PNNL Recognized for Technology Transfer for ESI Transmitter

February 8, 2012

E-Separation Solutions

The Federal Laboratory Consortium is recognizing the U.S. Department of Energy?s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) (Richland, Washington) for bringing a laboratory-developed technology that improves research sample analysis to the marketplace.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium is recognizing the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) (Richland, Washington) for bringing a laboratory-developed technology that improves research sample analysis to the marketplace. The consortium is a nationwide network that encouraged federal laboratories to transfer the technologies they developed to commercial markets.

PNNL scientists developed a new way to manufacture emitters that are used by Michrom Bioresources, Inc. (Auburn, California). Traditionally, the tapered ends of emitters are made by heating a glass capillary and pulling until the end forms a fine tip. But this method can also make the capillary’s narrow opening even smaller at the tip. This often causes particles to get stuck in the tip, which produces unreliable readings and costly instrument downtime. PNNL’s process forms the tapered end by etching capillary tubes in a hydrofluoric acid solution. The method consistently creates an external taper without changing the capillary’s internal diameter, which allows emitters to spray aerosols at extremely low, controlled rates without clogging.

Mass spectrometer instruments equipped with the improved emitters can advance research related to human health, the environment, petrochemicals, drug development, and more.

PNNL licensed the patents behind the technique to Michrom just months after helping the company evaluate the new tips. Michrom began selling the new emitters as part of its CaptiveSpray ion source in October 2010. Six months later, Michrom was acquired by Bruker Corporation (Billerica, Massachusetts).

PNNL will receive the 2012 for Excellence in Technology Transfer award on May 3 at the consortium’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PNNL has been honored by the FLC more than any other federal laboratory with this award, collecting 75 awards since the program began in 1984.

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