Four R&D 100 Awards won by Sandia
It’s hard to imagine that where the rubber literally hits the road, you’ll find Sandia Labs. But in this year’s R&D 100 awards — awarded by teams of technical experts selected by Chicago-based R&D Magazine — there was Sandia, a joint winner with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The Labs’ computational mechanics software was extensively applied by the company in the development of its new Assurance line of tires, particularly the TripleTred tire. Finite-element analysis was used to simulate and predict traction, wear, durability, and other performance characteristics of the TripleTred in bringing it from concept to market in less than a year.
Listed for special recognition at Sandia on the winning joint application are Martin Heinstein, Sam Key, Mark Blanford, and Ken Alvin (all 9142), Charles Stone (9127), Harold Morgan (9140), Greg Sjaardema (9143), Arlo Ames (15233), Deepesh Kholwadwala and Paul Wolfenbarger (both 15233), Bob Kerr (9226), and John Mitchell (2614).
And there was Sandia again, using innovative data compression techniques to help physicians consult in real time on 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 US can confer with a doctor halfway around the world, viewing and manipulating 3-D MRIs in realtime 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 of it are possible using Global-Link across the Internet.
Involved from Sandia are Perry Robertson (1751), Lyndon Pierson (5616), John Eldridge (9336), Ron Olsberg (5616), Larry Pucket (2993), andEd Witzke (9336). Results were achieved in collaboration with Logical Solutions, Inc.’s Ross Capen, Kevin Keefe, and Mark Remlin. The company is marketing the product.
Ion-Photon Emission Microscope
A third R&D 100 award was earned for an exploratory ion beam system that does not require costly and complicated forming and focusing equipment. The system was invented and patented by Barney Doyle (1111), jointly with Mike Mellon of 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.
The machine’s capabilities are identical with traditional single-ion nuclear microprobe analysis. It maps charge collection and other single-ion induced effects, such as logic upsets, in semiconductor and/or microelectronic devices. But expensive accelerators normally required can be avoided through use of radioactive sources. Also, because this full-field microscope uses light produced by the ions, IPEM can be performed in air, which is a requirement for diagnostic systems used for Radiation Effects Microscopy on large cyclotrons.
Also included on the award are Paolo Rossi of the University of Padova, Italy, and Floyd Del McDaniel of the University of North Texas, who both worked with Barney during sabbaticals at Sandia on the development of the IPEM. This is Barney’s third R&D 100 award, and his department’s fifth.
TEPIC structural foam
Last but not least, TEPIC is a rigid structural foam developed at Sandia/California that was designed originally to meet certain high-temperature and high-strength requirements for Defense Programs applications. Because it is dimensionally and mechanically stable to temperatures in excess of 200 degrees C, it meets processing requirements to be used as molding forms for advanced composite materials that cure at high temperatures. Formerly, only expensive metal tooling could meet this thermal challenge. Unlike many more conventional tooling materials, it can be processed in thick sections. Cost and weight savings should allow smaller businesses, with less capital investment, to process new composite structures, and in general enable incorporation of advanced structural composites in aerospace, military, automotive, and other consumer product industries
Team members include Steve Goods (8754), and LeRoy Whinnery, Tom Bennett, Pat Keifer, Chris Binns, and Tim Shepodd (all 8762). Also included on this award is Jim Sampson of Scion Industries, one of 2 licensees of TEPIC.
R&D 100 awards are the ‘Oscars of invention’
The annual contest attempts to select the best applied new technologies. One hundred winners are chosen from an international pool of contestants from universities, private corporations, and government labs.
Sandia often wins many of its awards in partnership with private companies, other labs, or universities. Recent emphasis on technology transfer has boosted the number of joint submissions.
The R&D 100 Awards — occasionally referred to by pundits as “the Nobel Prizes of technology” — were first awarded in 1963 as the I-R 100s, in keeping with the original name of the magazine, Industrial Research.
Many entries over the ensuing years became household names, including Polacolor film (1963), the flashcube (1965), the automated teller machine (1973), the halogen lamp (1974), the fax machine (1975), the liquid crystal display (1980), the printer (1986), the Kodak Photo CD (1991), the Nicoderm antismoking patch (1992), Taxol anticancer drug (1993), lab on a chip (1996), and HDTV (1998).
The sole criterion for winning, according to a description released by the magazine, is “demonstrable technological significance compared with competing products and technologies.” Properties noted by judges include smaller size, faster speed, greater efficiency, and higher environmental
The magazine has responded to new technologies by creating additional categories. Winners have been chosen in the fields of analytical instruments and processes, electronics, testing and measurement, software, environmental technology, and advanced biomedical devices and systems.
Winners are presented plaques at a formal banquet in Chicago in early fall.