Lab Partnering Service Discovery
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The continual demand for greater material strength, durability, and longevity in structural applications makes metal a constant focus and challenge for material scientists and engineers. One of the best ways to modify the mechanical and structural properties of metal is through peening, a process that uses surface impaction to produce permanent, compressive residual stress layers within a metal’s surface; once the external impact stress dissipates, the peened material retains its harder, more durable quality. Contemporary peening processes used round metallic or ceramic balls to compress a material and harden its surface. Though this process works, shot peening has less-than-exact control due to the nature of ballistic balls, the limited or sub-surface impaction depths, and the prevalence of pitting throughout the target surface material. To combat these limitations, Metal Improvement Company (MIC)—a subsidiary of Curtiss-Wright Surface Technologies—and LLNL partnered to develop the commercial production of a more efficient method to strengthen metal: laser peening.
Although laser peening technology existed in the 1960s, its irregularity undermined the technology’s commercial viability. That is, until LLNL began applying its high-energy, high-repetition-rate, short-pulse laser to peening applications in the 1990s. Since laser-based peening allows for precision control and compaction depths of 5–10 times deeper than shot peening, a perfected laser-peeing process would expand potential applications from gears, coils, and crankshafts to more structurally demanding items such as steam turbine blades, aircraft structures, and high-performance engine components. Leveraging Livermore’s robotic mounts for fast, customized, computer-controlled peening angles, laser peening soon acquired the characteristics of speed, efficiency, and consistent coverage to warrant commercial development. Shot-peening industry leader MIC funded additional research at LLNL to hone the short-pulse laser technology for laser peening and subsequently licensed the patent portfolio covering the LLNL laser system. MIC opened its first laser peening facility in 2002 and now has three peening facilities in the US, one in the UK, and mobile peening systems with the capability to go on-site anywhere in the world.
The commercial laser peening process developed by LLNL and MIC extends the service lifetime of aircraft engines, power turbines, and other critical components of military and civilian systems by a factor of 10. The impacts of this technology are particularly evident in the aerospace industry, where laser peening has improved more than 10,000 jet engine turbine blades and extended the lifespan for components of aircraft for customers ranging from Boeing, Rolls Royce, Siemens, and the Department of Defense. Using LLNL’s technology, MIC now treats blades for steam and gas turbines for all major electric power equipment manufacturers in the U.S.
MIC integrated LLNL-developed laser technology and peening capability into a viable commercial process that continues having a major global impact. Laser peening improves performance, increases service life, and reduces costs for various industry structures and propulsion, yielding billions of dollars in savings for jet engine fan blades, fuselages, wings, and other components of civil and military aircraft structures, electricity generation steam turbines, and high-performance racing vehicles.
Whether in the realm of anti-bioterrorism or cancer treatment, early detection can be the difference between life and death. Leveraging the unparalleled pathogen-detecting technology that shields Americans from the threat of bioterrorism, LLNL and Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. are in the business of transforming the world of genetic testing.
For years, life scientists used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to assess the genetic composition of a specimen. However, conventional PCR approaches faced concerns of scale: the nanoscopic indicators that signal the early-onset of a disease could be missed within a traditional sample. Compounding this issue: without the ability to divide a sample into equivalent, smaller subsets, scientists needed to use statistical models to estimate—rather than quantify—the prevalence of any detected rare-event pathogens or genetic mutations.
Enter LLNL, whose work with anti-bioterror sensor systems primed the Lab to offer rare-event detectors to the world of early diagnostics. In 2008, award-winning LLNL biodefense scientist Bill Colston founded QuantaLife, Inc., a biotechnology firm that converted LLNL’s anti-bioterrorism detectors into genetic screening tools that used an oil-emulsion to anatomize a single sample into thousands of equivalent, nanoliter droplets. Each of these droplets could then be screened for the nucleic acid markers that would reveal pathogens or mutations, offering researchers a way to magnify any expressed genes within a sample. QuantaLife’s product, the Droplet Digital™ PCR (ddPCR™), allowed scientists to finally eliminate the noise that hindered accurate quantification.
Thanks to the success of the ddPCR™ system, the Personalized Medicine World Conference named QuantaLife, Inc. the “Most Promising Company” of 2010. The ddPCR™ also received Frost & Sullivan’s “2011 North American Personalized Medicine New Product Innovation Award.” Recognizing the value of this revolutionary product, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of life-sciences diagnostic tools, purchased QuantaLife and the rights to ddPCR™ in 2011. Bio-Rad enriched the ddPCR™ approach by developing the QX100 Droplet Digital PCR System, which features one device to generate the emulsified droplets and a second device to analyze the results of the PCR test. This paired-approach allows researchers to integrate their own procedures during diagnostics, thereby expanding the versatility of the system. The QX100 Droplet Digital PCR system would go on to win R&D Magazine’s distinguished “R&D 100 Award” in honor of the technology’s far-reaching impact.
Thanks to the Digital Droplet™ PCR technology initiated at LLNL, transformed by QuantaLife, Inc. and expanded by Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., researchers may now delve deeper into a wide range of genetic mysteries, including sequential mutations, cancer progressions, and pathogen adaptations. What’s more, medical professionals use this tool to personalize their treatments according to the genetic needs of their patients. Such empowering technology will continue to transform medicine and promises to prompt innumerable discoveries within diagnostics and beyond.
New Technology has potential to transform industrial, medical and therapeutic applications
Lumitron HyperVIEW x-ray systems are to be commercialized and manufactured in a new, state-of-the-art facility within University of California, Irvine (UCI) industrial research park
IRVINE, Calif., July 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lumitron Technologies, Inc. has acquired the key licenses from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that will bring to market a new generation of advanced x-ray and gamma-ray systems.
Lumitron's game-changing HyperVIEW x-ray platform is set to revolutionize many fields of human endeavor including key aspects of the medical and security industries. Unlike existing commercial endeavors which have produced x-rays in essentially the same manner for more than 120 years, Lumitron's proprietary x-ray technology represents a generational leap in scientific innovation, according to UCI's Prof. Chris Barty, Lumitron's Chief Technical Officer and former CTO of LLNL's National Ignition Facility and Photon Science Directorate, home of the world's largest laser system, the National Ignition Facility, and America's largest nuclear fusion project.
"Lumitron brings the precision and unique capabilities of billion-dollar-scale, particle-accelerator-based synchrotron x-ray light sources to the point of need in a form factor similar in size to a modern CT machine," says Prof. Barty, a world-renowned leader in the fields of laser science, x-ray and gamma-ray source development and novel photonics applications further explained. "Just as the laser has revolutionized the production and use of visible light in much of modern technology, the HyperVIEW has the potential to provide a transformational view into the human body and beyond."
"Existing clinical x-ray systems are generally limited to a resolution of just under 1mm. By contrast, the Lumitron HyperVIEW technology is capable of imaging objects up to 1000x smaller and of detection and analysis of the elemental and isotopic composition of the object. The HyperVIEW technology can also capture motion at the picosecond time-scale, that is 1000th of a billionth of a second."
According to Prof. Barty, the HyperVIEW technology presents the potential to create the first true Theranostics machine capable of both remarkable imaging detail and cellular level treatment, simultaneously. The implications for medical applications in particular are astounding.
Mr. Maurie Stang, Executive Chairman of Lumitron Technologies, Inc. said, "In today's world the acceleration of technology is unprecedented. Fields such as additive manufacturing, aerospace, security, mining, waste recycling and new composite materials sciences require non-destructive assessment and assay which can now be achieved by Lumitron's pure, Ultra-Bright Compton X-Ray source."
"In the medical field the HyperVIEW system has the potential to diagnose and treat many conditions including cancer substantially earlier and far more accurately than any current commercially available technology," he said. "The underlying, compact, high-flux, x-ray technology leverages more than USD$200 Million of research and development in advanced x-ray, laser and accelerator science that has been undertaken by the US Department of Energy at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University."
Lumitron has now established its global R&D and manufacturing facility within the industrial research park of the University of California, Irvine, home of the world-renowned Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic. It has secured interest from research-based customers from around the world and is in collaboration with some of the world's leading manufacturers of current generation x-ray systems, having received very favorable feedback about the Lumitron platform providing an important and significant step change into the future.
Lumitron's potential has attracted several high-profile members to its board of directors including Steve Sargent, previous CEO of GE Australia, and a Director of Origin Energy; Dr. Paul Rosso, past President of 3M Europe and 3M Healthcare; Dr. Ron Shnier, a world-renowned radiologist and an advisory board of leading clinicians, physicists and business people. Lumitron is targeting a NASDAQ IPO and is in discussions with leading US brokers and institutions.
About Lumitron Technologies, Inc.
Based in Irvine, California, Lumitron Technologies, Inc. was established by its executive chairman, Mr. Maurie Stang, to develop and commercialize unique x‐ray systems that enable revolutionary new capabilities for high-fidelity imaging, ultra-low dose imaging and hyper-precision radiotherapy.
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SOURCE Lumitron Technologies, Inc.
Every year, 60,000 people are diagnosed with brain aneurysms, weakened portions of arterial vessels that create sacs of high-pressure blood. Although small, aneurysms that burst can cause massive tissue damage, stroke, and death. Current treatments continue to carry associated risks that compromise their efficiency, such as base-clamping to seal and pinch off aneurysms—which fails to treat aneurysms with wider necks—and inserting expanding metal coils to clot and disintegrate sacs—which often unravel or become compressed, leading to the recurrence of blood flow.
In 2004, however, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and UC Davis were awarded a five-year Bioengineering Research Partnership Grant to investigate polymers as a mechanism for treating the risks of aneurysms. The study, led by principal investigator Dr. Duncan Maitland, focused on shape memory polymers (SMP), smart materials that undergo physical and molecularly structural metamorphoses between deformed and permanent states in response to changing temperatures. An SMP is first shaped at a high threshold temperature to achieve a desired permanent shape. After removal from the high-temperature environment, the SMP is again molded to a desired temporary shape. When subjected to stimulus temperatures above or below its transition threshold temperature, the SMP reconfigures its structure from the temporary form to the permanent form and vice versa. Temperature-dependent metamorphosis makes SMPs excellent candidates for medical devices because they can be compact during operational delivery and expand to functional forms with body temperature.
These polymers showed immense promise as memory foam–coated, metal coils with extremely low density, enabling them to undergo substantial changes in volume—up to 100 times that of its compressed volume—and be easily delivered via arterial micro-catheter. SMPs can fill aneurysms with only 1–2 foams and with 1000 times less expansion force than the traditional metal coils that resulted in 70% of aneurysm volume being unfilled.
In January of 2008, Maitland continued developing SMPs for this application at Texas A&M University (TAMU). That September, TAMU and LLNS reached an inter-institutional agreement to begin commercialization. A year later in June of 2009, Maitland founded Shape Memorial Medical Inc. (formerly DEP Shape Memory Therapeutics) as a medical device company that commercializes SMP-based innovations and, as CEO, secured initial capital from Texas Emerging Technologies Fund and Research Valley Angel Fund as well as millions of dollars in technology development funds from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, and LLNL. An exclusive licensing agreement between LLNS and Shape Memory Medical was finalized in July of 2010, leading to 12 issued patents, 15 pending patents, and regulatory path launch dates in European and United States markets in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Shape memory polymers are already a disrupting technology within the greater medical market and promise to have continued impact in the cerebral aneurysm market. With material costs as low as $10 per pound and operational time and complexity cut by 50% when compared to similar alternatives, SMPs will redefine the $700 million detachable coil market (average 16% CAGR) and $1.5 billion neurovascular market (20% CAGR) as the preferred material and treatment option for mitigating aneurysm risk.