R&D 100 Awards Archives
Sandia used innovative data compression techniques to help physicians consult in real time over MRI pictures, though the amount of data transferred is normally huge and the healers may be thousands of miles from each other. Global-Link allows such rapid transmission of complex data that a doctor in the U.S. can confer with a doctor halfway around the world, viewing and manipulating 3-D MRI imagess in real time directly on each doctor's MRI computer. Similarly, oil team members can confer around the globe on observed data. So can military commanders. Extremely responsive interactions between an event and a remote, secure, high-resolution display are possible using Global-Link across the Internet. Results were achieved in collaboration with Logical Solutions, Inc., which is marketing the product.
A patented exploratory ion beam microscope system that does not require costly and complicated forming and focusing equipment. The system was invented and patented by, jointly with Quantar Technologies, which is marketing this invention. The multidimensional, high-resolution analysis system is called the Ion-Photon Emission Microscope (IPEM). It allows scientists and engineers to microscopically study the effects of single ions in air on semiconductors, semiconductor devices, and biological cells without having to focus the beam. The technique determines the position at which an individual ion enters the surface of a sample; thus, focusing a beam is unnecessary.
Colored LEDs are of interest for displays and even higher-power lamps like traffic lights. A national initiative is now underway to develop solid-state sources for high-efficiency white lighting. The cantilever epitaxy process of growing LEDs may help meet those needs. Over the past several years LEDs have been grown with various combinations of gallium nitride alloys on sapphire substrates. However, the atoms of the two materials do not line up perfectly due to differences in natural lengths of the bonds in their respective crystal lattices. Regions of imperfections, called dislocations, accompany this lattice mismatch. These dislocations limit LEDs’ brightness and performance. The new cantilever epitaxy process reduces the numbers of dislocations, giving the potential for longer-lived and better performing LEDs. It also means that LEDs grown on the patterned sapphire/gallium nitride substrates can produce brighter, more efficient, green, blue, and white lights than previously accomplished. Because of the reduction in dislocations, the cantilever epitaxy process shows “great promise for making a superior substrate for light-emitting devices” and has potential for applications to a wide variety of electronic devices and GaN integrated circuit technology. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is used to determine the amount of dislocations eliminated through the cantilever epitaxy process.
Lightning strikes, equipment failures, or other anomalies in electric powered transmission systems can cause brown-outs or even network failures. But a fast-response semiconductor device allows a utility to rapidly convert energy stored in a DC device into AC power and minimize the negative effects of such interruptions on electrical devices. Under the auspices of the DOE Energy Storage Systems Program, The advanced semiconductor unit called an ETO (emitter turn-off thyristor), is a three-terminal semiconductor device similar to a MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor/field effect transistor) but capable of switching greater power at high frequencies. The ETO, rated at 4000A and 4500V, can switch power at 1-3 kHz. The ETO R& D 100 application was a joint entry with Solitronics (a Blacksburg small business marketing the ETO), Virginia Tech (ETO inventor), Sandia (which supported the development of the ETO from a concept to an actual product suitable for utility energy storage applications), and the American Competitiveness Institute in Philadelphia (which assisted the team with manufacturing engineering and prototype production of the device).
Editor’s Choice Award, in addition to R&D 100 recognition. The award is “for the Greatest Improvement Upon an Existing Technology” and one of three technologies considered by R&D Magazine editors to be the most outstanding achievements among the 100 selected. More than 50 Sandians and collaborators from Lawrence Livermore (LLNL) and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories were honored for this technological advance that will lead to dramatic improvements in the speed and memory of computer systems. They created the only system that can pattern full chip-size areas on silicon wafers with features as small as 50nm. It is the embodiment of a set of groundbreaking technologies that were considered by many to be impossible as recently as a few years ago. Commercialization of this breakthrough will allow advances in microelectronics to continue into the next decade. In addition to the national laboratory team, the award is also being given jointly to Northrop Grumman Space Technology/Cutting Edge Optronics. The work was done in partnership with an industrial consortium comprising Intel, Motorola, AMD, Infineon, IBM, and Micron. Intel ordered the first production-level instrument based on this technology last year.
Sandia contributed to the opto-mechanical design and integration of a compact, transportable adaptive optics system that expands upon traditional devices currently used in optometrists’ offices. In addition to determining correction needed for near-sightedness or far-sightedness and astigmatism, it also determines correction needed for high-order aberrations that can interfere with night vision and can provide a preview of correction to a patient. The effects of aberrations can be compared to distortions seen in a pool due to ripples on the surface. Diminished night vision or a perception of “halos” can sometimes result from aberrations introduced during laser eye surgery. The Adaptive Optics Phoropter is a system that uses MEMS-based deformable mirror technology to correct wavefront aberrations in the eye. It combines technologies from astronomy and micromachining to advance the study and treatment of retinal diseases. Applications for the tool include generation of improved prescriptions for custom contact lenses or laser eye surgery, as well as high-resolution retinal imaging. The award is shared by LLNL, which led the project, Sandia, the University of Rochester, Wavefront Sciences, Boston Micromachines Corp., and Bausch & Lomb.
SnifferStar™ mounts on a drone aircraft for remote surveillance of battlefield situations where suspect plumes or clouds are present. The detector’s primary purpose is to save lives by warning soldiers that chemical weapons are present on a battlefield. Developed under a Shared Vision program with Lockheed Martin, the entire module weighs less than a golf ball, operates on less than 0.5 watts, and uses the wind generated by the motion of the craft to collect samples for analysis. SnifferStar is sensitive to both blister and nerve agents. It ignores common interferents and analyzes chemical warfare agents in 20 seconds. The device also has possibilities for use in or near the ventilation systems of buildings, or, with addition of small pumps to force air into the device, on posts surrounding military bases.
The MTR8500 is the first commercial fiber optic transponder to use12-channel, 1.25 gigabit per second transceivers coupled to 12-channel fiber ribbon cable for short haul applications. This parallel channel approach, enabled by microsystems inventions in optical transceivers, flexible circuit boards, optical power control, optoelectronic housing & mounting, and optical coupling has resulted in a transponder that can be manufactured for 1/10 the cost of other products. The project, funded by EMCORE Corporation, and was submitted by Sandia as a joint entry with EMCORE’s Fiber Optics Division of Albuquerque.
A new way to perform ion beam analyses without having to focus the high-energy ion beam. The IEEM was a joint entry between Sandia and Staib Instruments, Inc., Langenbach, Germany. Staib is now manufacturing the IEEM.
A team of researchers developed a new technique of growing large single crystals of cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) suitable for radiation detectors. The new solid-state radiation detectors are unique because they can operate at room temperature, detect X- and gamma-ray radiation with high efficiency, and uniquely identify the isotopes responsible for the emitted radiation. The team’s development of an improved technique to grow detector-grade CZT crystals and a new method to reduce the dark current flowing along the crystal surfaces have allowed for major improvements in the signal-to-noise ratio, long-term stability, and yield of single-crystal material. The technique was developed by Sandia; Yinnel-Tech Inc. in South Bend, Ind.; Techion, Israel Institute of Technology; and Fisk University.
Lockheed Martin NOVA Awards
Sandia Corporate Lean Six Sigma Awards