Argonne National Lab biologists Philip Laible (pictured) and Deborah Hanson, R&D 100 award recipients, developed a system that uses photosynthetic bacteria (Rhodobacter) to create much larger amounts of membrane protein than was ever before available, driving down production costs and making studies of membrane proteins easier both in terms of scalability and purification. | Photo by Wes Agresta, Argonne National Laboratory.

From high efficiency solar cells to nanoscale manufacturing, Energy Department researchers continue to demonstrate the immense promise of the National Labs -- taking home 36 out of 100 awards at this year's R&D 100, the "Oscars of Innovation."

The R&D 100 awards, presented by R&D Magazine, are given annually in recognition of exceptional new products or processes that were developed and introduced into the marketplace during the previous year. To be eligible for an award, the technology or process has to be in working and marketable condition -- no proof of concept prototypes are allowed -- and had to be first available for purchase or licensing during 2012.

Tech transfer is the process by which lab technologies and innovations make their way to market. By licensing patents or using Energy Department facilities, private companies and academia are able to take advantage of federal investments into basic science research, while lab researchers are able to ensure that their discoveries have a life beyond the lab.

Since 1962, when the annual competition began, Energy Department national laboratories have received over 800 R&D 100 awards. The awards are selected by an independent panel of judges based on the technical significance, uniqueness and usefulness of projects and technologies from across industry, government and academia.

Over the next week, we'll be highlighting some of the 2013 recipients of the R&D 100 awards -- from energy efficient technologies developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to innovative national security technologies developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Not only are the National Labs and their awardees advancing scientific innovation, they are also increasing US economic competitiveness and continuing a tradition of serving as test beds for the development and deployment of new technologies.

For more information on the specific awardees, view the full breakdown.