Patents


Simon J. Cohen and Lynn G. Seppala
Critical Illumination Condenser for X-Ray Lithography
U.S. Patent 5,737,137
April 7, 1998
A critical illumination condenser system, adapted for use in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) projection lithography based on a ring field imaging system and a laser-produced plasma source. The system uses three spherical mirrors and is capable of illuminating the extent of the mask plane by scanning the primary mirror or the laser plasma source. The angles of radiation incident upon each mirror of the critical illumination condenser vary by less than 8 degrees. For example, the imaging system in which the critical illumination condenser is used has a 200-micrometer source and requires a magnification of 26.

Troy W. Barbee, Jr. and Gary W. Johnson
Nanostructure Multilayer Dielectric Materials for Capacitors and Insulators
U.S. Patent 5,742,471
April 21, 1998
A capacitor formed of at least two metal conductors having a multilayer dielectric and opposite dielectric-conductor interface layers in between. The multilayer dielectric includes many alternating layers of amorphous zirconium oxide (ZrO2) and alumina (Al2O3). The dielectric-conductor interface layers are engineered for increased voltage breakdown and extended service life. The local interfacial work function is increased to reduce charge injection and thus increase breakdown voltage.


Richard W. Pekala
Organic Carbon Aerogels from the Sol-Gel Polymerization of Phenolic-Furfural Mixtures
U.S. Patent 5,744,510
April 28, 1998
A high-surface-area foam made from sol-gel polymerization of a phenolic-furfural mixture in dilute solution leading to a highly cross-linked network that is supercritically dried. These porous materials have cell/pore sizes less than or equal to 1,000 angstroms. The phenolic-furfural aerogel can be pyrolyzed in an inert atmosphere at 1,050°ree;C to produce carbon aerogels. This new aerogel may be used for thermal insulation, chromatographic packing, water filtration, ion exchange, and carbon electrodes for energy storage devices, such as batteries and double-layer capacitors.


Jim J. Chang, Ernest P. Dragon, and Bruce E. Warner
Apparatus for Precision Micromachining with Lasers
U.S. Patent 5,744,780
April 28, 1998
A new material-processing apparatus using a short-pulse, high-repetition-rate visible laser for precision micromachining. It uses a near-diffraction-limited laser; a high-speed, precision two-axis tilt-mirror for steering the laser beam; an optical system for either focusing or imaging the laser beam on the part; and a part holder. The system is useful for precision drilling, cutting, milling, and polishing of metals and ceramics and has broad application in manufacturing precision components.


Joseph W. Balch, Anthony V. Carrano, James C. Davidson, and Jackson C. Koo
Hybrid Slab-microchannel Gel Electrophoresis System
U.S. Patent 5,746,901
May 5, 1998
A system that permits the fabrication of isolated microchannels for biomolecule separations without imposing the constraint of a totally sealed system. It incorporates a microslab portion of the separation medium above the microchannels, thus substantially reducing the possibility of nonuniform field distribution and breakdown due to uncontrollable leakage. The microslab of the sieving matrix is built into the system by using plastic spacer materials and is used to uniformly couple the top plate with the bottom microchannel plate.


William McLean II, Mehdi Balooch, and Wigbert J. Siekhaus
Laser Ablated Hard Coating for Microtools
U.S. Patent 5,747,120
May 5, 1998
A method for depositing wear-resistant coatings composed of laser-ablated hard-carbon films by pulsed laser ablation using visible light on instruments such as microscope tips and microsurgical tools. Hard carbon (known as diamondlike carbon) films produced in this way enhance the abrasion resistance, wear characteristics, and lifetimes of microtools without affecting their sharpness or size.


Robert T. Taylor, Kenneth J. Jackson, Alfred G. Duba, and Ching-I Chen
In Situ Thermally Enhanced Biodegradation of Petroleum Fuel Hydrocarbons and Halogenated Organic Solvents
U.S. Patent 5,753,122
May 19, 1998
An in situ thermally enhanced microbial remediation strategy and method for biodegradation of toxic petroleum fuel hydrocarbon and halogenated organic solvent contaminants. It uses nonpathogenic, thermophilic bacteria for the thermal biodegradation of toxic and carcinogenic contaminants from fuel leaks and past solvent-cleaning practices. The method makes use of preexisting heated conditions and delivery/recovery wells created by thermal treatment approaches, such as dynamic underground steam-electrical heating.


Alan F. Jankowski, Daniel M. Makowiecki, Glenn D. Rambach, and Erik Randlich
Hybrid Deposition of Thin Film Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers
U.S. Patent 5,753,385
May 19, 1998
A method using vapor deposition techniques to synthesize the basic components of a solid-oxide fuel cell, namely, the electrolyte layer, the two electrodes, and the electrolyte-electrode interfaces, and thereby produce a thin-film solid-oxide fuel cell. Reactive deposition of any ion-conducting oxide forms the electrolyte. The electrolyte is formed by reactive deposition of any conducting oxide by planar magnetron sputtering. The electrodes are formed from ceramic powders sputter-coated with an appropriate metal and sintered to a porous compact. The electrolyte-electrode interface is formed by chemical vapor deposition of zirconia compounds onto the porous electrodes to provide a dense smooth surface on which to continue the growth of the defect-free electrolyte, whereby one or more multiple cells may be fabricated.


Thomas E. McEwan
Ultra-wideband Horn Antenna with Abrupt Radiator
U.S. Patent 5,754,144
May 19, 1998
An ultrawideband horn antenna that transmits and receives impulse waveforms from short-range radars and impulse time-of-flight systems. The antenna reduces or eliminates various sources of close-in radar clutter, including pulse dispersion and ringing, sidelobe clutter, and feedline coupling into the antenna. Low-frequency cutoff associated with a horn is extended by configuring the radiator drive impedance to approach a short circuit at low frequencies.




Awards


Laboratory physicist Ben Santer is one of this year's winners of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Award. An atmospheric scientist in the Laboratory's Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Santer received the fellowship in recognition of his "originality, creativity, self-direction, and capacity to contribute importantly to society, particularly in atmospheric sciences." The award, popularly called a Genius Award, is accompanied by a stipend of $270,000, paid over five years.
A Livermore employee since 1992, Santer was thrust into the public spotlight in 1995 as the lead author of one chapter of a United Nations report. The chapter's conclusion that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate" provoked considerable scientific and political debate. The focus of Santer's research is to understand the nature and causes of global climate change using sophisticated computer models.
Santer is also a recipient of a 1998 Norbert Gerbier/MUMM Award for a paper entitled "A Search for Human Influences on the Thermal Structure of the Atmosphere," which appeared in the July 1996 Nature. The award was presented to Santer and his 12 co-authors at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, in late June 1998.

The Laboratory's Molten Salt Oxidation (MSO) demonstration project has received the Northern California Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Project of the Year Award. Peter Hsu and Martyn Adamson developed the process, which is being demonstrated in a pilot-scale recycle system that is part of Livermore's integrated MSO demonstration system. The award is for "an intelligently conceived and directed project or program of research in Northern California that offers to extend chemical engineering practice through the development of new theory or empirical knowledge."

Two groups of Laboratory researchers were recently honored with 1998 Excellence in Technology Transfer awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium. A multidisciplinary team from the Laboratory's Center for Healthcare Technologies led by J. Patrick Fitch won for the development and transfer of an opto-acoustic recanalization technique for breaking up stroke-causing blood clots in the brain to EndoVasix, Inc., of Belmont, California, which will commercialize the system and complete the path from laboratory concept to patient care.
A second group, led by Stephen Vernon, won for developing and transferring to Veeco Instruments, Inc., of Plainview, New York, a new approach for fabricating low-defect-density, thin-film, multilayer coatings using an ion-beam sputter deposition process. This chip-coating technology has been incorporated in Veeco's IBD-350 machine, which produces advanced computer chips with a 300,000-fold reduction in defects compared to chips made with other commercial systems. The FLC handed out 31 excellence awards, 9 of which went to DOE laboratories.


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