Sandia National Laboratories researchers - competing in an international pool of universities, corporations and government labs - captured three prestigious R&D 100 Awards in this year's contest, and were cowinners of a fourth.
R&D Magazine presents the awards each year to researchers whom its editors and independent judging panels determine have developed the year's 100 most outstanding advances in applied technologies.
The awards, with their focus on practical impact rather than pure research, reward entrants on their products' design, development, testing and production, and have been called "the Nobel prizes of technology."
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, "The Department of Energy's national laboratories and other sites are at the forefront of innovation, and it is gratifying to see their work recognized once again. Their cutting-edge research and development is helping meet our energy challenges, strengthen our national security and enhance our economic competitiveness. I congratulate our R&D 100 award winners."
Researchers at DOE facilities received 36 awards. Sandia's sister defense labs in the National Nuclear Security Administration, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, won three and two awards, respectively.
Sandia's four winning entries are:
Microresonator Filters and Frequency References, submitted by Sandia researcher Roy H. Olsson III. "The next generation of mobile computing devices will require advanced radio frequency (RF) filter and oscillator banks covering multiple RF bands," said Olsson. "Our miniature acoustic resonators fill this need." Microresonators are small acoustic resonators that have highly precise sound and are manufactured using the same technologies that mass-produce integrated circuits (IC). Microresonator technology allows hundreds of filters and oscillators operating over a wide (32kHz - 10 GHz) frequency range to be realized on a single IC chip and monolithically integrated with radio frequency (RF) transistor circuits. They will perform RF filtering and frequency synthesis functions in next-generation wireless handsets, cell phones and other wireless devices, offering higher performance and frequency diversity in a smaller package and at a lower price than current technologies.
Ultra-high-voltage Silcon Carbide Thyristor, submitted by Sandia researcher Stan Atcitty. This DOE Energy Storage Systems project, managed by Sandia in partnership with GeneSiC Semiconductor Inc., and the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), has developed an ultra-high-voltage silicon carbide thyristor. The semiconductor device allows next-generation "smart grid" power electronics system to be built up to 10 times smaller and lighter than current silicon-based technologies. These packaged-power devices are the world's first commercially available, high-voltage, high-frequency, high-current, high-temperature, single-chip SiC-based thyristors. Their performance advantages are expected to spur innovations in utility-scale power electronics hardware and to increase the accessibility and use of distributed energy resources.