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Technology transfer group honors PNL staff

May 25, 1995 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest Laboratory have captured top honors for moving technology to the public and private sectors.

Four PNL researchers have been awarded the prestigious Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. The award honors federal laboratory employees for creativity and innovation in developing products and processes and transferring new technologies to the public and private sectors. The FLC gives 30 awards a year.

This year's PNL winners have transferred their technologies to the health care, nuclear, mining, environmental remediation and automobile industries. Crystal reads radiation levels

Keeping track of a person's lifetime radiation dose is one major benefit of Cooled, Optically Stimulated Luminescence. PNL researcher Steve Miller developed a versatile radiation monitoring technology, that uses an aluminum oxide or lithium fluoride crystal, through which a laser is sent after the crystal is exposed to radiation. The brightness of the laser-excited crystal indicates the amount of radiation that has been absorbed.

Current dosimetry techniques use heating processes and different materials to measure the amount of radiation absorbed by the crystal. Heat destroys the radiation exposure information contained in the dosimeter. In contrast, COSL uses light and cold air to process dosimeters. COSL does not erase the dose data, allowing a person's lifetime radiation dose to accumulate in the crystal.

Landauer Inc. of Glenwood, IL, licensed COSL and is exploring other applications of the technology. Instant detection of radioactivity

A highly sophisticated portable radiation analyzer, developed by PNL researchers Gordon Anderson and Larry Brackenbush, can be used in everything from pipes to aircraft.

The Fractional Channel Multichannel Analyzer is small and lightweight and can instantly monitor radioactivity levels onsite, eliminating the costly process of gathering, analyzing and disposing of samples. The multichannel analyzer is considerably more affordable than similar instruments on the market.

Quantrad Sensor of Santa Clara, Calif., licensed the multichannel analyzer and is producing a battery-operated, commercial version. Ultrasonic measurement of steel

No longer must manufacturers tolerate the cost of destructively testing hardened metal parts. PNL researcher Morris Good helped develop a technology that uses high-frequency ultrasound to measure the hardness depth of treated steel components and the uniformity of metal matrix components.

Data collected by Good convinced General Motors that the Ultrasonic Microstructural Analyzer could be used to improve process control when hardening steel components such as axles and cam shafts. The UMA could save the automobile manufacturer millions of dollars.

The system has also been named by Research and Development Magazine as one of the top international inventions of 1994.

Tags: Environment, Environmental Remediation

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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