Patents

Steven T. Mayer, James L. Kaschmitter, and Richard W. Pekala
Carbon Aerogel Electrodes for Direct Energy Conversion
U.S. Patent 5,601,938
February 11, 1997
A device, such as a fuel cell, that uses carbon-aerogel electrodes loaded with a noble catalyst, such as platinum or rhodium, and soaked with phosphoric acid. A separator is located between the electrodes, which are placed in a cylinder having plate current collectors positioned adjacent to the electrodes and connected to a power supply; a pair of gas manifolds, containing hydrogen and oxygen, is positioned adjacent the current collectors. Because of the high surface area and excellent electrical conductivity of carbon aerogels, problems are overcome regarding high-polarization resistance of carbon composite electrodes conventionally used in fuel cells.

Chi Y. Fu
Laser Programmable Integrated Circuit for Forming Synapses in Neural Networks
U.S. Patent 5,602,965
February 11, 1997
A customizable network wherein all the resistors in the synaptic array are identical, thus simplifying processing. Doped, amorphous silicon is used as the resistor material to create extremely high resistances occupying very small spaces. Connected in series with each resistor in the array is at least one severable conductor whose uppermost layer has a lower reflectivity of laser energy than typical metal conductors at a particular laser wavelength. The neural-network-integrated chip may include a plurality of input isolation buffers for driving the input lines in the synaptic array and a plurality of neuron circuits receiving inputs from several of the synaptic-array output lines.


Thomas E. McEwan
Electronic Multi-Purpose Material Level Sensor
U.S. Patent 5,609,059
March 11, 1977
A sensor based on time-domain reflectometry of very short pulses. Pulses are propagated along a transmission line or dipstick that is partially immersed in a liquid, powder, or other substance. A launcher plate can be used to help launch the pulses and to produce a fiducial pulse. The time difference of the reflections at the start of the transmission line and the air-material interface determine levels to about 1% accuracy. The low-cost sensor is essentially independent of circuit-element and temperature variations.


William J. Benett, Peter A. Krulevitch, Abraham P. Lee, Milton A. Northrup, and James A. Folta
Miniature Plastic Gripper and Fabrication Method
U.S. Patent 5,609,608
March 11, 1997
A gripper, constructed of either heat-shrinkable or heat-expandable plastic tubing, formed around a mandrel, then cut to form gripper prongs or jaws, and the mandrel removed. The gripper is connected at one end with a catheter having an actuating balloon at its tip, whereby the gripper is opened or closed by inflation or deflation of the balloon. The inexpensive gripper can be used for gripping, sorting, and placing of micrometer-size particles for analysis; endovascular release of embolic material for the treatment of neuro-aneurysms; and placement of small plugs into ovarian tubes for contraception.


Daniel W. Shimer and Arnold C. Lange
E-Beam High Voltage Switching Power Supply
U.S. Patent 5,610,452
March 11, 1997
A circuit coupled to a voltage source and a current source for limiting voltage spikes across two input circuit lines of a voltage-spike-producing circuit. The circuit consists of a capacitor having a first end connected to one input circuit line and first leads of the voltage and current sources; a resistor having a first end connected to the other end of the capacitor and a second end connected to second leads of the voltage and current sources; and a diode having an anode connected to the second end of the capacitor and a cathode connected to the other input circuit line and a third lead of the current source. Excess current flows from one input circuit line through the capacitor and diode to the other input circuit line, and voltage across the two circuit lines is clamped to the voltage source.


Thomas E. McEwan
High Accuracy Electronic Material Level Sensor
U.S. Patent 5,610,611
March 11, 1997
An electronic dipstick that incorporates a high-accuracy time base that is referenced to a quartz crystal; an ultrawideband directional sampler to allow operation without an interconnect cable between an electronics module and a guide wire; and constant fraction discriminators that allow accurate measurements regardless of material dielectric constants and reduce or eliminate errors induced by triple-transit or "ghost" reflections on the interconnect cable. The dipstick permits "custody transfer" measurements in large tanks that can be relied upon over temperature extremes and with aging.


Leon V. Berzins, Bradford A. Bratton, and Paul W. Fuhrman
Probe for Measurement of Velocity and Density of Vapor in Vapor Plume
U.S. Patent 5,610,704
March 11, 1997
A probe to measure velocity, density, temperature, and flow direction of vapor in a vapor plume. The vapor flows through a housing with a central passageway. A light generator provides a beam of light in the probe. Reflectors divert the path of the light beam to cross the vapor flow through the central passageway a plurality of times, at least once at an acute angle to the vapor flow. A photodetector measures the energy of the light beam after it has crossed the vapor flow in the central passageway.


Lloyd A. Hackel and Patrick Reichert
Faraday Imaging at High Temperatures
U.S. Patent 5,612,538
March 18, 1997
A laser viewing system that can be attached to a laser processing system to allow viewing and subsequent adjusting of the input laser beam focus and power on surfaces being welded, heat-treated, and machined by a high-power laser. The filter rejects background light from self-luminous thermal objects, but transmits laser light at the passband wavelength of the filter, providing an ultranarrow optical bandpass filter. The filter preserves images so a camera, looking through a Faraday filter at a hot target illuminated by a laser, will not see the thermal radiation, but will see the laser radiation.


Chi-Yung Fu and Loren I. Petrich
Image Compression Technique
U.S. Patent 5,615,287
March 25, 1997
A method of compressing an image by identifying edge pixels of the image, creating a filled edge array of pixels, and subtracting the filled edge array from the image array to create a difference array. The edge file and the difference array are then separately compressed and transmitted or stored. The original image is later reconstructed by creating a preliminary array in response to the received edge file and adding the preliminary array to the received difference array. Filling is accomplished by solving Laplace's equation using a multigrid technique.


Awards

Lawrence Livermore scientists Mike Key and George Zimmerman are among the recipients of the 1997 Edward Teller Medal, awarded "in recognition of pioneering research and leadership in the use of lasers and ion particle beams to produce unique high-energy-density matter for scientific research and for controlled thermonuclear fission." Teller, Director Emeritus of the Laboratory, and a Hoover Institution Senior Research Fellow, presented the awards at the International Conference on Laser Interactions and Related Plasma Phenomena. Key, now a senior scientist at Livermore, is the former head of the Central Laser Facility of the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory in England and led the building of the world's brightest KrF laser there. He is also known for key technical contributions to x-ray laser research including x-ray streak-camera development, plasma energy transport, and high-field ionization. Zimmerman, a group leader at Livermore, is responsible for development of advanced numerical models including the LASNEX code system. He is known internationally for his development of LASNEX and received the U.S. Department of Energy's E. O. Lawrence Award for this work. He has made key contributions to the development of models for equations of state, charged-particle and photon transport, opacity, magnetic field generation, and hydrodynamics. LASNEX is the principal inertial confinement fusion design code at Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia national laboratories.

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