2016 Innovation Forum Results

First Place: Jen-Tang Lu, Electrical Engineering - Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging

We propose an enhanced ultrasound imaging technique that uses both the fundamental and advanced images. Instead of disregarding the fundamental signal, as in typical biomedical imaging, we use it in conjunction with advanced imaging techniques, such tissue harmonic imaging, contrast-enhanced ultrasound, and spatial compounding. By leveraging the mutual information between the signals, we create a composite image with higher resolution, better contrast, lower noise, fewer artifacts, and more tissue-specific response than is possible with each image individually. We demonstrate the method both for human subjects and for archival images. The innovation is compatible with all existing ultrasound devices, and can improve all types of ultrasound imaging in real time.

Second Place: Jake Herb, Chemistry - Novel Low-Cost Green Electrolytes for Magnesium-ion Batteries

The global market for advanced energy storage devices has increased at unprecedented rates due to higher demand for electric vehicles and the proliferation of intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind farms. However, growth in this sector has been hindered by the lack of abundant, low cost, long cycle life, and high energy density batteries. Li-ion batteries, though they possess high energy density, are costly and are reliant on limited lithium deposits that are confined to geographically isolated areas of the world. Li-ion systems have also been associated with safety hazards such as explosions as a result of microscopic defects in the battery. The absence of appropriate, safe, and scalable energy storage systems has resulted in a significant opportunity for new players with alternative technologies. Mg-ion batteries have emerged as a leading contender to Li-ion due to lower costs and greater availability of raw materials, safer charging and discharging, and the added benefit of 10-fold increase in energy per unit volume as compared to common lithium systems. However, one of the main hurdles to the widespread commercial adoption of this battery chemistry is a lack of a suitable electrolyte that is capable of reversibly electroplating Mg metal from the solution. Our team has created a unique, cost-effective, patent pending family of electrolytes through an environmentally friendly process with great potential for scalable commercialization.

Third Place: Gilad Arawtz, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - Instrumems. Inc.

Sensing technologies are becoming more available and are being used almost everywhere as an integral part of the Internet of Things from mobile phones to aerospace applications. In the last two decades, data collection and storage have improved significantly, driving sensing technologies to high resolution/high frequency measurements.

The company is based on a new sensing platform “nano-wire” which allows measurement of temperature, velocity and humidity in a faster, cheaper and with a smaller footprint compared with conventional measuring techniques. A US utility patent application has been filed, which resulted in a significant market interest mainly from the natural gas industries and led the publicly traded VC company, “IP Group” to pursue seed investment in the technology.

Third Place: Charlie Gentile, PPPL - On Demand Production of Medical Isotope Tc-99m without Uranium

Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) is a radioactive tracer isotope, frequently used in the medical field for diagnostic imaging. We have developed a non-uranium based process to produce this isotope, in situ and on demand. As a result of our process we have eliminated transportation issues associated with complicated supply chains, thus providing much wider distribution of the material. It is our intent to make this important medical isotope readily available to communities throughout the developing third world.