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NNSA Nuclear Security Sites Net 18 R&D 100 Awards

The National Nuclear Security Administration is proud of the nation’s nuclear security sites for receiving 18 of this year’s R&D 100 Awards.

The National Nuclear Security Administration is proud of the nation’s nuclear security sites for receiving 18 of this year’s R&D 100 Awards. Read the press release here.

Detailed information about each award winner:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

  • GeMini Spectrometer - a portable gamma-ray spectrometer based on germanium technology. The instrument is so small that it fits in the palm of a hand, and this spectrometer is outfitted with an innovative low-powered, miniature cooling mechanism. GeMini was launched on NASA’s Mercury MESSENGER spacecraft and is now taking the first-ever gamma-ray data of the planet Mercury. GeMini also can be used to help prevent terrorists from smuggling nuclear materials into the country.
  • Artificial RetinaArtificial Retina - Restoring Sight to the Blind. LLNL has assisted in the development of the first long-term retinal prosthesis – called an “artificial retina” (see photo) - that can function for years inside the harsh biological environment of the eye. This work has been done in collaboration with Argonne, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Sandia national laboratories, the California Institute of Technology, the Doheny Eye Institute, North Carolina State University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, Second Sight Medical Products Inc. of Sylmar, Calif. and the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • FemtoScope - a time microscope - LLNL researchers have developed the fiber-optic-based FemtoScope, a time microscope that can be attached to the front end of any conventional recording instrument, such as an oscilloscope or streak camera. The FemtoScope can dramatically improve the performance of these traditional recording devices in the same way a high-performance lens improves a camera’s output. When the FemtoScope is combined with an optical streak camera, the system achieves a 20-fold increase in temporal resolution simultaneous with a 30-fold improvement in dynamic range for an overall improvement of 600 times compared to the performance of the streak camera alone. This breakthrough offers the potential to yield important insights into understanding the process of fusion energy burn.
  • ROSE compiler infrastructure - Making Compiler Technology Accessible to all Programmers. ROSE, a compiler infrastructure developed by LLNL computer scientists, radically changes the accessibility of compiler technologies, allowing access to average software developers and scientists. ROSE enables users to build their own computer tools, including defect detection tools to uncover undetected bugs, code optimization tools to maximize program performance and program transformation tools that allow users to easily develop programs for today’s fast changing hardware platform.
  • Land Mine Locator - Eradicating the Aftermath of War - The Land Mine Locator is a humanitarian aerial land mine detection system designed to lower the time and cost of demining operations, and vastly improve the safety to personnel and equipment. The locator is equipped with an array of ultra-wideband radar sensors and sophisticated subsurface tomography algorithms, both developed by LLNL, that provide exceptional quality subsurface images. These technologies are combined with Hystar, a revolutionary aerial vehicle with unique flight capabilities that permit remote, reusable and safe operation for sensor platforms. This work is performed in collaboration with First Alliance Technologies LLC of San Ramon, Calif. and Hystar Aerospace Corp. of Vancouver, Canada.
  • Spectral Sentry - Protecting High-Intensity Lasers from Bandwidth-Related Damage. Many of today’s research lasers have bandwidth – or multiple colors – added to their pulses to prevent laser damage. That damage can occur when the initial seed pulses for these lasers are amplified trillions of times, to extreme levels that push laser materials to their physical limits. Spectral Sentry is an advanced technology developed by LLNL scientists and engineers to protect critical laser systems from pulses that contain insufficient bandwidth for amplification. The device inspects each individual laser pulse – traveling at up to 186,000 miles per second and generated by the laser it is protecting -- and then determines if the pulse meets the minimum bandwidth requirements to avoid self-destruction when amplified. Spectral Sentry can stop the speed-of-light pulse it just measured from further amplification, avoiding potential laser damage.
  • Laser Beam Centering and Pointing System - Until now, two separate sensors were needed for laser beams, one for centering and another for pointing. Now, the Laser Beam Centering and Pointing System does the work of two sensors by using a special dual-imaging lens, which acts like a bifocal, to capture both images simultaneously and combine them into one.
  • Precision Robotic Assembly Machine - for Building Nuclear Fusion Ignition Targets. LLNL scientists and engineers have developed the precision robotic assembly machine to manufacture the small and complex laser-driven fusion ignition targets for the world’s largest and most energetic laser, the National Ignition Facility.


Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Mark Dunham, TeraOps Software RadioLasonix - A new approach for fabricating insulators, semiconductors, and metallic conductors to form standard semiconductor microcircuits, metallic connections and pathways, and vertically integrated circuits.
  • MagViz - MagViz is the first product based on a new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—a form that uses ultralow magnetic fields. MagViz noninvasively scans containers of liquids and gels, detects explosive liquids in less than a minute, and makes current airline liquid restrictions obsolete. Watch this YouTube video for more information about MagViz technology.
  • The SIMTECHE CO2 Capture Process - This process captures and compresses the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by advanced fossil fuel power plants and other industrial operations.
  • TeraOps Software Radio - The TeraOps Software Radio (see photo) moves the concept of software-defined radio into space, where it can be used to dramatically extend the lifetimes of electronic systems aboard satellites and in space payloads. The components that make up the TeraOps Software Radio are compact, lightweight, cost-effective, and most important, are adapted from commercial off-the-shelf products.

Sandia National Laboratories

  • High-Temperature Silicon Carbide Power Module - This module converts electrical energy from one form to another and reduces the size and volume of power electronic systems. Applications are in hybrid and electric vehicles, renewable energy interfaces, and aircraft.
  • Catamount N-Way (CNW) Lightweight Kernel - This leverages hardware capabilities of multicore processors to deliver significant improvements in data access performance for parallel computing applications. CNW provides enhanced data access capabilities beyond other equivalent operating systems by employing a new technique that targets memory bandwidth.
  • Ultralow-Power Silicon Microphotonic Communications Platform - The ultrasmall components establish a platform of elements capable of addressing the bandwidth and power consumption problems of high-performance computer and data communications networks.  Silicon resonant modulators, demonstrate for the first time, sub-100-femtojoules/bit (i.e. 100-microwatts/gigabit/second) optical data transmission on a silicon CMOS-compatible platform.  Together with the first high-speed silicon bandpass switches, the platform enables optical data transmission and routing on a silicon platform at nanosecond switching speeds with up to 100-times less power consumption and 100-times the bandwidth density compared to traditional electronic approaches.
  • NanoCoral Dendritic Platinum Nanostructures - An innovative nanotechnology for producing platinum catalysts. It offers unique control over the shape, size, porosity, composition, stability, and other functional properties of platinum nanostructures compared with those achieved by existing methodologies.
  • Hyperspectral Confocal Fluorescence Microscope System - This system rapidly finds all emitting fluorescence species of an image, determining their relative concentrations without any a priori information. This patent-pending technology has been combined with Sandia’s proprietary algorithms.

Nevada Test Site

  • Microscopy - High-Resolution UV Holography Lens for Particle Size Distribution Measurements.

Additional Awards Supported by Funding from NNSA

Compact Gamma Camera for High-resolution Imaging of Prostate Cancer (Brookhaven National Laboratory) - A compact gamma camera for high-resolution imaging of prostate cancer. The camera system, called ProxiScan, is a nuclear medical instrument that can localize cancer tissue in the prostate gland in detail at an early stage, which is important for the successful diagnosis and early treatment of the potentially deadly disease. This camera utilizes CZT detectors, which have fostered the development of new instruments for measuring radiation. Numerous medical, industrial, scientific, environmental and homeland-security applications exist for this technology, including handheld instruments to reduce the trafficking of nuclear materials and portable field instruments for environmental monitoring and remediation. Click here for more information.
Microstructured Neutron Detectors (Kansas State University) - The compact detectors are mass produced in the Kansas State University (KSU) Semiconductor Materials and Radiological Technologies (SMART) Laboratory, a semiconductor fabrication laboratory dedicated to radiation detector research. Mass production lowers cost and allows for wide-scale detector deployment for detection of illicit nuclear materials, monitoring of international safeguards agreements regarding nuclear materials, personnel protection, public as well as personnel and nuclear security at large mass gatherings.