ORNL Invention Alert

ORNL Invention Alert
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Owner of US heavy rare earth mine licenses ORNL separation technology

Caldera Holding, the owner and developer of Missouri’s Pea Ridge iron mine, has entered a nonexclusive research and development licensing agreement with ORNL to apply a membrane solvent extraction technique to mined ores.

Four scientists affiliated with ORNL were named Battelle Distinguished Inventors during the lab’s annual Innovation Awards on Dec. 1 in recognition of being granted 14 or more United States patents. Read more about the Battelle Distinguished Inventors
New ORNL inventions

A Novel Efficient Process for Separation of Critical Materials from Primary and Secondary Sources
202105029 // Chemicals // Materials
The technology describes an efficient process for separation of critical materials from primary and secondary sources.

Electrodeposition of Neodymium from an Organic Electrolyte Prepared by a Salt Metathesis Reaction
202205053 // Manufacturing // Materials
The technology describes a method for electrodeposition of neodymium.

Fluorescence-Based Sensor for Measuring Polymer Properties
202205061 // Detectors and Sensors // Materials
Technologies are described directed to fluorescence-based sensors for measuring polymer properties.

Carving Films with Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy
202205255 // Materials
To realize quantum computing and quantum sensing applications with topological materials, materials must be shaped into device structures and the resulting edge structure characterized with near atomic precision. Unfortunately, chalcogenide topological materials are not amenable to traditional nanofabrication techniques and new ways to shape these materials or make them compatible with existing nanofabrication techniques are needed. Researchers at ORNL have developed a method for carving topological materials using the scanning transmission electron microscopy that allows fabricating device structures with atomic precision out of this new generation of quantum topological materials. This technique enables the creation of new devices for quantum computing and sensing applications.

Ionic Liquids for Carbon Capture
202205258 // Chemicals // Materials
In this work, certain superbase-derived task-specific ionic liquids, or STSILs, were developed for efficient CO2 chemisorption. A carbon dioxide sorption study revealed that when coupled with certain cations, the STSIL exhibited high carbon dioxide uptake capacity.

Low-Cost Feedstock for Large-Scale Metal Additive Manufacturing
202205260 // Manufacturing // Materials
This technology enables economically viable and sustainable fabrication of near net shape large steel components using additive manufacturing. Currently, additive manufacturing is not economically viable for the production of many infrastructure-scale steel parts, such as hydropower turbines, due to the high cost of the feedstocks. This process uses low-cost, minimally-processed ferrous feedstocks to produce near net shape steel components with reduced embodied carbon and energy. 

Alternating Layer Heights for Closed Contour Toolpaths in Additive Manufacturing
202305441 // Manufacturing
Traditional 3D printing involves constructing an entire layer at a single height for all beads. Because of this, a planar interface is created throughout the entire layer of a part. This planar interface provides one common failure method for 3D printed objects resulting in low mechanical strength. By adjusting the height of neighboring beads, the planar interface can be broken into diagonals. As a result of this shift, this algorithm improves strength for the entire object and prevents clean breaking at a single layer. This technology implements improved strength for closed loop contour tool pathing, such as perimeters and insets. The solution involves an optimization algorithm that calculates and shifts the bead’s height during pathing computation as part of the slicing process. 

Apparatus for X-Y Sampling of Wipes
202305454 // Analytical Instrumentation // Detectors and Sensors
This technology is an apparatus that provides detailed, automated analytical sampling and mapping of a sample wipe surface. The wipe is mounted on a frame on the X-Y stage, and the wipe is sampled, the stage moved to preset locations, and sampled repetitively, until the whole wipe surface is analyzed thoroughly. Current technology that analyzes cotton sampling wipes is capable of sampling one point on the wipe or several if manually manipulated. This innovation samples the entire wipe. 

Dynamic Toolpath Assignment
202305459 // Manufacturing
Making an offline toolpath assignment for a multi-agent system with dynamic behavior is very complex or nearly impossible. This approach instead focuses on real-time assignment.

Single Particle Sampling Head
202305460 // Analytical Instrumentation // Detectors and Sensors
The single particle sampling head allows the Advion Plate Express to be used for sampling of fabric wipes made of cotton or paper. It eliminates issues with sample loss and carry-over by re-design of the flow paths. 

Integrating Online Atmospheric Plasma with Automatic Tape Placement and Similar Processes
202305485 // Manufacturing // Materials
The aircraft and automobile industries use an automated tape placement (ATP) system for carbon composite manufacturing. The inter-ply adhesion between layups could be improved using alternative surface treatment of ATP feed stock. This technology is an online treatment of the ATP system to improve adhesion. The innovation lies in the use of atmospheric plasma to treat the carbon composite and improve chemical functionality, which results in improved adhesion vis-à-vis better mechanical properties of composites. 

Real-Time, Rapid and Noninvasive Atomic Lock-On in the Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope
202305494 // Analytical Instrumentation // Manufacturing
The technology provides a real-time, rapid, and non-invasive “atomic lock-on” in the scanning transmission electron microscope.

Red Mud: From Industrial Waste to Flux for Steel Production
202305496 // Manufacturing
The technologies described provide viable flux option for both iron and steel making.

Remote Laser-Based Substrate Heater
202305500 // Analytical Instrumentation // Materials
This technology is a laser-based heating unit that offers rapid heating profiles on a research scale with minimal incidental heating of materials processing environments. Current technologies have several disadvantages that include single square cm-scale sample throughput, proprietary software and a computer to run it on, and large format electrical enclosures. This technology increases throughput with a turret, requires no software or computer but does allow for manual/computer control at the discretion of the end-user, and is housed in industry standard 3U rack-mount enclosure. 

Air Leak Detection Using Transient Infrared Imaging
202305504 // Analytical Instrumentation // Energy and Utilities
All buildings leak air, responsible for an estimated 4 quads of primary energy loss – the equivalent of 732 million barrels of petroleum – and $40 billion worth of energy each year from all commercial and residential buildings. While there are different technologies to detect air leaks, they are not easy to use. A high-fidelity and non-intrusive method to detect air leakage does not exist. This technology is a transient infrared, non-destructive system that analyzes and quantifies locations and leaks in buildings simply and sustainably. 

Microwave Synthesis of Ionic Liquid Modified Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles
202305507 // Energy and Utilities // Materials
Within this invention, microwave assistance is employed to create the ionic liquid-modified magnetic nanoparticles. Through a controlled synthesis process, the nature of groups attached to the magnetic nanoparticles' surfaces such as amine, carbonyl and sulfonyl can be fine-tuned to enhance the interactions with CO2-reactive ionic liquid or deep eutectic solvents, provide better colloidal dispersion and stability while forming ferroliquids for CO2 capture and release via dielectric heating.

To learn more about these technologies, email partnerships@ornl.gov or call