Skip to main content

This portfolio was organized to group innovations that might not be categorized in the other portfolios. Instruments are full systems integrated to perform complex electrical or mechanical work. Sensors are devices that detect, measure, or locate a physical property. Electronics are devices that manipulate electrons or control electrical energy, and the manufacturing processes that fabricate them.

Portfolio News and Multimedia

Image
LLNL researchers and LLNL Licensee Opcondys Inc. garner two awarded projects funded through DOE’s ULTRAFAST program

Funded through DOE’s Unlocking Lasting Transformative Resiliency Advances by Faster Actuation of power Semiconductor Technologies (ULTRAFAST) program, LLNL researchers (in Engineering) will develop an optically-controlled semiconductor transistor to enable future grid control systems to accommodate higher voltage and current than state-of-the-art devices. (Award amount: $3,000,000) while LLNL licensee Opcondys will develop a light-controlled grid protection device to suppress destructive, sudden transient surges on the grid such as those caused by lightning and electromagnetic pulses. (Award amount: $3,178,977

Image
Innovation and Partnerships Office employees capture two national awards

The Department of Energy’s Technology Transfer Working Group recently awarded two Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) employees with “Best in Class” awards during their May spring meeting in Washington, D.C.

Image
Three LLNL Scientists Inducted into LLNL’s Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame

A trio of LLNL scientists have been inducted into the laboratory's Entrepreneur's Hall of Fame. Each developed technologies during or after their Lab careers that created major economic impacts or spawned new companies.

Instruments, Sensors, and Electronics Technologies

Image
Stock image UAV drone monitoring gas near pipeline valves

LLNL researchers have developed a TDLAS-based, standalone, real-time gas analyzer in a small form-factor for continuous or single-point monitoring.  The system can analyze multiple gases with ultra-high sensitivity (ppm detection levels) in harsh conditions when utilizing wavelength-modulation spectroscopy (WMS). 

Image
CT Scanner Adobe Stock Image

The essence of this invention is a method that couples network architecture using neural implicit representations coupled with a novel parametric motion field to perform limited angle 4D-CT reconstruction of deforming scenes.

Image
Diffuse discharge circuit breaker with latching switch

A thyristor will stay conducting until the current through the device is zero (“current zero”) or perhaps slightly negative.  LLNL’s approach is to use the opticondistor (“OTV”) to force this current zero in order to force the device into an “off” state.  By combining a light-activated thyristor with an OTV, a noise-immune, high efficiency, high-power switching device can be constructed. The…

Image
A cross-sectional schematic of a diffused Ga2O3 photoconductive semiconductor switch (PCSS)

The researchers’ approach leverages the concept that dopants have high diffusivities in Ga2O3; the key lies in the selection of the appropriate dopant.  This LLNL invention describes two device types that employ this design:

Image
Samples of optimized diamond switches

Design and construction of a photoconductive switch requires a diamond photoconductor illuminated by light of a certain excitation wavelength. 

Characteristics of the LLNL-developed switch are as follows:

Image
OALV design with High-k Photoconductor and High-k Optical Window

LLNL researchers has developed designs to augment WBG/UWBG-based OALVs to improve their power handling capability under CW operational environments.  These designs include:

Image
RFID Technology Stock Image

LLNL researchers have developed a novel Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), tracking, powering system and method using coded Ultra-wideband (UWB) signaling. The RFID system is capable of remote powering (activating) multiple passive UWB tags that are located some distance away, which is further than conventional RFID tags. Once the tags are activated, the tags are able to communicate with…

Image
Custom PCB design of a PCSS Laser Diode Driver

LLNL researchers have invented an ultrafast PCSS to drive a high-power laser diode with arbitrary pulse widths.  These devices operate by supplying a high voltage (>10 kV) to one side of the switch.  A short pulse of light illuminates the semiconductor, instantly turning it from highly resistive to highly conductive.

Image
multi-spectral nondestructive characterization of in-shell tree nuts

LLNL’s novel technology automates the inspection process by using a scanning system that captures data within the walnut shell without having to open the shell. The system output gives a visual image inside the walnut shell sufficient to evaluate and rate the quality of the walnut.  The system uses a camara and radar that can capture data at a rapid rate. This improves speed and reliability…

Image
solid state streak detector

The approach is to develop a solid-state X-ray imager based on the architecture of the Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) which uses a series of cathode strips on both sides of a silicon wafer to achieve bulk depletion and electron drift.  The invention leverages this SDD functionality to achieve signal stretching of liberated charge carriers from X-Ray photons that converts the time domain into the…

Image
LLNL energy grid protection device

The approach is to leverage the fact that a momentary “load” equal to the power transmission line impedance, (Z0), during the transient can suppress its propagation.  Z(0) is typically a fixed impedance of several hundred ohms based on the geometry of most single wire transmission lines.

So, an isolated self-powered opticondistor (OTV) system may provide an ultrafast method of…

Image
JFET Device Structure

LLNL’s novel approach is to use diamond substrates with the desired donor (nitrogen) and acceptor (boron) impurities.   In order to optically activate these deep impurities, the invention requires at least one externally or internally integrated light source.  The initial exposure to light can set up the desired conduction current, after which the light source could be turned off.  Even with…

Image
Tunneling Diode between two DSRDs

Instead of producing individual DSRDs and bonding them, Tunnel DSRD's entire stack structure is grown epitaxially on a n- or p-type silicon wafer, resulting in a novel, “monolithic” stacked DSRD.  A tunnel diode is essentially a diode with very highly doped p and n regions such that the reverse breakdown voltage is 200 meV or lower. 

Image
Schematic of LLNL’s Fast Image Acquisition System

LLNL’s novel approach is to use a continuous moving camera with a scan speed of >1 mm/sec and a frame rate of 100 frames per second.  The key is to have a light source that flashes with a duration of one nanosecond, thus essentially freezing the image with no blur.  Clear images of high resolution can then be captured through a high-magnification objective lens (reflection mode) or through…

Image
twister oven component with reflective inner cylinder surface

U.S. Patent No. 11,555,965 describes LLNL’s invention of “Illumination Frustums” for photoconductive switches to capture and “frustrate” the light from leaving the frustum.  LLNL researcher’s latest novel invention, “Twister Oven”, achieves this by encouraging laser light absorption in a photo conductor material.  Light enters the oven twisting and reflecting, making near normal incident multi…

Image
thermoelectric cooler (TEC) embedded substrate for cooling of high power devices

For cooling a high power device, the novel approach is to use a thermoelectric cooler (TEC)-based embedded substrate with proper selection of the TEC material as an active cooler.  The packaging configuration of TEC allows cooling the entire die without the use of a fluid.  The process is compatible with the thin film TEC material.  Standard semiconductor processes can be used to manufacture…

Image
A photoconductive switch made from a synthetic, chemical vapor deposition diamond under test

Design and construction of a photoconductive switch requires a diamond photoconductor illuminated by light of a certain excitation wavelength.  The diamond material is chosen to be doped with substitutional nitrogen to act as a source of electrons.  The device architecture allows maximum light entering the aperture.  The top and bottom electrodes are made of ultra-wide bandgap (UWBG)…

Image
3DQ Concept:  Use two 2D detectors to enable detection of 3D position for the same event.

LLNL’s approach to the development of a wide-field, three-dimensional quantum (3DQ) microscope is to harness quantum entangled photons to form simultaneous 3D optical images, which could be a new paradigm for 3D volumetric imaging of biological specimens.  The 3DQ microscope is comprised of a novel optical system with highly sensitive detectors and an on-demand light source of entangled…

Image
schematic of LLNL’s field emission photocathode device architecture with examples of tunable SiC surface micro- and nanostructures fabricated at LLNL

LLNL researchers faced this challenge by bridging the gap between VEDs and solid-state electronics (SSE).  Their approach was to create a hybrid vacuum microelectronic device (VMD) architecture that combines the properties of vacuum as the electronic medium and the compact form factor and manufacturing scalability of semiconductor microelectronic chips.

Image
SEM image of a prototype for a neural implant shuttle etched into a non-SOI wafer. The 7:1 (Si:Photoresist) etch selectivity used here allowed for a maximum structure height of 32 μm, with up to 75 steps of 0.4 μm height each. Scale bar 100 μm.

For this method, a Silicon on Insulator (SOI) wafer is used to tailor etch rates and thickness in initial steps of the process.  The simple three step process approach is comprised of grayscale lithography, deep reactive-ion etch (DRIE) and liftoff of the SOI wafer.  The liftoff process is used to dissolve the insulating layer, thus separating sections of the wafer as individual silicon…

Image
Schematic of 2P3C setup.  Pump laser component is in red while probe laser component is denoted in blue.

LLNL’s novel approach combines 2-color spectroscopy with CRDS, a combination not previously utilized.

Image
Unique LLNL capabilities enable GaN superjunctions

The approach is to use Charge Balance Layers (CBLs) to create a superjunction device in wide bandgap materials.  These CBLs enable the device to effectively spread the electric field over 2- or 3-dimensions within a semiconductor voltage sustaining layer instead of 1-dimension, thereby increasing the maximum voltage a device is capable of withstanding.  The challenge of using CBLs is the…

Image
Cross Section of the High-Voltage Insulator Joint

The approach is to build a high voltage insulator consisting of two materials:  Poly-Ether-Ether-Ketone (“PEEK”) and Machinable Ceramic (“MACOR”).  PEEK has a high stress tolerance but cannot withstand high temperatures, while MACOR has high heat tolerance but is difficult to machine and can be brittle.  MACOR is used for the plasma-facing surface, while PEEK will handle the stresses and high…

Image
Segments of transmission line lengths can be switched to open circuit (as shown) or shorted to the ground (not shown)

Design and construction of a photoconductive switch requires a diamond photoconductor illuminated by light of a certain excitation wavelength.  The diamond material is specifically doped with substitutional nitrogen, which act as a source of electrons.  The device architecture allows maximum light entering the aperture.  The top and bottom electrodes are made of ultra wide band gap (UWBG)…

Image
Annular illumination on photo conductor by Conical Total Internal Reflection “CTIR” endcap

The approach is to use a custom-designed frustrum and attach it to the optical fiber that connects to the PCSS.  Light from the fiber enters the frustrum, spreads out, and enters the PCSS.  Any unabsorbed light re-enters the frustrum and, because of its geometry, reflects back into the PCSS itself with only a negligible fraction escaping from the fiber.  The shape of the novel frustrum is…

Image
An artist’s concept rendering of a 3.5-meter linear induction accelerator (LIA) with four lines-of-sight toward a patient. The blue elements magnetically focus and direct the LIA’s electron beams.

LLNL’s approach is to use their patented Photoconductive Charge Trapping Apparatus (U.S. Patent No. 11,366,401) as the active switch needed to discharge voltage across a vacuum gap in a particle accelerator, like the one described in their other patent (U.S. Patent No.

Image
LLNL has developed a new method for increasing lifetime in quantum coherent devices.

LLNL has developed a method of extending device lifetimes by imprinting into the device a shape that excludes specific vibrational modes, otherwise known as a phononic bandgap. Eliminating these modes prevents one of the primary energy loss pathways in these devices. LLNL’s new method enhances the coherence of superconducting circuits by introducing a phononic bandgap around the system’s…

Image
Livermore Tomography Tools  LTT

To solve these challenges using new and existing CT system designs, LLNL has developed an innovative software package for CT data processing and reconstruction. Livermore Tomography Tools (LTT) is a modern integrated software package that includes all aspects of CT modeling, simulation, reconstruction, and analysis algorithms based on the latest research in the field. LTT contains the most…

Image
mesoscale_nand_gate

Recent advancements in additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, allow precise placement of materials in three dimensions. LLNL researchers have invented mechanical logic gates based on flexures that can be integrated into the microstructure of a micro-architected material through 3D printing. The logic gates can be combined into circuits allowing complex logic operations to be…

Image
Livermore Tomography Tools  LTT

LLNL's 3D X-ray imager combines two different hardware pieces. The first is an x-ray optic with a depth-of-field that is small compared to the object under investigation. Reflective Wolter type x-ray optics are one such design. These hollow optics have a relatively large collection efficiency and can be designed with a large field of view. The depth of focus, which is the distance over which a…

Image
multichannel_pyrometer

LLNL researchers have designed and tested performance characteristics for a multichannel pyrometer that works in the NIR from 1200 to 2000 nm. A single datapoint without averaging can be acquired in 14 microseconds (sampling rate of 70,000/s). In conjunction with a diamond anvil cell, the system still works down to about 830K.

Image
AgAg2S reference electrode

LLNL has developed a reference electrode that is a great improvement on the widely used silver or platinum wire QRE commonly used in electrochemistry in ionic liquids. This new reference electrode, based on a silver-sulfide coated silver wire, exhibits greatly improved stability over a QRE. The stability of our RE approaches that of the Ag/Ag+ RE, but unlike the Ag/Ag+ RE, the RE reported here…

Image
Intrinsic Use Control

LLNL's method of equivalent time sampling incorporates an embedded system that generates the pulses used to trigger the external circuit and the data acquisition (DAQ). This removes the external reference clock, allowing the overall system clock rate to change based on the ability of the embedded system. The time delays needed to create the time stepping for equivalent time sampling is done by…

Image
drift_meter_thumb

LLNL’s Optically-based Interstory Drift Meter System provides a means to accurately measure the dynamic interstory drift of a vibrating building (or other structure) during earthquake shaking. This technology addresses many of the shortcomings associated with traditional strong motion accelerometer based building monitoring.

LLNL’s discrete diode position sensitive device is a newly…

Image
Spectroscopic Injection Pulser prototype

The technology that is available has the capability to inject realistic radiation detection spectra into the amplifier of a radiation detector and produce the all the observables that are available with that radiation detection instrument; count-rate, spectrum, dose rate, etc.

The system uses the capability of LLNL to generate the source output for virtually any source and determine…

Image
Marine helmet

LLNL's high fidelity hydrocode is capable of predicting blast loads and directly coupling those loads to structures to predict a mechanical response. By combining this code and our expertise in modeling blast-structure interaction and damage, along with our access to experimental data and testing facilities, we can contribute to the design of protective equipment that can better mitigate the…

Image
mir

The technology is an outgrowth of the world's fastest solid-state digitizer, which was designed to measure sub-nanosecond events generated by fusion experiments on the Laboratory's Nova laser. MIR is based on the radiation of short voltage impulses that are reflected off nearby objects and detected by MIR's extremely high-speed sampling receiver. Prototype units emit one million impulses per…

Image
microcantilever3

LLNL has developed a compact and low-power cantilever-based sensor array, which has been used to detect various vapor-phase analytes. For further information on the latest developments, see the article "Sniffing the Air with an Electronic Nose."

Image
OTV Image

The Optical Transconductance Varistor (OTV, formerly Opticondistor) overcomes depletion region voltage limitations by optically exciting wide bandgap materials in a compact package. A 100μm thick crystal could have the capability approaching 40kV and would replace numerous equivalent junction devices. Thus, unlike present junction transistors or diodes, this wide bandgap device can be stacked…

Image
Electronic Wave

The invention relates to a measurement method and system for capturing both the amplitude and phase temporal profile of a transient waveform or a selected number of consecutive waveforms having bandwidths of up to about 10 THz in a single shot or in a high repetition rate mode. The invention consists of an optical preprocessor which can then output a time-scaled replica of the input signal to…

Image
NYC Subway Train

The Forensic Science Center at LLNL has invented a portable, compact and rugged hydrogen peroxide vapor generator. The system produces a consistent concentration of hydrogen peroxide vapor. The hydrogen peroxide vapor is generated from a safe and easy to maintain source of aqueous hydrogen peroxide and produces a dynamic flow stream at discrete concentrations.

Image
seven foot energy flywheels

This electrostatic (E-S) generator/motor operates through the time-variation of the capacity of an electrically charged condenser to generate AC voltages and/or mechanical torque. The output of the generator is such that it can take advantage of the development of high-voltage solid-state electronic components now coming into wide use in the electrical utilities.