Technology Transfer at LBL

LBL scientists join with industry to bring advanced scientific techniques to the marketplace

1993 LBL Highlights

Tendon tissue from 16-day-old fertilized eggs (left) contains many more cells than tissue from a 4-month-old chick, where cells are scattered between tough collagen fibers (right).

In a rapidly expanding international marketplace, emerging technology drives the world's economy. The challenge to commercialize new technology will play out in fields such as advanced materials, biotechnology, and electronics, with the winner reaping worldwide economic rewards. Therefore, the value of technology transfer between national laboratories and the industrial community is more important in maintaining America's competitive edge than ever before.

At Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, we are working with U.S. industry to meet this challenge. LBL will continue to emphasize research excellence while actively seeking and establishing working partnerships with industry across the U.S. Our commitment to research innovation is the foundation for new high-potential technology applications.

Reflecting its multidisciplinary research efforts, LBL has established working partnerships with a wide range of companies in industries as diverse as bioscience, computers, advanced materials, automotive, and energy.

LBL And Seagate To Develop Computer Disk Coatings

Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and Seagate Magnetics, a firm in Fremont, California, that manufactures computer disk drives, signed a half-million dollar Cooperative Research Development Agreement (CRADA) to jointly develop a new process for making carbon coatings that protect hard disks.

Under the terms of this agreement, $285,000 will be provided over the next three years through LBL by the U.S. Department of Energy, and $235,000 in research costs will be shared by DOE and Seagate. The goal is to develop new types of amorphous carbon coatings that can be applied during the production of a hard disk's thin magnetic layer. Considered a key requirement for increasing the storage capacity and reliability of hard drives, these coatings protect a magnetic layer from wear and tear that occurs during the start-up and operation of a computer.

Critical to achieving the goal of the LBL-Seagate CRADA will be the ability to characterize the carbon coatings produced at the atomic level. Such characterizations reveal much about the relationship between atomic structure and properties in a material and can lead to ways of optimizing manufacturing processes to improve the material's performance.

Scientists at LBL, led by Gerd Rosenblatt and Joel Ager of the Center for Advanced Materials, have developed a unique Raman spectroscopy technique whereby properties associated with changes in the position of atoms with respect to one another across the surface of a material can be determined thousands of times faster than ever before. This technique along with other research findings will be passed on to experts at Seagate, who will apply it to their work. LBL and Seagate scientists and engineers will also collaborate on the design of new experiments that will further increase the value of Raman spectroscopy in the field of computer disk drive manufacturing.

LBL and Amgen CRADA to Focus on Growth of Tendon Cells

Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory signed a (CRADA) with Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks, California. The focus of the CRADA is a cell density signal (CDS-1), which was discovered at LBL's Cell and Molecular Biology Division. According to LBL scientist Richard Schwarz, a CDS-1 could be part of a chemical switch that promotes growth of tendon cells and expression of collagen in tendon cells. Collagen is the basic building block of connective tissues.

Under terms of the CRADA, the U.S. Department of Energy will support LBL with 25% of the total projected development cost and Amgen will fund the remaining 75%. Total projected development costs are estimated at $1.8 million over the next three years. Forty percent of the total projected costs will be in direct support of the research program at LBL. Dr. Schwarz is collaborating with Amgen scientists in characterizing the nature of CDS-1.

Amgen Inc. is a California based global pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, and markets human pharmaceuticals based on advanced cellular and molecular biology.

LBL Promotes Partnerships

LBL's Technology Transfer Department aggressively promotes the laboratory's licensing and collaborative research opportunities. These may lead to an active alliance that delivers innovative solutions to create new technologies, products, and systems of value to society.

In addition to the Amgen and Seagate CRADAs, cooperative research agreements valued at approximately $32 million, have been signed with Conductus, IBM, Glycomed, Motorola, Rouge Steel, the American Textile Manufacturers (AMTEX), Dow, EPRI, the U.S. American Battery Consortium (USABC), the California Institute for Energy Efficiency (CIEE), and Orion A.C.T. Several other promising CRADAs are being negotiated.

Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and Seagate Magnetics of Fremont, California, a major manufacturer of computer disk drives, signed a CRADA to develop superior disk drives. Shown here is a depiction of a crack in a new ceramic material. The image was created by LBL-designed software called ChemMap. LBL researchers are assessing ChemMap's use as a nondestructive characterization tool for the evaluation of thin-film disk media.