Tuesday, December 3, 2019

INL inventors win four R&D 100 Awards

A team of researchers including Josh Daw (pictured here), Richard Skifton, Kurt Davis and Pattrick Calderoni received an R&D 100 Award for their work on High-Temperature Irradiation-Resistant Thermocouples.
Four Idaho National Laboratory technologies have been named winners of the 2019 R&D 100 Awards. Widely known as the “Oscars of Innovation,” the awards bestowed by R&D World recognize the winners as being among the top 100 revolutionary technologies of 2019.

Since their inception in 1963, the awards have celebrated research and development technologies from across the public and private sectors. Laboratories and companies from throughout the nation submitted nominations for judging. A panel comprised of more than 40 industry-leading experts then ranked the nominees based on their technical significance, uniqueness, and applicability across industry, government and academia.

Typically, the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories have dozens of finalists every year. Of 2019’s 162 finalists, 54 included the involvement of DOE national labs, with six technologies listing INL as the lead inventor and two labeling the lab as a supporting organization. With the inclusion of this year’s winners, INL has now won 22 R&D 100 Awards since 2005.

Winning technologies led by INL:

Electronic Neutron Generator Calibration System (N-meter)
David Chichester, Scott Thompson, James Johnson, Scott Watson, Robert Schley, Jay Hix

The N-meter is a portable, reusable, and adaptable device that has the capability to calibrate any electronic neutron generator (ENG), regardless of manufacturer. ENGs provide law enforcement officers and military personnel with the ability to detect the presence of harmful materials used in chemical, radiological and explosive attacks. The N-meter actively ensures that the devices are accurate and properly calibrated to perform any mission. By enabling this vital step for ENGs, the device can help protect Americans from nuclear threats, improve natural resource exploration, create biomedical advances and much more.

High-Temperature Irradiation-Resistant Thermocouples (HTIR-TC)
Richard Skifton, Josh Daw, Kurt Davis, Pattrick Calderoni

Until now, nuclear instruments have had difficulty obtaining precise reactor temperature measurements, forcing scientists to rely on estimates. Now, the High-Temperature Irradiation-Resistant Thermocouples (HTIR-TC) can be inserted directly into the fuel centerline to precisely read fuel temperatures at the reactor’s core. With more accurate information about core temperatures, engineers can make nuclear reactors safer and more reliable.  

Wireless radio Frequency signal Identification and protocol Reverse Engineering (WiFIRE)
Christopher Becker, Kurt Derr, Samuel Ramirez, Sneha Kasera, Aniqua Baset

WiFIRE helps combat wireless attacks by monitoring wireless networks in real time, giving users the ability to respond to security breaches as they’re occurring. Should it detect rogue devices, WiFIRE provides security measures like alerting law enforcement personnel, blocking unwanted data transmission, starting data and/or video recording for potential legal use, and even locating intruders before damage is done. The technology helps protect the nation’s critical infrastructure, making attacks on the power grid and water supply increasingly difficult.

Consequence-driven Cyber-informed Engineering
Robert Smith, Curtis St. Michel, Amanda Belloff, Andy Bochman, Sarah Freeman, Michael Assante

Consequence-driven Cyber-informed Engineering (CCE) is a methodology that provides users with knowledge and skills to protect against and prepare for serious cyberthreats against the nation’s critical infrastructure systems. CCE identifies processes and functions that must not fail, then outlines steps organizations must take in order for their assets to remain secure. By re-engineering key processes while armed with a full understanding of the attackers’ tactics and options, CCE reduces or eliminates digital pathways used by attackers to reach critical systems, effectively removing the targets with the highest consequences from the table.