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March 2003

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
Bruce Goodwin

A New Code Simulates the Cosmos

A Giant Leap for Space Telescopes

Checking Out the Hot Spots

Patents

Awards

 

Patents

Jeffrey S. Haas, Fredrick R. Kelly, John F. Bushman, Michael H. Wiefel, Wayne A. Jensen, Gregory L. Klunder
Illumination Box and Camera System
U.S. Patent 6,454,939 B1
September 24, 2002
A hand-portable, field-deployable thin-layer chromatography (TLC) unit and a hand-portable, battery-operated unit for development, illumination, and data acquisition of TLC plates. Both contain many miniaturized features that permit a large number of samples to be processed efficiently. The TLC unit includes a solvent tank, a holder for TLC plates, and a variety of tool chambers for storing TLC plates, solvent, and pipettes. After processing in the TLC unit, a TLC plate is positioned in a collapsible illumination box, where the box and a charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera are optically aligned for optimal pixel resolution of the CCD images of the TLC plate. The TLC system includes an improved chamber for chemical development of TLC plates that prevents solvent overflow.

Jackson C. Koo, Conrad M. Yu
Glow Discharge Detector
U.S. Patent 6,457,347 B1
October 1, 2002
A highly sensitive electronic ion cell with a constant wave glow discharge detector used for measuring trace elements in helium carrier gas. The detector, which is controlled through a biased resistor, can detect the change of electron density caused by impurities in helium carrier gas by many orders of magnitude greater than that caused by direct ionization or electron capture. The glow discharge detector uses a floating pseudoelectrode to form a probe in or near plasma. By using this probe, the detector can directly measure the large variation of electron density due to trace amounts of impurities.

Peter C. Hsu, Erica H. von Holtz, David L. Hipple, Leslie J. Summers, Martyn G. Adamson
Actinide Removal from Spent Salts
U.S. Patent 6,471,922 B1
October 29, 2002
A method for removing actinide contaminants (uranium and thorium) from the spent salt of a molten salt oxidation reactor. Spent salt is removed from the reactor and analyzed to determine the contaminants present and the carbonate concentration. The salt is dissolved in water; then one or more reagents are added to precipitate the water, and one or more reagents are added to precipitate the thorium as thorium oxide and/or the uranium as either uranium oxide or as a diuranate salt. The precipitated materials are filtered, dried, and packaged for disposal as radioactive waste. About 90 percent of the thorium and/or uranium present is removed by filtration. After filtration, salt solutions having a carbonate concentration greater than 20 percent require further cleanup using an ion exchange column, which yields salt solutions that contain less than 0.1 part per million of thorium or uranium.

Waleed Sami Haddad
System and Method for Ultrasonic Tomography
U.S. Patent 6,475,150 B2
November 5, 2002
A system and method for doing both transmission mode and reflection mode three-dimensional ultrasonic imaging. The multimode imaging capability may be used to provide enhanced detectability of cancerous tumors within a human breast. Similar imaging systems are applicable to other medical problems as well as to a variety of nonmedical problems in nondestructive evaluation.

Christopher B. Darrow, Joe H. Satcher, Jr., Stephen M. Lane, Abraham P. Lee, Amy W. Wang
Chemical Sensor System
U.S. Patent 6,484,052 B1
November 19, 2002
High-frequency acoustic waves, analogous to ultrasound, can enhance the delivery of therapeutic compounds into cells. The compounds delivered may be chemotherapeutic drugs, antibiotics, photodynamic drugs, or gene therapies. The therapeutic compounds are administered systemically or, preferably, locally to the targeted site. Local delivery can be accomplished through a needle, cannula, or a variety of vascular catheters, depending on the location of routes of access. To enhance the systemic or local delivery of the therapeutic compounds, high-frequency acoustic waves are generated locally near the target site and preferably near the site of compound administration. The acoustic waves are produced via laser radiation interaction with an absorbing media and can be produced via thermoelastic expansion, thermodynamic vaporization, material ablation, or plasma formation. Acoustic waves temporarily permeate the membranes of local cells, increasing the diffusion of the therapeutic compound into the cells, allowing for decreased total body dosages and side effects, and enabling new therapies.

Steven R. Visuri, Heather L. Campbell, Luiz Da Silva
Optically Generated Ultrasound for Enhanced Drug Delivery
U.S. Patent 6,484,052 B1
November 19, 2002
High-frequency acoustic waves, analogous to ultrasound, can enhance the delivery of therapeutic compounds into cells. The compounds delivered may be chemotherapeutic drugs, antibiotics, photodynamic drugs, or gene therapies. The therapeutic compounds are administered systemically or, preferably, locally to the targeted site. Local delivery can be accomplished through a needle, cannula, or a variety of vascular catheters, depending on the location of routes of access. To enhance the systemic or local delivery of the therapeutic compounds, high-frequency acoustic waves are generated locally near the target site and preferably near the site of compound administration. The acoustic waves are produced via laser radiation interaction with an absorbing media and can be produced via thermoelastic expansion, thermodynamic vaporization, material ablation, or plasma formation. Acoustic waves temporarily permeate the membranes of local cells, increasing the diffusion of the therapeutic compound into the cells, allowing for decreased total body dosages and side effects, and enabling new therapies.

Paul B. Mirkarimi
Mitigation of Substrate Defects in Reflective Reticles Using Sequential Coating and Annealing
U.S. Patent 6,489,066 B2
December 3, 2002
A buffer layer to minimize the size of defects on a reticle substrate before a reflective coating is deposited on the substrate. The buffer layer is formed either by a multilayer deposited on the substrate or by a plurality of sequentially deposited and annealed coatings deposited on the substrate, which may comprise multilayer and single layer coatings. The multilayer deposited and annealed buffer layer coatings may be of the same material as or different material than the reflective coating thereafter deposited on the buffer layer.

Alan D. Conder, Bruce K. F. Young
Process for Fabricating a Charge Coupled Device
U.S. Patent 6,489,179 B2
December 3, 2002
A monolithic three-dimensional charged-coupled device (3D-CCD) that uses the entire bulk of the semiconductor for charge generation, storage, and transfer. The 3D-CCD provides a vast improvement of current CCD architectures that use only the surface of the semiconductor substrate. The 3D-CCD is capable of developing a strong electric field throughout the depth of the semiconductor by using deep (buried) parallel (bulk) electrodes in the substrate material. Using backside illumination, the 3D-CCD architecture enables a single device to image photon energies from the visible to the ultraviolet and soft x ray and out to higher energy x rays of 30 kiloelectronvolts and beyond. The buried or bulk electrodes are electrically connected to the surface electrodes, and an electric field parallel to the surface is established with the pixel in which the bulk electrodes are located. This electric field attracts charge to the bulk electrodes independent of depth and confines it within the pixel in which it is generated. Charge diffusion is greatly reduced by the electric field, which is strong because of the proximity of the bulk electrodes.

William A. Brummond, Dwight V. Squire, Jeffrey A. Robinson, Palmer A. House
Delivery System for Molten Salt Oxidation of Solid Waste
U.S. Patent 6,489,532 B1
December 3, 2002
A delivery system for safely injecting solid waste particles, including mixed wastes, into a molten salt bath for destruction by the process of molten salt oxidation. The delivery system includes a feeder system and an injector that allow the solid waste stream to be accurately metered, evenly dispersed in the oxidant gas, and maintained at a temperature below incineration temperature while entering the molten salt reactor.

Gale Holladay, Michael J. Wilt
Borehole Induction Coil Transmitter
U.S. Patent 6,489,772 B1
December 3, 2002
A borehole induction coil transmitter that is a part of a cross-borehole electromagnetic field system used for underground imaging applications. The transmitter consists of four major parts: (1) a wound ferrite or mu-metal core, (2) an array of tuning capacitors, (3) a current driver circuit board, and (4) a flux monitor. The core is wound with several hundred turns of wire and connected in series with the capacitor array to produce a tuned coil. This tuned coil uses internal circuitry to generate sinusoidal signals that are transmitted through the earth to a receiver coil in another borehole. The transmitter can operate at frequencies from 1 to 200 kilohertz and supplies sufficient power to permit the field system to operate in boreholes separated by up to 4 meters.

James V. Candy
Method and Apparatus for Dynamic Focusing of Ultrasound Energy
U.S.Patent 6,490,469 B2
December 3, 2002
Method and system for noninvasively detecting, separating, and destroying multiple masses (tumors, cysts) through a plurality of iterations from tissue (for example, breast tissue). The method and system may open new frontiers in noninvasive treatment of masses in biomedicine, along with the expanding technology of acoustic surgery.


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