Peter A. Krulevitch, Abraham P. Lee, M. Allen Northrup, and William J. Benett
Microfabricated Instrument for Tissue Biopsy and Analysis
U.S. Patent 5,985,217
November 16, 1999
A microfabricated biopsy-histology instrument that has several advantages over conventional instruments. These include minimal specimen handling, cutting edges providing atomic sharpness for slicing thin (2-micrometer or less) specimens, use of microliter volumes of chemicals for treating specimens, low cost, disposability, a fabrication process that renders sterile parts, and easy use. The cutter is a "cheese-grater" design comprising a substrate block of silicon that is anisotropically etched to form extremely sharp and precise cutting edges. Tissue specimens pass through the silicon cutter and lie flat on a piece of glass bonded to the cutter. Microchannels are etched into the glass or silicon substrates to deliver small volumes of chemicals for treating the specimens. After treatment, specimens can be examined through the glass substrate. For automation purposes, microvalves and micropumps may be incorporated. Also, specimens in parallel may be cut and treated with identical or varied chemicals. The instrument is disposable because of its low cost and thus could replace current expensive microtome and histology equipment.

Roger D. Aines, Kent S. Udell, Carol J. Bruton, and Charles R. Carrigan
Chemical Tailoring of Steam to Remediate Underground Mixed- Waste Contaminants
U.S. Patent 5,986,159
November 16, 1999
A method to remediate mixed-waste underground contamination such as organic liquids, metals, and radionuclides. It involves chemical tailoring of steam for underground injection. Gases or chemicals are added to a high-pressure steam flow being injected into wells, toward contaminated soil located beyond excavation depths. The additives in the injected steam mobilize contaminants as the steam pushes the waste through the ground toward an extraction well having subatmospheric pressure (vacuum). The steam and mobilized contaminants are drawn in a substantially horizontal direction to the extraction well and withdrawn to a treatment point above ground. The heat and boiling action of the steam front enhance the mobilizing effects of the chemical or gas additives. While being used to remove any organic contaminants, the method may also be used for immobilizing metals. An additive can be used to cause metals to precipitate into large clusters, thereby limiting their future migration.

Layton C. Hale
Precision Tip-Tilt-Piston Actuator That Provides Exact Constraint
U.S. Patent 5,986,827
November 16, 1999
A device that can precisely actuate three degrees of freedom (commonly referred to as tip, tilt, and piston) of an optic mount. The device consists of three identical flexure mechanisms, an optic mount to be supported and positioned, a structure that supports the flexure mechanisms, and three commercially available linear actuators. Each flexure mechanism constrains two degrees of freedom in the plane of the mechanisms, and one direction is actuated. All other degrees of freedom are free to move within the range of flexure mechanisms. Typically, three flexure mechanisms are equally spaced in angle about the optic mount and arranged so that each actuated degree of freedom is perpendicular to the plane formed by the optic mount. This arrangement exactly constrains the optic mount and allows arbitrary actuated movement of the plane within the range of the flexure mechanisms. Each flexure mechanism provides a mechanical advantage, typically on the order of 5:1, between the commercially available actuator and the functional point on the optic mount. This feature improves resolution by the same ratio and stiffness by the square of the ratio.

Ronald G. Musket
Sharpening of Field Emitter Tips Using High-Energy Ions
U.S. Patent 5,993,281
November 30, 1999
A process for sharpening arrays of field emitter tips of field-emission cathodes such as those found in field-emission, flat-panel video displays. The process uses sputtering of high-energy (more than 30-kiloelectronvolt) ions incident along or near the longitudinal axis of the field emitter to sharpen the emitter with a taper from the tip, or top, of the emitter down to its shank. The process is particularly applicable to sharpening tips of emitters having cylindrical or similar (pyramidal, for example) symmetry. The process will sharpen tips down to radii of less than 12 nanometers with an included angle of about 20 degrees. Because the ions are incident along or near the longitudinal axis of each emitter, the tips of gated arrays can be sharpened by high-energy ion beams rastered over the arrays using standard ion implantation equipment. While the process is particularly applicable for sharpening arrays of field emitters in field-emission, flat-panel displays, it can be effectively used in the fabrication of other vacuum microelectronic devices that rely on field emission of electrons.

Paul G. Carey and Patrick M. Smith
Method of Fabrication of Display Pixels Driven by Silicon Thin-Film Transistors
U.S. Patent 5,994,174
November 30, 1999
A method of fabricating display pixels driven by silicon thin-film transistors on plastic substrates. The method is useful for active matrix displays such as flat-panel displays. The process for forming the pixels involves a prior method for forming individual silicon thin-film transistors on low-temperature plastic substrates, which are generally considered incapable of withstanding sustained processing temperatures greater than about 200°ree;C. The pixel formation process results in a complete pixel and active-matrix pixel array. A pixel (or picture element) in an active-matrix display consists of a silicon thin-film transistor (TFT); a large electrode, which may control a liquid crystal light valve; and an emissive material (such as a light-emitting diode) or some other light-emitting or attenuating material. The pixels can be connected in arrays wherein rows of pixels contain common gate electrodes and columns of pixels contain common drain electrodes. The source electrode of each pixel TFT is connected to its pixel electrode and is electrically isolated from every other circuit element in the pixel array.

Harley M. Buettner
Electrical Heating of Soils Using High-Efficiency Electrode Patterns and Power Phases
U.S. Patent 5,994,670
November 30, 1999
Powerline-frequency electrical (joule) heating of soils using a high-efficiency electrode configuration and power phase arrangement. The electrode configuration consists of several heating or current injection electrodes around the volume of soil to be heated and a return or extraction electrode(s) located inside the volume to be heated. The heating electrodes are all connected to one phase of a multiphase or single-phase power system; the return electrode(s) is (are) connected to the remaining phases of the multiphase power source. This electrode configuration and power-phase arrangement can be used wherever powerline-frequency soil heating is applicable. It thus has many potential uses, including removal of volatile organic compounds such as gasoline or trichloroethylene from contaminated areas.

Matthias Frank, Carl A. Mears, Simon E. Labov, and W. Henry Benner
Ultrahigh-Mass Mass Spectrometry with Charge Discrimination Using Cryogenic Detectors
U.S. Patent 5,994,694
November 30, 1999
An ultrahigh-mass, time-of-flight mass spectrometer using a cryogenic particle detector as an ion detector with charge-discriminating capabilities. Cryogenic detectors have the potential for significantly improving the performance and sensitivity of time-of-flight mass spectrometers, and compared to ion multipliers, they exhibit superior sensitivity for high-mass, slow-moving macromolecular ions and can be used as "stop" detectors in time-of-flight applications. In addition, their energy-resolving capability can be used to measure the charge state of the ions, which is valuable for all time-of-flight applications. Used as an ion detector in a time-of-flight mass spectrometer for large biomolecules, a cryogenically cooled niobium-alumina-niobium superconductor-insulator-superconductor tunnel junction (STJ) detector operating at 1.3 kelvin has been found to have charge discrimination capabilities. Because the cryogenic STJ detector responds to ion energy and does not rely on secondary electron production (as in the conventionally used microchannel plate detectors), the cryogenic detector can detect large molecular ions with a velocity-independent efficiency approaching 100 percent.

James C. Davidson and Joseph W. Balch
Vacuum Pull-Down Method for an Enhanced Bonding Process
U.S. Patent 6,000,243
December 14, 1999
A process for effectively bonding substrates of arbitrary sizes or shapes. It incorporates vacuum pull-down techniques to ensure uniform surface contact during bonding. The essence of the process for bonding substrates such as glass, plastic, or alloys, which have a moderate melting point and gradual softening-point curve, involves applying an active vacuum source to evacuate interstices between substrates while providing a positive force to hold in contact the parts that are being bonded. The process enables increasing temperature during bonding to ensure that the softening point has been reached and small voids are filled and come in contact with the opposing substrate. The process is most effective where at least one of the two plates or substrates contains channels or grooves that can be used to apply vacuum between the plates or substrates during the thermal bonding cycle. Also, it is beneficial where there is a vacuum groove or channel near the perimeter of the plates or substrates. In both instances, the process ensures bonding at the perimeter and reduces unbonded regions in the interior.


Jim Bryan, a retired Laboratory engineer, was recently recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the six "Heroes of U.S. Manufacturing" of 2000 at a ceremony in Chicago, Illinois. Now in their fourth year, the Fortune awards are presented annually to innovators who have made a notable contribution to American manufacturing. Bryan is the first award recipient from a U.S. national laboratory.
In the 1980s, Bryan reworked an old British invention called a fixed ball bar by adding a telescoping arm to the instrument. His invention came about, in part, because of the need to produce components with extreme precision for the nation's nuclear weapons. Today, versions of Bryan's ball bar are used around the world to test machine-tool performance quickly.
Used by hundreds of companies to determine if their machine tools are working properly, telescoping ball bars are plugged into a personal computer for tests in which the computer analyzes the deviation of a machine tool's motion from a perfect circle. (Machine tools, such as lathes and milling machines, precisely cut metal to shape.)
During his Laboratory tenure (1955 to 1987), Bryan made wide-ranging contributions to metrology and precision machining. Toward the climax of his career when Bryan was head of the Precision Engineering Group, his team designed, built, and operated the largest diamond turning machine in the world.

Two Laboratory scientists have been elected fellows of the Optical Society of America.
Stephen Payne, associate program leader in the Laser Science and Technology organization, was recognized for "sustained pioneering contributions to the development of novel lamp and diode-pumped solid-state laser materials." Working with Laboratory colleagues, Payne has developed more than a dozen laser crystals and glasses. A 15-year Laboratory employee, he received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University. He has 80 refereed journal publications, holds 11 patents, has received four R&D 100 awards, and recently received the Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award from Fusion Power Associates.
Mike Perry, associate program leader for the Short-Pulse Lasers, Applications, and Technology Program, was recognized for "pioneering contributions to the development and use of high-peak-power, ultrashort-pulse lasers" in high-intensity physics research. Areas of investigation include the fast-igniter concept for inertial confinement fusion and materials processing applications in industrial machining and health care. Perry was also key in the Laboratory's development of large-scale diffractive optics for large-area diffraction gratings used to manipulate laser light.
Perry has been at the Laboratory for 17 years, starting with his doctoral work for the University of California at Berkeley in nuclear engineering/quantum electronics. He has contributed to more than 100 scientific papers on materials processing, diffractive and nonlinear optics, and the use of lasers in medicine. He holds patents in areas such as inertial confinement fusion, multilayer dielectric diffraction gratings, and ultrashort-pulse laser machining.

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