Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL sweeps regional tech transfer awards

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 29, 2007 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory has won six awards, including project of the year, from a federal laboratory group for transferring technologies to the private sector.

The Southeast Federal Laboratory Consortium awarded three other ORNL inventions the excellence in technology transfer awards, and two technologies received honorable mention in the competition among federal laboratories from nine southeastern states.

All of the ORNL technologies that were nominated won an award. The inventions include a new superconducting wire, a method for finding defects in semiconductors, a device that uses acoustics to detect chemical residue from a distance, high-temperature electronics for use in oil drilling and a high-powered search engine.

IC-221M Cast Nickel Aluminide, which was developed and transferred to Duraloy Technologies by ORNL's Vinod Sikka, Michael Santella, Jeffery McNabb and Ashok Choudhury, won project of the year. It improves the operation of heat-treating furnaces used to make steel. The material eliminates the need for frequent furnace shutdowns, provides significant savings in energy and cost and reduces CO2 emissions. Roman Pankiw of Duraloy, independent consultant Anthony Martocci and John Mengel of Mittal Steel shared in the award.

High-Performance Lanthanum Manganese Oxide-Enabled, High-Temperature Superconducting Tape, Automated Image Retrieval and Operational Amplifiers for High-Temperature Electronics and Telemetry won excellence in technology transfer awards.

The superconducting tape carries electricity through the power grid after being cooled by liquid nitrogen. As replacements for copper power cables, cables made from the ORNL technology, which was licensed to SuperPower Inc., will carry more electricity much more efficiently and can be retrofitted to the standard underground-transmission grid infrastructure. It was developed by ORNL's Parans Paranthaman, Tolga Aytug, Amit Goyal and Mark Reeves and Venkat Selvamanickam and X. Xiong of Superpower. The technology won a R&D 100 award in 2007.

Automated Image Retrieval, developed by ORNL's Kenneth Tobin, Thomas Karnowski, Philip Bingham and Larry Dickens and Tom Verburgt of Rudolph Technologies, uses imaging to inspect and assess semiconductor wafers. The technology won an R&D 100 award in 2002.

Operational Amplifiers for High-Temperature Electronics and Telemetry, developed by ORNL's Charles Britton, Lloyd Clonts, Tony Moore, Nance Ericson and Larry Dickens and Roger Schultz of Halliburton, can operate for extended periods of time in temperatures exceeding 200 degrees Celsius, making them practical for use in deep petroleum drilling operations. A NASA-led development has also shown interest in using the technology for other harsh environments such as those found on the moon and on Mars.

Reverse Photo-Acoustic Spectroscopy and the Piranha Knowledge Discovery Engine won honorable mention.

Reverse Photo-Acoustic Spectroscopy uses acoustics to detect chemicals, biological compounds, explosives or nuclear materials. Its long-range, remote scanning capabilities allow it to probe surfaces that are not easily accessible for contamination or residues, such as those made during the manufacture of improvised explosive devices in Iraq. Thomas Thundat, Ali Passian, Gilbert Brown, David Hedden, Larry Senesac, Charles Van Neste and Russ Miller of ORNL and Ming Su of the University of Central Florida developed the technology.

Piranha Knowledge Discovery Engine uses intelligent agent technology and a very large cluster computer to analyze large volumes of text data with unprecedented speed and accuracy. Piranha runs 100 times faster than other search engines and can work with continuously changing data sets. ORNL's Jim Treadwell, Mark Elmore, Brian Klump, Robert Patton, Thomas Potok, Joel Reed and Brett Bosley developed the technology.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.