What do two devices to detect nuclear explosions, a sensor technology used in food processing, cancer treatment and a software program for collaboration have in common?
The researchers who developed these technologies at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory were among the 35 honored by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for technology transfer into the private sector.
Each year the FLC, composed of more than 700 federal laboratories and centers, presents Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer. The Laboratory has received 48 of these awards since the program began in 1984ómore than any other federal laboratory.
Detection technologies: Two Pacific Northwest technologies are being deployed worldwide to verify compliance with the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty. The Automated Radioxenon Sampler Analyzer and the Radionuclide Aerosol Sampler/Analyzer permit fast, accurate and economical detection of radionuclides emitted from nuclear explosions in the atmosphere or underground. DME Corp. in Orlando, Fla., is producing and selling these units commercially for use in a global explosion-monitoring network.
Multi-blade knife failure detector: In the food processing industry an undetected knife failure can turn high-quality goods into truckloads of low-value products hauled away for animal feed. To combat the problem, a team led by Pacific Northwest developed a system that detects knife failures within one second, triggering an alarm and signaling a blade replacement. The system is installed at Lamb Weston food processing plants around the world. The same process monitoring technology is ensuring quality and reducing costs and waste in other industrial situations where gathering real-time production and processing data is difficult.
Yttrium-90 for cancer treatment: For a decade, the Laboratory has supplied hospitals with yttrium-90, an isotope used to treat many types of cancer. Now, they are supplying their efficient method for retrieving yttrium-90 from purified strontium-90 to Perkin Elmer/NEN Life Sciences in Boston, Mass. The Laboratory transferred the production, shipping, marketing and sales of yttrium-90 to Perkin Elmer/NEN and provided training and quality control oversight to ensure Food and Drug Administration standards are met.
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory Publisher software: Developed for over-the-Internet collaboration among researchers, a powerful word processing and presentation tool is now for sale on-line. EMSL Publisher allows the same software to run on any computer platform, preventing the loss of formatting or readability that can occur when users run applications on different systems. Pacific Northwest signed a license agreement with Flashline.com of Cleveland, Ohio, to sell EMSL Publisher at www.flashline.com (search "PNNL").
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.