Each year, the Laboratory recognizes a paper accepted for publication in a major journal and an invention awarded a patent or technology disclosure. The papers are chosen for their technical depth and original thinking, and the inventions are selected for their ingenuity and impact on a real-world problem.

2020 Best Paper Award Recipient

Operation of an Optical Atomic Clock with a Brillouin Laser Subsystem,” written by  William Loh, Jules Stuart, David Reens, Colin Bruzewicz, Danielle Braje, John Chiaverini, Paul Juodawlkis, Jeremy Sage, and Robert McConnell, and published in Nature, Volume 588, December 2020.

This paper was chosen on the basis of its well-written, lucid description of the use of ultrastable lasers and chip-scale trapped ion systems to enable a major advance in the field of portable optical clocks with performance in precision and accurate timing comparable to that of current state-of-the-art clocks.

Previous Best Paper Award Recipients

2019

Discovering the Smallest Observed Near-Earth Objects with the Space Surveillance Telescope, Dr. Arthur Lue, Jessica D. Ruprecht, Jacob D. Varey, Dr. Herbert E. M. Viggh, and Dr. Mark G. Czerwinski, published in Icarus, Volume 325, June 2019. 

2018

Creating Synthetic Radar Imagery Using Convolutional Neural Networks, by Dr. Mark S. Veillette, Eric P. Hassey, Christopher J. Mattioli, Dr. Haig Iskenderian, and Patrick M. Lamey, published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, vol. 35, no. 12, December 2018. 

2017

Large-Format Geiger-Mode Avalanche Photodiode Arrays and Readout Circuits, by Dr. Brian F. Aull, Dr. Erik K. Duerr, Jonathan P. Frechette, K. Alexander McIntosh, Dr. Daniel R. Schuette, and Richard D. Younger, published in the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, March/April 2018.

2016

Microhydraulic Electrowetting Actuators by Dr. Jakub T. Kedzierski, Kevin Meng, Prof. Todd A. Thorsen, Dr. Rafmag Cabrera, and Dr. Shaun R. Berry, published in Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, vol. 25, no. 2, April 2016.

2015

Broadband Magnetometry and Temperature Sensing with a Light-Trapping Diamond Waveguide, by Hannah A. Clevenson, Matthew E. Trusheim, Carson A. Teale, Dr. Danielle A. Braje, Dr. Tim Schröder, and Prof. Dirk R. Englund, published in Nature Physics Letters, vol. 11, 6 April 2015.

Multi-Aperture Digital Coherent Combining for Next-Generation Optical Communication Receivers, by Dr. Timothy M. Yarnall, Dr. David J. Geisler, Mark L. Stevens, Dr. Curt M. Schieler, Dr. Bryan S. Robinson, and Dr. Scott A. Hamilton, published in Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Space Optical Systems, 2015.

2014

A Neural Network Retrieval Technique for High-Resolution Profiling of Cloudy Atmospheres, by Dr. William J. Blackwell and Dr. Adam B. Milstein, published in the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, vol. 7, no. 4, 2014.

2013

Reciprocity-Enhanced Optical Communication Through Atmospheric Turbulence — Part I: Reciprocity Proofs and Far-Field Power Transfer Optimization and Part II: Communication Architectures and Performance, by Dr. Andrew L. Puryear, Prof. Jeffrey H. Shapiro (MIT), and Dr. Ronald R. Parenti, published in December 2012 and August 2013 in the IEEE/OSA Journal of Optical Communications and Networking.

2012

Enhancing Large Urban Photo Collections with 3D Ladar and GIS Data, by Dr. Peter L. Cho and Prof. Noah Snavely (Cornell University), published in the International Journal of Remote Sensing Applications, vol. 3, no. 1, 2013.

2011

Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Therapeutics, by Dr. Todd H. Rider, Christina E. Zook, Tara L. Boettcher, Scott T. Wick, Jennifer S. Pancoast, and Benjamin D. Zusman, published in PLoS ONE, July 2011.

2010

High-Pitch Formant Estimation by Exploiting Temporal Change of Pitch, by Dr. Thomas F. Quatieri and Tianyu T. Wang, published in IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, vol. 18, no. 1, 2010.

2009

Airspace Encounter Models for Estimating Collision Risk, by Dr. Mykel J. Kochenderfer, Matthew W. M. Edwards, Leo P. Espindle, Dr. James K. Kuchar, and J. Daniel Griffith, published in the AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, vol. 33, no. 2, 2010.


2020 Best Invention Award Recipients

Electrospray Device and Fabrication Methods, invented by Melissa Smith, Donna-Ruth Yost, Noah Siegel, Daniel Freeman, and Paulo Lozano

This invention comprises novel manufacturing techniques and a prototype for an electrospray device capable of generating charged particles (tiny droplets or ions) that are electrostatically extracted from an electrically conductive liquid. This advancement is specifically being applied to electric propulsion for small satellites. The invention increases the thruster density for ion electrospray devices by 10 to 100 times over current manufacturing methods and promises to revolutionize propulsive capabilities and maneuverability of small satellites. 

Previous Best Invention Award Recipients

2019

Noncontact Laser Ultrasound for Medical Imaging and Elastography, invented by Robert W. Haupt and Dr. Charles M. Wynn.

Timely Randomization Applied to Commodity Executables at Runtime, invented by Dr. Hamed Okhravi.

2018

Advanced DNA Forensics System, invented by Dr. Darrell O. Ricke, Tara L. Boettcher, Philip D. Fremont-Smith, Adam M. Michaleas, Dr. Martha S. Petrovick, Dr. Eric D. Schwoebel, and James G. Watkins.

2017

Field-Programmable Imaging Array, invented by Dr. Peter J. Grossmann, Jonathan P. Frechette, Brian M. Tyrrell, Matthew S. Stamplis, and Kate E. Thurmer.

Toroidal Propeller, invented by Dr. Thomas Sebastian and Christopher Strem.

2016

Photonic Integrated Resonant Accelerometer, invented by Dr. Suraj Bramhavar and Dr. Paul W. Juodawlkis.

Substrate Containing Latent Vaporization Reagents, invented by Dr. Jude A. Kelley, Dr. Richard P. Kingsborough, Alla Ostrinskaya, and Dr. Roderick R. Kunz.

2015

Rapid and Precise Optically Multiplexed Imaging, invented by Dr. Yaron Rachlin, Dr. Tina Shih, Dr. R. Hamilton Shepard, and Vinay N. Shah.

2014

Offshore Precipitation Capability, invented by Dr. Mark S. Veillette, Dr. Haig Iskenderian, Dr. Marilyn M. Wolfson, Christopher J. Mattioli, Earle R. Williams, Eric P. Hassey, and Patrick M. Lamey.

2013

Digital Readout Method and Apparatus (better known as the Digital-Pixel Focal Plane Array), invented by Dr. Michael W. Kelly, Dr. Daniel L. Mooney, Curtis B. Colonero, Dr. Robert Berger, and Lawrence M. Candell.

2012

SHAMROCK: Self-Contained High-Assurance MicRO Crypto and Key-Management Processor, invented by Dr. Roger I. Khazan, Dr. Joshua I. Kramer, Daniil M. Utin, Dr. M. Michael Vai, and Dr. David J. Whelihan.

2011

External-Cavity One-Dimensional Multi-wavelength Beam Combining of Two-Dimensional Laser Elements, invented by Dr. Bien Chann, Dr. Tso Yee Fan, and Dr. Antonio Sanchez-Rubio.

2010

Liquid Crystal Thermal Imagers, invented by Dr. Robert K. Reich and Harry R. Clark Jr.

2009

Multi-element Optical Detectors with Sub-wavelength Gaps, invented by Dr. Eric A. Dauler and Dr. Andrew J. Kerman of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and Prof. Karl K. Berggren, Dr. Joel Yang, and Dr. Vikas Anant of MIT.