Wednesday, March 25, 2015

For University of Maryland researchers, the last year has marked a series of new discoveries and innovations. UMD will honor nine nominees for the most promising new inventions at the Celebration of Innovation and Partnerships event on April 29, 2015. UMD’s Office of Technology Commercialization, part of the Division of Research, received a total of 187 disclosures in 2014. The nine nominees for Invention of the Year were selected based on their potential impact on science, society and the open market. Winners will be announced in three categories: life sciences, physical sciences and information sciences.

Nominations from the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences include:

A New Single-Photon Avalanche Diode System for LIDAR and Quantum Cryptography (Physical Sciences)

UMD researchers have developed a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) detection system that is so sensitive that it detects photons that arrive at times well before a readout gate is applied, thus increasing the system’s detection duty cycle. This invention by Alessandro Restelli, research scientist in the Joint Quantum Institute, represents a new mode of operation for SPADs, similar to charge-coupled devices (CCD), in which single-photon signals may be accumulated within the detector and read out some time later. This increases the duration of time during which the detector is sensitive to single-photon signals. This new mode of operation will expand the usefulness of SPADs in the areas of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and quantum cryptography. Read more here.

A Revolutionary, High Energy Density Nanopore Battery (Physical Sciences)

Gary Rubloff, professor of materials science and engineering and director of the Maryland NanoCenter, and Sang Bok Lee, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, invented a nanopore battery with high energy density and excellent capacity retention. The battery is made of nanotubular electrodes and an electrolyte, all confined in an anodic aluminum oxide nanopore. It is an all-in-one device and shows promise for higher energy availability for a given power density due to larger surface area and shorter transport time for the ions in the electrode material. It signifies the potential that nanostructure design has for high power electrochemical storage. Read more here.

A National System for Tracking Food Safety Inspections (Information Sciences)

With the food and beverage industry becoming increasingly competitive, the system developed by Ben Bederson, professor in the Department of Computer Science and associate provost of learning initiatives, is set to help commercial food establishments monitor the performance of their outlets located across multiple jurisdictions and also track the performance of their competitors. Bederson and his research team have developed a national database of food safety inspections, a system that retrieves and compiles food safety data available online on both federal and state websites. Read more here.

Media Relations Contact: Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845,

University of Maryland
College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
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About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 7,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $150 million.