Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)


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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
MS 90-1070
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been a leader in science and engineering research for more than 70 years. Located on a 200-acre site in the hills above the University of California's Berkeley campus, adjacent to the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab holds the distinction of being the oldest of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Laboratories. The Lab is managed by the University of California, operating with an annual budget of more than $500 million (FY2004) and a staff of about 3,800 employees, including more than 500 students. Berkeley Lab conducts unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines with key efforts in fundamental studies of the universe; quantitative biology; nanoscience; new energy systems and environmental solutions; and the use of integrated computing as a tool for discovery. It is organized into 17 scientific divisions and hosts four DOE national user facilities.


LBL's role is to serve the nation and its scientific, educational, and business communities through research and development in the energy, life and general sciences, and to develop productive relationships between LBL research programs and industry.

Technology Disciplines

Displaying 1 - 10 of 640
5-Carbon Alcohols for Drop-in Gasoline Replacement EIB-2392, EIB-3112
A Cell Injection System Using Carbon Nanotubes IB-2323, IB-2333
A Diagnostic Test to Personalize Therapy Using Platinum-based Anticancer Drugs JIB-2441
A Long Non-Coding RNA Expressed in Aggressive Cancer 2014-109
A Novel 12-Gene Prognostic Signature for Breast Cancer 2016-181
A Novel CETP Inhibitor for Cholesterol Control IB-3143
A Universal Approach to Integrate and Express Pathways in a Broad Range of Bacteria 2016-024
Acceleration of Carbon Dioxide Mineralization for Geological Carbon Sequestration IB-2889
Accurate Identification, Imaging and Monitoring of Fluid-Saturated Underground Reservoirs IB-1663
Acid Hydrolysis of Biomass and Increased Sugar Recovery by Solvent Extraction EJIB-3030


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88-inch Cyclotron
AC Test Chambers
Advanced Biofuels Processing Development Unit
Advanced Light Source (ALS)
Advanced  Façade Testbed
Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research (ARM)
Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) facility
Berkeley Low Background Counting Facility
Berkeley Synchrotron Infrared Structural Biology Program (BSISB)
Center for X-ray Optics (CXRO)



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Widespread international use of electronic devices – from tablets and smartphones to laptops and high definition (HD) televisions – yields an increased demand for energy to power them. More energy efficient displays, with uncompromised color accuracy and brightness, are needed.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discovered that spherical nanocrystals only 50 atoms wide made from a cadmium selenide core inside a cadmium sulfide shell could be made to emit multiple colors of light, depending on the nanocrystals’ size. With further research, LBNL scientists learned to manipulate these nanocrystals, called quantum dots, to emit extremely pure color at nearly 100% photo conversion efficiency.

LBNL’s quantum dot technology portfolio, a breakthrough in nanoscience, was licensed by startup Nanosys, Inc. for use in electronic displays. Nanosys then partnered with LG Innotek and 3M to develop Quantum Dot Enhancement Film™ (QDEF), introduced in 2011.

QDEF, an engineered sheet containing quantum dots, provides a 50% wider color spectrum for brighter, more vivid colors in electronic displays at a comparable price and 20% lower power consumption levels than a standard liquid crystal display (LCD). QDEF is the source of the high color accuracy display in the Kindle Fire HDX7, the Asus NX500 Notebook PC, and Vizio’s P-Series Quantum 4k HDR Smart TV.

The Nanosys plant in Milpitas, California is capable of producing enough quantum dots to build six million big-screen TVs annually. In 2014, Nanosys named LMS Co., Ltd. as the second major supplier of optical films based on QDEF. LMS will use the technology for its new Quantum Light Accumulation Sheet (QLAS) to improve brightness and vibrancy for LCDs.

To view the original LBNL success story, click here

Quantum dot technology developed by nanoscientists at LBNL and licensed by Nanosys, Inc. yields energy efficient yet bright, vibrant displays in the growing field of smartphones, HDTVs, laptops and tablet computers. Images courtesy of Nanosys, Inc.

An estimated eighty percent of people with coronary artery disease have cholesterol levels that fall within normal ranges. This suggests that standard cholesterol tests established over fifty years ago do not adequately identify a significant number of people at risk for heart attacks -- people who, if alerted, could take lifestyle and treatment steps to reduce their risk.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists discovered a link between heart disease and the relative distribution of subclasses of cholesterol (HDL, LDL, IDL, and VLDL). They invented a gradient gel electrophoresis test to measure various cholesterol subclasses as well as ion mobility analysis to measure the size distribution and count of individual particles. This discovery enabled doctors to distinguish higher risk patients based on lipoprotein size distribution spectra.

A startup, Berkeley HeartLab, was founded on the LBNL technology. Berkeley HeartLab merged with Celera Corporation, which was acquired by Quest Diagnostics in 2011. Starting in 2009, Quest Diagnostics advanced widespread adoption of a specialized cholesterol test, called Cardio IQ – Lipid Subfractionation by Ion Mobility, based on the original LBNL invention.

The public is gaining awareness of the effects of DNA damage on human health and the ability to repair some DNA damage through lifestyle and nutrition choices. Yet, there is no at-home blood test for assessing DNA damage and monitoring it over time. The only options for DNA damage testing are at clinical sites, and current assessment tools provide less precise information because they do not take the patient’s age into account when interpreting data.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists developed an athome blood collection kit that requires only a few drops of blood and immediately fixes the biological activity of blood cells to enable non-toxic sample shipment or storage without changes in specific DNA markers. Samples are then assessed in an automated, highthroughput, reproducible process yielding results taking each patient’s age, health status, and radiation exposure history into account. In two trials conducted in 2013, researchers correlated DNA damage with subjects’ age, indicating the importance of including age in data assessment.

In 2013, startup Exogen Biotechnology recognized the potential for this technology to benefit the public and entered into an agreement with LBNL through the Startup America program. Exogen has raised over $100,000 in an online crowdfunding campaign that offered kits to citizen scientists for their own DNA damage monitoring. Over 215 kits will be shipped to funders in late 2014.

Partners Advancing Semiconductor Technology

To stay competitive, companies in the multi-billion dollar semiconductor industry must conduct pre-competitive research years in advance to learn about the materials, process and chemistry required to continue shrinking circuit elements in computer chips.

A collaboration between SEMATECH, a consortium of semiconductor companies and chip makers, and the Center for X-ray Optics (CXRO) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has yielded solutions to critical questions facing the semiconductor industry such as developing extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) techniques to shrink circuit elements to the nanometer scale. Recently, additional tools have been introduced at LBNL that enable researchers from around the world to make new discoveries in resists, processing and masks. The SHARP microscope (SEMATECH High-NA Actinic Reticle review Project), designed and built by CXRO staff and brought online in 2013, will advance miniaturization and complexity in chip making. A new SEMATECH Berkeley Microfield Exposure Tool (MET) will be available in 2015 at LBNL’s Advanced Light Source. Replacing the earlier MET, this new tool will enable semiconductor industry researchers to develop the next generation of photoresist materials.

Researchers at medical, biotechnical, and bioenergy companies use decades-old, time consuming approaches to clone DNA. In 2010, constructing a combinatorial protein library with 243 constructs cost an estimated $125,000 and took 11 months with traditional cloning. Direct DNA synthesis, while providing results in about 2 months, cost $538,000.

Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a multi-institutional research center led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, initially developed j5 software to automate the construction of biofuels pathways from DNA building blocks. Researchers then created a modular technology applicable to a wide range of biotechnical applications that improved the accuracy, scalability and cost effectiveness of DNA synthesis. With j5, a 243-construct combinatorial protein library can be built for $30,000 in less than 2 months allowing companies to achieve their goals more rapidly, whether designing new medications, understanding the nature of disease, or developing new microorganisms for bioenergy solutions.

The j5 software was copyrighted and patent application was filed to protect the IP. The j5 was made available, at no cost, to government, nonprofit and academic research centers and today over 1,300 researchers working in 378 non-commercial institutions use the software. Recognizing the business potential for a technology that saves significant time and resources in the multibillion-dollar DNA synthesis market, startup TeselaGen licensed j5 and related software in 2011.TeselaGen has signed a multi-year deal with chemical industry leader Genomatica to speed development of organisms used in making chemicals from renewable feedstocks. The startup also teamed with Redbiotec to build a vaccine library that could lead to new or more effective vaccines against shingles, chickenpox and related illnesses.



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