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Obtaining a usable X-ray image means that the technician must align the X-ray beam, collimator, and target properly, which often means taking several test radiographs, resulting in lost time and a waste of materials. The Leha’ir system uses a focused, visible light to indicate the spread of an X-ray beam. The light assists in aligning the X-ray generator with the target to achieve the required radiographic coverage. An indication system and electrical lockouts are used on the X-ray generator to protect the light from the harmful X-rays and ensure that the light beam is retracted prior to exposing the film.
- Simple and safe visual alignment method
- Hinged or sliding framed that is mounted to the face of the X-ray generator
- High-intensity LED light, which illuminates the area of the projected radiation beam
- An interlock switch prevents the X-ray generator from operating while the operator is aligning
- U.S. Patent Application No. 15/096,655
Technology Readiness Level:
- TRL 8: Concept tested in relevant environment.
Infrared (IR) Debonding is a dry, nondestructive method of using heat to separate components joined by adhesives. It is safer and better for the environment than debonding techniques currently in use. The method has many permutations, lending itself in separating a myriad of different materials bonded by a wide variety of substances. The technology involves the use of a portable IR apparatus within which debonding is accomplished.
- Eliminates most mechanical processing
- Applies directional heat, without the use of a susceptor
- Can be easily repositioned and located
- Designed to be operated with minimum physical effort
Patents & Awards:
- U.S. Patent No. 7,896,053
- 2012 Technology Ventures Corporation Featured Technology
Technology Readiness Level:
- TRL 9: Actual application of the technology in its final form and in Y-12 production use.
Computers and automated systems have accelerated productivity and improved quality and reliability for nearly everything in our modern world, and are destined to take on increasing roles as time moves on. One major limiting factor for automated systems is their inability to categorize and recognize objects, particularly under changing lighting or other conditions. Examples of how this could be useful include automatically detecting manufacturing defects, analyzing changes between two images (e.g. medical scans), noise filtering in radio frequency communications, and extracting weak signals or images from various sources.
Current approaches to making “smart” systems generally build custom solutions for every problem with very specific outcomes. Examples include self-driving car systems and facial recognition software, which have very specific features and approaches built in that usually do not translate to other applications very well. Other examples, such as automatic defect detection, require tightly controlled lighting and often require the object being inspected to be in the same position to be able to identify problems. Generally, these automated systems can, when conditions match the programmed expectations, identify that there is a problem, but have very limited ability when measurement conditions are dynamic or the situation changes in unanticipated ways.
Researchers at INL have developed an analysis system known as MorphoHawk for automatic feature detection and classification across a host of applications in changing environmental conditions. In general, MorphoHawk can be trained to identify features of interest, and will then group features in a scene (e.g. image, signal, etc) and categorize them according to the rules it was conditioned with. After it has categorized an image or other multi-dimentional data set, it can compare the features it has identified with subsequent data sets, allowing it to detect changes (e.g. manufacturing quality control) or detect the introduction of new features (e.g. a tumor in medical scans or a person entering a scene monitored by a camera). It has shown that it can discern between an object and its shadow, meaning it can handle differences in registration and light conditions in dynamic environments. This is possible because MorphoHawk algorithms characterize and compare morphological features, rather than conducting a binary analysis (e.g. light vs. dark).
MorphoHawk has shown utility as a signal filtering tool to differentiate between noise and meaningful data in analysis of digital images and electronic signals, resulting in sharp, cleaned images and clearly extracting the message of the signals while removing the noise. MorphoHawk can be applied to analyze images for manufacturing defects, enhancing the capability of existing inspection systems. Feature extraction is another unique capability of MorphoHawk. For example, metal surface topology can be separated into effects of rolling and grinding, allowing discrepancies to be assigned to the appropriate process. It has even been used to identify a facture path in materials and examine structural changes in battery electrodes to predict battery lifetime.INL Technology ID: BA-481
The Facility Management Enterprise System (FMES) provides a variety of tools to manage operations information across facilities and organizations incorporating interfaces to corporate systems as needed for data accessibility and real-time status updates and notifications.
- Variety of status boards track and report the health of production, utility and facility support systems
- Provides review, update and approval capabilities for monthly reporting
- Provides flexible search and editing capabilities with the ability to upload supporting documents to be stored and associated with index records
- Keeps track of on-duty personnel and equipment assignments
- Allows multiple organizations to view and update status reports interactively with access to a complete searchable history of all records
- The Y-12 National Security Complex has copyright protection for this technology.
Technology Readiness Level:
- TRL 9: Actual application of the technology in its final form and in Y-12 production use.
The increasing affordability of Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology has helped to revolutionize the way we illuminate our homes, buildings, and streets. LEDs use less than a quarter of the energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lighting and thus promise tremendous economic and energy saving benefits to both industrial and residential applications. Despite their promise, however, scientists are still ironing out unforeseen side effects of LEDs in some applications.
Such side effects include deleterious properties of blue light affecting the circadian rhythms of both humans and wildlife, as well as excessive light emission from LED street lamps contributing to heightened levels of light pollution in the sky. To effectively alleviate these problems, researchers at NREL have developed a unique luminaire technology that utilizes a number of discrete, narrow bandwidth LEDs that individually emit light over blue, green, red, and amber wavelengths. Optics within the luminaire then mix the light to produce a uniform spectrum white light which produces vastly improved color rendering ability within the illumination area. This yields gentler, safer acceptance by the human eye and has tremendous benefit for those working and moving around at night.
Furthermore, by using narrow bands of visible wavelengths, optical notch filters in the luminaire’s design can be used to filter different colors of light and dynamically tune the spectrum to meet the needs of the environment in which it is placed. For example, sidewalk and street lights can be tuned to change their spectrum through the course of the night to enhance amber and red hues, thereby softening total exposure to blue light in the late hours when humans and animals are most sensitive to it. Such tunability can also significantly reduce light pollution, thus enabling astronomers to do their work with minimal ambient light disruption.
For more information about this LED technology, please contact Bill Hadley at:
A new process that optimizes the recyclability of fluorescent lights without volatilization of mercury.
All fluorescent lights contain small amounts of mercury and rare earth metals. There is a need to safely remove and recycle mercury and rare earth elements from used fluorescent lamps in order to keep the valuable and potentially poisonous metals out of the environment and aid the domestic recovery of critical materials. Conventional processes include heating and distillation to volatilize the mercury and do not include an adequate process to refine the individual rare earth components. In order to optimize the recyclability of fluorescent lights a process is needed that doesn't incorporate the volatilization of mercury and a process to refine and separate the various rare earth elements contained within the phosphor composition.
The invention is an integrated method to more safely seperate and remove mercury and rare earth elements from fluoresecent light bulbs without the need for volatilizing the mercury.
Process steps include:
1. Separation of the phosphor powder from glass via ultrasonics;
2. Separation of mercury from phosphor powder;
3. Separation of rare earths from phosphor matrix via oxidation/reduction and acid/base mechanisms;
4. Novel on-line method to refine rare earths.
Rare earths are extracted from the phosphor matrix using a supercritical fluid extraction process with carbon dioxide, mineral acids, acid adducts and metal complexing agents. Additional refining to separate dissolved rare earths into individual fractions is used to provide rare earth products. Each step in the process is integrated and can be run in batch, semi-batch or continuous-flow mode for the recovery of mercury and rare earths.
INL Technology ID: BA-852
Patent Publications: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20180119251A1/
ISU and Ames Laboratory scientists have developed a metal chalcogenide material for use as a water electrolysis catalyst for the generation of hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a unique energy carrier in that it can be produced from a number of diverse pathways utilizing a variety of domestically available feedstock, including natural gas, biomass, and water. The electrochemical splitting of water (electrolysis) is among the most versatile and greenest methods of hydrogen generation that will play a significant role in long-term, high-volume hydrogen gas production. Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory scientists have developed a catalyst to assist in the generation of hydrogen from water electrolysis. The mixed-metal chalcogenide catalyst shows promise as a cathode material, able to operate in highly acidic conditions. When compared to other non-precious metal catalysts, such as Molybdenum Sulfide, these catalysts offer far superior performance, able to operate far more efficiently. http://isurftech.technologypublisher.com/technology/31310 This technology is related to ISURF 4629: Preparation of mixed metal chalcogenides by mechanochemical processing and exfoliation https://isurftech.technologypublisher.com/techcase/4629
Sandia National Laboratories has created sensors to identify and assess the pervasive and expensive problem of corrosion in applications ranging from construction to microelectronics.
Sandia’s micro sensors are designed and fabricated in the style of standard surface mount components (such as resistors and capacitors), which can be soldered directly onto networks such as printed circuit boards (PCBs). This allows easy integration with support electronics via standard assembly processes in a very small footprint. Corrosive environments passively and proportionately modify a sensor’s response over time allowing periodic interrogation to provide information on the enclosed systems. Sensors can be packaged with a high density for redundancy, designed for a wide range of sensitivity, and strategically located for multiple sensing tasks. The sensors are produced by the hundreds per wafer using standard industry methods resulting in low per unit costs. To date, sensors have been designed for corrosion assessment of copper, aluminum and wire bonded chips. Many other interrogation systems are possible.
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies use mirrors to concentrate focused sunlight onto a collection point where it can be converted into heat, the thermal energy of which can be used to produce electricity. To further the next generation of CSP technologies, in May 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a funding push for projects that would extend current research on various design components, then develop and test new integrated assemblies.
As companies, research institutions, and national laboratories rise to this challenge to improve the efficiency of this technology, the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy submits that such a surge of innovative ideas has potential to lower the cost of a CSP system by $0.02 per kilowatt-hour, thus making the technology far more economically viable.
NREL and Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) have been collaborating to advance technology and processes for integrated liquid systems in CSP technology. One such advancement is the electrochemical purification of molten salts containing MgCl2 under flowing conditions in the return pipe to a CSP’s cold tank. As oxygen and water can permeate through a CSP system during periods of maintenance and operation, if they are not properly removed in time, metallic components in the system can experience corrosion from magnesium hyroxychloride (MgOHCl) and chlorates that form in the molten media. To counteract this, NREL scientists have developed a process to control corrosion using sacrificial anodes made of bulk metallic magnesium (Mg) under controlled cathodic potentials to eliminate corrosive impurities such as MgOHCl. The approach is easy to control because Mg will remain solid at temperatures of 540oC, and will be consumed as needed based on the amount of oxygen/water present.
For more information on this technology, contact Erin Beaumont at:
Ali Javey and Zhiyong Fan at Berkeley Lab have invented a method for growing highly regular, single-crystalline nanopillar arrays of optically active semiconductors to produce efficient, 3D solar cells. The 3D configuration allows for less stringent requirements in terms of the quality and purity of the input materials, providing for a reduction in cost compared to other solar cell configurations.
The Berkeley Lab invention uses a "vapor-liquid-solid" process that produces large-scale modules of dense, ordered arrays of nanopillars. Researchers tested their method by producing a solar cell composed of electron-rich CdS nanopillars embedded in a polycrystalline thin film of hole-rich CdTe. The efficiency of this prototype was 6%, which may be readily improved with concentrators, more transparent top contacts, and optimization of the nanopillar dimensions. The technology was also used to produce solar modules on flexible substrates that offer more efficient light absorption and carrier collection than rigid arrays. These flexible arrays could be bent repeatedly without damage or loss of cell performance.
The ability to deposit single-crystalline semiconductors on support substrates is crucial in the development of efficient photovoltaics. However, the process, usually performed with epitaxial crystal growth, has been expensive and inefficient. In addition, when amorphous substrates have been used to grow single-crystalline nanowires non-epitaxially, at less expense, the nanowires have varied in size, alignment, and density giving the resulting arrays a limited efficiency of approximately 0.5%. The Berkeley Lab technology offers a significant improvement in efficiency and manufacturability.
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a low-cost process that accelerates biological methane production rates at least fivefold — the Enhanced Renewable Methane Production System. The system could enhance biological methane production at wastewater treatment plants, farms, and landfills. This system addresses one of the largest barriers to the expansion of renewable methane — the naturally slow rate of production. To overcome this challenge, Argonne researchers examined the natural biology of methane production, the natural processes for carbon dioxide sequestration, and the environmental quality of the water found in coal bed methane wells. Their research led to the novel, low-cost treatment to accelerate biological methane production while sequestering CO2. The treatment enhances the heating value of biogas, delivering a gas that is close to pipeline quality. In addition, the renewable methane process leaves coal's environmental pollutants, such as sulfur and mercury, in the ground, avoiding their emissions.
The Enhanced Renewable Methane Production System provides a method for biological methane production from a carbonaceous feedstock to generate methane, while simultaneously sequestering the CO2 produced during the process by reacting with magnesium and calcium silicate rocks. This process links the biological conversion (renewable carbon source being converted to methane and carbon dioxide) to a geochemical mechanism (producing solid carbonate-enriched minerals), thus sequestering the CO2.
In the long term, hydrogen is expected to be the fuel of choice for both the power and transportation industries. Just as conventional cars need gas stations, hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars will need an infrastructure. Hydrogen separation technology is integral to successful fossil-based hydrogen production technologies. Thin, dense composite membranes fabricated from ceramic and hydrogen-transport metal may provide a simple, efficient means for separating hydrogen from fossil-based gas streams. New ceramic-metal composite (cermet) membranes developed at Argonne, called hydrogen transport membranes, could eliminate the need for costly, conventional hydrogen-manufacturing facilities; the membranes could one day be small and efficient enough to be installed at every gas station.
Membranes currently used by industry to separate gases are not selective enough to isolate pure hydrogen—the simplest and smallest of all elements. Argonne has developed a composite cermet that transports only atomic hydrogen, allowing the membrane to separate pure hydrogen for use as a clean-burning fuel and in production of fertilizers and other products. The new membrane material works on a different principle than conventional porous membranes; hydrogen is the only species that passes through it because it dissolves in, and diffuses rapidly through, the metal phase in the composite. Unlike most membrane systems, Argonne's hydrogen membrane tolerates temperatures as high as 900 degrees Celsius. Such elevated temperatures push more hydrogen atoms into the membrane, accelerating the rate of gas separation.
The most likely raw feedstock material for hydrogen separation is syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide made by reacting natural gas with oxygen. Because syngas can be expensive to produce, Argonne is exploring the use of another membrane to extract oxygen. The team has demonstrated that the oxygen membranes successfully separate oxygen and that this separated oxygen, when reacted with methane, forms syngas. Because Argonne's oxygen and hydrogen membranes both function at the same high temperatures, they can work in tandem: one membrane adding oxygen to methane to create syngas and the other extracting hydrogen from the syngas.