R&D Magazine named 18 NNSA lab projects as finalists for the 53rd annual R&D 100 Awards, which honor the 100 most innovative technologies and services of the past year.

Finalists were selected by an independent panel of more than 70 judges. This year’s Finalists represent many of industry’s leading organizations and national laboratories, as well as many newcomers to the R&D 100 Awards, often referred to as the “Oscars of Invention.”

This year’s winners will be presented with their honors at the annual black-tie awards dinner in November in Las Vegas.

Among the finalists were:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Harsh Environment Tag (HET) SystemThis technology for first responders is ideally suited for time-sensitive and real-time inventory or personnel tracking in harsh radio frequency signal environments. The entry is a finalist in four categories -- process/prototyping, software/services, market disruptor product and corporate social responsibility. This technology is being developed in collaboration with Pleasanton-based Dirac Solutions Inc.
Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)-based Adaptive-Optics Confocal Microscope

Using the latest advances in adaptive optics and MEMS, this technology revolutionizes deep tissue imaging, providing unprecedented in vivo optical images at the molecular level. The technology is a finalist is two categories -- analytical test and market disruptor product. The work has been performed in conjunction with the University of California, Santa Cruz and Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Boston Micromachines Corp.

Zero-order Reaction Kinetics (Zero-RK)

This software package is an innovative computational method that speeds up simulations of chemical systems by 1,000-fold over methods traditionally used for internal combustion engine research. The entry is a finalist in the software/services category.

Large-Area Projection Micro-Stereolithography

A three-dimensional printing instrument, the device can fabricate products of substantial size yet contain highly detailed features in contrast to other 3D printing techniques that generally have to sacrifice overall product size to achieve small features. It is a finalist in the process/prototyping category.

Dilation X-ray Imager

This imager is the world's fastest two-dimensional X-ray framing camera with 10-fold better temporal resolution than existing cameras. It can survive in environments with 10 times higher neutron backgrounds compared to conventional X-ray cameras. The technology is a finalist in the market disruptor product category.  LLNL researchers collaborated on this effort with two companies, San Diego-based General Atomics and Kentech Instruments Ltd. of Great Britain.

High-Power Intelligent Laser Diode System

This laser system employs advances in laser diodes and electrical drivers to achieve two-to-three-fold improvements in peak output power and intensity over existing technology, in a 10 times more compact form that can scale to even larger arrays and power levels. The technology is a finalist in the information technology/electrical category. LLNL collaborated on the laser system with Lasertel of Tucson, Arizona.

  Los Alamos National Laboratory
 LARS 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.
 PipeLIBS 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.

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 the data at once. MDHIM provides a solution to this complicated problem by identifying, retrieving and analyzing smaller subsets of data.


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.

  Nevada National Security Site
 Argus Fisheye Velocimetry ProbeBuilding on technology from the Multiplexed Photonic Doppler Velocimeter, a portable optical velocimetry system that simultaneously measures up to 32 discrete surface velocities onto a single digitizer by multiplexing signals in frequency and time, the Argus Fisheye Probe measures the velocity distribution of an imploding surface along many lines of sight. Laser light, directed and scattered back along each beam on the surface, is collected into the launching fiber. The received light provides a continuous time record. The probe measures surface movement. It is used to better assist scientists in understanding the material behavior in shock physics experiments.
Sandia National Laboratories
LED Pulser

The Sandia LED Pulser uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) rather than lasers to provide rapidly pulsed, multi-color, very bright light for scientific, industrial, or commercial uses, and can be used in applications formerly possible only with far more expensive light sources. Using custom electronic circuitry, it drives high-power LEDs to generate light pulses with shorter duration, higher repetition frequency, and higher intensity than do commercial off-the-shelf LED drivers. The Pulser already has been used in several research studies that helped design and optimize cleaner and more efficient engines, which could, in turn improve local air quality and public health.

  Y-12 National Security Complex
 LISe Thermal Neutron ImagerLTNI was developed through a collaboration with three Tennessee universities. The imager builds upon a lithium crystal that won an R&D 100 Award in 2013. Applications for the imager include research, diagnostics/medical imaging, law enforcement and national security.
Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic SensingThe product of a three-year Y-12-university collaboration, ChIMES is an inexpensive, small and portable chemical sensor with virtually limitless applications, including detection of chemical and biological warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, explosives and illegal drugs.
Sep 25, 2015 at 6:00 am

Defense Programs award winners at the National Security CampusMore than 200 individuals from several National Security Campus teams received recognition this week for their work supporting NNSA’s 2014 Defense Programs.

Mark Holecek, KCFO Site Manager, presented the awards in a special ceremony on September 14 to the eight teams, including the KCRIMS Requalification; W87 Filled Elastomer Production; Encapsulation Process for Electronic Assemblies; W80 ALT 369 Firing Set Assembly Reprocessing; B61-12 LEP Trainers Product Realization Team; Surveillance Disassembly; High Speed Video; B61 JTA Modernization; and Header Working Group.The ninth award went to engineer Ellen Kirk for her significant impact to the NSC encapsulation process, including a $1 million cost savings in support of the W76-1 and an operator training program.

The awards recognize on an annual basis the contributions of work performed in support of the Stockpile Stewardship Program. The awards are given for significant achievements in quality, productivity, cost savings, safety or creativity in support of the nuclear weapons program.

Sep 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm
SNL's Mitch Williams prepares to disassemble the 242 computers
Sandia National Laboratories electronics technologist Mitch Williams prepares the disassembly of 242 computers for delivery to Northern Humboldt Union High School District in McKinleyville, California.


Retired computers used for cybersecurity research at Sandia National Laboratories have found a new life at Northern Humboldt Union High School District in McKinleyville, California.

Thanks to Sandia, 242 computers were donated to the school district to help improve the math and science education curricula in five schools serving seven communities on California’s rural northern coast. The computers also will help improve technical and science education research activities at the district.

The computers were used as virtual machines at Sandia’s California site to emulate large networks of computers. Sandia’s California site ran hundreds to thousands of virtual machines (full instances of an operating system such as Windows) on each physical machine. A cluster of 521 machines could emulate a network of up to half a million computers, as described here.

Click to learn more.

Sep 23, 2015 at 10:00 am

The Cygnus machine

Cygnus, a dual-axis flash X-ray radiography system designed by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and jointly constructed and operated with National Securities Technologies and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), has fired its 3,000th shot. Originally envisioned for a single series of subcritical experiments, Cygnus has been a workhorse for more than a decade. The Aug. 27 milestone shot was performed by a team from the NNSS, SNL and LANL and used surrogate detonators to test the firing system to ensure that signals for diagnostics are correctly timed. The two locomotive-size X-ray machines, Cygnus-1 and Cygnus-2, are 1,000 feet underground.

Sep 11, 2015 at 8:00 am

Savannah River National Laboratory’s F/H Analytical Laboratories have achieved ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, which represents an independent validation of two analytical methods against a set of world-class specifications.

The accreditation was formally awarded by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, a non-profit, non-governmental body that provides world-class accreditation services for testing and calibration laboratories. Learn more here.

Sep 8, 2015 at 11:00 am

Steve Lawrence,left, and Ray Juzaitis

National Security Technologies (NSTec), the primary contractor at the Nevada National Security Site, has been recognized by the Department of Energy for excellence in occupational safety and health protection. National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Field Office Manager Steve Lawrence, left, presented NSTec President Ray Juzaitis with a special VPP Superior Starr plaque. Earlier this year, the company participated in a rigorous two-week review of an array of safety and health procedures and programs. This is the fifth year in a row that NSTec has been awarded the prestigious VPP Superior Star. “I am very happy that we have again been recognized,” NSTec President Ray Juzaitis said. “We are strongly committed to safety in all the company’s operations, and this honor validates that our safety program continues to move in the right direction.”

Sep 8, 2015 at 8:00 am

Labor Day is dedicated to the achievements of American workers and the contributions they made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  Labor Day weekend also unofficially marks the end of summer and unfortunately is a time historically associated with increased mishaps.  During your festivities with friends and family, please make safety a priority.

As we pay tribute to the American workforce, we wish to thank you for your service.  We are proud to work alongside every one of you.  Over this Labor Day weekend, be safe, take a well-deserved break, and come back to work refreshed.

We wish you and your family a wonderful weekend.

Frank Klotz and Madelyn Creedon

“Mission First, People Always”

SRS emergency training

SRS emergency training

Trident laser facility at LANL

Trident laser facility at LANL



Nevada National Security Site


Sandia researchers prepare pods

Sep 4, 2015 at 11:00 am

National Security Campus employees commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II by sharing stories of their loved ones, viewing photographs and documents with Truman Library historians and listening to WWII veteran Max DeWeese reminisce about his experience in the war.


The August 13 event was inspired by the National Spirit of ’45 Day, a way to honor the achievements of America’s "greatest generation" and their example of courage, self-sacrifice, and national unity. In 2010, Congress voted unanimously to recognize the Spirit of ’45 in August, coinciding with the anniversary of August 11, 1945, the day President Truman announced the end of World War II.

Seventy years later employees at the National Security Campus continue to carry out the mission that was paved by Truman and the veterans who served during WWII.


Aug 28, 2015 at 8:00 am

In an ongoing effort to build a sustainable STEM pipeline between DOE’s sites/labs and historically black colleges and universities, the National Security Campus (NSC) helped form the Advanced Manufacturing Consortium under the Minority Serving Institutes Partnership Program (MSIPP).

This year MSIPP funded three NSC student interns from Hampton University and Howard University to further the Advanced Manufacturing Consortium. These students were given assignments in Physical Properties Testing, Product Design, and Modeling & Simulation – three key focus areas for the NSC in the support of continued Advanced Manufacturing Technology.


Student interns presented results from their internship assignments. In the audience were NNSA’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Dmitri Kusnezov, and the MSIPP Federal Program Manager, Cory Jackson.

In addition to attending the student presentations, Dr. Kusnezov and Mr. Jackson met with NNSA and NSC leaders, shared their vision for the MSIPP program, and were given a tour of the facility. Dr. Kusnezov praised NSC’s role in the Advanced Manufacturing Consortium and noted that hands-on participation is imperative for students in the STEM field.

The MSIPP is designed to enrich the STEM capabilities of HBCUs in a sustainable manner that aligns with the broad interests of DOE sites and emphasizes the entire career pipeline. The partnership also provides STEM students with the cutting-edge resources and technology housed at DOE facilities, ultimately increasing STEM student retention. 

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Deputy Secretary Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall traveled to the National Security Campus to visit the new campus and thank employees for their service on August 25. The Deputy Secretary made stops at several tour locations to get a first-hand look at the advanced manufacturing operations. 
During the visit, she got an inside look at the NSC’s Additive Manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing capabilities. AM has opened up a world of design options used to create innovative and timely solutions for the broader national security mission. While additive techniques can create traditional parts, it also allows greater design flexibility to create parts that are hollow inside, have a complex geometry, or even a part within a part.

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm