LANL nets five awards at R&D 100 awards

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By Tris DeRoma

Five projects from the Los Alamos National Laboratory were winners in the annual R&D Magazine’s “R&D 100 Awards” last month.
The five winning projects include the “Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative Toolset,” a carbon dioxide capture technology; “The Entropy Engine”, a random number generator designed to protect computer systems from cyber attacks and hacking; “Pathscan,” computer network protection software designed to stop hacking before it starts; “Pulmonary Lung Model,” a miniature, working lung designed for use in detecting drugs and toxins and the “Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications,” a highly advanced software program that monitors light water reactors’ performance and diagnoses problems in the system.
Engineer Pulak Nath served as a technical staff member and principal investigator for the Pulmonary Lung Model project, also known as “PuLMo.” He said there’s was a very exciting project to work on.
“Building artificial organs to emulate their physiological features outside the body was full of exciting discoveries. As scientists, we always look forward to that ‘eureka’ moment. Working on PuLMo was full of those moments. That is probably why we won the R&D 100 award. More importantly, we hope to make a difference in how environmental contaminants, drugs, and threat agents are tested for their toxic impact on the human body.”        
A sixth project, a technology that transforms windows into solar panels, won R&D Magazine’s Green Technology Special Recognition Award.
The technology uses semiconductor nanocrystals embedded inside the glass surface of the windows to collect the sun’s energy which is then transferred to nearby solar cells at the window’s edge whose job is to convert the energy into electricity.
LANL scientist Victor Klimov headed up the project. He explained that the technology is economically viable now.
“If the cost of a luminescent solar concentrator is much lower than that of a photovoltaic cell of a comparable area, and LSC’s efficiency is sufficiently high, then by applying these devices one can achieve a considerable reduction in the cost of solar electricity,” Klimov said. “Application of semitransparent LSCs can also enable new types of devices such as solar or photovoltaic windows that could turn presently passive building facades into power generation units.”
LANL Director Charles McMillan congratulated the winners of the R&D 100 Contest, which is known as the “Oscars of Innovation.”
“These awards are representative of the multidisciplinary character of the work we do at Los Alamos, and result from partnerships with other national laboratories, private industry and universities,” McMillan said.
The awards were held in early November at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill Maryland. Since 1978, the lab has picked up 137 of the R&D Awards. The R&D 100 Awards is organized by R&D magazine. The contest’s panel of judges is picked by the editorial staff of the magazine.