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Looking Back at NIST Patents

By Marshall Child

A lightbulb placed on a blackboard with circles drawn in white chalk around the lightbulb
Credit: Pexels

The Technology Partnerships Office (TPO) at NIST communicates with the labs as they discover new technologies and works toward getting those inventions patented. The end goal with all of this is to propel technologies toward maturity and set them on the right track toward commercialization. Federal technology transfer, from NIST labs to industry, academia and other government agencies is a substantial mission for the Department of Commerce, which NIST falls under, to drive the American economy and to bring more products to market that could benefit the public. Patents can play an important role in the commercialization of federal technology and can be utilized as a great method for businesses to purchase available technologies, or processes that are ready for commercial use.

A patent is a government-granted, exclusive form of intellectual property for inventions. A patent gives the owner the ability to exclude others from making, using, or selling that specific invention for a designated period of time. NIST inventors whose technologies are patented may receive a portion of royalties if their NIST inventions are sold in the commercial market, further encouraging the overall mission of economic growth. Over the years, TPO has highlighted NIST patents to call attention to various technologies being discovered at NIST. Below are some NIST technologies that have been patented:

  • Low Power Artificial Synaptic Element with Intrinsic Spiking Behavior
    • This technology provides a new form of artificial synapse based on dynamically reconfigurable superconducting Josephson junctions with magnetic clusters in the barrier. 
  • Superconformal Nickel Deposition for Hole Filling
    • This technology creates a process for depositing metal filling called, “electrodeposition” to fill up structures like pinholes in metal tubes in steam boilers without leaving air pockets or “seams” between the depositing metal and the structure. 
  • Real-Time, Quantitative Measurements of Cell Migration and Invasion
    • This technology is a microfluidic platform that can generate real-time, quantitative measurements of cell migration and invasion through porous membranes.  
Released July 13, 2021