A mobile radar system for inspecting bridges. Laser pulses to strengthen metal. A new kind of key that uses lasers. An imaging system that reveals the insides of teeth. A novel method to measure temperature. Computer software that boosts semiconductor production. And a detector to aid optics manufacturing efficiency.
These inventions by Lawrence Livermore researchers and their industrial partners were recently honored by R&D Magazine as seven of the top 100 technological achievements of the past year. Every year, the magazine honors the breakthrough products and processes that promise to improve people's lives. Livermore's awards for 1998 impact the construction, metalworking, semiconductor, security, medical, and optics industries. In-depth descriptions of Livermore's winning technologies begin on p. 4.
Our seven awards for 1998 match Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's for the top spot among research institutions. This year's total also matches our previous best set in 1987, 1988, and 1997 and brings to 75 the number of R&D 100 Awards won by Livermore researchers since 1978. Of course, this award is only one marker of technological achievement, but given the tough competition involving the world's top corporations, government labs, private research institutes, and universities, this Laboratory has shown it can compete with the best of the best.
In total, DOE laboratories won 30 of this year's 100 awards and shared in two additional winning entries. Clearly, the DOE labs are performing some of the best applied science research in the world and yielding products that offer significant potential for commercialization.
Once again, researchers from Livermore's Laser Programs led the way, winning or sharing in five of our awards. Laser Programs has now been involved in 39 of the Laboratory's awards. However, the awards are also indicative of strong teaming across directorates, especially in the healthcare technologies.
This year, I am particularly proud of the list of outside agencies and companies that are award co-recipients and contributors. These organizations include the Federal Highway Administration, Metal Improvement Co. Inc., University of Connecticut Health Center, OptiPro Systems Inc., Center for Optics Manufacturing, and American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association.
Finally, I want to recognize Livermore's Industrial Partnerships and Commercialization Office, which coordinated the Laboratory's entries for this year's competition. The men and women in this office help American businesses access Livermore technological breakthroughs for new commercial products and services.
The award-winning technologies and their creators are:
  • High-Performance Electromagnetic Roadway Mapping and Evaluation System (HERMES), a high-resolution, radar-based mobile inspection system for detecting and mapping defects in bridge decks. Laser Programs and Engineering directorates with the Federal Highway Administration.
  • LasershotSM Peening System, a peening process using lasers to instill deep compressive stress in materials and thereby extend the lifetime of components such as jet-engine fan blades. Laser Programs and Engineering directorates with Metal Improvement Co. Inc.
  • Light Lock Optical Security System, a laser-mediated electronic-mechanical lock with a reprogrammable code to activate the locking device. Defense and Nuclear Technologies Directorate.
  • Optical Dental Imaging System, a noninvasive imaging technology to view internal tooth and soft tissue microstructure for dental applications. Livermore's Medical Technology Program with the University of Connecticut Health Center.
  • Two-Color Fiber-Optic Infrared Sensor, for measuring temperature and emissivity for medical and industrial applications. Medical Technology Program.
  • INDUCT95, a computer software simulation tool developed for optimizing plasma-assisted manufacturing for semiconductor production. Physics and Space Technology and Defense and Nuclear Technologies directorates, with technology that grew out of a cooperative pact between the Laboratory, IBM, and AT&T.
  • The OptiPro-AED Proximity Sensor, a product substantially improving the efficiency of precision optics manufacturing by sensing the separation between fine abrasive grinding tools and optical glass parts. A collaboration of the Energy Programs, Engineering, and Laser Programs directorates and OptiPro Systems Inc. of New York.
    Congratulations to all the award recipients. The R&D 100 Awards receive considerable recognition nationwide; our success at Livermore reflects the world-class research conducted here and the collaborative efforts of our programs.

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