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Laboratory Directed Research & Development

Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) supports cutting-edge research across ORNL. Its objective is to maintain the vitality of the Laboratory, enhance the Laboratory’s ability to address future DOE missions, and stimulate exploration at the forefront of science and technology. The program has three major components: the Director’s R&D Fund, which develops new capabilities in support of the Laboratory’s research initiatives, the Seed Money Fund, which is open to all innovative ideas that have the potential for enhancing the Laboratory’s core scientific and technical disciplines, and the Named Fellowships, open to outstanding doctorate-level candidate scientists and engineers to achieve experience in areas of science and technology of national importance. LDRD projects are led by ORNL research staff members and often involve collaborations with university researchers.

ORNL LDRD Recent Success Stories

The Big Area Additive Manufacturing-CI system was developed by ORNL researchers and Cincinnati Incorporated. BAAM-CI also received an Editor’s Choice award from R&D Magazine.

BAAM-CI, a large-scale additive manufacturing platform, allows arbitrary geometric components to be 3-D printed on a scale 10 times larger than any other commercial system. The system’s screw-extrusion technique also allows the BAAM-CI to deposit material 200 times faster than existing processes.

BAAM-CI is also the first manufacturing project capable of depositing carbon fiber reinforced plastic into printed materials, endowing objects with greater strength and four to seven times the material’s original stiffness.  In addition, BAAM-CI remains more energy efficient than traditional manufacturing methods like stamping and blow molding.

Funding for the project was provided by ORNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program and DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Hyperion, or Automated Behavior Computation for Compiled Software, was developed by a team of ORNL researchers led by Stacy Prowell.

Hyperion assesses and computes software or malicious behavior with precise mathematics to prevent inappropriate or illegal access to computer systems.  

Since adversaries often exploit a system’s unknown behavior to accomplish their goals, Hyperion is constructed with the unique ability to identify and calculate all unknown inputs under all possible circumstances without any examining codes.

A second feature allows Hyperion to capture, share and reuse malware analyst intelligence to detect and eliminate malicious behavior in future scenarios.

Funding for Hyperion was provided by ORNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, Lockheed Martin, Applied Communication Sciences and DOE’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Services program.

Additional LDRD Success Stories

  • V-shaped External Cavity Laser Diode Array, developed by ORNL’s Bo Liu, Yun Liu and Yehuda Braiman (2013)
  • Super-hydro-tunable HiPAS Membranes were developed by ORNL (2014)
  • iSPM: Intelligent Software for Personalized Modeling of Expert Opinions, Decisions and Errors in Visual Examination Tasks was developed by Georgia Tourassi, Songhua Xu, Hong-Jun Yoon and Sophie Voisin of the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division at ORNL (2014)
  • RCSim (Radio Channel Simulator) Software (2012)
  • Low-Cost, Lightweight Robotic Hand Based on Additive Manufacturing (2012)
  • Broadband Micromechanical Antenna (2012)
  • Self-assembled, Ferromagnetic-Insulator Nanocomposites for Ultrahigh-Density Data Storage (2011)
  • Telemedical Retinal Image Analysis and Diagnosis (2010)
  • Liquid Microjunction Surface Sampling Probe for Mass Spectrometry (2010)
  • Sulfur-Carbon Nanocomposite Cathode Material and Additives for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries (2010)
  • Ultrasensitive Nanomechanical Transducers Based on Nonlinear Resonance (2010)
  • High-Performance, High-Tc Superconducting Wires Enabled via Self-assembly of Non-superconducting Columnar Defects (2010)
  • Thermomagnetic processing technology (2009)

Please contact the LDRD Manager at if you have questions regarding the ORNL LDRD Program.

Links of Interest