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Christopher A. Ebbers
Bonded, Walk-Off Compensated Optical Elements
U.S. Patent 6,544,330 B2
April 8, 2003
A bonded, walk-off compensated crystal, for use with optical equipment and methods of making optical components.

Joel N. Ullom
Solid-State Microrefrigerator
U.S. Patent 6,581,387 B1
June 24, 2003
A normal-insulator-superconductor (NIS) microrefrigerator in which a superconducting single crystal is both the substrate and the superconducting electrode of the NIS junction. The refrigerator consists of a large, ultrapure superconducting single crystal and a normal metal layer on top of the superconducting crystal, separated by a thin insulating layer. The superconducting crystal can be either cut from bulk material or grown as a thick epitaxial film. The large, single superconducting crystal allows quasiparticles created in the superconducting crystal to easily diffuse away from the NIS junction through the lattice structure of the crystal to normal metal traps, preventing the quasiparticles from returning across the NIS junction. The invention provides orders of magnitude larger cooling power than thin-film NIS microrefrigerators. The superconducting crystal can serve as the superconducting electrode for multiple NIS junctions to provide an array of microrefrigerators. The normal electrode can be extended, and microsupports provide support and cooling of sensors or arrays of sensors.

Jeffrey A. Koch
X-Ray Shearing Interferometer
U.S. Patent 6,590,954 B1
July 8, 2003
An x-ray interferometer for analyzing high-density plasmas and optically opaque materials includes a pointlike x-ray source for providing a broadband x-ray source. The x rays are directed through a target material and then are reflected by a high-density, ellipsoidally bent imaging crystal to a diffraction grating disposed at 1X magnification. A spherically bent imaging crystal is used when the x rays that are incident on the crystal surface are normal to that surface. The diffraction grating produces multiple beams that interfere with one another to produce an interference pattern, which contains information about the target. A detector is disposed at the position of the image of the target produced by the interfering beams.

John Chang, Waleed Haddad, Jan-Ulco Kluiwstra, Dennis Matthews, Kenneth Trauner
Ultrasound Image-Guided Acetabular Implant Orientation during Total Hip Replacement
U.S. Patent 6,607,487 B2
August 19, 2003
A system for assisting in precise location of the acetabular implant during total hip replacement. The system uses ultrasound imaging for guiding the placement and orientation of the implant.

Joe H. Satcher, Jr., Theodore F. Baumann
Metal-Doped Organic Gels and Method Thereof
U.S. Patent 6,613,809 B2
September 2, 2003
A sol-gel polymerization process for synthesizing metal-doped organic gels. The process polymerizes metal salts of hydroxylated benzenes or hydroxylated benzene derivatives with alkyl or aryl aldehydes to form metal-doped, wet, organic gels. The gels can then be dried by supercritical solvent extraction to form metal-doped aerogels or by evaporation to form metal-doped xerogels. The aerogels and xerogels can then be pyrolyzed.

Babak Sadigh, Thomas J. Lenosky, Tomas Diaz de la Rubia, Martin Giles, Maria-Jose Caturla, Vidvuds Ozolins, Mark Asta, Silva Theiss, Majeed Foad, Andrew Quong
Semiconductor Material and Method for Enhancing Solubility of a Dopant Therein
U.S. Patent 6,617,228 B2
September 9, 2003
A method for enhancing the equilibrium solubility of boron and indium in silicon. The method involves first-principles quantum mechanical calculations to determine the temperature dependence of the equilibrium solubility of two important p-type dopants in silicon, namely boron and indium, under various strain conditions. The equilibrium thermodynamic solubility of size-mismatched impurities, such as boron and indium in silicon, can be raised significantly if the silicon substrate is strained appropriately. For example, for boron, a 1-percent compressive strain raises the equilibrium solubility by 100 percent at 1,100°C, and for indium, a 1-percent tensile strain at 1,100°C enhances solubility by 200 percent.

Charles S. Vann
Miniature Laser Tracker
U.S. Patent 6,618,132 B1
September 9, 2003
This small, inexpensive, noncontact laser sensor can detect the location of a retroreflective target in a relatively large volume and up to 6 degrees of position. The tracker’s laser beam is formed into a plane of light, which is swept across the space of interest. When the beam illuminates the retroreflector, some of the light returns to the tracker. The intensity, angle, and time of the return beam is measured to calculate the three-dimensional location of the target. With three retroreflectors on the target, the locations of three points on the target are measured, enabling the calculation of all 6 degrees of target position.

Until now, devices for three-dimensional tracking of objects in a large volume have been heavy, large, and expensive. Because of the simplicity and unique characteristics of this tracker, it is capable of three-dimensional tracking of one to several objects in a large volume; yet, it is compact, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive. Alternatively, a tracker produces a diverging laser beam that is directed toward a fixed position and senses when a retroreflective target enters the fixed field of view. An optically bar-coded target can be read by the tracker to provide information about the target. The target can be formed from a ball lens with a bar code on one end. As the target moves through the field, the ball lens causes the laser beam to scan across the bar code.

Raymond M. Brusasco, Bernardino M. Penetrante, James A. Butler, Walter Grundler, George K. Governo
CO2 Laser and Plasma Microjet Process for Improving Laser Optics
U.S. Patent 6,620,333 B2
September 16, 2003
An optic is produced for operation at the fundamental neodymium-doped yttrium–aluminum–garnet (Nd:YAG) laser wavelength of 1.06 micrometers through the tripled Nd:YAG laser wavelength of 355 nanometers using a method to reduce or eliminate the growth of laser damage sites in the optics. The optics are processed to stop the damage from growing to a predetermined critical size. A system is provided for mitigating the growth of laser-induced damage in optics by virtue of localized removal of glass and absorbing material.

John F. Poco, Lawrence W. Hrubesh
Method to Produce Alumina Aerogels Having Porosities Greater Than 80 Percent
U.S. Patent 6,620,458 B2
September 16, 2003
A two-step method for producing monolithic alumina aerogels having porosities of greater than 80 percent. Strong, low-density alumina aerogel monoliths are prepared using the two-step sol-gel process. The method of preparing pure alumina aerogel modifies the previously known sol method by combining the use of substoichiometric water for hydrolysis, acetic acid to control hydrolysis and condensation, and high-temperature supercritical drying, all of which contribute to the formation of a polycrystalline aerogel microstructure. This structure gives the alumina aerogel exceptional mechanical properties as well as enhanced thermal resistance and high-temperature stability.

Michael D. Perry, Brent C. Stuart
Ultrashort-Pulse Laser Machining of Metals and Alloys
U.S. Patent 6,621,040 B1
September 16, 2003
A method for high-precision machining (cutting, drilling, sculpting) of metals and alloys. Pulses in the 10-femtosecond to 100-picosecond range allow for extremely precise machining essentially without producing any heat- or shock-affected zones. Because the pulses are so short, negligible thermal conduction exists beyond the region removed. This results in negligible thermal stress or shock to the material beyond approximately 0.1 to 1 micrometer (dependent upon the particular material) from the laser-machined surface. Because of the short duration, the high intensity associated with the interaction converts the material directly from the solid state into an ionized plasma. Hydrodynamic expansion of the plasma eliminates the need for ancillary techniques to remove material and produces extremely high-quality machined surfaces with negligible redeposition either within the kerf or on the surface. Because heating is negligible beyond the depth of material removed, the composition of the remaining material is unaffected by the laser machining process. Thus, alloys and even pure metals can be machined with high precision with no change in the material’s grain structure.

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UCRL-52000-03-11 | November 7, 2003