What do halogen lamps, high-definition television, QR codes, flexible solar cells, graphene, and Anton Paar’s Monowave 50 benchtop synthesis reactor have in common? All these inventions have been recognized with the R&D 100 Award as the most technologically significant new products launched in that year.
The “R&D 100 Awards”
Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards presented by the renowned “R&D Magazine” have been recognizing outstanding companies, federally funded research institutions, as well as academic and government labs. One aspect which makes these awards so unique is that there is no first-place winner but the top 100 innovations of the year are recognized. Just like winning an Oscar, winning an R&D 100 Award places you into an elite group of innovators that all share the same winner’s title. Their 54 years of honoring elite technological innovation, longstanding history, and high-quality entries have earned them the title “Oscars of Invention”. Hundreds of innovators from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research take part in this steep competition with innovations including sophisticated testing equipment, high-energy physics, innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, and consumer items. While some previous winners like the flashcube (1965) or the fax machine (1975) are no longer on the market, many others like rewritable DVDs (1998), gigabit routers (2000), or 3D printing (2015) have become a part of everyday life.
The award ceremony
For the second year in a row, the awards were presented at the Annual R&D Technology Conference taking place from November 2 to November 4, 2016. This time, the event took place in Maryland (USA). Over the three days, the program included multiple sessions on cutting-edge developments in different fields of research and technology and on how to initiate, nurture, and promote innovation. The conference featured talks from experts from top national companies and national laboratories, workshops and networking sessions. Since the winners were not previously announced, you can imagine the level of anticipation in the public throughout the conference, especially amongst the nominees. The Awards banquet, a black-tie event, was buzzing with excitement. After the dinner, the lights went off, the “Oscars of Invention” were presented, and Anton Paar’s Monowave 50 synthesis reactor was in the spotlight for being one of the top 100 inventions of 2016 in the category “Laboratory Equipment”. Other winning entries included 1-day contact lenses optimized for people’s age and everyday light effects (Johnson&Johnson), a binary gas analyzer (Stanford Research Systems), and epoxy- and BPA-free packaging materials (Dow Coating Materials).
A revolution for education
Monowave 50 has been developed to give students, especially those who come into contact with synthetic chemistry for the first time, access to modern lab instrumentation and the benefits of dedicated synthesis reactors. The result is a small-scale, economically priced, and ultra-compact benchtop synthesis reactor with intuitive and self-explanatory programming. With its plug-and-play installation it takes only five minutes to install the instrument and 40 seconds to start the reaction, while its conventional heating design saves valuable bench space by reducing its footprint to only 25x40x20 cm. This means the reactor can be used anywhere – due to its closed-vessel design and dedicated exhaust, there is no need for a fume hood and it can be placed where lab space is limited.
In thousands of educational laboratories around the world, chemistry students performing synthesis still work with conventional lab equipment which has been around for centuries, such as oil baths, sand baths, or reflux condensers that pose unnecessary safety threats. In addition, these devices offer almost no temperature and pressure monitoring possibilities. Temperature and pressure are the two most important parameters to drive a synthetic reaction in the right direction and to optimize synthetic procedures to maximize the reaction yield. Suitable instruments have often been too expensive for educational laboratories. To fill this gap, Monowave 50 combines the benefits of modern synthesis instrumentation for newcomers with an affordable price. High safety standards and real-time process parameter control ensure safe handling. The employed closed-vessel system extends the range of synthetic reactions which can be realized in educational laboratories in a reasonable time frame. Because higher temperatures and pressures can be reached, shorter reaction times and other beneficial effects such as a reduction of chemical waste are achieved. The user-friendly data transfer enables simple evaluation and integration into students’ lab books.
The R&D 100 winner Monowave 50 represents the first time that this many modern instrument features are accessible for students in an easy-to-use small-scale benchtop reactor. Altogether, Monowave 50 simplifies synthesis and will revolutionize the way chemistry is taught to the next generation. Anton Paar is very happy and proud that only six months after entering the market with Monowave 50 this new concept has been recognized with an “Oscar of Invention”.
For more information on the R&D 100 Conference click here.
Learn more about the R&D 100 winner Monowave 50, including technical specifications, here.