| R&D100: 2008 : Summaries
2008 R&D 100 Awards Entry Summaries
3-D Tracking Microscope
The 3D tracking microscope is the only system capable of following small (~10 nm) protein-sized objects moving through three dimensions at rates faster than many intracellular transport processes. The 3D tracking microscope can follow the transport of nanometer-sized particles at µm/second rates with a spatial accuracy of approximately 100 nm for each axis (X, Y, and Z). This enables one to follow individual protein, RNA, or DNA motion throughout the full three-dimensional volume of a cell to see where a particular biomolecule travels, the method it takes to get there, and the specific proteins it may be interacting with along the way. Conventional laser scanning confocal microscopes (LSCMs) are valuable tools for academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies, comprising a roughly 225 Million$/yr market. LCSMs enable 3D rendering of cellular structure, but can not follow individual protein motion in three dimensions.The 3D tracking microscope can do everything a conventional LSCM can do and much more. It can track single labeled molecules in three dimensions as well as render 3D images with single fluorophore sensitivity.
This microscope will advance our understanding of disease at the molecular level by enabling researchers to follow, step by step, the transport of important signaling proteins involved in complex signal transduction cascades:
Laser-Weave®: A new approach for synthesizing inorganic fibers
Laser-Weave® is a new approach for synthesizing inorganic fibers that allows for arbitrarily complex braiding patterns, including patterns that could not be produced mechanically—certainly not in a single mechanical stage. Laser-Weave® provides a simple, low-cost route to the synthesis of fine, refractory-metal fibers and their compounds, as well as improving their underlying fiber strength, elasticity, and toughness. Laser-Weave® uses lasers with chemical vapor deposition to grow inorganic fibers and intertwine them rather than requiring the fibers to be mechanically assembled or intertwined after they are grown. Laser-Weave® combines all the advantages of a rapid prototyping technology with advanced metallurgy and textile production methods.
Fibers and fabrics produced by Laser-Weave® can be used in the following:
ECAS: Equal Channel Angular Sintering
ECAS forms solid nanocrystalline-ceramic parts from powders of ceramic nanocrystals, which have sizes of 100 nanometers or less. The size of the nanocrystals in an ECAS-produced part is about the same as that of the starting nanocrystals. In the more than 100 years since sintering was invented, this is the first time the size of the starting nanocrystals has been preserved in a finished sintered part. ECAS is also one of the few processes to produce nanocrystalline ceramic parts that are “fully dense,” that is, parts whose densities approach their theoretical maximum. We believe ECAS can also reduce a part’s nanocrystal size to less than that of the starting nanocrystals. Moreover, ECAS can easily be scaled to produce large parts and has the potential to be developed into a continuous process for a production line.
ECAS can produce fully dense, nanocrystalline-ceramic parts from a wide variety of nanocrystal powders to provide the following benefits:
Gloveport Retrofit: Upgrading Enclosures with 21st Century Technology