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 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
Sandia National Laboratories
Nevada Test Site
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.