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The Lead

A Clear Vision

December 17, 2014 9:29 am | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

Around 400 BC, Hippocrates was among the first people in recorded history to postulate the brain as the seat of sensation and intelligence. Yet only in the last 100 years have we identified, and closely studied, its key building block: the neuron. A highly specialized cell found in all but the simplest animals, like sponges, the neuron is one of the keys to understanding the brain.

Leading the Bionic Age

December 17, 2014 9:18 am | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

The bionic age is no longer the workings of a far-fetched sci-fi movie; it’s here, now. We have...

An Inside Look to Analytical Innovation

December 4, 2014 4:10 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Award Winners

During the 2014 R&D 100 Awards event, R&D Magazine expanded the banquet to hold...

Center Stage: The High Rollers of S&T Industry Honored at 2014 R&D 100 Awards

November 20, 2014 12:06 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Award Winners

The R&D 100 Awards have a 50+ year history of recognizing excellence in innovation, earning...

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2015 R&D 100 Awards entries now open

November 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Award Winners

The editors of R&D Magazine have announced the opening of the 2015 R&D 100 Awards entry process. The R&D 100 Awards have a 50 plus year history of awarding the 100 most technologically significant products of the year. Past winners have included sophisticated testing equipment, innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items, high-energy physics and more.

With phased-array radar, electrical engineers aim to make car travel safer

October 29, 2014 12:55 pm | News | Comments

Electrical engineers from the Univ. of California, San Diego have developed hardware for a new generation of automotive radar systems designed to keep drivers, and the pedestrians around them they may not see, safe. Their project is part of an initiative led by Toyota Technical Center that won a 2014 R&D 100 Award for its “Automotive Phased Array Radar.”

October 2014 Issue of R&D Magazine

October 24, 2014 11:48 am | by R&D Magazine | Digital Editions | Comments

This month's issue of R&D Magazine celebrates the 2014 R&D 100 Award winners. Our editors also take a look at simulation software for delivering vaccines to the third world and high-speed camera.

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R&D 100 Award Video: Calcium Loop for Carbon Capture

October 20, 2014 9:07 am | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Videos | Comments

Carbon capture and sequestration isn’t only suitable for new power plants, but more essential in retrofitting existing ones. Because of this retrofitting nature, carbon capture and sequestration is regarded by the International Energy Agency as the single technology most capable of carbon dioxide reduction in the world and could account for more than 20% of global carbon dioxide abatement by 2050.

2015 Laboratory of the Year competition open for entries

October 1, 2014 7:42 am | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | News | Comments

The editors of R&D Magazine and Laboratory Design are now accepting entries to the 49th international Laboratory of the Year competition. This annual award recognizes the best new and renovated laboratories that combine all aspects of the building into a superior working environment. The entry deadline is January 31, 2015 (11:59p.m. Eastern Standard Time).

2014 R&D 100 Award Winners

August 27, 2014 9:53 am | Award Winners

Introducing R&D Magazine's 2014 R&D 100 Award winners. The 2014 R&D 100 Award Winners are listed below in alphabetical order by the name of the primary developer company.

Nanofactory in a Box

August 26, 2014 11:06 am | Award Winners

Growing, harvesting and characterizing nanowires sounds like a job for an experienced researcher in a high-end laboratory. It often is. But EChem Nanowires Education Foundation Inc. has partnered with Argonne National Laboratory to bring nanowire fabrication to the classroom: The NanoFab Lab … in a Box! kit gives any student the ability to create nanowires and includes everything needed for the process, except the chemicals.

Resistance is Not Futile

August 26, 2014 10:52 am | Award Winners

In lithography, polymer “resists” are applied as a thin, continuous layer over material that is to be patterned. The resist is patterned, then removed after the pattern is duplicated on the silicon underneath. However, smaller patterns demand thinner resists, which can’t survive plasma patterning. Sequential Infiltration Synthesis (SIS) Lithography, developed by Argonne National Laboratory and implemented in industrial settings by several industry leaders, gives the resist the ability to withstand plasma etching.

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Low-cost Solar through Fast Production

August 26, 2014 10:41 am | Award Winners

Crystalline silicon has continued to lead the market in the worldwide adoption of solar energy with over 85% market share. Much of this growth has happened in the past few years. Photovoltaic modules have dropped in price to below $1/W due to massive vertical integration largely driven by Chinese manufacturers. However, the cost to manufacture panels has not scaled down, resulting in losses for manufacturers. Crystal Solar Inc.’s Direct Gas to Wafer Epitaxial System, developed with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is designed to help reduce these costs by increasing throughput.

Fast Vacuum for Next-Gen Processes

August 26, 2014 10:20 am | Award Winners

The semiconductor industry is starting to adopt rapid processes that require pressure values processed in as little as 0.5 msec, yet produce low noise. This performance is needed to build chips that generate less heat, run cooler and need less cooling resources. Speed and noise improvements, available in INFICON’s new Stripe CDG capacitive diaphragm gauge, fulfill the requirements of this next level of structure reduction in the process industry.

Accurate, Repeatable LED Metrology

August 26, 2014 9:58 am | Award Winners

The key step in the LED manufacturing process is the epitaxial growth of quantum well active layers on a wafer substrate using technology such as metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). The characterization of the resulting “epi” wafer is typically done by the “indium dot” method, a slow and largely manual method that involves injecting current into dot electrodes that test the wafer, but also damages it. Bruker Nano Surfaces has an alternative.

Numerical Simulation of Multiphysics Processes

August 25, 2014 4:11 pm | Award Winners

Sandia National LaboratoriesGoma 6.0 is software for numerical simulation of multiphysics continuum processes, including moving geometry, phase-change, fluid-structural interactions, complex rheology and chemical reactions. It solves the fundamental equations of mass, momentum, energy and chemical species transport using the finite element method (FEM), which can be described by partial differential equations.

Heightened Multiphysics

August 25, 2014 3:53 pm | Award Winners

Modeling and simulation is standard practice in nearly every scientific field. Idaho National Laboratory’s Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE) has transformed approaches to predictive simulation, making it quick, adaptable and more accessible. MOOSE is a computer software that can be loaded onto most UNIX-compliant operating systems including, but not limited to, Mac OS X, Ubuntu, OpenSuSE, Fedora, CentOS and Redhat.

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Better Decision Making

August 25, 2014 3:40 pm | Award Winners

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed iSPM: Intelligent Software Suite for Personalized Modeling of Expert Opinions, Decisions and Errors in Visual Examination Tasks, a novel technology utilizing eye-tracking hardware, an intelligent GUI engine and advanced analytics to predict an individual’s perceptual behavior, cognitive response and risk of error for complex decision tasks such as cancer diagnosis from medical images.

Simplifying Electrolyte Selection

August 25, 2014 3:27 pm | Award Winners

Mapping of the human genome has advanced our understanding of life, health and potential cures for diseases. Many technologies could benefit from genome-level investigations. Now, a disruptive virtual scientific simulation tool that delivers a genome-level investigation for electrolytes is available. Idaho National Laboratory’s Kevin Gering has developed the Advanced Electrolyte Model (AEM), a molecular-based, scientifically proven simulation tool.

Aircraft Sense and Avoid

August 25, 2014 3:08 pm | Award Winners

MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Airborne Sense and Avoid (ABSAA) Radar Panel is a stepped-notch antenna array that marks a substantial advance in the fabrication of wide-bandwidth radar systems for use aboard unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The panel provides high performance by incorporating multifunction radio-frequency integrated circuits using a commercially available, high-volume silicon germanium (SiGe) 0.13-μm foundry process.

An Intelligent Pigment

August 25, 2014 2:52 pm | Award Winners

Chemochromic pigments can be very robust hydrogen leak indicators due to their highly visible, long-term stability and reliable chemical reactions between the pigments and hydrogen. However, their implementation is often difficult because of environmental interference and gas permeability of the host materials. Patented research from the Univ. of Central Florida, NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center and HySense Technology LLC solves the known issues by combining a palladium-oxide chemochromic pigment in a novel silicon matrix that is environmentally resistant while being hydrogen permeable.

Precision Optics in One Step

August 25, 2014 2:31 pm | Award Winners

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have developed a new polishing system capable of finishing flat and spherical glass optics in a single iteration, regardless of the workpieces’ initial shape. Convergent Polishing: Rapid, Simple, Low Cost Finishing of High Quality Glass Optics is able to “converge” several steps because factors contributing to non-uniform spatial material removal on the workpiece have been eliminated and the creation of rogue particles within the polisher system have been removed.

Friction-beating Engine Coating

August 25, 2014 2:12 pm | Award Winners

Efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will factor heavily into engine development by OEMs, and this will be accomplished in large part from the reduction of internal friction. Daimler AG has made a significant advance in this area with the introduction of NANOSLIDE, an innovative coating for cylinder running surfaces of combustion engines to reduce CO2 emissions, which allows for the use of lighter crankshafts and reduces friction losses in the piston assembly.

Toxic-free Coating, On the Go

August 25, 2014 1:58 pm | Award Winners

The recent development of a new class of ionic liquid electrolytes has allowed the development of the Portable Aluminum Deposition System (PADS) by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and United Technologies Research Center. The breakthrough liquid formulation was achieved, in part, by the use of hydrophobic neutral ligands, which considerably increased the air stability of the plating electrolytes.

Automated Bin-picking

August 25, 2014 12:07 pm | Award Winners

Mitsubishi Electric Corp.’s MELFA-3D Vision system for industrial robot arms completely automates bin-picking tasks. A projector creates multiple slit patterns that are projected on the piled parts, which are captured with the camera. A depth map is reconstructed by using the captured images and a structured-light decoding algorithm.

Precision Stage for Nanoscale Studies

August 25, 2014 12:00 pm | Award Winners

A deeper understanding of microstructure-mechanical property correlations to processing conditions is sought by many industries. Hysitron Inc.’s xSol High Temperature Stage is a new platform that supports this effort, allowing researchers to make high-resolution nanomechanical measurements over a broad temperature range.

Lower Emissions, More Power

August 25, 2014 11:44 am | Award Winners

By 2025, the automotive industry is required to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emission by at least 30% while reducing pollutant emissions by a factor of three. For decades, efforts to meet ever-increasing standards like this have depended on a thorough understanding of Otto cycle dynamics in internal combustion engines and development of ways to change emissions through exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). Toward this goal, Dedicated-EGR (D-EGR) by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) goes to new lengths by “dedicating” a separately controlled cylinder that is allowed to run rich.

Encoder-free Servo Motors

August 25, 2014 11:21 am | Award Winners

Industrial conveying and handling machines typically use expensive permanent magnet synchronous drives (“servo”) or cheaper induction motors equipped with brakes and clutches. Induction motors, because of their design, suffer from efficiency losses. Servo drives, meanwhile, are seen as less durable because they are equipped with sensitive encoders and extra wiring. Engineers at Mitsubishi Electric Corp. have eliminated the worst features of both designs with the Sensor-less Servo Drive Unit FR-E700EX Series and Sensor-less Motor MM-GKR, which controls speed or position without the need for an encoder.

Wide-area Millimeter Motions

August 25, 2014 11:04 am | Award Winners

Applications such as silicon wafer alignment or bio‐cell manipulations require fast and accurate positioning within a few millimeters working range. Widely used piezoelectric (PZT) actuators, however, have displacement ranges limited to hundreds of micrometers. Displacement-amplification techniques such as “inchworm” clamping have been introduced, but suffer from poor motion repeatability, low payload and low speed. This has produced a challenge for the precision engineering industry that has been met by the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) with the introduction of its Flexure‐based Electromagnetic Linear Actuator (FELA).

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