R&D 100 Awards Categories

At R&D Magazine, the editors are fond of saying that all 100 winners of our annual R&D 100 Awards are equal. That is, there is no ratings system for our final 100.

This is important because the products that the editors and industry experts judge every year are so different.

Technology is never constant; to help readers navigate this sea of technology, the winning products are organized into categories.

View these general categories and recent winners.

Analytical Instruments

Properties of a liquid, solid, or gas can be determined by separating the components to reveal composition, mass, or distribution. Examples: chromatograph, spectrometer, calorimeter.

These devices bombard a sample with a high-energy beam and collect data from the scattered energy or particles that result. Examples: x-ray diffractor, neutron generator, x-ray monochromator.
These building blocks for materials, processes, and life science can include pesticides, cleaning agents, lubricants, reagents, and more. Examples: nitrogen stabilizer, epoxy, detergent.
Communication Technologies
Wireless or wired, hardware or software, voice or data: communication technologies dictate how the world shares information. Examples: inflatable antenna, MEMS oscillator, 100G network.
Consumer Products
Not every revolutionary product is intended for the laboratory or industrial setting. Some are simply innovations for all. Examples: micro four-thirds camera, synthetic oil, Braille display.
Electrical Devices
Electricity makes the world run, and equipment that both manages and transmit electrons is ripe for new innovations. Examples: transformer safety system, solid state switch, preamplifier module.
Electronic Instrumentation
The world runs efficiently with the help of instruments that control or test other systems to troubleshoot problems or find new solutions. Examples: data acquisition, spectrum analyzer, nanovoltmeter.
Energy Technologies
This category includes any innovation specifically designed to help deliver or manage energy production or consumption. Examples: nanostructured batteries, CIGS solar cell, biofuel.
Environmental Technologies
In this category, innovations are specifically designed to make an positive impact on the environment. Examples: carbon capture sorbent, diesel particulate trap oxidizer, water purification system.
Imaging Technologies
The information age has accelerated imaging technologies, from optical microscopy to computed tomography techniques. Examples: electron microscope, magnetic resonance imager, high-speed camera.
Information Technologies
The integrated circuit has sparked a digital age and a wave of computing innovation that continues to grow. Examples: high-k metal gate circuit, random-access memory chip, supercomputer.
Lab Equipment
No laboratory runs efficiently without effective technology, from automated liquid handling to the basic pipette. Examples: High-resolution lab balance, well extraction plate, solid phase injector.
Lasers and Photonics
Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation is useful in medicine, manufacturing, and high-level R&D. Examples: charge-coupled device, laser alignment system, solid-state photodiode.
Life Sciences
Genomics, drug discovery, and surgical devices: the innovations in life science mark the intersection of technology and biology. Examples: artificial retina, DNA sequencer, artificial kidney device.
Materials Sciences
Metals, polymers, ceramics, semiconductors, gels, crystals....the list of materials is nearly limitless and are the building blocks for the future. Examples: austenitic steel, polymers, aerogel.
Mechanical Systems
Innovations in materials, computing, and automation provide the basis for sophisticated machinery. Examples: magnetic bearing, robot, hydraulic motor.
Process Sciences
Industrial process innovation features a set of physical, chemical, or thermal steps. Examples: ammonia production process, metal infusion surface treatment, plasma-assisted dry soldering.
Safety and Security
This category includes products design to ensure safe R&D, and products that improve security for the general public. Examples: radionuclide detector; airplane wing deicer, cargo inspection system.
Software provides answers to some of our most complex and daunting questions. Examples: Computational fluid dynamics, information management, symbolic mathematics.
Thin Film and Vacuum Technologies
The ability to deposit thin layers of materials is important to industry, and is often enabled through vacuum equipment. Examples: 32-nm lithography, diamond-like coating, graphene.