Technologies that rival electronic screens, enable new molecular analysis and reduce dependence on fossil fuels received recognition for their innovation today.
"These awards recognize the tremendous value of our national labs," said Secretary of Energy
A headset display that's easy on the eyes
Glyph", virtual retinal display
Try reading this sentence with the screen an inch from your face and you've experienced the main drawback of head-mounted displays. Screens can get too close for comfort.
Avegant's Glyph" is a headset display that has no screen. Instead, its visor contains a PNNL-developed virtual retinal display, which reflects light onto the back of the viewer's eyes. Because the display mimics natural vision, it reduces nausea and eye strain even with extended use.
PNNL teamed with Avegant to demonstrate military applications for the headset, such as night-time maneuvers and piloting armored or unmanned vehicles. But the technology has many more applications, including surgery and virtual training.
Former PNNL staff member
Avegant's Kickstarter campaign brought
The team recognized for developing Glyph" includes: PNNL's
Solar boosts natural gas, saves energy
STARS - Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System
Natural gas power plants can use about 20 percent less fuel when the sun is shining by injecting solar energy into natural gas with a new system developed by PNNL.
The Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System, or STARS, converts natural gas and sunlight into a more energy-rich fuel called syngas, which power plants can burn to make electricity.
The STARS uses a mirrored parabolic dish to concentrate sunlight on a pod about four feet long and two feet wide. The device contains a chemical reactor and several heat exchangers. The reactor and heat exchangers have narrow channels that are as wide as six dimes stacked on top of each other. Concentrated sunlight heats up the natural gas flowing through the reactor's channels, which hold a catalyst that helps turn natural gas into syngas.
The heat exchangers' channels help recycle heat left over from the chemical reaction gas. By reusing the heat, solar energy is used more efficiently to convert natural gas into syngas.
STARS has set a world record with 69 percent of the solar energy that hit the system's mirrored dish converted into chemical energy contained in the syngas. Additionally, STARS can produce other chemicals, such as methanol and hydrogen.
The team recognized for developing STARS includes: PNNL's
A window into liquid analysis
SALVI - System for Analysis at the Liquid Vacuum Interface
A window the size of a pinhole has opened researchers to a new world of liquid sample analysis.
Many studies rely on precise knowledge of how solids and liquids interact on a molecular level, but liquids evaporate in the vacuum of certain instruments. PNNL developed the System for Analysis at the Liquid Vacuum Interface, or SALVI, that for the first time allows these instruments to image liquid samples in real-time and space.
With SALVI, scientists can gain new insights about nanoparticles, bacteria, batteries and more.
The portable system fits on a block the size of half a sheet of paper. It connects with many types of vacuum-based instruments, including time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometers and scanning electron microscopes.
SALVI can take a sample as small as two drops. The sample flows through a channel to a window the size of a pinhole, where an ion beam performs analysis. Surface tension keeps the liquid from escaping the window.
The flow and small window reduce evaporation in a vacuum and protect the sample from beam damage, making many forms of liquid analysis possible.
SALVI enables imaging in real-time and space by more than one analytical instrument. And it eliminates the need for sample preparations such as freezing or drying biological cells.
The team recognized for developing SALVI includes: PNNL's
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