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07/23/2007

BUD —A 2007 R & D 100 Winner for ESD

R&D 100 submission report. Cover by Walter Denn.

Rdcover_2007_uxo For the second year in a row, ESD has produced a technology chosen by R&D Magazine as one of the top 100 new technologies of the previous year. This year’s winner from ESD is the Berkeley Unexploded Ordnance Discriminator, or BUD. BUD's development was the product of effective Berkeley Lab collaboration, involving the expertise and hard work of ESD scientists Alex Becker, Erika Gasperikova, Frank Morrison, and J. Torquil Smith; and the Engineering Division's Jean-Francois Beche, Larry Doolittle, Jim Greer, Robin Lafever, Alessandro Ratti, and Harold Yaver. BUD is a multisensor electromagnetic system that can immediately differentiate buried unexploded ordnance (UXO) from harmless metal, as well as determine the location, size, and shape of such potential explosives. This technology brings unprecedented speed and accuracy to the task, greatly reducing the time and cost of remediation, and providing a valuable humanitarian service throughout the world. BUD works by simultaneously obtaining an object’s electromagnetic properties in three dimensions in response to a generated current. (Other systems need to take multiple measurements and cannot determine an object’s shape in real time.) Because of its speed and accuracy in discriminating UXO, BUD promises to save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars in the national cleanup of thousands of sites that contain buried explosives, such as bombs and artillery shells. Such sites, on recently closed military bases, cannot be used for other purposes until they are remediated. Moreover, BUD is also the most efficient way to characterize buried UXO remaining from past and current wars throughout the world, many of which are hidden in populated areas and pose an immediate risk to people. These areas include Northern Europe, the Pacific Rim, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. BUD was one of three Berkeley Lab R&D 100 Award winners for 2007. These technologies were nominated by Berkeley Lab's Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management Department. All winners of the 2007 award will receive a plaque at R&D Magazine's formal awards banquet in Chicago on October 18, 2007.