Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Los Alamos projects win R&D 100 Awards

“Oscars of Invention” honor the best innovations of the past year
October 20, 2020
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists brought home eight of the coveted R&D 100 awards this year, plus an additional four special-recognition awards.

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists brought home eight of the coveted R&D 100 awards this year, plus an additional four special-recognition awards. Pictured above, scientist Ramesh Jha was among the winners, with the Smart Microbial Cell Technology project, an ultra-high-throughput screening platform to engineer custom biocatalysts.


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Los Alamos National Laboratory technologies brought in eight R&D 100 Awards and Special Recognition Awards, including a Gold Award for Corporate Social Responsibility, Gold and Silver Awards for Market Disruptor - Services, and a Bronze Award for Green Technology, presented by R&D World magazine.

“Congratulations to the brilliant teams behind Los Alamos National Laboratory’s 8 R&D 100 awards,” said Laboratory Director Thom Mason. “These awards reflect the great work that our Laboratory does that can both benefit humanity and advance the frontiers of science.”

  • Cluster Integrity, Exception Resolution and Reclustering Algorithm (CIERRA) is a software tool that analyzes massive amounts of satellite-collected lightning observations to provide the most comprehensive and accurate understanding of lightning data.
  • Legion: this data-centric programming system is an open-source software tool that boosts application performance and speed of high-performance computing by automating task scheduling and data movement.
  • Multi-Burn Solid Rocket provides multiple independent thrusts from a single solid rocket to enable small satellites to maneuver, avoid debris, and de-orbit.
  • OrganiCam is the first camera for noncontact, nondestructive biodetection in remote environments and space.
  • QUIC-Fire software is the first laptop-capable, fast-running 3D fire-atmosphere feedback model for wildland fire management.
  • Smart Microbial Cell Technology is an ultra-high-throughput screening platform to engineer custom biocatalysts that enhance the rate of chemical reactions critical in pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, and environmental cleanup.
  • Spectroscopic Detection of Nerve Agents (SEDONA) is the only portable screener to accurately detect the chemical nerve agents in unopened bottles, providing results in seconds. 

“I congratulate the R&D 100 Award teams. These diverse innovations exemplify the Laboratory’s tradition of scientific and engineering excellence in support of our national security mission, industrial competitiveness, and the broader technical community,” said John Sarrao, Deputy Laboratory Director for Science, Technology, and Engineering. “The awards demonstrate the strength of our partnerships with industry, academia, and other national laboratories in developing innovative solutions to challenging problems.”

The R&D 100 Awards

The prestigious “Oscars of Invention” honor the latest and best innovations and identify the top technology products of the past year. The R&D 100 Awards span industry, academia and government-sponsored research organizations.

Since 1978 Los Alamos has won more than 170 R&D 100 Awards. The Laboratory’s discoveries, developments, advancements and inventions make the world a better and safer place, bolster national security and enhance national competitiveness.