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DOE-Funded Researchers Honored by R&D Magazine

October 20, 2005 - 12:23pm


Leader of the DOE Artificial Retina Project Named "Innovator of the Year;" Scientists and Engineers at 12 DOE Labs Win 29 R&D 100 Awards for 2005

WASHINGTON, DC-Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman today congratulated the leader of the Department of Energy's Artificial Retina Project, who has been honored as R&D Magazine's "Innovator of the Year."  Secretary Bodman also congratulated the researchers at DOE national laboratories who won 29 of the 100 awards given this year by the magazine for the most outstanding technology developments with commercial potential.

R&D Magazine will present the awards tonight at its 43rd annual R&D 100 Awards ceremony in Chicago.

"These awards demonstrate that DOE-funded researchers are hard at work developing the technologies of the future," Secretary Bodman said. "The Department of Energy is proud that these researchers are making important contributions to innovation for our energy, economic and national security."

The R&D 100 Awards recognize the most promising new products, processes, materials, or software developed throughout the world and introduced to the market.  The award-winning technologies and products were selected by the editors of R&D Magazine and a panel of outside experts.  Widely recognized in industry, government, and academia as a mark of excellence for the most innovative ideas of the year, the R&D 100 Awards are the only industry-wide competition rewarding practical applications of science.

The DOE-funded researchers winning the 29 prestigious 2005 R&D 100 Awards work in 12 DOE national laboratories across the country.

R&D Magazine has named Dr. Mark Humayun as its 2005 Innovator of the Year for his groundbreaking work on retinal implants and in recognition for his lifelong quest to help the blind to see.  Dr. Humayun is a professor of opthamology and biomedical engineering at the Keck School of Medicine and associate director of research at the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California.  He is the leader of the DOE Artificial Retina Project.

R&D Magazine's Innovator of the Year award is an international award that honors one individual who has demonstrated excellence and creativity in the design, development, and introduction into the marketplace of one or more technologically significant products over the past five years.  

For the past 17 years, Dr. Humayun has pioneered new ways of helping the blind to see by melding high-tech materials and technology with advanced surgical methods to restore sight to those who until now had no hope of ever seeing again.

As the lead researcher of the DOE Artificial Retina Project, Dr. Humayun is spearheading a DOE Office of Science-sponsored initiative engaging DOE national laboratories, universities and the private sector to research and develop an artificial retina that can restore sight in blind patients with macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and other eye diseases.  The research is being conducted at the Doheny Eye Institute, in collaboration with North Carolina State University, University of California - Santa Cruz, Second Sight LLC and six DOE national labs - Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Sandia.

The technology that is being developed in the DOE Artificial Retina Project may be applied not only to the treatment of blindness but in the general field of neural prostheses.  It may be adapted to help persons with spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, deafness and almost any other neurological disorder.

The complete list of 2005 R&D 100 Awards appears in the September 2005 issue of R&D Magazine and a profile of Dr. Humayun appears in the August issue at

Since the R&D Magazine annual competition began in 1962, DOE and its national labs have won 698 R&D 100 Awards.  Information about them is available at

A list of the winning technologies and the DOE national laboratories associated with each award follows.  Links to the laboratories' news releases about their 2005 R&D 100 Awards also are provided.

Department of Energy-Funded 2005 R&D 100 Award Winners

Ames Laboratory (Ames, Iowa)

  • A new thermal barrier coating that significantly improves reliability and durability of gas turbine engine blades.  With the thermal barrier coating applied to turbine blades, the combustion temperature of the engine can be increased, which leads to significantly improved efficiency and extended engine life.  The coating will enhance the capabilities of the next generation of jet engines.  Jointly with Iowa State University.

Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, Ill.)

  • The bion® microstimulator, a miniature, self-contained, rechargeable implantable neurostimulator that may benefit the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from debilitating conditions by stimulating viable nerves and muscles to prevent muscles from deteriorating and to help restore nerve and muscle function.  The device is designed to treat a wide variety of diseases, including incontinence, chronic headaches, peripheral pain, angina and epilepsy.  Jointly with Advanced Bionics Corporation and the Alfred Mann Foundation, both of Valencia, Calif., Quallion LLC of Sylmar, Calif. and the Organosilicon Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  • Software that enables scientists to write parallel programs that run efficiently on all major computer systems, from parallel processors to laptops.  Applications include materials science, combustion simulation, astrophysics, climate modeling and bioinformatics.
  • Multilayer lens wafers for X-ray lenses, providing the ability to focus hard X-rays well below 100 nanometers with high efficiency.  This linear Fresnel lens may be used to develop smaller, better-performing and more reliable computers and telecommunications equipment; to produce lighter, sturdier, safer transportation vehicles through advanced materials with tailored properties; to detect flaws or strains in materials for storage, machining and aviation; and to image cell division and tumor growth, providing a new mechanism for the early detection of cancer.
  • A compact oxygen sensor to monitor in real time combustion processes in coal-fire power plants, petrochemical plants, blast furnaces, glass processing equipment, and inside internal combustion engines.  The new sensor provides industry an inexpensive means of monitoring boiler efficiencies to achieve the highest possible energy savings.  Jointly with Ohio State University, Columbus

Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, N.Y.)

  • An X-ray and gamma-ray detector that is less bulky and expensive and more flexible and efficient than current products. The detector can be used for homeland security applications, nuclear medical imaging, environmental monitoring and cleanup, galactic events studies, and nuclear-weapons safeguards.  Jointly with Kansas State University and Yinnel Tech Inc. of South Bend, Ind.

Idaho National Laboratory (Idaho Falls, Idaho)

  • The Hazmat Cam, a lightweight, wireless video camera system that allows emergency first responders to send real-time, high-quality images from terrorism, accident or disaster sites to video or computer monitors at remote command centers up to five miles away.

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Newport News, Va.)

  • The Tunable Energy Recovered High Power Infrared Free-Electron Laser, or FEL, provides intense, powerful beams of laser light that can be tuned to a precise color or wavelength.  The FEL can be controlled more precisely than conventional lasers to produce light in brief bursts with extreme precision, making possible applications in national security, materials science, photobiology, photochemistry and high sensitivity spectroscopy that were not economically feasible before.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, Calif.)

  • The Neural Matrix CCD, initially designed to help scientists learn how neurons in the human nervous system communicate, is the first step in creating combined biological and electronic chip implants that can provide neural networks of, interconnected nerve cells for testing drugs and sensing toxins for homeland security - and, someday, restoring the use of limbs and eyesight and improved mental functions in patients.
  • The first "touchless" technology for restoring early sound recordings on metal foil, wax, plastic, and other media, regardless of scratches, warping, mold, and other effects of age.  Archivists estimate that 40 percent of the millions of recordings in the world's major sound archives could benefit from restoration.
  • Ion Mobility Analysis, a technology that, in a single analytical step, measures the size distribution and counts the number of individual particles in all classes of lipoproteins ("bad" low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, and "good" high-density lipoproteins, or HDL).  Ion mobility analysis is faster and potentially less expensive than current technologies.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, Calif.)

  • The Biological Aerosol Mass Spectrometry (BAMS) system that can analyze individual aerosol particles in real time and at high rates to instantly identify the presence and concentration of harmful biological particles in air samples.
  • NanoFoil®, a nanoengineered heat source that heats only the interface being joined and permits large and small components to be metallically bonded with no thermal damage, replacing the furnaces and torches used in conventional soldering or brazing operations.  Jointly with Reactive NanoTechnologies of Hunt Valley, Md., and Johns Hopkins University.
  • The Adaptable Radiation Area Monitor (ARAM), a radiation detection system that is unique because of its ability to detect even small quantities of radioactive materials moving at either slow speeds or as fast as 60 miles per hour.  ARAM can be used as a fixed detector to monitor slow-moving packages, luggage or pedestrians; as a roadside detector to monitor high-speed traffic; or as a portable detector.  Jointly with Innovative Survivability Technologies, Goleta, Calif.
  • VisIt, a flexible, scalable visualization and graphic analysis tool geared towards the parallel processing of large amounts of data that allows scientists and engineers to see and interpret the most challenging computational problems involving terabytes of data.  One-, two- and three-dimensional data can be visualized and displayed within seconds using VisIt.

Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, N.M.)

  • CartaBlanca, a computer simulation software package that is poised to offer next-generation modeling and simulation capabilities to scientists across disciplines.  The software has applications in aerospace engineering, animation and special effects, computational fluid dynamics, automotive design, pharmaceutical processing and homeland defense.
  • MESA, a system that rapidly and inexpensively measures the full pharmacological profile - both therapeutic and toxicological - of drugs, thus allowing faster drug development and metabolically personalized prescriptions.  MESA's ability to measure a large number of protein-drug interactions and its resulting early detection of toxicity could save hundreds of millions of dollars in drug development costs. Jointly with Caldera Pharmaceuticals of Los Alamos.
  • The Metal-Nanofoam Fabrication Technique, which produces self-supporting, nanoporous metal forms that are significantly more efficient than competing catalysts.  The nanoFOAM technique can be used to improve oil-refining processes and electrical generation from fuel cells that run on hydrocarbons, enhance the strength and heat transfer properties of jet-turbine blades while decreasing their weight, reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides from internal combustion engines and coal-fired power plants, remediate chlorohydrocarbons in the environment and increase the sensitivity of biomedical detectors.
  • A general-purpose software tool for computing the reliability of engineered systems.  The software's features make it suitable for aircraft, prosthetics, space vehicles, weapons systems and automotive designs.  Jointly with Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, Texas, and NASA Glenn Research Center of Cleveland, Ohio.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, Colo.)

  • A method of detecting impurities and defects in silicon boules - the material from which solar cells are made.  The process gives manufacturers information to identify substandard silicon before it is made into cells, thereby increasing the number of efficient cells produced, boosting yields and reducing manufacturing costs.  Jointly with Sinton Consulting Inc. of Boulder, Colo.
  • A user-friendly software program that models energy consumption and identifies the most cost-effective upgrades for both single-family and multifamily buildings.  TREAT helps reduce home energy consumption and emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants while minimizing home energy costs.  Jointly with Taitem Engineering and Performance Systems Development, both of Ithaca, N.Y., and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.)

  • A rooftop air conditioner that can independently control humidity and temperature while delivering any specified percentage of outdoor air into commercial and institutional buildings.  The system is more compact, cost-effective and energy efficient than conventional air-conditioning units, and it enables operators to comply easily with building ventilation codes.  Jointly with SEMCO Inc. of Marietta, Ga.
  • The SensArray Integrated Wafer, a tool for monitoring temperatures during the manufacture of semiconductors.  The yield of a semiconductor fabrication line depends on maintaining precise, uniform temperatures during processing.  The wireless system collects data without disturbing the environment of the highly automated production path.  Jointly with SensArray Corp. of Fremont, Calif.
  • SeizAlert, a low-cost, compact, non-invasive, wearable prototype device designed to alert the wearer and medical personnel of an impending epileptic seizure.  Epilepsy affects millions of people in the U.S. alone, and many cannot be treated with medication or surgery, so SeizAlert has significant medical, scientific and economic importance.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Wash.)

  • The Morning Report: Advanced Proactive Safety and System Monitoring Tool, a computational technology to improve airline safety.  The Morning Report uses data-intensive computing to distill insight from data covering  thousands of flights (such as speed, roll or wing angle, equipment status and engine temperature) and identify patterns and events that could signify problems during flight.  Jointly with NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., Battelle Memorial Institute of Mountain View, Calif., Flight Safety Consultants of San Carlos, Calif. and ProWorks Corp. of Corvallis, Ore.

Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif.)

  • The AssuranceT line of tires featuring TripleTred TechnologyTM, an all-season tire with three unique tread zones that delivers long wear with traction in any weather condition.  Researchers used a powerful set of simulation tools for design, prototype development and performance evaluation, bringing TripleTred from concept to market in less than a year.  Jointly with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio.
  • Global-Link, a system that captures and transmits high-resolution video across the Internet via a series of advanced compression technologies.  Compared to other technologies, Global-Link uniquely can display full motion video from the computer at rates approaching DVD quality.  The system can be used to help physicians consult over and manipulate in real time three-dimensional MRI pictures and for oil team members to confer around the globe on observed data.  Jointly with Logical Solutions of Milford, Conn.
  • The Ion-Photo Emission Microscope that does not require costly and complicated forming and focusing equipment to study the effects of single ions in air on semiconductors, semiconductor devices and biological cells.   Jointly with Quantar Technology Inc. of Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • TEPIC, a machinable composite tooling material.  TEPIC is a rigid foam that can be used as forms for molding advanced composite materials that cure at high temperatures.  Previously, only expensive metal tooling could meet this thermal challenge, so TEPIC represents a major advance in light-weight, high-temperature, high-strength tooling materials.  TEPIC will enable incorporation of advanced structural composites in aerospace, military and automotive industries.  Jointly with Scion Industries of Fort Collins, Colo.

Media contact(s):
Jeff Sherwood, 202/586-5806