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National labs snare 9 innovation ‘Oscars’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Nuclear Security Administration national laboratories – Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore – have landed nine of R&D Magazine’s 2013 R&D 100 Awards, also known as the “Oscars of Innovation.”

The awards recognize a variety of technologies created by researchers, scientists and engineers from throughout the nuclear security enterprise, NNSA said in a news release.

“These awards recognize the tremendous value of our national labs,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in a statement. “Research and development at the national labs continues to help our nation address its energy challenges and pursue the scientific and technological innovations necessary to remain globally competitive.”

R&D Magazine presents the awards annually to the best technological advances at universities, private corporations and government labs around the world. These awards span industry, academia and government-sponsored research focusing on sophisticated testing equipment, innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items and high-energy physics.

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Past R&D 100 Award winners have included now well-known innovations such as the flashcube (1965), the automated teller machine (1973), the halogen lamp (1974), the fax machine (1975), the liquid crystal display (1980), the Kodak Photo CD (1991) and HDTV (1998).

The R&D 100 award recipients at Los Alamos National Laboratory were:

• Acoustic Wavenumber Spectroscopy, 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.

• Safire, which 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).

Sandia National Laboratories award winners were:

• A portable diagnostic device for Bacillus anthracis detection in ultralow resource environments. This Sandia anthrax detector cartridge, about the size of a pocket-sized music cassette, can detect anthrax through a microculture chamber that encourages a sparse sample of microorganism to grow to a detectable amount.

• GOMA 6.0, an open-source software available to those interested in simulating manufacturing processes. Goma 6.0 solves the underpinning equations of mass, momentum, energy and chemical species transport.

• Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators, a new plastic scintillator (instrument for detecting and measuring

Sandia researcher Patrick Doty, left, discusses the Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators he's holding in his gloved hand with colleagues Patrick Feng, center, and Mark Allendorf.  (Courtesy of Sandia Labs)

Sandia researcher Patrick Doty, left, discusses the Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators he’s holding in his gloved hand with colleagues Patrick Feng, center, and Mark Allendorf. (Courtesy of Sandia Labs)

ionizing radiation) that gives off more light at less cost and responds faster than current scintillators.

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The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory winners were:

• MicroTLC, or thin-layer chromatography, a miniaturized, field-portable kit that originally was developed to identify military explosives. MicroTLC has been modified to identify and determine the purity of illicit drugs, pesticides and other compounds.

• Superconducting tunnel junction X-ray spectrometer, a technology that offers more than 10 times higher energy resolution than current X-ray spectrometers based on silicon or germanium semiconductors.

• Extreme-power ultralow-loss dispersive element, a technical innovation that allows spectral beam combining to reach unseen output levels – a novel approach to combine beams from many small lasers to produce a single higher-power beam.

 

Rusty Steele, a chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, adjusts a convergent polisher for finishing flat and spherical glass optics.  (Courtesy Of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Rusty Steele, a chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, adjusts a convergent polisher for finishing flat and spherical glass optics. (Courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

• Convergent polishing, a new polishing method and system capable of finishing flat and spherical glass optics, regardless of a workpiece’s initial shape, in a single iteration.

Visit nnsa.energy.gov for more information.

 


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