in the News
a Big Laser
Transfer Takes a Team
A new method for making laser glass. A way to isolate
expressed genes in DNA. Laser pulses to mark metal parts. Developing
these inventions took a team of people from within the Laboratory
or made up of Livermore scientists and engineers working with
industrial partners. R&D Magazine recently honored these inventions
with R&D 100 Awards. The products of Livermore research have
received one or more of these coveted awards almost every year
since the competition began in 1978. To date, Livermore has won
85 R&D 100 Awards.
Almost all scientific advances
at Livermore are the result of multidisciplinary teamwork. Physicists,
materials scientists, microbiologists, engineers, and others pool
their varied talents to solve problems related to the Laboratorys
mission. This multidisciplinary approach, this confluence of many
kinds of expertise, is what makes a laboratory like Livermore
a special place to do research.
Recovery Microdissection was developed at Livermore by biomedical
experts as a way to identify cancer genes in chromosomal regions
for which there was no genomic information. The developers envisioned
other possibilities for the process. Once it has been commercialized,
Gene Recovery Microdissection will likely benefit research in
toxicology, veterinary science, agriculture, and environmental
finding solutions requires help from a commercial partner. The
development of a faster, less costly technique for making high-quality
laser glass for the National Ignition Facility is a case in point.
It resulted from an alliance with Schott Glass Technologies of
Duryea, Pennsylvania, and Hoya Corporation USA of Fremont, California,
the two leading laser glass producers internationally. Not only
will this process benefit the National Ignition Facility, but
it will also benefit these industrial partners with a technology
that is a springboard to new glass products.
Improvement Company, Inc., worked with Livermore scientists to
refine laser peening, a process developed earlier at the Laboratory
for strengthening metal. Together, they created the Lasershot
Marking System. A number of firms are already interested in using
this permanent identification mark on their products.
When an industrial partner
joins a Laboratory team, the focus of the effort extends beyond
the scientific research to the needs of the business sector. Ultimately,
when an invention is ready for full commercialization, Livermores
patent attorneys and other experts in transferring intellectual
property join the team.
As Laboratory general counsel,
I typically get involved in the technology transfer process both
before and as it occurs. Also, as associate director for Administration,
I am responsible for the Industrial Partnerships and Commercialization
Office, which manages the transfer of technology from the Laboratory
to the private sector.
concept of technology transfer is relatively new in the federal
sector. Its purpose is to take processes developed for a federally
funded project and apply them to the needs of the private sector.
after a technology transfer team is fully formedwith scientists,
business people, and intellectual property experts at the tablecommercialization
of a Laboratory invention does not happen overnight. It takes
time for a new technology to mature. The three inventions that
won R&D 100 Awards this year are still in their infancy. As
they mature, Livermore scientists may continue to be involved
with follow-on research to improve them. The business community
is well aware of the skills resident at Livermore. Laboratory
scientists and engineers are often the only ones with the expertise
to evaluate and resolve technological difficulties that arise.
Since its inception,
this Laboratory has taken a multidisciplinary approach to solving
problems. Technology transfer is a more recent development, but
it plays off that approach well. Teamwork among researchers and
business peopleand attorneysis key to assuring that
Livermores scientific advances find their way to the private
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Operated by the University of California for the U.S.
Department of Energy
September 25, 2001