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University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


UH Professor Wins R&D 100 Award with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and SuperPower

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Laura Tolley

Venkat Selvamanickam, M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Applied Research Hub of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH), was named as one of the recipients of the 2010 R&D 100 award, along with scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and SuperPower Inc.

The R&D 100 awards are sponsored by Research and Development Magazine to recognize the “100 most technologically significant new products of 2010,” and are awarded through a competitive selection process.

The award was given in recognition of the researchers’ development of “high-performance, high-Tc superconducting wires enabled via self-assembly of non-superconducting columnar defects.” TcSUH and SuperPower researchers working in Selvamanickam’s group at UH developed a metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) process to introduce nanocolumnar defect structures in superconductor films by a self-assembly technique and achieved more than a two-fold improvement in the performance of high temperature superconducting wires.

The process was successfully transitioned from TcSUH to manufacturing at SuperPower, enabling the company to offer a significantly improved wire for superconducting devices that are being developed for energy, medical, transportation, industrial and military applications.

The advanced superconducting wire was developed at TcSUH under a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy through SuperPower. SuperPower is the first industrial partner in the TcSUH Applied Research Hub that was created through a $3.5 M Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) awarded to UH by the State of Texas earlier this year. 

“This advanced superconductor wire development at UH and its expedited transition to production at SuperPower is a successful accomplishment of a key objective of the TcSUH Applied Research Hub,” Selvamanickam said. “SuperPower is in the process of establishing a ‘Specialty Products’ facility in the UH Energy Research Park as a part of the ETF program, which is expected to further accelerate commercial adoption of advanced superconductor wire technology developed at UH.”

The R&D 100 Award will be presented Nov. 11, 2010 at a ceremony in Orlando, Fla.



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