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LANL innovators honored at Tech Transfer Awards

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By Carol A. Clark

Scientists and technicians were honored during the 12th annual Technology Transfer Awards reception Thursday at Fuller Lodge.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory innovators were recognized for distinguished patents, licenses and copyrights, and both programmatic and regional impact. Terry Wallace, principal associate director for Science Technology and Engineering, hosted the event, which

featured keynote speaker Wendolyn Holland of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

“The significance of this event is that it’s a way of saying thank you for making technology transfer a part of what researchers are doing – that their work makes a difference in the world,” said Holland in a news release. “Los Alamos is a leader among DOE national laboratories and clearly a leader in technology transfer.”

The awards reception honored innovators who develop scientific technologies in support of the laboratory’s mission which have potential for commercialization in business and industry.

Laboratory staff who have contributed to the protection of LANS, LLC’s intellectual assets, the progress of science through cooperative research and development agreements, and new commercial products that have led to licenses and financial gain for the laboratory received awards for their work accomplished in fiscal year 2009.

The Distinguished Patent Award went to an invention that provides a material and a method for replacing standard oil well drilling fluid, said LANL spokesman Kevin Roark in a news release.

The modified fluid shrinks when heated during the production phase of deep oil well development. The new fluid reduces the risk of a casing failure due to increasing temperatures and pressures in deep wells.

This patent is the basis of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Chevron.

The winner of Distinguished Licensing Award was an innovation that led to the creation of a licensed product that increases plant photosynthesis rates by coordinating a plant’s uptake of nitrogen from the soil and its use of carbon dioxide for growth.

The product accelerates growth — speeding plants to maturity and harvest – and enhances yield without the use of growth hormones.

The Programmatic Impact Award recognizes LANL scientists for their efforts in the Stand-Off Radiation Detection System Program. The program’s goal is to develop advanced nuclear detectors that can determine the type and location of radiation sources at much greater distances than current technology.

The Distinguished Copyright Award went to the “RADIUS™” team. RADIUS™ stands for Rapid Automated Decomposition of Images for Ubiquitous Sensing and is a computational framework for structural representation of images using polygons instead of pixels.

The recipients of the Regional Impact Award were Chevron Energy Technology Company and a group of LANL retirees that formed Chevron’s Area 52 research facility in Santa Fe. This facility created new jobs and new products based on Laboratory technology.