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A new small-scale measurement invention ready for licensing

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the United States’ premier standards and measurements laboratory.  NIST’s numerous varied and wide-ranging research programs do not pursue dry theoretical knowledge for its own sake. Instead, the cutting-edge technologies developed by NIST’s research programs are intended to have real-world applications that will significantly benefit American society and our nation’s economy.

NIST wants to share its discoveries with American businesses by licensing the technologies so that the results of its research can reach the public through the marketplace.  When NIST inventions are commercialized, advantageous products are introduced, jobs are created, and new revenue streams emerge. 

Four scientists at NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory are developing an innovative small-scale measurement technology, the Photonic Calorimeter, a chip-based dosimeter with many exciting commercial applications.

In applications such as thin-film processing, semiconductor fabrication and inspection, and sterilization of medical equipment, radiation dose must be delivered in thin layers near material surfaces or interfaces.  The Photonic Calorimeter is designed to measure absorbed dose in such conditions, but it could be adapted for many other creative purposes.

The technology, patented as “Photonic calorimeter and process for performing calorimetry,” is designed for inexpensive manufacturing and operation and to measure absolute dose at an unprecedented physical scale.

Initial work on this cross-disciplinary project began in 2017. It was performed by researchers Zeeshan Ahmed and Nikolai Klimov of the Sensor Science Division and by Ryan P. Fitzgerald and Ronald Tosh of the Radiation Physics Division. Today they continue their research and experimentation into other aspects of developing robust readout hardware, including fiber optic interconnects.

The invention is a photonic device whose resonance characteristics (such as quality factor, peak position, and free spectral range) change in a predictable way in response to the interaction of radiation with the sensor or its surroundings.

Consult the Photonic Calorimeter Licensing Opportunity description for this technology and learn more about it by emailing NIST’s Technology Partnerships Office at TPO [at] NIST.GOV (TPO[at]NIST[dot]GOV).  

The Photonic Calorimeter was developed as part of the trailblazing “NIST on a Chip” program, whose goal is to bring NIST’s world-class measurement technology to users in the arenas of business, medicine and health, defense, and academia. Learn more about this groundbreaking NIST initiative at

You can search for other NIST patents and even explore them by topic at  There are listings describing 200 NIST patents, and you can learn their specifics at

NIST invites you to become part of its transformative goal of promoting American innovation and industrial competitiveness by licensing and bringing NIST technologies into the marketplace.


Released May 9, 2023