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Research Highlights

EETD Garners DOE Awards

World's Smallest Laser

One of the smallest lasers ever made—far too small to be seen even with the aid of the most powerful optical microscope—has been successfully tested by a team of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, including members of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division and the University of California at Berkeley. This device, which emits flashes of ultraviolet light, is called a "nanowire nanolaser" and it measures just under 100 nanometers in diameter, or about one ten-millionth of an inch.

The nanowire nanolasers are pure crystals of zinc oxide that grow vertically in aligned arrays like the bristles on a brush. These crystal wire "bristles"" range from two to 10 microns in length, depending upon the duration of the growth process. By comparison, the tiniest solid-state lasers in use today are fashioned from thin films of either gallium arsenide or gallium nitride and generally run several microns thick, or about one hundred thousandths of an inch. A typical human hair is about 100 microns thick.

Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and a professor with UC Berkeley's Chemistry Department, was the lead scientist on this project. Collaborating with Yang from Berkeley Lab were Henning Feick and Eicke Weber, also with the Materials Sciences Division, and Samuel Mao and Rick Russo of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division. Joining them were Michael Huang, Haoquan Yan, Yiying Wu, and Hannes Kind, of the UC Berkeley Chemistry Department. A paper reporting this work appeared in the June 8, 2001, issue of the journal Science.

This research was supported by funds from the Chemical Sciences Division and the Materials Science Division of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the U.S. Department of Energy; UC Berkeley, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the 3M Corporation, and the National Science Foundation.

For more information, see the following websites:Berkeley Lab's Science Beat and PNL's Energy Science News


Indoor Air 2002

Staff members of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division's Indoor Environment Department are helping organize Indoor Air 2002. This meeting is the largest multidisciplinary international conference series in the field of indoor air sciences. Past conferences have typically attracted about 1000 delegates plus exhibitors and accompanying persons. The Organizing Committee anticipates the largest gathering in its 24-year history—up to 900 papers and 1500 participants. Indoor Environment Department Head William Fisk and senior scientists Richard Sextro and William Nazaroff (also of the University of California, Berkeley) are members of the organizing committee. Hal Levin, a scientist in IED, is serving as the Conference President.

For more information, visit the Indoor Air 2002 web site.


EETD Hosts ACEEE Attendees

In conjunction with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) annual meeting, researchers from the Division presented some results of their work at a reception held at LBNL. In the photos, (left) Alan Meier discusses standby electricity losses and (bottom right) Charlie Williams and Katie Coughlin demonstrate real-time electricity and supply conditions in California.

Alan Meier discusses standby electricity losses.
Charlie Williams and Katie Coughlin demonstrate real-time electricity and supply conditions in California.

Berkeley Lamp Saves Berkeley Money

The energy-efficient Berkeley Lamp developed by scientists at EETD is now saving the City of Berkeley some good money, according to measurements made by EETD researchers and the city's Energy Office.

The announcement was made at an October 30, 2001, ceremony marking the donation of Berkeley Lamps to the city. The event was attended by Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, City Manager Weldon Rucker, City Energy Officer Neal De Snoo, the Lab's Acting Public Affairs Director David McGraw, as well as the lamp's developers—Michael Siminovitch and Erik Page of EETD.

Mayor Dean called the lamp "quite impressive," and said that "it is enormously gratifying that [Berkeley Lab], a great public resource, is working with the city" to help to reduce its energy bill. City Manager Rucker, acting as master of ceremonies at the event, praised the Lab's cooperation with the City.

McGraw thanked the mayor and the city manager "for giving us this opportunity to inaugurate a new era in our relationship with the City of Berkeley."

The Berkeley Lamp combines energy efficiency with high-quality lighting, using two fully dimmable compact fluorescent lights, specially designed optics, and separate light switches to provide room illumination through both "uplight" and "downlight" (table) illumination.

The ceremony was held in the lobby of the building housing the city's Engineering Office, across the street from the Berkeley Civic Center. A large, open office area housing city engineers has been "re-lamped" by the lighting researchers. The 2,200-square-foot space has very little natural light. Thirteen Berkeley Lamps and a pair of compact fluorescent torchieres (also developed by the Berkeley Lab group) have replaced the room's overhead lighting.

Erik Page, Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, Michael Siminovitch, and David McGraw at the Berkeley Lamp ceremony.

(left to right) Erik Page, Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, Michael Siminovitch, and David McGraw at the Berkeley Lamp ceremony.

"The lamps have reduced peak demand by 50 percent, and kilowatt-hour consumption by nearly 60 percent, saving $915 per year in this room," said De Snoo during a tour of the retrofitted facility. Prior to the retrofit, the space used about 30 kwh/day of energy and 2500 watts of power. "After the retrofit, the space uses a little more than 10 kwh/day for lighting, and we have cut peak power use in half. We have also reduced carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels from six tons of carbon dioxide per year to 2.5 tons," he said.

De Snoo added that the city will make these lamps available to Berkeley residents through its energy-efficient purchasing program, in addition to installing more of them in city offices. "By early next year, you'll be able to buy these at the Berkeley Farmer's Market," he said.


Berkeley Lab Scientist Profiled in Book on American Inventors

Inventing Modern America: From the Microwave to the Mouse, a new MIT Press book highlighting the contributions of 35 major American inventors, includes a chapter on Environmental Energy Technologies Division scientist and inventor Ashok Gadgil.

Portrait of Ashok Gadgil

Gadgil is the inventor of UV Waterworks, a device that disinfects drinking water inexpensively and energy-efficiently using ultraviolet light. He developed the idea for this device after an outbreak of cholera in 1992 in India killed 10,000 people. The technology has won a Discover magazine for technological innovation award and Popular Science's "Best of What's New" award.

Inventing Modern America: From the Microwave to the Mouse profiles inventors who exemplify the rich technological creativity of the US over the past century. The book was developed by the Lemelson-MIT Program for Invention and Innovation, whose mission is to inspire a new generation of American scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

Others profiled in the book include George Washington Carver, Henry Ford, Steve Wozniak, and Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the mouse.

For more information visit the Inventing Modern America web site or the UV Waterworks web site.

Another honor was recently bestowed on Ashok Gadgil when the American Physical Society elected him to Fellowship. The Society elects only one half of one percent of the total APS membership to Fellowship in the Society each year. Gadgil was elected for his outstanding work modeling air and pollutant transport inside buildings, analyzing energy issues in developing countries, and developing UV Waterworks.


Reade Receives DOE OPT Young Investigator Award

Ron Reade of EETD's Advanced Energy Technologies Department received the DOE Office of Power Technologies (OPT) Young Investigator Award.

Portrait of Ron Reade

Ron was one of five National Lab researchers who received these first-ever awards. He was nominated by LBNL Director Charles Shank for the work that he—along with fellow researchers Rick Russo and Paul Berdahl—is doing for OPT on developing a new method for ion beam texturing (ITEX) of buffer layers on flexible nonmagnetic substrates. A high temperature superconductor can then be deposited on the buffer layer. The ultimate goal is mass production of a cost-effective thin film superconducting wire for electricity transmission. More information about OPT and superconductivity is available at the Office of Power Technologies website. Ron is a member of the Physical and Chemical Technologies Group in AETD.


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