Developments to Watch
BETTER BONDING THROUGH A UKRAINIAN MICROWAVE MAKER
Makers of advanced materials, Energy Dept. weapons labs, and former Soviet scientists all could get a boost from a new kind of gyrotron, a magnetic device for generating microwaves. The gyrotron was spotted at a Ukrainian institute by USP Holdings, an Ann Arbor (Mich.) company that searches for useful Russian and Ukrainian technology. Unlike gyrotrons built by U.S. companies, the Soviet one produces a focused, laserlike beam. USP executives think the beams could bond ceramics or diamonds onto metal surfaces. That's because they can heat just the "glue," not surrounding materials, which might be damaged by the high temperatures.
To get the gyrotron ready for commercialization, one of USP's joint ventures signed a research agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory, which brought the device up to Western safety standards. With that success in mind, staffers for Senator Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) are hammering out a plan to encourage the U.S. national laboratories to help commercialize technologies from the former Soviet Union.EDITED BY RUTH COXETER