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April 2002

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
William Goldstein

Quantum Simulations Tell
the Atomic-Level Story

Forensic Science Center Maximizes the Tiniest Clue

Bright Future for Compact Tactical Laser Weapons

Engineering's Tradition Turns Ideas into Reality

Patents

Awards

 

Patents

Michael J. Wilson, David A. Goerz
Method for Improving Performance of Highly Stressed Electrical Insulating Structures
U.S. Patent 6,340,497 B2
January 22, 2002
A method for removing the electrical field from the internal volume of high-voltage structures, for example, bushings, connectors, capacitors, and cables. The electrical field is removed from inherently weak regions of the interconnect, such as between the center conductor and the solid dielectric. It is placed in the primary insulation. This is done by providing a conductive surface inside the principal solid dielectric insulator surrounding the center conductor and connecting the center conductor to this conductive surface. The advantages of removing the electric fields from the weaker dielectric region to a stronger area are to improve reliability, increase component life and operating levels, reduce noise and losses, and allow for a smaller, compact design. This electric field control approach is currently possible on many existing products at a modest cost. Several techniques are available to provide the level of electric field control needed. Choosing the optimum technique depends on material, size, and surface accessibility. The simplest deposition method uses a standard electroless plating technique, but other metallization techniques include vapor and energetic deposition, plasma spraying, conductive painting, and other controlled coating methods.

Sandra L. McCutchen-Maloney
Detection and Quantitation of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, DNA Sequence Variations, DNA Mutations, DNA Damage and DNA Mismatches
U.S. Patent 6,340,566 B1
January 22, 2002
DNA mutation binding proteins alone and as chimeric proteins with nucleases are used with solid supports to detect DNA sequence variations, DNA mutations, and single nucleotide polymorphisms. The solid supports may be flow cytometry beads, DNA chips, glass slides, or DNA dipsticks. DNA molecules are coupled to solid supports to form DNA-support complexes. Labeled DNA is used with unlabeled DNA mutation binding proteins, such as TthMutS,
to detect DNA sequence variations, DNA mutations, and single nucleotide-length polymorphisms by binding, which gives an increase in signal. Unlabeled DNA is used with labeled chimeras to detect DNA sequence variations, DNA mutations, and single nucleotide-length polymorphisms by nuclease activity of the chimera, which gives a decrease in signal.

Alan D. Conder
Printed Circuit Board for a CCD Camera Head
U.S. Patent 6,341,067 B1
January 22, 2002
A charge-coupled device (CCD) camera head that can replace film for digital imaging of visible light, ultraviolet radiation, and soft to penetrating x rays, such as within a target chamber where laser-produced plasmas are studied. The camera head is small, can operate both in and out of a vacuum environment, and is versatile. The CCD camera head uses PC boards with an internal heat sink connected to the chassis for heat dissipation, which allows for close (0.1-centimeter, for example) stacking of the PC boards. Integration of this CCD camera head into existing instrumentation provides a substantial enhancement of diagnostic capabilities for studying high-energy-density plasmas, for a variety of military, industrial, and medical imaging applications.

Alexander I. Ivanov, Vladislav I. Lushchikov, Evgeny P. Shabalin, Nikita G. Mazny, Michael M. Khvastunov, Mark Rowland
Modified Electrokinetic Sample Injection Method in Chromatography and Electrophoresis Analysis
U.S. Patent 6,341,150 B1
January 22, 2002
A detector for fissile materials that provides for integrity monitoring of fissile materials and can be used for nondestructive assay to confirm the presence of stable fissile material in items. The detector has a sample cavity large enough to enable assay of large items of arbitrary configuration, uses neutron sources fabricated in spatially extended shapes mounted on the endcaps of the sample cavity, and incorporates a thermal neutron filter insert with reflector properties. The electronics module includes a neutron multiplicity coincidence counter.

 

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