Researchers at ten of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) national laboratories and the Y-12 National Security Complex have won 37 of the 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine for the most outstanding technology developments of 2012. The awards are presented annually in recognition of exceptional new products, processes, materials or software that were developed throughout the world and introduced into the market the previous year.
Office of Science labs earned 18 R&D 100 Awards. Here's a look at this year's winners:
Argonne National Laboratory
- Miraj Diamond™ Platform: The Miraj Diamond™ Platform consists of the combination of two newly developed diamond technologies – a low-temperature nanocrystalline diamond deposition technology and an efficient n-type semiconductor doping process. The combination allows for a commercially feasible approach to creating cheaper better devices that rely on integrated circuits, which could transform telecommunications, defense and aviation electronics. (Jointly developed by AKHAN Technologies.)
- The Rhodobacter Membrane Protein Expression System: This system allows researchers to create much larger amounts of membrane protein that was ever before available, driving down production costs and making studies of membrane proteins easier both in terms of scalability and purification. This could aid researchers in better understanding the structures of those essential proteins.
- Nanocomposite Charge Drain Coatings: This technology represents a significant breakthrough in the laboratory's efforts to develop microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS. One of the most significant potential obstacles to the creation of these devices lies in the fact that electrons can sometimes become trapped in the substrate. Argonne scientists used atomic layer deposition to create extremely thin coatings that would enable the material to function more efficiently.
Read more about these projects at http://www.anl.gov/.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- High-throughput NIMS Screening; for low-cost, large-scale molecular samples: High-Throughput Nanostructure-Initiator Mass Spectrometry (HT-NIMS) is a high-speed chemical screening system that can precisely determine the molecular composition of thousands of samples arrayed on a small slide of silicon at speeds 100 times faster than conventional methods. (San Diego, Calif.-based Nextval Inc. was a co-inventor with researchers at Berkeley Lab.)
- Bacteriophage Power Generator; harnessing a virus to generate electricity: The Bacteriophage Power Generator generates power using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity, providing a sustainable, cost-effective, nontoxic energy source capable of powering electronics and microdevices.
- Better Batteries with a Conducting Polymer Binder: The Conducting Polymer Binder is a new material for use in rechargeable batteries which is strong, elastic, porous and highly conductive, and can boost power storage capacity by 30 percent.
- On-demand Secure Circuits and Reservation System (OSCARS); faster networks for science: OSCARS is a software service that creates dedicated bandwidth channels needed by scientists who must move massive, time-critical data sets between collaborators and computing centers around the world.
- Universal Smart Window Coating: This technology enables dynamic control over how much of the sun's heat and light enters a building through its windows, reducing the need for both air-conditioning and artificial lighting. Its low cost, minimal power requirements and responsiveness are expected to drive wide deployment and make a significant impact on energy consumption.
- Berkeley Lab Campanile Probe; Nano-Optical Imaging: The Campanile Probe delivers nanoscale information about material composition and behavior with a resolution 100 times greater than what is now possible, yet is straightforward to use. That will help researchers design the materials of tomorrow, be they faster semiconductors, cheaper solar cells, or better drugs.
- Optically-Detected Oil Well Logging by MRI (OWL-MRI): OWL-MRI measures the distribution and quality of oil and gas in large geological formations and the physical properties that most influence the economic and environmental expense of petrochemical extraction. It can increase the accuracy and speed of oil-well logging measurements by a factor of 10 to 100, reducing the cost of oil exploration as well as the environmental impact of its extraction.
- VOTO™: VOTO™ is an innovative device based on a solid oxide fuel cell that is powered by burning charcoal, wood and other types of biomass – even cow dung – the types of fuel that many in the developing world use for cooking. The fuel cell sits in the fire and is attached to circuitry in a handle that is charged as the fuel cell heats up to temperatures of 700 to 800 degrees Celsius. The handle, which contains an LED bulb, can then be detached and used for lighting or to charge a phone. (Co-developed by Point Source Power.)
Read more about these projects at: http://www.lbl.gov/.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- ClimateMaster Trilogy 40 Q-Mode Geothermal Heat Pump: This water-to-air packaged heat pump provides significantly lower energy costs, reduces peak demand for electricity and provides environmental benefits, especially through reductions in greenhouse gases and pollutants. (Developed by ClimateMaster and ORNL through a cooperative research and development agreement.)
- Distribute The Highest Selected Textual Recommendation: This patent-pending technology automates the discovery of selected information from massive dynamic streams of text, which can aid in the discovery of threats and help law enforcement agencies safeguard the nation. It is also ideally suited for matching resumes from job applicants to job openings.
- V-shaped External Cavity Laser Diode Array: This technology gives an efficient method to extract a high-quality laser beam from a broad-area laser array. The result is a laser source with high brightness and wavelength tunability that has applications in spectroscopy, laser radar, material surface processing and optical communications, sensing and metrology.
- SYMMETRIX HPX-F Nanocomposite Separator for Improved Lithium Ion Battery: This breakthrough membrane technology lowers lithium ion battery costs and improves safety through the replacement of polymer separators. It could affect electric vehicles, grid storage applications, portable electronic applications, filters, barrier fabrics, transdermal drug delivery and toxic chemical absorption. (Jointly developed by Porous Power Technologies LLC)
- Adaptable I/O System for Big Data, or ADIOS: ADIOS is a portable, scalable, easy-to-use software framework conceived to solve "big data" problems. It significantly reduces the input or output complexities encountered by scientists running on high performance computers, along with reducing their time to solution, which allows researchers to spend more time achieving scientific insight and less time managing data. (Developed jointly with Georgia Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, and North Carolina State University.)
- Da Vinci Fuel-in-Oil, or DAFIO™: This technology uses a fiber optic probe to obtain real-time measurements of oil in an operating engine to quantify the fuel dissolved in the lubricant oil. That enables combustion engineers to rapidly assess any issues related to fuel dilution of oil during development of efficient, clean and reliable engines. (Jointly developed with Da Vinci Emissions Services Ltd. and Cummins Inc.)
Read more about these projects at: http://www.ornl.gov/.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- The Combined Orthogonal Mobility & Mass Evaluation Technology (CoMet): is an instrument that quickly and effectively analyzes complex biological and environmental samples; abilities which can be crucial in biomedical research, clinical practices, natural product management and environmental studies.
Read more about this project at http://www.pnl.gov/.
The Department's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information please visit http://science.energy.gov/about. For more information about other DOE R&D 100 Awardees, please go to: http://science.energy.gov/about/honors-and-awards/rd-100-awards/.