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Agilent Laboratories

Innovative technology is a competitive advantage for Agilent, and our central research organization, Agilent Laboratories, provides the spark for our company growth. Technology innovations from Agilent Labs create new businesses and enhance existing ones. Agilent Labs is leading the company into the future of communications, electronics and life sciences by encouraging multidisciplinary teams of scientists to explore uncharted areas in search of advanced solutions.

" To find the next breakthrough, we encourage researchers to put together different technical disciplines. This synergy often creates a completely new way to solve a problem."
  Tom Saponas, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Agilent, and director, Agilent Laboratories

About 60 to 70 percent of our current businesses were enabled by Agilent Labs. That’s why Agilent continues to invest appropriately in fundamental research in a wide number of disciplines—even during economic downturns. In 2001, we focused on highest priority investments while trimming some programs and delaying others to reduce costs. Agilent Labs continued to tighten its links with our businesses to enhance Agilent’s ability to compete more effectively now and in the future.

Accelerating Progress in Communications and Electronics

Even though 2001 marked the largest downturn of the communications industry in recent memory, optical component and network equipment manufacturers continued to invest in the research and development of new communications products to ensure a strong market position when the market upturn arrives. In preparation for the upswing, the scientists at Agilent Labs accelerated their pace of inventing groundbreaking technologies to help customers design tomorrow’s networks.


Francis Joseph and Hugh Wallace, researchers in the Systems and Solutions Laboratory, are developing methods for high-volume semiconductor test. The diagram represents a high-speed serial integrated circuit (IC), a critical component of communication systems. These ICs can be embedded cost effectively into complex ICs, called systems-on-a-chip, that are manufactured in standard semiconductor processes. Serial interfaces are becoming pervasive in communication and computation systems because they enable higher performance at lower cost. Agilent invests in this research, which builds on the company's strengths in IC design as well as test, so future test solutions will be ready when customers need them.

Company announcements in 2001 illustrate the role of Agilent Labs in bringing innovative technologies to market. The new optical spectrometer can measure wavelengths of laser spectra with 1,000 times better resolution than conventional instruments. Optical sampling technology will offer designers important insight into components under development for very high-speed transmissions. Today’s optical networks operate at 10 gigabits per second (Gb/s), but the industry is quickly moving to 40 Gb/s channels. Agilent’s new technology marks the first time designers of optical components will have an instrument that has enough bandwidth to measure signals from 40 to 160 Gb/s.

Agilent Labs was also instrumental in helping establish an industry standard that was key in bringing to market the world's first serial 10 Gb/s Ethernet transceiver. This new network component allows manufacturers of servers, switches and routers to provide 10 times more bandwidth at lower cost compared to current technology.

Accelerating Progress in Life Sciences

Agilent Labs is developing tools to help biologists collect and analyze complex research data from multiple sources to further our understanding of cellular processes in living organisms. Research in molecular biology is advancing rapidly because of new sources of data, new tools and new ways to organize work. The human genome project has created huge new data sources. Biologists using tools like Agilent's DNA microarray systems are exploring relationships among genes and generating trillions of bytes of data.

In addition, collaborations among industries, universities and government agencies require new methods to organize, interpret and share this information. Life sciences research has become the work of interdisciplinary teams that include molecular biologists, biochemists, chemists, engineers, computer scientists, physicists and mathematicians.

To address these challenges, Agilent Labs brought together a multidisciplinary team of biologists, anthropologists and computer scientists to study the tremendous changes in data, tools and organizations that will structure work in the life sciences. For example, as biologists study the functions of genes and proteins, they need tools to visualize, manipulate and integrate large amounts of information. So computer scientists have to work with biologists to try out new forms of analysis. The most useful tools will connect people from different disciplines so they can share perspectives and contributions productively.

Labs is Agilent's secret weapon. It's the innovation engine that will accelerate the company out of poor economic conditions and generate new revenue through superior research and development.


Darlene Solomon (seated), Steve Laderman, Jeff Sampson and Carl Myerholtz of the Life Science Technologies Laboratory are researching a breakthrough nanopore technology to speed the analysis of nucleic acids, such as DNA. In 2001, Agilent decided to license this technology from Harvard University and invest in this longer range research and business opportunity. Harvard was excited to collaborate with Agilent Labs because of Labs' multidisciplinary expertise that's required to help advance this technology. Faster, easier and lower cost sequencing of nucleic acids would greatly expand access to genetic information for use in drug discovery and development, and in the prediction, diagnosis and treatment of disease.


Year in Review
* Home
* 2001 Financial Overview
* To Our Shareholders
* Agilent in Communications and Electronics
* Agilent in Life Sciences
* Agilent Laboratories
* Agilent Operations
* Agilent in Citizenship
* Agilent at a Glance
* Shareholder Information
* Download PDF version
* Text-only version
* 2001 Annual Report
* Past Annual Reports
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