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Pines wins prestigious 2007 R&D 100 Award

Professor Alex Pines

Professor Alex Pines

July 12, 2007

Chemistry professor Alex Pines and colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have been awarded one of R&D Magazine's prestigious R&D 100 Awards for 2007. The awards recognize the 100 most significant proven technological advances of the year.

The researchers won the award for laser-detected MRI—a major breakthrough in the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) field that eliminates the need for a high-field magnet, making the technology accessible to new users and applications.

MRI is one of the most powerful, non-invasive imaging techniques—in which a patient is placed inside a huge magnet. But its limitations are significant. The equipment needs cryogenic cooling and other expensive support systems. And the sample needs to fit in the bore of the magnet, which limits the size of the samples that can be imaged.

This new technology could soon enable MRI to image a wide range of phenomena, from petroleum reservoirs and other samples to very small objects such as tissue samples and microfluidics. It was developed under the leadership of Alex Pines and scientists from the Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, Nuclear Science Division, and the Advanced Light Source. LBNL scientists include Dmitry Budker, Marcus Donaldson, Simon Rochester, Shoujun Xu, and Valeriy Yashchuk.

Two other of the of R&D Magazine's prestigious R&D 100 Awards for 2007 have gone to researchers at LBNL, one for the Berkeley unexploded ordinance detector, and another for the low swirl injector for fuel-flexible near-zero-emission gas turbines.

The awards bring the total of LBNL’s R&D 100 awards—also called the “Oscars of Invention”—to 44, plus two Editors’ Choice Awards over the years.

All winners of the 2007 award will receive a plaque at R&D Magazine's formal awards banquet in Chicago on October 18.

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Alex Pines
Department of Chemistry
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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