Three ORNL technologies earn technology transfer excellence awards

10/27/05

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 27, 2005 Three technologies developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received Excellence in Technology Transfer Awards from the Southeast Region of the Federal Laboratory consortium.

The awards are for the Polyelectrolyte Thin-Film Array Slide, the Flame Doctor Burner-Monitor System and the Laser-Based Item Monitoring System. In addition, the consortium awarded its first Partnership Award in recognition of a partnership between ORNL and the United States Enrichment Corp. to demonstrate and deploy gas centrifuge technology. The latter was the organization's first Partnership Award.

Earning an honorable mention in for Excellence in Technology Transfer was the SensArray Integrated Wafer Wireless Microchip Fabrication Monitor.

The awards were presented Sept. 15 during the Southeast Region organization's awards ceremony in Savannah, Ga. The awards recognize federal laboratory employees in the Southeast for outstanding work in the process of transferring a technology to the commercial marketplace. The Federal Laboratory Consortium promotes technology commercialization among federal laboratories.

The Polyelectrolyte Thin-Film Array Slide is a thin-film-coated glass slide where multiplexed biological samples or biomolecules such as proteins, whole cells or tissue samples can be analyzed in an environment where the samples can retain their native chemical activity. The slide is licensed to Diversified Biotech of Boston, which is working with Erie Scientific Company of Portsmouth, N.H., and ORNL to develop a commercial product.

ORNL staff working on the project are Jizhong Zhou and Xichun Zhou of the Environmental Sciences Division, Russ Miller of the laboratory's Technology Transfer and Economic Development Directorate. Mark Fins of Diversified Biotech was also recognized.

The Flame Doctor technology is a system that monitors the burners in coal-fired power plants and allows them to be adjusted to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency. In some cases, such burner adjustments can reduce carbon monoxide and unburned fuel emissions by 50 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions between 10 and 20 percent. The Babcock and Wilcox Company of Barberton, Ohio, has a worldwide license from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to market the Flame Doctor technology, which could potentially save utilities millions of dollars.

ORNL staff working on the project are Charles Finney and Stuart Daw of the Engineering Science and Technology Division. Larry Dickens of the laboratory's Technology Transfer and Economic Development Directorate was also involved. ORNL partnered with Babcock and Wilcox, whose principal team members are Timothy Fuller, Thomas Flynn and Ralph Bailey. Jeff Stallings of EPRI was the project manager.

The Laser-Based Item Monitoring System conducts surveillance by creating high-resolution reflection maps that can sense extremely small changes in the position of a target item through retro-reflected light signals. This surveillance system allows for detecting movement of items within a target area. Because the system doesn't create a visual image, it can be used in situations where confidential information or security interests could be compromised by the use of video surveillance. The project was funded by DOE's Office of International Safeguards and is licensed to Canberra Aquila of Albuquerque, N.M.

Researchers working on the project are Peter Chiaro, Curt Maxey, Timothy McIntyre and Fred Gibson of ORNL's Engineering Science and Technology Division. Dickens was also involved with the project as commercialization manager. John Murphy of DOE was also part of the effort.

The Partnership Award to ORNL and U.S. Enrichment Corp. is for a cooperative research and development agreement for development of a new generation of gas centrifuge plants to produce nuclear fuel for commercial power reactors. Teams from the two organizations have worked on the project based on improvements in materials and computer-based control systems that have occurred since centrifuge enrichment technology was discontinued more than 20 years ago.

Members of the ORNL team that have worked to make this project possible are Doug Craig, Ted Fox, John Shaffer, Steve Hamel and Dickens. The U.S. Enrichment Corp. team is composed of Dave Mason, Dennis Scott, Dan Stout and Dean Waters. Representing DOE's Oak Ridge Operations are Jim Reafsnyder and Emily Schneider.

The SensArray Integrated Wafer Wireless Microchip Fabrication Monitor is a device that measures and records temperatures of the production line area for semiconductor microchips. Maintaining precise, uniform temperatures during microchip wafer production is important, and this instrument provides an accurate map of the thermal environment throughout the production process.

ORNL participants in this effort are Carl Sohns of the Engineering Science and Technology Division and Robert Lauf and Don Bible, retired ORNL research staff members. Ashok Choudhury of the Technology Transfer and Economic Development Directorate also participated.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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