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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 2004

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PROTECTIVE GEAR — High-tech for first responders . . .

First responders could minimize the risk to themselves and do their jobs more effectively if they were wearing a protective suit proposed by a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. As envisioned by Gary Steimer of the lab's National Security Directorate, the Advanced Integrated Responder Ensemble (AIRE) will be made of new materials, will be lightweight and incorporate sensors and a communications system. The suit will provide thermal protection, personal cooling and will detect and counter chemical and biological threats. "From boots to helmet, AIRE will provide first responders with technological advances that will dramatically increase their capabilities," Steimer said. Partners in the effort include the Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. [Contact: Ron Walli, 865-576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

CHEMISTRY — Self-organizing polymers . . .

By developing techniques to precisely control the growth and shape of polymers at the molecular level, researchers hope to make possible the design and synthesis of new materials with biomedical applications. The idea is to mimic the "bottoms-up" approach used in nature, which starts with single molecules of controlled size, shape and functionality, and assembles the molecules to form structures such as enzymes. Through a better understanding of these structures at the molecular level, Phil Britt of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Chemical Sciences Division and Jimmy Mays of the University of Tennessee hope they can impact chemical, material, biological and computational sciences. Ultimately, this research could lead to targeted drug delivery systems for treating diseases.
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
1-Apr-2004


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