Bechtel announced today that researchers from two U.S. national laboratories
managed and operated by Bechtel partnerships have earned six 2014 R&D 100 Awards, known as the Oscars® of Invention. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory teams collected four awards and Los Alamos National Laboratory teams received two. R&D Magazine gives the awards to recognize the top 100 technology products of the year, honoring cutting-edge scientific and engineering technologies with commercial potential.
“The work of these dedicated men and women and their collaborators from industry exemplify the important contributions of U.S. national laboratories to the safety and security of this country and the world, and we are very proud of their achievements,” said Craig Albert, president of Bechtel’s government services business unit.
The six R&D 100 Awards went to applications in national security, energy, and health sciences:
- A miniaturized, portable thin-layer chromatography kit developed at Livermore can detect and identify unknown materials. The principal applications are for the military monitoring of bulk and residual explosives and for law enforcement to monitor illicit substances such as explosives and drugs.
- A superconducting tunnel junction X-ray spectrometer at Livermore measures X-ray energies 10 times more precisely than current X-ray spectrometers using silicon or germanium semiconductors. Analysts can more accurately determine the X-ray fingerprint and composition.
- An optical technology from Livermore superimposes the different wavelengths of many small lasers to produce a single higher-power beam. Uses may include such applications as defense and material processing, such as marking, cutting, welding, and drilling.
- A new method of optical polishing at Livermore improves optics for the laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s largest and highest-energy laser. The convergent polishing technique provides a faster, lower-cost, high-quality finishing process for NIF and may benefit academic, astronomical, and industrial research laboratories.
- A multiphase flow meter from Los Alamos called Safire inexpensively and accurately measures the varying flow of oil, natural gas, and water from all types of wells. Safire is noninvasive and works continuously. The technology allows the oil industry to safely access environmentally sensitive areas and increase hydrocarbon recovery.
- A revolutionary acoustic wavenumber spectrometer from Los Alamos generates high rates of high-resolution, ultrasonic images of hidden structural properties or defects in materials. The technology, 30 times faster than the leading competitor, is noninvasive. Its applications include the maintenance of military assets, commercial aircraft, and energy-production devices such as wind turbines.
The laboratories are part of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s nuclear security enterprise of facilities that carry out the agency’s mission of ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. The two laboratories also conduct cutting-edge research related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns. Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are managed by separate partnerships led by the University of California and Bechtel.