News Archive 2007
Caption: Drawing of the Extreme Ultraviolet Engineering Test Stand. The goal of the ETS is to demonstrate how ultraviolet wavelengths can be used to print patterns on integrated circuits at production levels and sizes.
In order to keep faster, smaller, cheaper computer chips coming, three DOE laboratories worked together under a $250 million cooperative research and development agreement with a consortium of industrial partners to produce a next-generation technology for making computer chips.
Researchers from Lawrence Livermore, Sandia Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories developed a new technology that uses extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) to produce microprocessors that promise to be hundreds of times faster than today's most powerful chips and create memory chips with similar increases in storage capacity.
EUVL does this by printing smaller, finer computer chip circuitry than is possible using existing chip-printing technology. By printing smaller circuits, EUVL can pack more circuits onto a single chip, thereby allowing the chips to do more, and to do it faster.
The EUVL project has received an Excellence in Technology Transfer award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. The EUVL technology, exclusively in the Lithography Field of Use, has been successfully transferred to the Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography Limited Liability Corporation, a consortium of semiconductor companies headed by Intel Corporation and including chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices, IBM, Infineon, Micron Technologies and Freescale (formerly Motorola).
Computers with EUVL-developed chips could lead to systems for facile speech recognition, improved weather prediction, enhanced medical diagnostics, three-dimensional image processing, microcontrollers for "intelligent" machinery, and more powerful supercomputers for scientific and defense research.
EUVL LLC is the assignee for patent rights exclusively in the field of use for lithography. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retains patent rights in all other fields of use excluding lithography.-This article was provided by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.-
Caption: Brookhaven biologist John Dunn, a researcher on the BNL Lyme disease team
UPTON, NY -- Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborators at Stony Brook University have received U.S. Patent Number 7,179,448 for developing chimeric, or "combination," proteins that may advance the development of vaccines and diagnostic tests for Lyme disease.
The genetically engineered proteins combine pieces of two proteins that are normally present on the surface of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, but at different parts of the organism's life cycle. "Combining pieces of these two proteins into one chimeric protein should trigger a 'one-two-punch' immune response more capable of fending off the bacterium than either protein alone," says Brookhaven biologist John Dunn, a researcher on the BNL Lyme disease team. "These chimeric proteins could also be used as diagnostic reagents that distinguish disease-causing strains of bacteria from relatively harmless ones, and help assess the severity of an infection," Dunn said.
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S., causing approximately 25,000 new cases each year - a rate that is expected to increase by at least a third from 2002 to 2012, according to a new study. Early symptoms of the disease, which is spread by the bite of an infected deer tick, include a bull's-eye rash at the site of the bite and flu-like symptoms. If not promptly treated with antibiotics, it can lead to more serious symptoms, including joint and neurological complications.
Scientists have been working on vaccines based on the structures of proteins found on the outer surface of Borrelia burgdoferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Dunn and colleagues deciphered the atomic level structures of these proteins, known as outer surface proteins A and C (OspA and OspC), at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven Lab. The OspA protein, which was used to make the original vaccine against Lyme disease, is only present in the bacteria while they are in the cold-blooded deer tick's stomach, and not in the host. After the tick bites a warm-blooded mammalian host, the injected bacteria produce OspC on their surface.
With the aim of developing a vaccine that would trigger an immune response against both these life cycle stages, Dunn's team used methods of recombinant DNA to create new proteins that combine the most immunogenic portions of OspA and OspC - that is, the regions of the two proteins that are most likely to trigger an immune response.
The researchers have demonstrated that the new combination proteins retain the ability to trigger an immune response to at least one or both of the antigens, and can trigger the production of antibodies that inhibit growth of and/or kill Borrelia bacteria in laboratory cultures. They've also shown that the chimeric proteins can be mass-produced in E. coli bacteria, a common laboratory technique for making proteins, and easily purified for possible use in vaccines or diagnostic assays.
"This could lead to a vaccine that is effective at different stages of the organism's life cycle," said Dunn. Moreover, by incorporating unique protein fragments from various pathogenic families of Borrelia, these chimeric proteins could be used to distinguish clinically important exposure to disease-causing Borrelia from exposures to other non-pathogenic families of Borrelia.
The patent covers the development of the chimeric proteins themselves, the nucleic acids (genetic material) used to generate the proteins, the methods used to make the proteins, the methods used to deliver either the proteins or nucleic acids, the use of the proteins in diagnostic assays or kits, and their use in animals and humans as vaccines against Lyme disease.-This article was provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory.-
Caption: BETTER X-RAY IMAGING ? Anti-scatter grids can improve X-ray imaging for mammography, chest X-rays and other medical applications.
Caption: ANTI-SCATTER ? Schematic of an anti-scatter grid. Human tissue atenuates and scatters X-rays. The two-dimensional grid absorbs scattered X-rays, but allows the primary X-rays to reach the imager
A grid as little as three millimeters tall could save lives by helping X-rays and radiotracers provide clearer diagnostic images of the human body.
These X-ray anti-scatter grids and nuclear collimators, developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Creatv MicroTech, Inc., won an R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine, identifying it as one of the top scientific and technological innovations in the world introduced as a product during 2005. They also were on the Micro/Nano 25 – Technologies of Tomorrow list, selected by the editors of Micro/Nano Newsletter and R&D Magazine as one of 25 micro- and nanotechnologies likely to have the largest impact on their specific industries and society in the years to come.
"The two areas where it's important for medical imaging are mammography and gamma ray imaging," developer Derrick Mancini of Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials said. "Both of them are critically important for early detection of cancer and other diseases. The impact, therefore, is saving lives."
X-rays produce the images used in medicine as a result of their ability to travel through matter, creating an image based on the density of the matter. However, when a beam of X-rays hits the target, the X-rays are attenuated and scattered. Scattered X-rays modify and cloud the image, which can lead to medical misdiagnoses.
Anti-scatter grids are placed between the target and the imager to reduce this X-ray scattering.
"The basic concept of an anti-scatter grid is not new," said Cha-Mei Tang, president of Creatv MicroTech, "but our method can make two-dimensional grids that reduce scatter to less than one percent. This is far more effective than one-dimensional grids currently on the market, which reduce scattering to about 10 percent."
The anti-scatter grids developed by Argonne and Creatv MicroTech, however, are superior to existing anti-scatter grids because they are made using a method called LIGA, a German acronym that refers to lithography, electroforming and molding. Argonne's Advanced Photon Source (APS), which provides the most powerful X-ray beams in the Western Hemisphere, is normally used to analyze materials. The LIGA anti-scattering grid is the first time that the APS was used in the fabrication of an industrial product. To make an anti-scatter X-ray grid in the LIGA method, Xrays from the APS burn a deep grid pattern into a thick polymer. After placing the exposed polymer in a developer, the polymer mold for the grid pattern is obtained. The grid mold is filled with metal by electroplating, and when the polymer is removed, a grid results.
While many previous anti-scatter grids were one-dimensional, the LIGA grids consist of two-dimensional cells. These cells are divided by walls as thin as 25 microns (millionths of a meter), a thinness that cannot be achieved with other methods for making anti-scatter grids, such as casting, foil folding and chemical etching. For one-dimensional grids, the measured transmission of primary X-rays is 72 percent. A competing cellular grid transmits 80 percent, but the LIGA grid transmits the highest proportion of primary X-rays: 87 percent.
Nuclear medicine is similar to X-ray imaging in that it looks at what goes on inside the body, but different in that radiotracers are used. Nuclear images focus on the function and chemistry of body parts the radiotracers encounter, rather than on the structure of body parts. Gamma cameras pick up the gamma-rays emitted by the radiotracers, and nuclear collimators placed in front of the gamma cameras select the appropriate gamma rays. Nuclear collimators also benefit from the use of LIGA-produced grids.
Developers of the grids and collimators were Derrick Mancini, Ralu Divan and Judi Yaeger at Argonne; Olga Makarova, Guohua Yang and Cha-Mei Tang at Creatv MicroTech, Inc.; former Argonne employee Nicolaie Moldovan, now at Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc.; and former Argonne and Creatv MicroTech employee Vladislav N. Zyryanov, now at Illinois Institute of Technology.
Argonne and Creatv MicroTech started working collaboratively on this project nearly eight years ago, when both organizations discovered they were working on similar technology. They handled different aspects of the project, Creatv MicroTech focusing on design, manufacture, fabrication and testing for medical applications and Argonne focusing on fabrication methods.
Funding was provided by DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences, SBIR grants from the National Institutes of Health and Creatv MicroTech.
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Popular Science magazine featured it in a cover story titled "Radar On A Chip – 101 Uses In Your Life." The Federal Laboratory Consortium gave it an Excellence in Technology Transfer award. R&D magazine honored it with two R&D 100 awards.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's micropower-impulse radar (MIR) is a low-cost, high-speed radar device that uses very little power and fits onto a chip just two inches square. It can sense motion, such as a burglar moving about a house or a heart beating inside the body, and detect objects, such as a car traveling in someone's blind spot or studs hidden inside a wall.
MIR has been licensed for applications ranging from electronic studfinders to automotive safety products to industrial automation. The interest shown in MIR by various companies indicate that many products could be developed, improved upon or reduced in price using MIR, including better autofocus cameras, fluid level sensors and automated switches for room lighting.
The MIR technology is an outgrowth of Livermore's national security research using lasers to study nuclear fusion. MIR is based on the radiation of short voltage impulses that are reflected off nearby objects and detected by MIR's extremely high-speed sampling receiver. Prototype units emit one million impulses per second and detect their echoes within ranges of 20 feet, or further with the addition of synthetic beam forming antennas. The microradar can be preset to detect stationary objects within a precisely defined range as well as any motion within that area. MIR can penetrate materials such as rubber, plastic, wood, concrete, glass, ice, and mud.-This article was provided by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.-
Caption: Without the Polymer Multilayer Deposition technology for flat panel displays developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, just the moisture in the air would cause this extremely sensitive Organic Light Emitting Device to fail in a matter of days. But this coated test unit survived eight months of exposure to air and continues to function while being completely submerged in water.
Associated patents:Patent #: 6,909,230
Patent #: 6,811,829
Patent #: 6,522,067
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed the Polymer Multilayer Deposition technology, a thin-film, transparent, flexible coating applied to plastic, glass or metal substrates to hermetically seal sensitive components, such as organic light emitting displays (OLEDs), against damage resulting from atmospheric exposure. These thin films dramatically reduce the weight and thickness of displays used in portable devices, such as cell phones, and may someday be used in flat panel displays for laptop computers, desktop applications and televisions.
For more than 10 years, PNNL has been developing this technology. In 1999, the technology was licensed to Vitex Systems, Inc. As the company has matured so has the technology. Today, Vitex is selling pilot-scale and production equipment to display manufacturers while continuing to protect a growing portfolio of intellectual property – including more than 50 United States patents, nearly 60 foreign patents and dozens more pending. The company continues to refine the barrier coating process for use in OLED applications and routinely partners with PNNL for further process development.-This article was provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.-