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NIST Patent Roundup

NIST researchers and their collaborators were awarded seven patents in the past year for a wide variety of technologies. Since Oct. 1, 2009, NIST has made a total of 30 invention disclosures and filed 15 patent applications. Currently, 36 technologies invented or co-invented by NIST scientists and engineers are under license to private companies, with four licenses granted in fiscal year 2010. In all, NIST was party to 128 active patents.

NIST encourages its researchers to seek patent protection when it provides an incentive for commercialization or use of the technology in the United States or if the innovation helps to advance a new field of science or technology that falls within NIST's mission.

NIST also encourages its researchers to seek patent protection when necessary to maintain productive collaborative relationships with government, academic or commercial partners; to ensure the availability of background technology; to address the requirements of funding sources; and/or to adhere to the obligations or further the goals of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) or other collaborative agreement.

Patents granted this fiscal year include:

  • Portable LED-illuminated radiance source U.S. Patent 7,628,507, invented by David W. Allen and Howard Yoon. A compact and portable device for calibrating and characterizing radiation sources that is easier to use than lamp-based integrating sphere sources.
  • Method for reducing hysteresis losses in gadolinium alloys in room-temperature magnetic refrigeration processes, U.S. Patent 7,651,574, invented by Robert D. Shull, Alexander J. Shapiro and Virgil Provenzano. A process to increase the capacity and efficiency of magnetic refrigeration systems for applications that include refrigeration, air conditioning and humidity control, temperature sensing, and small scale localized cooling.
  • Microfluidic flow manipulation device, U.S. Patent 7,658,535, invented by Timothy J. Johnson, David J. Ross, and Laurie E. Locascio. A small device enabling the controlled mixing of fluids with different flow rates and analyte concentrations to create multiple customized output streams for lab-on-a-chip applications.
  • Magneto-optical trap ion source, U.S. Patent 7,709,807, invented by Jabez J. McClelland, James L. Hanssen, Marcus Jacka and Shannon B. Hill. A new method of focusing a stream of ions into a point as small as one nanometer for carving smaller features on semiconductors and for nondestructive imaging of nanoscale structures with finer resolution than currently possible with electron microscopes.
  • Versatile, simple microfluidics for field portable applications, U.S. Patent 7,718,046, invented by David J. Ross, Peter B. Howell and Wyatt N. Vreeland. Portable microfluidic analysis system that combines multiple process steps into one simple operation for robust, reliable and high-quality results at the doctor's office or in food and chemical manufacturing, among others.
  • Portable optical neutron detector, U.S. Patent 7,791,045, invented by Alan K. Thompson, Charles W. Clark, and Michael A. Coplan. Sensitive, stable, robust and easy-to-construct high precision instrument that detects individual neutrons and records them over a range of intensities for applications in monitoring nuclear facilities and oil wells, nuclear research, and personal protective equipment for first responders and the military.
  • Covalently immobilized fluorinated carboxylic acid stationary phase for liquid chromatography, U.S. Patent 7,794,837, invented by Katrice A. Lippa, Catherine A. Rimmer, and Lane C. Sander. A new column-packing material for liquid chromatography able to discriminate molecular shapes with high throughput at high temperatures for applications in the pharmaceutical industry as well as clinical, forensic/toxicology, and food/nutrition laboratories.

To learn more about NIST technologies and inventions available for licensing, see AvailTechs at:

Released November 9, 2010, Updated January 19, 2023