2010 R&D 100 Awards
ORNL Researchers Win Nine R&D 100 Awards
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory were honored with nine awards in R&D Magazine's annual selection of the year's 100 most technologically significant new products of 2010. Sometimes referred to as the "Academy Awards of Science," this year's nine winners bring to 156 the total number of R&D 100 awards won by ORNL scientists.
Telemedical Retinal Image Analysis and Diagnosis (TRIAD)
Submitted by ORNL, Automated Medical Diagnostics and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. ORNL team members: Kenneth Tobin, Thomas Karnowski, Luca Giancardo, Deniz Aykac and Priya Govindasamy. UTHSC team members: Edward Chaum and Yaqin Lee
The TRIAD technology is a Web-based telemedical diagnostic system designed to conduct automated eye screenings of large patient populations for blinding diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, in a primary health care setting. The real-time, low-cost screening provided by TRIAD assists primary care providers in offering a more efficient and economical retina screening service to prevent blindness in diabetic patients. The diagnostic tool will enable more people to undergo screening, especially the indigent and those in areas that are medically underserved. Research funding was provided by ORNL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program, the Plough Foundation, Research to Prevent Blindness, the U.S. Health Resource Services Administration and the National Institutes of Health - National Eye Institute.
Liquid Microjunction Surface Sampling Probe for Mass Spectrometry
Submitted by ORNL and NextGen Services. ORNL team members: Gary Van Berkel and Vilmos Kertesz
The ambient surface sampling system for mass spectrometry uses a sampling probe for quick, efficient liquid extraction of analytes directly from surfaces. The system's ability to analyze materials outside a vacuum and under real-world conditions demonstrates a significant improvement over existing technologies, limited to surface sampling within a vacuum. The product's simplicity, speed and cost effectiveness make possible a range of uses within the biological sciences, including applications in pharmaceutical research and drug discovery. Research was funded by ORNL's LDRD program, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science, a CRADA with MDS Sciex, UT-Battelle's Privately Funded Technology Transfer Program and ORNL royalty maturation funding.
Sulfur-Carbon Nanocomposite Cathode Material and Additives for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries
Submitted by ORNL. Team members: Chengdu Liang and Nancy Dudney
The technology offers a more functional sulfur-carbon nanocomposite cathode and halide additives to the electrolyte to solve problems inherent in existing lithium-ion battery technology. Researchers hope the lithium-sulfur battery system can improve the energy density of current technologies by a factor of five. By enabling a more reliable, safer and longer lasting battery system, the invention has the potential to aid in the harnessing, storage and use of electricity from renewable energy sources. The project was funded by ORNL seed money and the DOE's Vehicle Technology program.
Ultrasensitive Nanomechanical Transducers Based on Nonlinear Resonance
Submitted by ORNL. Team members: Nickolay Lavrik and Panos Datskos
Based on nonlinear nanomechanical resonators, the technology enables sensitive linear detection of force or mass that can be used in a number of important applications, including chemical and biological detection, inertial navigation and thermal imaging. The technology can identify the presence of extremely low levels (femtogram quantities) of chemicals in a gas or liquid with a sensitivity 1,000 times greater than that of comparable mass-sensitive transducers on the market. The new method used in the nonlinear resonator transducers can provide real-time monitoring in a cost-effective manner and can lower detection thresholds in both gas and liquid environments, without increasing the cost and complexity of the tool. Research funding was provided through ORNL's LDRD program.
Strontium Iodide Scintillator for Gamma Ray Spectroscopy
Submitted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and developed in conjunction with ORNL, Fisk University, Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc. and the Department of Homeland Security's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. ORNL team members: Lynn Boatner, Joanne Ramey and James Kolopus
The technology allows for the precise detection of illicit sources of uranium, plutonium and other radioactive materials, which can play a critical role in identifying nuclear and radiological threats. Europium-doped strontium iodide enables the highestresolution gamma-ray spectroscopy for a scintillator detector to identify radionuclides. The technology's superior scintillator energy resolution and cost-effective production will prove invaluable for homeland security applications. Research was funded through the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.
Mode-Synthesizing Atomic Force Microscope (MSAFM)
Submitted by ORNL. Team members: Ali Passian, Thomas Thundat and Laurene Tetard
MSAFM is a novel measurement system for noninvasive, highresolution surface and subsurface characterization and analysis of materials at the nanoscale. The technology can obtain a wealth of material information from both the surface and the subsurface domain, opening unlimited opportunities in nanoscience in a variety of endeavors, including human health, environmental studies, toxicology, nanofabrication, cell mechanics and energy research. Research was sponsored by the DOE's BioEnergy Science Center at ORNL.
High-Performance, High-Tc Superconducting Wires Enabled via Self-assembly of Non-superconducting Columnar Defects
Submitted by ORNL, SuperPower Inc., the University of Houston, and the University of Tennessee. ORNL team members: Amit Goyal, Sung-hun Wee, Eliot Specht, Yanfei Gao, Karren More, Claudia Cantoni, Keith Leonard, Malcolm Stocks, Tolga Aytug, Mariappan Paranthaman, David Christen, Jim Thompson and Dominic Lee.
The technology is a three-dimensional self-assembly process for the fabrication of ultrahigh-performance superconducting wires. The method is designed to create non-superconducting nanoscale columnar defects with nanoscale spacing within high-temperature superconducting wires. The desirable defects can improve the performance of high-temperature superconductors by enabling large currents to flow through the materials in the presence of high applied magnetic fields. The need for high-temperature superconductors in the electric power, medical, transportation, industrial and military sectors demonstrates the product's commercial viability. The research was funded through the DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and ORNL's LDRD program.
Flexible, Large-area, Single-Crystal-like, Semiconductor Substrates
Submitted by ORNL and TexMat. ORNL researcher: Amit Goyal
The technology results in a large-area, flexible substrate with a single-crystal-like semiconductor surface. The process starts with a textured metal or alloy substrate upon which various multilayers are grown heteroepitaxially, leading to a semiconductor surface. Further epitaxial growth of device layers on such substrates is used to fabricate devices for electronic applications such as photovoltaics, displays, ferroelectrics, solid-state lighting, and assorted sensors. Such flexible substrates potentially can be made in sizes that are orders of magnitude greater than is currently possible with standard rigid semiconductor wafers. Research at ORNL was supported by a work-for-others project.
Ztherm Modulated Thermal Analysis
Submitted by ORNL and Asylum Research Company. ORNL team members: Maxim Nikiforov, Sergei Kalinin and Stephen Jesse
The team developed a tool for failure analysis of devices such as electrical conductors or semiconductors in flexible electronic devices and polymer photovoltaic devices, in which polymers play a key role. Ztherm Modulated Thermal Analysis offers highly localized heating with sensitivity to sub-zeptoliter material property change, with significant improvements over other commercial systems. Ztherm is an effective method for characterizing the mechanical properties of polymers as a function of temperature with the highest spatial resolution available today. A portion of this research was conducted at ORNL's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, sponsored by DOE's Office of Science.