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NNSA sites take home 15 R&D Awards

R&D Magazine named 15 NNSA lab projects as winners in the 53rd annual R&D 100 Awards, which honor the 100 most innovative technologies and services of the past year.

The winners were selected by an independent panel of more than 70 judges. The R&D 100 Awards are often referred to as the “Oscars of Invention.”

NNSA winners:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Zero-order Reaction Kinetics

This software package speeds up simulations of chemical systems by 1,000-fold over methods traditionally used for internal combustion engine research.

Large-Area Projection Micro-Stereolithography

A three-dimensional printing instrument that 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.

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.

Los Alamos National Laboratory
SHMTools Structural Health Monitoring 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.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Columnar Hierarchical Auto-associative Memory Processing in Ontological Networks

Scientists designed CHAMPION to use human analysts and historical data to learn about the company it's protecting. Starting with advanced Semantic Web technologies, which translate human knowledge into something that's machine readable, CHAMPION then uses descriptive logic to reason whether activity is suspicious. For example, if a retail company's HVAC data back-up account tries to access the point-of-sale system, CHAMPION could use historical data to conclude that this is unusual. Once identified, the software alerts an analyst of the suspicious activity — in time to potentially thwart an attack. Cybersecurity isn't CHAMPION's only trick. Change its diet of knowledge and the software can learn to analyze financial services or health care data.

Hydrothermal Processing to Convert Wet Biomass into Biofuels

The ability to make useful fuels out of biological materials like plants has long been possible. The difficulty has been doing so economically. The technology created by the PNNL team hurdles previous challenges by making it possible to skip a long, expensive, energy-intensive step that most processes require — drying out the raw material. Instead, the PNNL process works directly with the wet slurry of raw material, be it a waste stream from thousands of homes, scraps from a food-processing facility, or long strands of algae.

Power Model Integrator: A system for more accurate energy forecasts

The Power Model Integrator is a new forecasting tool that delivers up to a 50-percent increase in accuracy and the potential to save millions of dollars in wasted energy costs. Energy forecasters working for utilities and other power organizations currently rely on a combination of personal experience, historical data and their own preferred forecasting model. Each model tends to excel at capturing certain grid behaviors, but not necessarily the whole picture

Pressurized magic angle spinning technology for nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

A PNNL team created a way to make a sophisticated scientific tool much more useful for a variety of studies, including several aimed at answering important questions about energy and the environment. The method boosts our ability to look at complex samples under conditions that more closely mimic their real-world environments. The technology brings together the power of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which yields a remarkable peek into molecular interactions.

Subambient Pressure Ionization with Nanoelectrospray source

SPIN builds on a previous PNNL creation of a device known as the Electrodynamic Ion Funnel. The ion funnel comprises a series of electrically charged rings that effectively funnel charged particles of interest into a small space where they can be measured and manipulated. But collecting those particles and getting them into the ion funnel is challenging. Many escape before passing through the small aperture into the funnel. The new development, known as SPIN or Subambient Pressure Ionization with Nanoelectrospray, eliminates this problem by removing the aperture completely. The ion source now creates and sends particles to the funnel in a single system under the same atmospheric conditions, at just one-tenth the atmospheric pressure on top of Mt. Everest. As a result, nearly 50 times as many gas-phase ions enter the mass spectrometer than without SPIN.

Sandia National Laboratories
6.5kV Enhancement-Mode Silicon Carbide JFET Switch

A low-loss power switch based on a novel silicon carbide junction field-effect transistor will improve the efficiency of next-generation power conversion systems used in energy storage, renewable energy and military applications, as well as data center power distributions.

Lightweight Distributed Metric Service

Monitoring software provides detailed awareness of the system-wide performance of high performance computers and applications in production environments.

Integrated Circuit Identification

Authenticates integrated circuits, detects counterfeit electronics and verifies individuals’ identities and their transactions using a unique device signature and cryptographically secure challenge-response protocol.

CO2 Memzyme

An ultra-thin membrane that is the first cost-effective technology for carbon dioxide separation and capture to meet and exceed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) targets for helping to reduce the threat of climate change. This invention also won the R&D 100 contest’s Green Technology Special Recognition Gold Award.

LED Pulser

Uses light-emitting diodes instead of expensive lasers to provide high-brightness, rapidly pulsed, multicolor light for scientific, industrial or commercial uses. The Pulser’s small LED (light-emitting diode) source permits better detection of ignition via high-speed imaging and already has resulted in better understanding of injection, combustion and emissions formation in diesel engines.

Y-12 National Security Complex
Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic Sensing The 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.