|ORNL has won a total of 85 R&D 100 awards.|
In 1996 ORNL received six R&D 100 awards from R&D magazine, bringing ORNL's total for these coveted awards to 85. However, three former or present employees were named on three additional R&D 100 awards. Winning entries and researchers from the Laboratory are
|Tuan Vo-Dinh (left), Kelly Houck, and David Stokes are developers of the R&D 100 Awardwinning surface-enhanced Raman gene probe, which is used to detect multiple DNA biotargets such as gene sequences, bacteria, and viral DNA fragments. Photograph by Tom Cerniglio.|
|ORNL researchers (from left) Patrick Oden, Bruce Warmack, and Thomas Thundat received an R&D 100 Award for two technologiesthe noncontact micromechanical thermometer and microcantilever mercury vapor sensor. Photograph by Tom Cerniglio.|
|ORNL researchers John Bates and Nancy Dudney think the thin-film lithium battery they developed could be useful in a variety of applications, especially those with size constraints. The battery, which won an R&D 100 Award in 1996, is fabricated on one side of the ceramic substrate and provides power to the circuit on the opposite side. Photograph by Tom Cerniglio.|
|ORNL researchers Ron Feenstra (left) and Lynn Boatner believe their new potassium tantalate substrate will be useful in making large wafers for the growth of oxide superconducting films. Their invention earned an R&D 100 Award. Photograph by Tom Cerniglio.|
Gencell 101 by Craig Dees, a former ORNL scientist. Gencell 101 is an inexpensive alkaline cellulase enzyme produced by a species of bacteria belonging to a newly identified genus. The most immediate potential application of Gencell 101 is in textile finishing. For example, the bacterial enzyme could be used to "stone wash" jeans without stones, replacing the fungal enzyme, which ultimately may be more expensive. It also has potential for commercial application in areas where cellulase is being used, such as food processing, detergents, drain cleaners, and septic system treatments. In addition to being cultivated for the enzyme, the bacteria may be used for waste treatment. (For details, see the Review, Vol. 28, No. 4, 1995.)
|Craig Dees received an R&D 100 Award for Gencell 101, an inexpensive alkaline cellulase produced by a species of bacteria from a newly identified genus. Gencell 101 may be used for textile finishing, food processing, and producing detergents. Photograph by Tom Cerniglio.|
In addition to ORNL's six R&D 100 awards, this year three others have strong ORNL connections.
Fahmy Haggag, who worked in the Metals and Ceramics Division for nine years until he left ORNL a few months ago to concentrate on his company, Advanced Technology Corporation, received an R&D 100 award for his portable/in-situ stress-strain microprobe system. The nondestructive testing device evaluates welds by making small dents. A nonportable version of the device is being used at ORNL to evaluate nuclear reactor pressure vessels. Haggag entered his invention privately.
Tommy Phelps of the Environmental Sciences Division was a player in a Westinghouse Savannah River Technology Center winning entry. The PHOSter method for phosphate-accelerated bioremediation system uses triethyl phosphate to clean up sites polluted with chlorinated hydrocarbons or petroleum. Also listed on the award were Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education postdoctoral researcher Susan Pfiffner (who is also Phelps' spouse) and Savannah River's Brian Looney, Terry Hazen, and Ken Lombard.
Finally, Buddy Bland of ORNL's Center for Computational Sciences was named as a liaison on a winning entry by Sandia National Laboratories and Giganet Corporation for their OC-12C communications board. According to Bland, ORNL helped test the board for real-life applications.
The plane jounces forward 50 feet or so, then bounds into the air and climbs steeply. Just as it clears the treeline, the plane catches a gust of wind, flips onto its back, and plummets earthward. But with a flick of his wrist, Farmer coolly rights the plane and spirals it upward a thousand feet.
ORNL's radio-controlled airplane shown flying.
Farmer, clearly, is an expert pilot. As a matter of fact, Farmer is outstanding in the fielder, make that standing out in the field: He's flying the planea model aircraft with an eight-foot wingspanby radio control. A few steps away, ORNL geophysicist Jon Nyquist huddles over a video monitor and helps Farmer navigate to their target, a waste facility they're photographing from the air to document new construction.
"You're over the bridge now," Nyquist calls. "Okay, you're approaching the facility. Get ready; shoot. Again. Again." Farmer presses a button on his radio console; a half-mile away, in the belly of the plane, a 35-mm camera blinks three times.
From takeoff to turnaround, the mission will last about 15 minutesand cost a small fraction of what a conventional aerial photograph would cost. "Three years ago," says Nyquist, "we spent a couple million dollars to get an aerial survey of the entire Oak Ridge Reservation." Those photos, taken from a full-size aircraft at 4000 feet, showed features ranging from historic log cabins to reactor cooling-water pipes. Assembled into a huge photo mosaic, the survey functioned as a detailed snapshot of the government reservation as of 1993.
But that was then; this is now. And nowas alwaysthings are changing: trees come down, buildings go up, roads get rerouted. For planners, engineers, or environmental scientists, an aging snapshot, no matter how detailed, becomes progressively less useful.
ORNL's radio-controlled airplane, being held by Dave Farmer, is used to map the Oak Ridge Reservation.
Nyquist, a geophysicist in ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division, hit upon the idea of using smaller, cheaper model aircraft to update the aerial survey's myriad photoscalled "tiles"quickly and cheaply when the need arose. As luck would have it, Farmera technician in Nyquist's sectionhad years of experience building and flying radio-controlled airplanes as a hobby. Over the past two years, they've put together a small fleet of small aircraftseven in all, including a helicopter that can hover just like the big ones. Now, tile by tile, they're updating the aerial photos to show new construction, land-use changes, and other differences as they arise.
But how do they match their shots, snapped from 500 feet, with the earlier survey's photos from nearly 10 times that altitude? The answer lies in computer trickery. "It's done by 'rubber-sheeting' the image," says Nyquist. "If you've got some control points that you know match upbuildings, groundwater monitoring wells, cooling towersthe computer can bend and stretch the rest of the image to fit. It's like putting a patch on a quilt." Or like morphing from face to face in a music video.
|But updating aerial photos is just the beginning of ORNL's plans for the radio-controlled air force. One plane will be looking for buried drums of waste.|
So far Nyquist and Farmer have flown about 50 missions, logging about 20 hours in the air. But updating aerial photos is just the beginning of Nyquist's plans for the radio-controlled air force. He's now equipping one of the planes with a magnetometer, an instrument that can be used to prospect for iron oreor detect buried drums of nuclear or chemical waste. Soon he hopes to add a receiver that can pick up the very-low-frequency radio waves the U.S. Navy uses to communicate with submarines around the globe. By reading changes in those radio waves as they're warped by power lines, pipelines, and geologic faults, he'll get an additional layer of data on features above and below the ground.
And by digitizing all the electromagnetic data and merging it with the photos, Nyquist hopes to build a multilayered geophysical picture of the Oak Ridge Reservation and post it on the World Wide Web (for a sample, check http://www.esd.ornl.gov/ern/airborne/airborne.html).
As Farmer works the controls, the plane makes a half-dozen passes over the cluster of buildings where low-level radioactive waste is packaged and disposed of. Satisfied they've got the shot, Nyquist calls, "Okay, that's good," and Farmer turns the plane back toward the field.
As it circles and banks into the wind for landing, the plane drops below the trees edging the field. Nyquist's video screen fills with branches and leaves, and he yelps. Farmer guns the throttle and yanks back the stick; the plane reappears through the crown of a tall poplar, which it clears by a leaf's breadth. Both men heave cheerful sighs of relief.
Facing the incoming plane, Farmer works the controls intently. The plane settles to the grass and stops at his feet, like some winged spaniel, some high-tech boomerang, some outsized carrier pigeon bearing vital information.
As Farmer carries it back to the truck, there is the barest hint of a swagger in his step.Jon Jefferson
Researchers at ORNL have done that very thing. One such gene, called Evi1, is involved in causing leukemia in mice. The human Evi1 gene is also involved in leukemia. In both instances, the Evi1 gene is functioning in cells where it is normally not found.
So what is the normal function of a gene that was initially identified because it caused cancer? Researchers in ORNL's Biology Division, which is home to the fabled Mouse House, used a technique in which mouse embryo cells were mutated in culture and reintroduced into the mouse to produce a strain of mice in which the Evi1 gene is no longer expressed. The mutant mice are "developmentally delayed" and die in the womb.
Principal investigator Michael Mucenski points to the experiment as evidence that a gene that may be so troublesome later in life plays a critical role in embryonic development. "Genes that are involved in cancer," he says, "have a normal biological function in the body. The generation of mutant mice allows us to determine what that function is."
ORNL's Mouse House, home to a myriad of mutant strains of mice, is a favorite repository for researchers who investigate genetic diseases or other conditions where genetic factors are suspected. Research like the Evi1 experiment, says Mucenski, "will help scientists eventually determine the biological function of genes and learn more about gene interactions that occur normally and in disease states." Medically speaking, that should be good news to all.
Using advanced research techniques they developed, four staff members at ORNL evaluated electroenceph-alogram (EEG) data for changes in a patient before, during, and after a seizure. By analyzing the data, which show the electrical impulses that make up brain waves, they found they could detect a seizure 8 to 15 minutes before it occurred.
|These results provide a basis for future work that may detect, and perhaps control, some uncontrollable seizures in epileptic patients.|
"These results provide a basis for future work that may detect, and perhaps control, some uncontrollable seizures in thousands of epileptic patients," says Lee Hively, one of the ORNL researchers. "One possible technology might be a portable beeper device that incorporates a brain wave monitor and the ORNL seizure prediction scheme. The device could alert the wearer when an epileptic episode is imminent, allowing the person to stop any dangerous task, such as driving, seek help, or take medication. A more advanced version might add a feature to direct small electronic impulses to stop the seizure before it occurs."
ORNL researcher Lee Hively (left) is part of a team that worked with the St. Mary's Biomedical Research Center to devise a method to predict epileptic seizures 8 to 15 minutes before they occur. Neurologist Michael Eisenstadt (center) headed the St. Mary's team that collaborated with ORNL scientists to analyze the EEG data they used in making the discovery. Photograph by Bill Norris.
Such a device could build on previous research at other laboratories with living sections of a rat's brain. In their research, scientists used chemicals to induce what appeared to be an epileptic seizure and then applied electrical impulses to force the brain back to normal function.
Hively and ORNL colleagues Ned Clapp, Stuart Daw, and Bill Lawkins worked with Dr. Michael Eisenstadt, a neurologist at St. Mary's Biomedical Research Center in Knoxville. Eisenstadt provided the EEG data and medical interpretations. ORNL staff members focused on devising methods to study the millions of measurements.
Complicating this task is the fact that EEG data contain not only signals associated with brain activity but also aberrations that accompany actions such as eye blinks, muscle twitches, and chewing. These aberrations obscure the brain wave signal, so researchers had to develop a method that could correct for them. The researchers' diverse backgrounds (mathematics, statistics, chemistry, physics, and nuclear engineering) helped them develop analysis tools to interpret the EEG data.
In explaining the team's success, Hively said, "We used real-world tools that can handle real-world data. Most other analytical techniques can handle only model data."
Normal brain activity includes seemingly random, or chaotic, features, with local brain regions behaving relatively independently. These features show up on an EEG as weak correlations between measurements at different locations of the brain. In a person experiencing an epileptic seizure, however, brain waves at different locations have a "large periodic component and a strong correlation between locations," Hively says. Furthermore, the analysis of chaotic features clearly shows a transition between the nonseizure and seizure states, lasting 8 to 15 minutes and ending with a seizure.
The research was sponsored by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at ORNL. ORNL has filed invention disclosures for seizure detection, seizure prediction, and removal of low-frequency artifacts from brain wave data. Low-frequency artifacts"background noise" resulting from eye blinks, chewing, and muscle twitchesare inherently present in an EEG and can obscure brain wave information. Researchers believe the artifact removal technique could be used as a nonintrusive monitor of worker alertness during extreme stress, possible drug abuse, or fatigue.Ron Walli
|An on-line sensor system has been developed to inspect fabric for flaws as it is woven.|
On-line sensors at three U.S. textile plants are providing information that will help keep textile industry jobs in the United States and improve the quality of domestically produced fabric. The sensors are used to inspect textiles as they are manufactured to locate flaws and stop the process so corrections can be made to ensure production of defect-free fabric.
The sensors are part of the American Textile Partnership's (AMTEX) Computer-Aided Fabric Evaluation (CAFE) project, developed by ORNL, the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant, and other DOE laboratories. CAFE is one component of the $20-million AMTEX partnership between DOE labs and the textile industry. Other CAFE members have included Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. Funding for the project is provided by DOE's Defense Program.
Tests of the sensor system performed last year at the Y-12 Plant provided encouraging results, but controlled tests don't always predict what will happen under harsh, real-world conditions. Since July 1996, however, the inspection systems have been providing some valuable information at three textile plants in the Southeast. Although some modifications are needed, plant managers are encouraged by the results.
"We've been compiling data for the past few months and the systems are working as expected," says Glenn Allgood, manager of the CAFE project and a member of ORNL's Instrumentation and Controls Division. "Dust, lint, heat, and other real-world conditions aren't interfering with the sensors at all."
ORNL's Jack LaForge is a member of a team that seeks to make the U.S. textile industry more competitive worldwide. ORNL and five other DOE laboratories contribute to the Computer-Aided Fabric Evaluation project, which incorporates on-line fabric inspection in weaving looms to dramatically increase the quality of U.S.-produced fabric. Photograph by Bill Norris.
Industry representatives agree that the technology holds promise.
"The CAFE project is nearing the final stages of development for a series of on-line sensors that represent a tremendous opportunity for textile manufacturers to gain more control of their fabric forming processes," says Mark Kametches, industry project manager. "Upon commercialization, these sensors could have a major economic impact on the weaving, knitting, and printing segments."
Management at Glen Raven, which employs 2500 at its plant outside of Burlington, North Carolina., is also certain the project will help the textile industry.
"We're confident that the technology is worthy of the time and money we've spent," says Bill Martin, product engineer at Glen Raven. "We've found that the sensors do many times more than what we thought they would do. The system is going to help us improve quality and hold costs flat, which is what we need to be competitive in the world marketplace. This is going to change the way we do business."
On-line tests began in July and will run through early 1997, says Allgood, who notes that the system enables laboratory researchers to monitor the systemsand compile datafrom remote locations. The inspection system also provides operators with the location of the defect, which saves time and money because they can stop the loom, make corrections, and tag the defective material for rejection.
Using visual inspection only, it is possible for defective material to work its way through the entire textile system, eventually reaching the marketplace, before retailers and consumers notice the flaws. Thanks to the new inspection system, textile mills and apparel manufacturers will minimize production of reduced-price, second-grade merchandise.
By mid-1997, elements of the on-line inspection system should be available to the industry for routine plant use, according to Allgood, who expects the industry to provide cost-effective information.
"The textile industry is looking for return on investment," Allgood said. "They're going to be looking at the bottom line, and we're confident our on-line inspection system will meet their needs."
More than 1.6 million people in the United States work in the textile industry. In fact, textile production exceeds the automotive, petroleum, and primary metals industries in contributions to the Gross National Product, according to AMTEX. The partnership was formed because of the important role the textile industry plays in the nation's economy.
"The goal of AMTEX is to strengthen the competitiveness of the textile industry, which consists of the fiber, textile, apparel, and fabricated product sectors," Kametches said. "The partnership draws upon the resources of the textile industry, the Department of Energy, DOE labs, other federal agencies and universities."Ron Walli
|On December 12, 1996, ORNL's Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility was dedicated as an international user facility.|
On December 12, 1996, ORNL's Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility (HRIBF) was dedicated as an international user facility in a ceremony featuring dignitaries from the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, DOE headquarters, the state of Tennessee, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Tennessee. The dedication was followed the next day by a symposium on radioactive ion beam physics presented by speakers from England, Germany, Switzerland, ORNL, and various U.S. universities.
Dave Hendrie, director of DOE's Division of Nuclear Physics, congratulated the ORNL staff led by Jim Ball, Fred Bertrand, and the late Russell Robinson for designing and constructing the HRIBF. "You can count this effort as a success," he said, "and today is one of those glorious days for science in general."
Hendrie recounted the history of the project, which was conceived in 1991 as funding dwindled for ORNL's Holifield Heavy Ion Facility (HHIRF). "When HHIRF ran into funding troubles a few years ago," he said, "you had a good idea for a modest-size, cost-effective facility. You sold the idea to DOE. You put it together over the years. It turned out to be timely."
The timeliness of HRIBF was also underscored by Ernest J. Moniz, associate director for science in the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy. He noted that interest is rising in the search for origins of life and matter, as underscored by Bill Moyers' 1996 PBS series on Genesis and a December 1996 White House symposium on the search for origins chaired by Vice President Al Gore.
|About a third of the experiments using HRIBF radioactive ion beams will focus on the formation and fate of stars.|
About a third of the experiments using HRIBF radioactive ion beams will try to solve mysteries in nuclear astrophysics. These studies will focus on the formation and fate of stars. One goal is to better understand nova and supernova, the spectacular stellar explosions that produce all the heavy elements, including the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen that make life on the earth possible.
On August 30, 1996, researchers generated the first radioactive ion beam at ORNLa final milestone before the facility can be used to study nuclei that cannot be produced naturally from elements that exist on the earth. The beam consisted of radioactive arsenic ions produced by bombarding a liquid germanium target with protons. In 1997, scientists from universities and laboratories around the world will be conducting experiments they hope will answer questions about nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics. The first-of-its-kind facility provides a resource for unique challenges.
|HRIBF will serve a national and international community of about 300 scientists from 33 states and 20 foreign countries.|
"The HRIBF is the only facility in the world dedicated to the acceleration of radioactive ion beams with sufficient intensity and energy to be useful for nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics," says Jerry Garrett, scientific director of the Holifield facility. "It will serve a national and international community of about 300 scientists from 33 states and 20 foreign countries, providing a unique new tool for understanding nuclear matter, the main constituent of the visible universe."
Akito Arima, a nuclear physicist who is president of Institute for Physical and Chemical Research at RIKEN in Tokyo and former president of the University of Tokyo, said during the dedication that anticipated HRIBF discoveries could include extremely large deformed nuclei and new superheavy elements.
|Two-thirds of the experiments at the facility will be devoted to studying the structure of exotic nuclei that exist for just a fraction of a second.|
HRIBF's radioactive ion beams will provide a tool for creating nuclei beyond their limits of stability, helping to answer important questions about the nature of the nucleus. Two-thirds of the experiments at the facility will be devoted to studying the structure of exotic nuclei that exist for just a fraction of a second.
Typical experiments will run from a few days to a few weeks, according to Garrett, who said the beam will be available about 2500 hours a year. Usually, only one experiment can be done at a time, but sometimes two nuclear structure experiments can run concurrently.
Already, Garrett has received 16 proposals for experiments from 54 researchers at 22 institutions within the United States, Canada, France, India, Italy, Romania, and the United Kingdom. Annual beam time is limited because of maintenance activities involving the facility's components, which consist of two accelerators (the world's largest electrostatic accelerator and a cyclotron) and a high-voltage radioactive ion injector. Some of the experiments in 1997 are expected to examine the shape of radioactive arsenic nuclei and to study nuclei that decay by emitting protons.
Workers completed physical construction of the facility in September 1995 on time and within budget. Researchers produced the first stable (nonradioactive) beam in late October 1995 and have been commissioning, or fine-tuning, the facility over the past several months.
Reconfiguration of ORNL's former HHIRF began in mid-1992 after DOE funded an ORNL Physics Division proposal outlining new physics opportunities that could be obtained at a low cost because no major civil construction was required. A total of $2.6 million was provided by DOE's Nuclear Physics Program Office over a four-year period ending last year.
Chang Hong Yu inspects the recoil mass spectrometer in the nuclear structure experimental station for the new Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility.
Jim Ball, deputy associate director and former Physics Division director, acknowledged the contributions to the HRIBF project of Jerry Garrett, Dave Olsen, Jim Beene, Gerald Alton, the late Russell Robinson, the University of Tennessee's Lee Riedinger, Vanderbilt University's Joseph Hamilton, Cyrus Baktash, and Michael Smith, who heads the nuclear astrophysics initiative and spearheaded the effort to get the Daresbury Recoil Mass Separator to the Oak Ridge facility from England.
Other speakers at the dedication were Hamilton, head of Vanderbilt's Physics Department; Joseph E. Johnson, president of the University of Tennessee; Fred Bertrand, director of ORNL's Physics Division; Edward G. Cumesty, assistant manager for laboratories, DOE's Oak Ridge Operations Office; former ORNL division director Bill G. Eads, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, presenting a letter from Governor Don Sundquist; nuclear physicist P. Gregers Hansen of Michigan State University; and Alvin W. Trivelpiece, ORNL director and president of Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.
Hendrie concluded the dedication, saying "I see the future of physics as quite bright."
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