NNSA National Labs, Y-12 Earn 11 R&D 100 Awards

Press Release
Jul 9, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites – Lawrence Livermore (LLNL), Los Alamos (LANL) and Sandia national laboratories, along with the Y-12 National Security Site – have received a total of 11 of R&D Magazine’s 2013 R&D 100 Awards. The awards recognize a variety of technologies created by researchers, scientists and engineers from throughout the nuclear security enterprise.

“My sincere congratulations to the winners of this year’s R&D 100 Awards,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The scientists and engineers who developed these award-winning technologies at the cutting-edge facilities across our national labs are keeping Americans at the forefront of the innovation community and assuring our nation’s economic competitiveness and national security.”

R&D Magazine presents the awards annually to the best technological advances at universities, private corporations and government laboratories around the world. The R&D 100 Awards are recognized as the “Oscars of Innovation” and have also been called “the Nobel prizes of technology.” First awarded in 1963 as the I-R 100s, many have become household names, helping shape everyday life for many Americans. The winning teams will receive their awards in November in Orlando, Fla.

Below are a list and summaries of the R&D 100 award recipients from throughout NNSA:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

  • R&D 100 Awards - LLNLDNA Tagged Reagents for Aerosol Experiments (DNATRAX) – DNATRAX is a safe and versatile material that can be used to reliably and rapidly diagnose airflow patterns and problems in both indoor and outdoor venues. The developers of this technology are: George Farquar, Elizabeth Wheeler, Ruth Udey, Beth Vitalis, Roald Leif, Brian Baker, Christine Hara, Cindy Thomas, Maxim Shusteff and Sally Hall.
  • Efficient Mode-Converters for High-Power Fiber Amplifiers – LLNL researchers have demonstrated a “mode-converter” system that enables the scaling of fiber-based lasers to high-power levels while allowing the laser to still be effectively focused. Winning team members are: Arun Kumar Sridharan, Paul Pax, Derrek Drachenberg, James Armstrong, John Heebner and Jay Dawson.
  • Laser SHIELD (Screening at High-throughput to Identify Energetic Laser Distortion) – The Laser SHIELD technology dramatically increases the operational flexibility and efficiency at the National Ignition Facility, the world’s largest laser. Among the team members that developed Laser SHIELD are: Jason Chou, Vincent Hernandez, Corey Bennett, Larry Pelz, Mark Bowers, John Heebner, Matthew Rever, Jean-Michel DiNicola, Jeff Jarboe, Gaylen Erbert, Mike Shaw, Kim Christensen, Larry K. Smith, Ernesto Padilla, Alex Deland, Don Browning, Tracy Budge, Kevin Williams, Nan Wong, Anthony Rivera, Adrian Barnes and Leyen Chang.
  • Movie Mode Dynamic Transmission Electron Microscopy – Using this revolutionary imaging technique, a range of fundamental and technologically important material and biological processes can be captured in action in complete nanoscale detail for the first time. Winning team members are: Thomas LaGrange, Bryan Reed, Glenn Huete, Richard Shuttlesworth and William DeHope, all of LLNL. The work was done in collaboration with Integrated Dynamic Electron Solutions of Danville.

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Los Alamos National Laboratory
R&D 100 Awards - LANL

  • MiniMAX – A battery powered, digital x-ray imaging system that is completely self-contained, lightweight, compact and portable. Its applications include homeland security (postal inspection of suspicious packages and explosive ordnance disposal), nondestructive testing, weld inspection, disaster relief (to triage broken bones and identify corpses with dental x-rays) and field and veterinary medicine. Joint entry with LANL, Leica Camera AG, JDS Uniphase and JENOPTIK Optical Systems, LLC.
  • KiloPower – This uses a nuclear fission system as a heat source that transfers heat via a heat pipe to a small Stirling-engine-based power convertor to produce electricity from uranium. 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. Joint entry with LANL, NASA Glenn Research Center and National Security Technologies, LLC.

  • Multi-Mode Passive Detection System (MMPDS) – A scanning device using muon particles from cosmic rays for quickly detecting unshielded to heavily shielded nuclear and radiological threats as well as explosives and other contraband. Joint entry with LANL and Decision Sciences International Corporation.

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 Sandia National Laboratories

  • R&D 100 Awards - SandiaMembrane Projection Lithography – This fabrication technique enables the creation of a diverse array of microscopic 3-D structures with macroscopic impact. For instance, the technique can be used to create 3-D integrated circuits, the next step in the evolution of 2-D microprocessors. It is also capable of creating structured electromagnetic materials. Currently, the technique is being licensed to make thermal antennas which can control the direction of heat emitted from an object, potentially easing cooling and heating needs for satellites or perhaps even buildings and cars.
  • Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT) – As alternative energies spread, many agencies are raising concerns over glare from solar energy installations and their impacts on pilots, air traffic controllers and motorists. SGHAT addresses new federal guidelines requiring quantified assessments of glare from proposed solar installations. The web-based tool can quickly locate a site, outline the proposed array and identify glare throughout the year, calculating the glare’s intensity and size to predict potential ocular hazards. The tool also can predict annual energy production of proposed arrays and evaluate alternative designs, layouts and locations to identify those configurations that maximize energy production while mitigating glare impact.

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LLNL, LANL, Sandia joint award

  • Mantevo Suite 1.0 – This suite of software prototypes or small sections of code allows computational scientists to measure the performance of new computing environments and helps in the design of future computing applications. Joint entry with Sandia, LANL and LLNL, the United Kingdom-based Atomic Weapons Establishment and Santa Clara-based NVIDIA Corp.

Y-12
R&D 100 Awards - Y-12

  • LISe™: A High-Efficiency Thermal Neutron Detector – The LISeTM, a high-efficiency thermal neutron detector, based on the 6LiInSe2 crystal, is the first large, single-crystal semiconductor of high resistivity that contains lithium and directly detects thermal neutrons with high efficiency. This solid-state neutron detector offers the significant advantages of portability, sensitivity, simplicity, and low cost.

    The B&W Y-12 development team of Ashley Stowe, senior development chemist, and Zane Bell, former senior scientist (now at Oak Ridge National Laboratory); and Arnold Burger, professor of Physics from Fisk University; developed this replacement technology for 3He thermal neutron detectors. The single-crystalline device will be used in handheld nuclear nonproliferation and homeland security applications to find fissile materials. Its simpler, more compact design and higher efficiency are key improvements that will appeal to users.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.