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January/February 2003

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
Glenn Mara

A Question of Quarks

Island Paradise Regained

Understanding Cells in a New Way with Three-Dimensional Models






Peter Krulevitch, Harold D. Ackler, Frederick Becker, Bernhard E. Boser, Adam B. Eldredge, Christopher K. Fuller, Peter R. C. Gascoyne, Julie K. Hamilton, Stephan P. Swierkowski, Xiao-Bo Wang
Microfabricated AC Impedance Sensor
U.S. Patent 6,437,551 B1
August 20, 2002
A microfabricated instrument for detecting and identifying cells and other particles based on alternating current (ac) impedance measurements. The microfabricated ac impedance sensor includes two critical elements: a microfluidic chip, preferably of glass substrates, containing at least one microchannel and with electrodes patterned on both substrates; and electrical circuits that connect to the electrodes on the microfluidic chip and detect signals associated with particles traveling down the microchannels. These circuits enable multiple ac impedance measurements of individual particles at high throughput rates with sufficient resolution to identify different particle and cell types as appropriate for environmental detection and clinical diagnostic applications.

Earl R. Ault, Brian J. Comaskey, Thomas C. Kuklo
Device for Wavefront Correction in an Ultra High Power Laser
U.S. Patent 6,438,151 B1
August 20, 2002
A system for wavefront correction in an ultrahigh-power laser. As the laser medium flows past the optical excitation source, the fluid warms, and its index of refraction changes, creating an optical wedge. A system is provided for correcting the thermally induced optical phase errors.

Ronald G. Musket, Thomas E. Felter
Formation of Nanometer-Size Wires Using Infiltration into Latent Nuclear Tracks
U.S. Patent 6,444,256 B1
September 3, 2002
Nanometer-size wires having a cross-sectional dimension of less than 8 nanometers with controllable lengths and diameters are produced by infiltrating latent nuclear or ion tracks formed in trackable materials with atomic species. The trackable materials and atomic species are essentially insoluable in each other; thus, the wires are formed by thermally driven self-assembly of the atomic species during annealing, or recrystallization, of the damage in the latent tracks. Unlike conventional ion track lithography, this method does not require etching of the latent tracks.

Luiz B. Da Silva, Bill W. Colston, Jr., Dale L. James
OCDR Guided Laser Ablation Device
U.S. Patent 6,451,009 B1
September 17, 2002
A guided laser ablation device that includes a multimode laser ablation fiber surrounded by one or more single-mode optical fibers, which are used in imaging the laser ablation area. The laser ablation device is combined with an optical coherence domain reflectometry (OCDR) unit and a control unit. This control unit initializes the OCDR and the high-power ablation laser and analyzes OCDR data for use in controlling the high-power laser. The OCDR images up to 3 millimeters ahead of the ablation surface to enable a user to see sensitive tissue, such as a nerve or artery, and prevent damaging it with the laser.

Stephen P. Vernon, Scott C. Burkhart
Electrostatic Particle Trap for Ion Beam Sputter Deposition
U.S. Patent 6,451,176 B1
September 17, 2002
A method and apparatus for intercepting, trapping, or reflecting charged particulate matter generated during ion-beam sputter deposition. The apparatus consists of an electrostatic particle trap that generates electrostatic fields near the substrate on which target material is being deposited. The electrostatic particle trap has an array of electrode surfaces, each maintained at an electrostatic potential and facing parallel or perpendicular to the surface of the substrate. These electrostatic fields are configured to force the charged particulate material away from the substrate. The electrostatic charged particle trap prevents charged particles from being deposited on the substrate, thereby enabling the deposition of the extremely low-defect-density films required for reflective masks of an extreme ultraviolet lithography system.

Jeffrey D. Morse, Gregory A. Cooper
Current Isolating Epitaxial Buffer Layers for High Voltage Photodiode Array
U.S. Patent 6,452,220 B1
September 17, 2002
An array of photodiodes in series on a common semiinsulating substrate has a nonconductive buffer layer between the photodiodes and the semiinsulating substrate. The buffer layer reduces current injection leakage between the photodiodes of the array and allows optical energy to be converted to high-voltage electrical energy.

Waleed S. Haddad, James E. Trebes
Microwave Hemorrhagic Stroke Detector
U.S. Patent 6,454,711 B1
September 24, 2002
The microwave hemorrhagic stroke detector includes a low-power pulsed microwave transmitter with a broadband antenna for producing a directional beam of microwaves, an index of refraction matching cap to place over a patient’s head, and an array of broadband microwave receivers with collection antennas. The system of microwave transmitter and receivers scans around or is positioned up and down the axis of the patient’s head. The microwave hemorrhagic stroke detector is a completely noninvasive device designed to detect and localize blood pooling and clots or to measure blood flow within the head or body. The device is based on low-power pulsed microwave technology combined with specialized antennas and tomographic methods. The system can be used for rapid, noninvasive detection of blood pooling that occurs with hemorrhagic stroke in humans or animals as well as for the detection of hemorrhage within a patient’s body.

Peter A. Krulevich, Amy W. Wang
Microfabricated Injectable Drug Delivery System
U.S. Patent 6,454,759 B2
September 24, 2002
A microfabricated, fully integrated drug delivery system capable of secreting controlled dosages of multiple drugs over long periods of time (up to a year). The device includes a long, narrow shaped implant with a sharp leading edge that allows it to be implanted under a person’s skin. The implant includes one or more micromachined, integrated, zero-power, high and constant pressure generating osmotic engines; low-power addressable one-shot shape memory polymer (SMP) valves for switching on the osmotic engine and for opening drug outlet ports; microfabricated polymer pistons for isolating the pressure source from drug-filled microchannels; multiple drug–multiple dosage capacity; and onanisotropically etched, anatomically sharp silicon leading edge for penetrating the skin during implantation. The device includes an externally mounted controller for the onboard electronics that activate the SMP microvalves of the implant.

Dennis M. Hoffman, Raymond R. McGuire
Oxidizer Gels for Detoxification of Chemical and
Biological Agents

U.S. Patent 6,455,751 B1
September 24, 2002
A gel composition containing oxidizing agents and thickening or gelling agents is used to detoxify chemical and biological agents by application directly to a contaminated area. The gelling agent is a colloidal material, such as silica, alumina, or alumino-silicate clay, which forms a viscous gel that does not flow when applied to tilted or contoured surfaces. Aqueous or organic solutions of oxidizing agents can be readily gelled with less than about 30 percent colloidal material. Gel preparation is simple and suitable for field use because the gels can be prepared at the site of decontamination and applied quickly and uniformly over an area by a sprayer. After decontamination, the residue can be washed away or vacuumed up for disposal.

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UCRL-52000-03-1/2 | January 23, 2003