes:
- Nuclear chemistry
- Environmental analysis
- Medical research
Our cavity ion source enables us to more efficiently use thermal ionization mass spectrometry in measuring elemental concentrations and analyzing isotopes. The ion source can be used with equal or better performance in smaller quadrupole-based mass spectrometers rather than in more-costly and less-user-friendly sector-based mass spectrometers. When used in quadrupole-based mass spectrometers, our ion source will allow analysts to easily meet government certification requirements for the isotopic analyses of actinide contents of soils and waters.
High-Pressure Stopped-Flow Apparatus
The High-Pressure Stopped-Flow Apparatus is the first system that can operate in the range of pressures between 0 and 40 atmospheres. Its delivery speed is less than 1 millisecond. Because of these features, the High-Pressure Stopped-Flow Apparatus enables us to study a broader range of chemical reactions. Our apparatus can also be coupled to various spectroscopic techniques—ultraviolet, visible, Raman and fluorescence—to yield more insight into the molecular dynamics of these reactions. The High-Pressure Stopped-Flow Apparatus is computer controlled and uses readily available software (LabVIEW).
- Can be used in both conventional low-pressure and high-pressure stopped-flow experiments
- Allows the study of reactions between highly concentrated, dissolved gases
- Allows the study of gas-phase reactions relevant to the automotive and petrochemical industries
- With an adaptation, will allow the study of reactions that occur in supercritical fluids, a rapidly emerging field of science
- The High-Pressure Stopped-Flow Apparatus successfully fills an existing need by operating in the range of pressures from 0 to 40 atmospheres, therefore allowing scientists and engineers to study, for the first time, the mechanistic aspects of numerous chemical reactions. It is also an inexpensive and user-friendly instrument.
- Our apparatus is versatile and easily adaptable because it can be used with various spectrometers that can readily be interchanged.
High-Strength Solenoid Magnet Coil
- Efficiently and safely supports mechanical loads resulting from extremely high-field-strength, pulsed magnetic fields
- Long life; engineered design life of 10,000 full-field pulses
- Allows rapid cooling of electromagnet between pulses
- Withstands high voltages and cryogenic temperatures
- Easy to manufacture because of modular design
- Uses commercially available materials
- Extremely high-field-strength, pulsed research electromagnets for solid-state physics and materials research. Can be used to characterize
- charge mobility of semiconductors under the influence of a magnetic field (specifically, the quantum Hall effect)
- quenching of superconductors (zero-resistance behavior under magnetic fields)
- magnetic dipole kinetics of organic electrical conductors
- magnetic dipole kinetics of chemical reactions (under high-bias magnetic fields)
- magneto-optical properties (such as photoluminescence) of materials
- Materials processing in magnetic fields (alignment of composites)
- Magnetic forming and welding
Our High-Strength Solenoid Magnet Coil extends pulsed electromagnet coil technology to new levels of performance, including longer pulse-length duration at higher field intensity. Our novel design not only enhances the capabilities and lifespan of extremely high-field-strength, pulsed research magnets; it also reduces risk to personnel and equipment and to valuable research samples within the magnet's coils. Our modular design reduces manufacturing and repair costs.
Our Laser-Launched Miniflyer is a unique, miniaturized, bench-top system for experimental shock physics. It uses a laser to propel high-velocity projectiles (miniflyers) into targets and an elaborate diagnostic setup to measure the flyer velocity and interaction with a target material at subnanosecond time scales. This innovation employs equipment that can easily be set up in a university or industrial laboratory.
Our Laser-Launched miniflyer system conveniently makes dynamic measurements that can be used to obtain high-pressure equation-of-state (EOS) information for either the flyer or the target material. The EOS is a comprehensive description of a material's volume-, pressure-, and temperature-dependent behavior. This information can then be used to develop an accurate EOS description of the material. We have used the miniflyer to measure the spall strength (strength in tension) and the elastic-plastic behavior of materials' important dynamic material properties.
The small size of the miniflyer system and the miniflyers themselves has significant benefits in terms of experimental cost, versatility, and sample recovery in shock-wave experiments. Our miniflyer system will increase the availability of shock-wave techniques to universities and industrial laboratories so that more dynamic studies can be made, leading to increased understanding of material properties such as structure, bond strength, and composition.
Metallographic Ion Etcher
The Metallographic Ion Etcher (MIE) is more versatile than competitive commercial ion etchers and eliminates the major drawbacks of electrochemical etching. Large or multiple specimens can be treated at one time in its large etching area. Its water-cooled specimen holder allows high-powered and high-density plasma etching, which minimize etching time. Its specially designed swing doors to the sample chamber and the configuration of its specimen holder allow easy specimen loading and unloading. A turbo pump and a high-capacity vane pump minimize the down time required for pumping the chamber vacuum.
Our MIE makes materials analysis much more convenient, efficient, and reliable. Examples include
- quality control and product improvement for parts fabrication
- failure analysis of damaged components
- compatibility studies of materials and their operating environments, which may include high or low temperatures and acidic or caustic conditions
- basic research in materials science to help study phase transformations, develop new alloys, and characterize novel material properties
Our MIE enables simultaneous etching of dissimilar materials and materials with different histories without using hazardous chemicals or producing hazardous waste. For some composites, it is the only way to etch all materials without damaging one or more in the process. It increases the ease, speed, and reliability of material analysis.
Multichannel Transient Detector
The Multichannel Transient Detector can detect very weak electromagnetic transients with higher sensitivity and a lower false-alarm rate than possible with other detection schemes. It also permits selective triggering on transients with a characteristic preprogrammed dispersion.
The detector is currently being used to detect the electromagnetic reflections of lightning and other natural transients off the ionosphere from locations as distant as 2,000 kilometers. Developed to detect electromagnetic pulses from nuclear tests, it can also be used to detect local phenomena such as transmission line discharges, automotive ignitions, and weapons fire. Detection of transmission line discharges may help power companies locate problems in their power distribution networks. Passive detection of automobiles and weapons fire has great potential for law enforcement and military applications.
Our detector marks a breakthrough in transient detection capability. Its combination of heightened sensitivity and low false-alarm rate makes it a promising technology for monitoring global compliance with nuclear test bans and nonproliferation agreements. It also holds promise as a means of passively monitoring battlefield activities. Its recent discovery of twin pulses of radio energy in the upper atmosphere (referred to as transionospheric pulse pairs, or TIPPs) is facilitating new studies into how the electrical currents that surround the earth influence weather phenomena such as thunderstorms.
NAMOT: Intuitive and Versatile Nucleic Acid Modeling Tool
Our Nucleic Acid Modeling Tool (NAMOT) is an interactive graphics tool for modeling and manipulating nucleic acid molecules. It can generate both standard structures, such as double-stranded antiparallel helices, and nonstandard structures, such as three- and four-stranded forms, and it can bend standard duplexes into more complex shapes, such as closed circles and super-helices. NAMOT is the only molecular modeling program that can directly model structural deformations such as over- or under-winding or the formation of a cavity within a duplex.
NAMOT runs on any computer with UNIX and X-Windows, including PCs, and its user's manual, online help, and user-friendly interface make it usable by novice and expert users alike.
NAMOT's primary applications are in basic research and pharmaceutical design, but it can also be used to design novel nucleic acid structures that may form the basis for innovative new catalysts or nanometer-scale mechanical devices. Because of its user-friendly format, NAMOT can help students visualize nucleic acid molecules and the structural changes that occur during cellular processes such as DNA replication. And finally, because it can selectively color atoms, create space-filling models, and rotate those models, it can be used to generate high-quality graphics of nucleic acid molecules.
NAMOT is faster, more efficient, and easier to use than any other nucleic acid modeling tool. It enables students and researchers alike to visualize nucleic acid molecules in both standard and unusual configurations and to model structural changes. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of basic cellular processes contributes to the body of knowledge that provides the foundation for major advances in medicine.
No-Contamination (No-Con) Gas Sampling System
No-Con is a gas sampling and injection system that allows an analyst to collect a contamination-free gas sample and hold it for analysis at another time and place. A minimal-size sample from the system can be injected cleanly, quickly, and uniformly into a gas chromatograph.
No-Con can be used to draw out gas samples for analysis from inert atmospheres such as gloveboxes, electronics assembly lines, and oxygen-sensitive chemistry enclosures. It is also useful for taking and transporting gas samples from remote locations. No-Con is used for sampling the head space gas from drums of radioactive waste when analysis for low concentrations of oxygen and nitrogen is important.
- Contamination-free gas collection and analysis: The gas sample can be collected and analyzed cleanly and quickly, and the results are accurate and reliable.
- Cost savings: Sample sizes can be small so that precious process gases will not be wasted. Eliminating air contamination also eliminates the need for on-line gas chromatographs.
- Aid for radioactive waste management: No-Con's transportability and dependability make it valuable for testing repository performance.
Noninvasive Chemical Concentration Analyzer
The Noninvasive Chemical Concentration Analyzer (NCCA) uses Fourier transform analysis of high-frequency acoustic signals from ultrasonic sensors attached to the outside of a pipe or small tank to determine the concentrations of chemicals contained within. Our analyzer is compact and inexpensive. It consists of a PC, a specialized PC card that generates a swept high-frequency signal and detects system response simultaneously, and two ultrasonic transducers. Fourier transform analysis of the swept high-frequency signal avoids misinterpretations resulting from low-frequency structural responses or moves; therefore, the NCCA can be used on any existing container geometry (arbitrary length, diameter up to 2 feet, any thickness, and any cross section) and composition (as long as it transmits high-frequency acoustic signals). Software written for LabWindows provides real-time concentration measurements for a wide variety of chemicals.
The NCCA can provide process control measurements, quality assurance tests, and product measurements for processes in the following industries:
- Chemical processing and production
- Agricultural products
- Personal hygiene products
- Foods and beverages
- Nuclear processing
For years, the chemical processing industry has needed a noninvasive, real-time method to measure the concentration of chemicals in process. In addition to fulfilling this need, the NCCA can be applied externally to existing fluid containers or pipes. By taking concentration measurements without actually contacting the fluid, the NCCA prevents contamination of product streams, reduces or eliminates risks for workers who handle hazardous materials, and decreases costs by eliminating the need to cut into the pipe or tank as required by invasive techniques.
Parallel Ocean Program (POP)
Written in Fortran 90, the newest Fortran standard, POP executes efficiently on massively parallel computers as well as on traditional vector computers, workstations, and clusters of workstations. Our reformulation of its mathematical equations permits treatment of any number of topographical features at no extra computational cost and eliminates the need for smoothing ocean floor topography. Its large simulation time step reduces computer time by a factor of 2 to 4. It incorporates general curvilinear coordinates to eliminate the need for mathematical filtering techniques that reduce accuracy. POP has been used to carry out the highest-spatial-resolution global ocean simulations made to date.
- Oceanographic research: By comparing POP's high-resolution simulations quantitatively with satellite data and in situ measurements, we can increase our understanding of the oceans.
- Climate modeling: POP is being combined with atmospheric models to produce a comprehensive model of the Earth's climate system. The resulting model will capitalize on the power of massively parallel computers.
- Off-shore petroleum exploration and production: Simulation results from POP are being used by major oil companies to gain a better understanding of the seasonal eddy activity, deep-water phenomena, and current-shelf interactions that make their operations in deep water expensive, hazardous to personnel, and environmentally risky.
By comparing POP simulations with real data, scientists can gain insight into aspects of the ocean that are difficult to observe and develop a unifying framework for their interpretation of data acquired by observation. Ocean dynamics are key factors in global climate change. Coupling POP to atmospheric models that also run on massively parallel computers will provide higher-resolution, hence more realistic, global climate simulations than are possible on other computers. By improving our understanding of ocean currents, POP simulations can help reduce the costs and risks associated with off-shore petroleum exploration and production. They also provide guidance for the optimal location of current meters in regions where exploration is just beginning.
PC/FRAM: Nuclear Material Isotopic Analysis System
PC/FRAM nondestructively determines the isotope fractions of all chemical and physical forms of plutonium, uranium, americium, neptunium, and other nuclear materials. It analyzes materials in any type of storage container, including thick-walled and lead-shielded containers, and the container and packaging characteristics do not need to be known beforehand. Superman may not be able to see through lead, but PC/FRAM can.
PC/FRAM includes a self-calibration algorithm that eliminates the need for standards. In addition, it operates on a personal computer through a user-friendly Windows interface and can be quickly reconfigured by even novice users for different applications.
PC/FRAM can analyze all physical and chemical forms of nuclear materials at any facility where plutonium or uranium is generated, processed, or stored. Such facilities include those for weapons production, storage, and dismantlement and those for reactor fuel fabrication and uranium enrichment. Because PC/FRAM can analyze materials in shielded containers, dismantled weapons components can be analyzed without compromising their classified designs.
PC/FRAM can also be used by manufacturers of radiopharmaceuticals and radiolabelled markers to monitor quality control at considerable time and cost savings over traditional chemical and isotopic analysis methods.
- Enables national and international inspectors to audit nuclear materials at storage or processing facilities under inspection regimes
- Supports compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by ensuring that declared nuclear materials are properly identified, measured, and inventoried
- Minimizes material handling, reducing worker radiation exposures and the potential for environmental contamination
PEGASUS: Analysis System for Engineering and Physics Models
- Allows rapid viewing of computer models and data
- Rapidly and efficiently processes output from virtually any type of numerical simulation or experiment
- Accommodates a wide range of data formats, including one-, two-, and three-dimensional spatial grids; regular or random data; and time-dependent data
- Selects arbitrary subsets of data, transforms data, and compares different simulations or a simulation with an experiment
- Has powerful, built-in numerical analysis capabilities, such as averaging, frequency transforms, filtering, and algebraic operations on combinations of variables
- Uses same interface for all calculations and is therefore extremely easy to use
PEGASUS, a general-purpose software system, is used to display, edit, and analyze output from many types of numerical simulations. It is currently used in modeling and simulation studies associated with three major Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) entered into by Los Alamos National Laboratory and private industry. It is also used for a broad range of models, including fluid dynamics, solid dynamics, stress analysis, plasma physics, electromagnetic-wave propagation, and Monte Carlo particle transport.
PEGASUS provides all the basic features of commercial graphics packages, spreadsheets, and data analysis programs, but adds to them a number of additional capabilities that are especially useful for scientific and engineering calculations: a common interface for all types of calculations, efficiency in processing very large data sets, ability to compare different types of data, sophisticated numerical analysis capabilities and ease of use. With PEGASUS, users are able to analyze the same calculation from many different angles and thus acquire in-depth understanding of the results.
popLA (preferred orientation package-Los Alamos)
A user-friendly software package, popLA (preferred orientation package-Los Alamos) provides a comprehensive treatment of material texture analysis by reducing texture data obtained from x-ray, neutron, and electron diffraction and using that data to predict important material properties. The distribution of crystal orientation, or texture, in polycrystalline materials is calculated and displayed using a wide variety of graphic formats for comparison with published results. Once distributions have been determined, standard methods are used to predict material elasticity, yield point, and plasticity-mechanical properties that are used by industry to design and control efficient metal and ceramic processing techniques.
Precisely controls the quality of metal-forming processes
Predicts the yield from elastic to plastic behavior of mechanical components
Tailors material properties for specific applications through quantitative predictions of texture-dependent mechanical properties
Serves as a research tool for investigating microstructure-property relationships in materials
Our software package provides increased sensitivity for modeling materials processing with enhanced property-prediction capabilities. Its simplified data analysis saves time and can be used by a less-knowledgeable operator. Its capabilities for predicting the full range of material response have already found economically important applications in industry because they take the trial and error out of material processing.
Rapid Kinetics Flow Cytometer
The Rapid Kinetics Flow Cytometer combines the subsecond kinetic resolution of stopped-flow mixing technology with the ability of flow cytometry to make sensitive fluorescence measurements of individual cells. Our new instrument precisely controls reagent proportioning and mixing, delivering a sample stream to the point of measurement in 0.3 second. It thus enables direct measurement of previously inaccessible cellular events, such as the rapid binding of peptide, hormone, and carbohydrate ligands to their cell-surface receptors.
- Pharmaceutical research: The rapid mixing capabilities of our new instrument will allow binding measurements of low-affinity ligands, an important capability for characterizing new drugs.
- Basic research in cell biology: Our instrument's combination of precise reagent mixing and subsecond kinetic resolution will facilitate new studies in cell biology involving the reorganization of cell and membrane structures.
- Medical diagnostics: Current technologies allow diseases to be diagnosed on the basis of cellular features such as surface markers or DNA content. Our new instrument enables direct measurement of the enzymes responsible for such cell features, which may prove to be an earlier and more sensitive predictor of disease and disease states than markers based on gross cellular features.
The Rapid Kinetics Flow Cytometer opens an experimental window on the molecular events underlying cell function. Our instrument's ability to measure such fast processes not only makes it a basic research tool for cell biologists but also offers a new approach for diagnostic techniques based on molecular function. Its kinetic analysis of cell function will complement or replace methods that measure only static cellular characteristics.
Safe, Clean Disposal Process for Propellants, Explosives, and Pyrotechnics (PEPs)
Our two-step disposal process combines base hydrolysis with supercritical water oxidation to destroy obsolete, off-spec, or surplus PEPs in an environmentally conscious manner. The process significantly reduces the safety risks associated with destroying energetic materials, and the final waste products can be safely released to the environment. Our disposal process is economically competitive with its alternatives.
Our disposal process can be used to destroy nearly all energetic materials—explosives (both industrial and military), munitions, warhead components, rockets, and propellants. The process can also remove energetic debris from soil and from machinery or equipment used to process PEPs.
In the past, PEPs have been destroyed by means of detonation and/or open burning, practices that have come under increasing scrutiny for their human risks and environmental consequences. Several states have banned them, and others are considering bans. Our technology offers a safe, environmentally clean alternative. With the dismantlement of weapons underway both in the United States and abroad, large volumes of energetic materials will have to be disposed; our new technology offers a safe, clean, and inexpensive disposal process.
Sonication Extraction Standard Laboratory Module (SLM)
The Sonication Extraction SLM is a standardized instrument for automating soil sample analysis as specified by requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency for organic analyte sample preparation. It will be used to extract contaminants such as semivolatile organics like PCBs from soil samples and filter media. This SLM can be either operated in a stand-alone mode or integrated with other SLMs to automate a full analytical method in a standardized fashion. The Sonication Extraction SLM provides accurate data and facilitates rapid sample analysis. It is user friendly and has been hardened for transportation and operation at remote sites.
The primary use of the Sonication Extraction SLM is to prepare solid samples like soil for analysis by gas chromatography. It can be readily integrated into larger, standardized contamination analysis systems that have been designed to execute regulated EPA methods.
The Sonication Extraction SLM is more precise and safer than conventional extraction methods and increases laboratory throughput by automating activities traditionally performed manually by a chemical technician. It improves the quality of characterization data by improving the consistency and accuracy of the sample preparation and analysis procedures and does not require constant monitoring.
- Intuitive, graphical patient-record system
- Supports image, audio, and graphical data
- Integrates complete patient records with detailed radiographic data
- Allows remote sharing of patient and radiological data while guaranteeing secure transmission of patient data over networks
- Improves clinical diagnosis and treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and other chronic diseases
- Reduces cost of health care
Although TeleMed was designed initially for the study and treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, it is readily adapted to a variety of chronic illnesses because of its capability of providing, at a glance, the long-term treatment history of patients. Because of its ease of use and its ability to capture the knowledge base for specific illnesses, it could also be used in training physicians and radiologists to analyze specific diseases. In addition, the underlying technology could be adapted to hazardous waste systems that handle large amounts of data over networks.
TeleMed will greatly increase the effectiveness of primary-care physicians in treating chronic illnesses and will improve the physicians' access to expert consultation. In addition, TeleMed can reduce treatment costs by eliminating the time-consuming and costly activity of data gathering. Because TeleMed is based on open tools that are used by a broad base of industry, the costs for the deployment of our software will be low.
Time-Interval Interpolator Integrated Circuit
Our time-interval interpolator is an integrated circuit (IC) that subdivides a conventional 100-megahertz clock period into 1,000 subintervals for time measurements with 10-picosecond resolution. This IC is a sophisticated combination of high-bandwidth, low-noise, analog circuitry and high-speed, low-power, digital circuitry. To expand the reference clock cycle, we use a dual-slope technique in which a capacitor is rapidly charged at a high current to measure the subintervals and then discharged at a much lower current to expand and count the subintervals.
Our IC has been used in high-resolution timing measurement and ultrafast, real-time, waveform recorders, all of which increase the resolution and sensitivity of the following applications:
- precision timing measurements for digital-electronics logic-testing and trigger systems
- real-time waveform recorders for ultrafast, smooth signals
- material science for nondestructive testing using acoustic time-of-flight measurements
- earth science for precision monitoring of plate tectonics and earthquake fault slippage
- space science for satellite ranging
The largest near-term impact of this invention could be in the semiconductor manufacturing market. The IC can be used to evaluate the performance of state-of-the-art, high-speed, computer-processing electronics in which the timing of ultrashort electric pulses must be precise to ensure accurate computations.
Our Time Interval Interpolator IC is a compact, low-power integrated circuit that reliably, accurately, and inexpensively makes real-time measurements at picosecond time scales. Our patented comparator circuit is used to stabilize the time-interval base-line voltage, which increases accuracy and speed. The chip's output can also be monitored and corrected for interpolation errors, a capability that commercial time-interval expansion meters do not have. The start/stop reproducibility is 4 to 7 times greater than that of competitive systems, and the uniformity error is less than half that of competitive systems. The low-cost, low-power requirements and small size of our interpolator chip will enable its widespread use in high-resolution timing measurement and trigger devices.
Tomographic Gamma-Ray Scanner (TGS) for Measuring Radioactive Waste
The TGS is a nondestructive assay device for measuring an unlimited range of gamma-ray-emitting materials stored in sealed containers. It accounts for nonuniform distributions and provides a computer-generated reconstruction of the contents of a radioactive waste container.
- Nondestructive assay of gamma-ray-emitting radionuclides in nonuniform waste stored in sealed containers
- Location of gamma-ray-emitting materials inside sealed waste containers to facilitate repackaging
- Categorization of nuclear waste according to security and waste-acceptance criteria
The TGS not only reduces the cost of nuclear materials safeguards and radioactive waste disposal efforts but also leads to a reduction in personnel exposure to radiation during waste repackaging. It complements existing nondestructive assay technologies while overcoming some of their limitations. It is highly accurate even for large and/or dense containers. Finally, it is conducive to planned mobile applications and can be incorporated into hybrid and expert systems that tailor assay protocols to handle data from various sources.
Ultrasensitive Electrophoresis System
The Ultrasensitive Electrophoresis System takes an enormous leap in the capabilities of analytical instruments; it is faster, easier to use, more versatile, and more than 1,000 times more sensitive than comparable instruments. Developed for biochemical analyses, it can detect and identify a wide variety of both organic and inorganic molecules at very low concentrations. Our system can simultaneously analyze molecules with opposite charges, and it can detect virtually any molecule that migrates in a charged field and that fluoresces or can be labeled with a fluorescent tag.
Our system's rapid, continuous and ultrasensitive detection and identification capabilities open the door to a wide range of applications in many areas of science and technology:
- Medical diagnostics and research
- Molecular biology
- Environmental monitoring
- Quality control in pharmaceutical production and food processing
The Ultrasensitive Electrophoresis System's ability to detect and identify single molecules of specific proteins or nucleic acid sequences in dilute solutions may revolutionize health care by making it possible for physicians to diagnose infections, genetic disorders, and even some tumors much earlier than previously possible.