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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.
Sandia’s neutron scatter camera is an innovative design which combines the benefits of gamma ray imaging with fast neutron imaging. The camera detects special nuclear material (SNM) and rejects backgrounds from naturally occurring radiation sources that can produce false alarms. Additionally, the camera can detect and localize neutrons at greater distances and through shielding since fast neutrons are more penetrating than gamma rays. One of the key advantages is higher signal to background over non imaging detectors.
Sandia’s neutron camera design is sensitive, has good angular resolution, portable, and non hazardous. The design is scalable for shorter dwell times and longer stand-off detection.
Insuring a constant supply of radioisotopes is of great importance to healthcare around the world. With the increase need for a stable US supply of medical isotopes, this technology can help alleviate this problem.
Sandia’s patented method and design is a new apparatus for the transmutation of isotopes which enables swift and flexible production on demand by using repetitive high energy pulsed power to achieve transmutation. This invention is based on a combination of high repetition rate high energy pulsed power supply and a magnetically-injected anode plasma source diode. This is used to provide pulsed particle beams having intermediate energy and average power levels of hundreds of kilowatts to megawatts. This will increase the rate of isotopic production by 2-3 orders of magnitude over processes based on conventional accelerators.
Reliable determination of the presence and/or quantity of a particular analyte in the field can be greatly enhanced if the analytical instrument is equipped with a time-of-use calibration standard. While proper calibration is necessary for reliability and accuracy, it can be challenging and cumbersome to provide such calibration in the field using conventional methods found in analytical laboratories.
Sandia’s Microfabricated Field Calibration Assembly is a small, easy-to-use calibration source that can be integrated with field-portable instruments, or embedded in unattended remote sensors. The Field Calibration Assembly is designed at a small scale for incorporation into the intake or housing portion of a sensor or analytical instrument. The small size and placement are conducive to calibrating in the field with quantities as low as picograms.
Microgrids are localized energy grids that provide flexibility through their ability to operate independently from the bulk power grid. Well-designed microgrids support resiliency, security, efficiency, local control, and increased access to renewable resources. Sandia’s Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT) is a decision support software toolkit that aids designers in creating optimal microgrids.
Employing powerful algorithms and simulation capabilities, MDT searches the trade space of alternative microgrid designs based on user-defined objectives (e.g., cost, performance, and reliability) and produces a set of efficient microgrid solutions. MDT allows designers to investigate the simultaneous impacts of several design decisions and gain a quantitative understanding of the relationships between design objectives and trade-offs associated with alternative technological design decisions. MDT can account for grid-connected and islanded performance, power and component reliability in islanded mode, and dozens of parameters as part of the trade space search, and presents designers with an entire trade space of information from which to base final design decisions. Without MDT, designers rely on engineering judgment and perhaps a quantitative analysis of relatively few candidate designs. MDT allows designers to explore a larger field of options and provides defensible, quantitative evidence for design decisions.
Most biosensors in today’s market and in R&D require a critical sample preparation procedure prior to analysis of cellar contents such as nucleic acids and proteins. Technology is needed to release the cellular contents in a format compatible with nano/microfluidic and Point-of-Care (POC) devices.
Sandia National Laboratories has developed a miniature cell lysis system to overcome the limitations of current extraction methods. This system utilizes high-frequency compression waves with a wavelength similar to the size of cells, resulting in more efficient energy transfer. Unlike commercial acoustic transducers, our technology does not generate significant amounts of heat, making it compatible with protein assays. This technology releases viable DNA, RNA, and proteins from human or bacterial cells, without chemicals or additional processing, to enable high-speed sample preparation for clinical point-of-care (POC) medical diagnostics and use with nano/microfluidic devices.
Sandia's invention relates to a miniaturized mass spectrometer using a silicon chip field emitter array as the source of electrons for impact ionization of chemical species.
Sandia has developed an improved quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS). The improvement lies in the substitution of the conventional hot flament electron source with a cold cathode field emitter array (FEA), which in turn, allows the operations of a small QMS at much higher internal pressures then are currently achievable. By eliminating the hot flament, problems such as the thermal "cracking of delicate analytes molecules, outgassing of a "hot" flament, high-power requirements, flament contamination by outgas species, and spurious electromagnetic fields are avoided altogether.
Sandia National Laboratories has created a method and apparatus for measuring the position of an object. It relies on the attenuation of fluorescence light carried inside a fluorescent optical fiber to determine the position of an object.
As show in the figure, a small excitation source, such as a laser or LED, excites a localized area of fluorescence at an unknown position along the fluorescent fiber. As the fluorescent light travels down the fiber, the intensity of the fluorescent light decreases due to absorption. The ratio of the two signals from each end determines the position of the object along the fiber. Appropriate modulation of the excitation source causes ambient light to be of no consequence and allows one to measure the position of several objects simultaneously with a single fluorescent fiber and a single set of photodectectors. The flexibility of the fluorescent fiber allows for the determination of positional changes that do not occur along a straight line. The use of an array of such fibers allows for the detection of two-dimensional changes in position.
There is a large need for a process that can destroy hazardous wastes, including explosives, fuels, propellants, solvents, and other inorganic and organic materials, that are produced by the military and other industries,while not contributing to the pollution of the atmosphere. Sandia National Laboratories has created an apparatus and method to convert hazardous waste to relatively benign substances or into substances that can be easily treated and disposed of in the environment.
This invention utilizes the Supercritical Wet Oxidation technology. This technology uses more compact equipment that allows for the safe elimination or neutralization of hazardous waste. Due to the size of the equipment, it can even be used for the elimination of waste on site.
Sandia researchers have developed a technology that could potentially turn agricultural waste, weeds and other plant products that are typically discarded or destroyed into fuel. The idea is to create consolidated biorefinery process inside plant cells.
This project seeks to embed into the plant cells synthetic circuits constructed using parts from extremophilic organisms that can break down the complex carbohydrates. The unique aspects of Sandia's approach are the rationally engineered enzymes that are prepared and integrated into plant cells by multiple transformation techniques to become "Trojan Horses" during pretreatment conditions.
There is a need for improved active infrared optical elements such as modulators. Extraordinary optical transmission (EOT) through subwavelength apertures allows for tailored filtering based on plasmon resonance. Until now EOT devices have not fully achieved the need for variable attenuation capabilities.
Sandia has developed an EOT device with a tunable surface plasmon resonance wavelength, where the controllability is derived from variation of the dielectric constant in the semiconducting material in contact with the grating.
Sandia National Laboratories has developed a low profile, controlled force, minimal torque push plate for ball grid array multi-chip module (MCM) test sockets.
The ball grid array (BGA) is an enabling technology for multi-chip modules, a significant improvement over pin grid arrays. Traditional pin grid array technology suffers from physical limitations; as package pins get closer together, the risk of accidentally bridging adjacent pins with solder increases. In a BGA, the pins are replaced by balls of solder on the bottom of the multi-chip module. The solder balls are melted to a printed circuit board and surface tension maintains the necessary alignment while the solder cools and ultimately solidifies. Before melting the solder balls, test sockets are used to probe the MCM, allowing testing and troubleshooting, but current test sockets are not always reliable.
Sandia National Laboratories has invented a superior push plate to address the shortcomings of current BGA socket clamping methods. Existing methods to clamp the MCM to these temporary sockets are unreliable and block access to the module. Sandia’s superior push plate incorporates cantilevers to provide stiffness, allowing a uniform, calibrated downward force and minimizing torque while providing access to the MCM components. This is achieved both by minimizing thickness and moving the mechanism responsible for the down force (the cantilevers) to the perimeter area outside the area of the MCM.