Research Project Awarded 2011 RandD 100 AwardResearch Project Awarded 2011 R and D 100 Award


The editors of R&D Magazine have announced the winners of the 49th Annual R&D 100 Awards, which salute the 100 most technologically-significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year. One of the chosen projects was developed by a team consisting of John Morrison, Ph.D., Montana Tech Electrical Engineering faculty member; Jon P. Christophersen, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Idaho National Laboratory (INL); Chester G. Motloch, Ph.D., retired INL employee and President of Motloch Consulting, Inc.; and William Morrison, Systems Engineer, Qualtech Systems Inc.

The project, an Impedance Measurement Box (IMB), is a shared invention among Idaho National Laboratory, Montana Tech, and Qualtech Systems Incorporated (QSI). Using proprietary algorithms, IMB directly measures the impedance spectra of energy storage devices (batteries) in seconds, enabling a more accurate reporting of their health. The technology enables low-cost, embedded, rapid, in-situ impedance measurements. The in-situ impedance monitoring addresses a significant need in the battery market that is presently unsatisfied. The methods enable the development of an Energy Storage Monitoring System (ESMS), which will combine the in-situ impedance methods with battery models, industry standard battery performance metrics, and expert-system learning software.

"Here at Montana Tech we stay focused, study hard, do good, and we never give up and for this effort that’s exactly what we did," said John Morrison. "This resulted in a unique research opportunity in an area critically important to our nation for 18 Montana Tech students resulting in several senior projects, 1 Ph.D., 3 MS degrees, 2 MS degrees in progress, and we are just getting started."

The Ph.D. was earned by Jon Christophersen from Montana State University (MSU) under the guidance of John Morrison. Christophersen successfully defended his dissertation, "Battery State-of-Health Assessment Using a Near Real-Time Impedance Measurement Technique Under No-Load and Load Conditions" at MSU this spring. His research project was supported by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

The R&D 100 Awards have long been a benchmark of excellence for industry sectors as diverse as telecommunications, high-energy physics, software, manufacturing, and biotechnology. For industry leaders, government labs, and academic institutions, the awards can be vital for gauging their efforts at commercialization of emerging technologies. And in winning an R&D 100 Award, developers often find the push their product needs to find success in the marketplace.

"During the recent economic downturn, industry, academia, and government labs continued to innovate. The editors were impressed with the strong field of candidates for this year’s R&D 100 Awards. The number of entries exceeded that of recent years," said Rita Peters, editorial director of R&D Magazine.

"We are very pleased that R&D magazine has selected this invention for recognition as one of the 100 most significant products of 2010," commented Montana Tech Research Director Joe Figueira. "The award also demonstrates the power of collaboration. Our industrial partner, Qualtech Systems, Inc., and our federal partners, the Idaho National Laboratory and the Battelle Energy Alliance, have worked with our campus researchers to bring this technology to the level of maturity worthy of this R&D 100 recognition. My congratulations to all."

The winners represent a cross-section of industry, academia, private research firms, and government labs. Winning technologies are used in medical, industrial, research, consumer, and manufacturing applications. Winners of the R&D 100 Awards are selected by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine. The publication and its online portal serve research scientists, engineers, and other technical staff members at high tech industrial companies and public and private laboratories around the world. A full list of this year’s winners is available at