Oct. 10, 2002
Vol. 22 No. 2

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    University, Argonne researchers acknowledged for technologies

    Technologies developed by faculty members in Computer Science and Physics, and by scientists at Argonne National Laboratory are among the winners of this year’s R&D 100 awards, given annually by R&D Magazine to the “100 most significant technical products of the year.”

    The winning technologies include the Globus Toolkit, the BioRyx™ 200 system, the Smart Sensor Developer Kit, and the advanced electrodeionization for product desalting.

    The Globus Toolkit is an open-architecture, open-source set of software services and libraries that support computational “grids,” allowing computers far apart to work on the same problem at the same time.

    Ian Foster, Professor in Computer Science and the College, and of Argonne; Steve Tuecke of Argonne; and Carl Kesselman of the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, are leading the Globus Project.

    Since its inception in 1996, the project has been dedicated to the open-source philosophy of sharing resources to maximize progress and community benefits. The toolkit–which includes software services and libraries for resource monitoring, discovery and management, plus security and file management–is now central to science and engineering projects that total nearly one half billion dollars internationally, and it is the substrate on which many companies are building significant commercial grid products.

    The technology of the BioRyx™ 200 system, which was developed at the University by David Grier, Professor in Physics and the College, uses holographic optical tweezers that can grab, move, spin, assemble and otherwise control particles in a range that spans from 1/1000th the diameter of a human hair up to the size of a human cell.

    Grier and Eric Dufresne (Ph.D., ’00) received patents for the invention, which was then licensed to Arryx, Inc. through the University’s UCTech Development Corporation. Arryx is making the invention commercially available to the computer, biotechnology and chemical sensor industries.

    The BioRyx™ 200 system, which moves objects with beams of light, is expected to enable groundbreaking research and development in health fields, as well as advances in optical communications and optical processing of information.

    The Smart Sensor Developer Kit provides the first-ever, user-configurable, active microsensor technology that can be easily and inexpensively incorporated into a wide range of instruments for a variety of applications.

    To date, instruments already being commercialized that employ the technology include intelligent fire detectors, an “electronic nose” to sniff out termite infestations, and a personal monitor that can detect chemical agents and other hazardous materials.

    Developers of the microsensor are Michael Vogt and Laura Skubal of Argonne; Erika Shoemaker, formerly of Argonne; and John Ziegler of General Atomics Corp.

    The technology known as advanced electrodeionization for product desalting is designed to provide a cleaner, cheaper and smarter approach to removing salt impurities and other byproducts from finished products.

    Each year, industry uses millions of pounds of acid and base chemicals to desalt products. High costs and technical inefficiencies have thwarted efforts to replace these processes, which can pollute groundwater and adversely affect human health. The new electrodeionization process eliminates the need for acid and base chemicals, therefore providing a more environmentally benign process.

    Developers of this process are Michael Henry, Paula Moon, Yupo Lin, Carl Landahl, James Frank and Seth Snyder, all of Argonne; Shih-Perng Tsai, formerly of Argonne; and Rathin Datta and Dennis Burke of EDSEP, Inc.

    The R&D 100 awards will be presented Wednesday, Oct. 16, during the award ceremonies at Navy Pier in Chicago.