THERE are many markers of excellence for Laboratory technological achievement. One of the most telling, I believe, is the R&D 100 Awards that Livermore research teams receive each year. These awards showcase the very best of the world's new scientific and technical products and processes from corporations, universities, and government research centers.|
The Laboratory's seven awards for 1997, featured in this issue, indicate the extremely high quality of creative scientific and engineering work that takes place in every Livermore program. The awards also demonstrate once again that the pursuit of our mission-related goals can advance U.S. economic competitiveness through the future development of important new commercial products for all citizens. Livermore's award-winning technologies, achieved by teams of researchers in highly specialized fields, represent significant contributions-in some cases fundamental breakthroughs-to society.
The diversity of our research programs contributes to the Laboratory's vitality. Our core strengths in nuclear science and technology, lasers and electro-optics, computer simulation of complex systems, advanced sensors and instrumentation, biotechnology, materials science, and advanced process and manufacturing technology spawn innovations in many scientific disciplines. These advances are prized by industry for their potential as the basis for improvements in existing products or for entirely new product categories.
Our broad expertise is reflected in the breadth of this year's R&D 100 awards and the fields they impact, including the semiconductor, opto-electronic, computer, oil, precision machining, and high-voltage energy industries. These industries have long been affiliated with Livermore researchers in one way or another. In fact, three of this year's awards are shared with our industrial partners. Working with industrial partners helps us, on the one hand, to understand American industry's needs. One of our goals is to make the Laboratory even more accessible to industry partners and customers.
On the other hand, working with industry enables us to fulfill our national security mission and strengthen our technology base. The design and construction of the National Ignition Facility, for instance, are requiring extensive partnerships with industry to develop literally thousands of components, many of them unique.
By working with U.S. industry, Livermore "spin-offs" often directly benefit us through "spin-backs." For example, two Livermore R&D 100 awards this year are for the Absolute Interferometer and the Ultra Clean Ion Beam Sputter Deposition System. The first greatly improves the measurement accuracy of spherical and nonspherical optical surfaces, while the second significantly advances the state of the art in low-defect, thin-film deposition technology.
Together the two instruments appear to overcome serious hurdles that have blocked the advent of extreme ultraviolet lithography for making the next generation of powerful and compact computer chips. Once these chips are on the market, Livermore scientists and engineers will almost certainly use them to record, manage, and display their research data more effectively.
As a national security laboratory, Livermore was established to apply outstanding and innovative science and technology to pressing national problems. It is clear that our technological creativity is being recognized by the private as well as the public sector, as evidenced by our ability to win multiple R&D 100 awards this year and every year for the past 19 years.