Mass spectrometry devices net PNNL $10 million

Analytical technology from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has netted $10 million in licensing income for the lab and its operator, Battelle, the lab announced on Thursday.

The technology developed at the lab has been used to detect small amounts of chemical compounds and elements in environmental, national security and health applications. According to the announcement, this is the first time that licensing income has reached this amount. The profit has been used to fund other research programs, staffing and new equipment.

Mass spectrometry devices have been the main focus of this line of research, and enhancements have been passed on to many of the lab's partners, including Thermo Fisher Scientific and Agilent Technologies.

"Based upon the royalty rates in the various licenses, it is estimated that the royalties received by PNNL represent more than 5,000 mass spectrometer instruments sold to date that were based in part on PNNL intellectual property," Bruce Harrer, a PNNL commercialization manager, said.

Staff at the lab have continued their work in furthering enhancements to mass spectrometry and the associated devices. They have also been able to secure patents for new advances in these devices, allowing them to separate ions and to be able to manipulate them. These devices are a key component in the lab's national security research programs as well.

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