NRL has a broad portfolio of technologies and over 1300 active patents or patent applications that are available for license. Below is a list of links to more information for a number of NRL technologies that have potential commercial applications.


Optical Fiber Radiation Dosimeter

NRL has patented a fiber-optic-coupled radiation dosimeter based on NRL’s patented luminescent, copper-doped quartz. The NRL dosimeter is uniquely capable of measuring the dose delivered by a linear accelerator during external beam radiotherapy in near-real-time. The key to the technology is the doped quartz material. When exposed to radiation, the material produces a unique luminescence signal that is directly proportional to the radiation dose. The technology can provide improved patient protection and treatment outcomes by assuring the proper area is being irradiated at the prescribed dosage.

Immunobead Force Discrimination Biosensor (FDB)

NRL has developed several revolutionary biosensor systems using magnetic microbeads to probe for target biomolecules (proteins or nucleic acids) specifically bound to receptor-patterned surfaces. The microbeads serve both as reporter labels and as force transducers to allow “force discrimination” – a technique developed at NRL that greatly reduces the background signal – enabling the identification of single biomolecular ligand-receptor interactions with high sensitivity and specificity.

Adaptable Reagentless Detector

NRL has developed a reusable biosensor that easily targets analytes, like toxins or hormones, with a controllable binding affinity. The sensor can be reused for subsequent sensing events once it is washed of analyte. It can be easily adapted to target other analytes due to its modular design. The biosensor's adaptability was demonstrated by modifying the maltose-sensing prototype to target the completely unrelated explosive TNT. The reagentless biosensor answers the Naval and commercial need for reusable sensors that continuously monitor analyte concentrations without reagents.

Compact Bead Array Sensor System (cBass®)

NRL has developed a rapid, yet extremely simple, biosensor system for detecting a wide range of biomolecules at attomolar concentrations (10-18 moles/liter or about 30 analyte, or target, molecules/drop of liquid). The compact Bead Array Sensor System (cBASS®) captures, labels, discriminates, and detects target species using magnetic microbeads, fluidic force discrimination™ (FFD), and a Bead ARray Counter (BARC®) sensor microchip.

Microfabricated Preconcentrator for Enhanced Detection of Hazardous Chemicals

NRL has developed a microfabricated preconcentrator called the Cascade Avalanche Sorbent Plate ARray, or CASPAR, to augment trace detection of hazardous chemicals including explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and narcotics. The device may be integrated with a detector to enhance sensitivity and selectivity in near real-time or used as a stand-alone device that can be connected to a detector for analysis later.

Single-Step Process for Genomic Target Capture

NRL has developed a magnetic microbead support that enables the capture of genomic targets in a single step. The microbead is functionalized with a phosphorous branched dendrimer linker, which covalently binds DNA capture probes, allowing hybridization of the target directly onto the bead. The targets can then be recovered through heat denaturation in small elution volumes for direct analysis.

Multicolor Liquid Crystal Nanoparticles as Efficient Biomarkers

NRL has developed aqueous suspensions of highly fluorescent organic nanocolloids consisting of three major components: i) polymerizable liquid crystals, ii) fractional amounts of a stable and highly fluorescent dye, and iii) surface capping agent. Polymerizable liquid crystals provide a means of stabilizing nanocolloids and controlling the aggregation of the dye within the nanocolloids.

Modular Ligands for Custom Functionalized Nanoparticles

NRL has developed a chemical means of providing custom functionalization of both semiconductor core/shell quantum dots (QDs) and gold nanoparticles. A series of modular ligands have been synthesized that provide multiple functionalities to the nanoparticles, as desired, including water solubility, tight anchoring to the nanoparticle surface and access to a variety of different terminal functional groups for subsequent (bio)modification and covalent attachment.

Optical HPM Field Sensor for Test and Evaluation

NRL has developed an optical High Power Microwave (HPM) field sensor for test and evaluation (T&E). The device measures the real time amplitude, polarity and phase of the HPM field with 3-axis capability by analyzing the phase modulation of a laser beam through an electro-optical (EO) crystal sensor head. nlike D-dot and B-dot sensors, or Mach-Zehnder interferometry, the NRL electro-optical sensor does not contain metal conducting parts and therefore the sensor head does not generate significant interference with the field it is measuring which is a major problem facing the HPM T&E community

Vertical Cell Edge Junction Magnetoelectric Device Family

NRL has developed and demonstrated a new topology for reducing the size of spintronic devices. The device operation is based on the novel concept that the magnetization at the edge of a patterned ferromagnetic thin film element remains substantially parallel to the average magnetization of the element. This enables a near order of magnitude reduction of the device footprint.

Thick Silicon Drift Detector (Hard X-Ray Spectroscopy)

NRL has developed a method to produce a thicker (2-5mm) silicon drift detector (SDD) with significantly improved hard x-ray spectroscopy performance over current semiconductors (300µm). The NRL method uses gray tone lithography in combination with reactive ion etching (RIE) and deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) which allows for trenches with different depths to be etched into the semiconductor.

Multi-Core Fiber Curvature Sensor

NRL has developed high accuracy, fiber optic curvature sensor technology allowing for 3D shape sensing. The novel shape sensing technology is based on measuring the differential strain between fiber Bragg grating sensors formed in a multicore fiber (MCF). The NRL fiber optic curvature sensor takes advantage of a novel interrogation technique that overcomes many problems prevalent with other methods such as lead sensitivity and environmental sensitivity of the measurement accuracy.

MIME Chemical Vapor Microsensors

NRL has developed a technology for detecting chemical vapors using low power, low cost, tunable microsensors. This technology is based on metal nanoparticles encapsulated by a single layer of organic molecules. When configured as a film of nanoparticles connected to a small bias current, exposure to a vapor causes conductance changes in the film. The conductance path through the film involves electron tunneling across the somewhat insulating monolayer junctions between nanoparticle conducting cores – referred to as a nanometer-scale metal-insulator-metal ensemble (MIME). Tuning these MIME sensors to a particular vapor is accomplished by designing the structure of the organic molecule in the encapsulating shell to interact with that particular vapor.

Pseudo-Monolithic Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer Interferometer

NRL has demonstrated a passive, broadband (8.4 to 11.2 µm), LWIR spectrometer with a resolving power of ~500 that has no moving parts, is immune to scene changes and has high throughput. It uses a compression assembly spatial heterodyne spectrsocopy (SHS) interferometer (C-SHS) which employs precision spacers that result in a robust, self-aligning, economical assembly, and enables easy replacement of optical components.

Fiber-Optic Environmental Radiation Dosimeter

NRL has patented an all-optical, fiber-optic-coupled remote radiation sensor using NRL’s luminescent, copper-doped quartz material. The key to the technology is the doped quartz material that produces a luminescence signal that is directly proportional to the radiation dose. Individual sensors have an estimated cost of $50 and a lifespan of decades. The sensor is less than 7 mm in diameter by 10 cm in length and is fiber-optic-coupled to a photodetector that is remotely located away from the potential radiation source.

Chemical Sensing with Silicon Nanowires in a Vertical Array with a Porous Electrode

NRL has developed through research funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a gas sensor composed of an array of vertical nanowires topped by a porous electrode. The sensor responds when a substance of interest absorbs on the nanowires, changing their electrical conductivity. The combination of a vertical orientation and a porous top electrode allows for simultaneous exposure and response from huge numbers of individual nanowires. Because of these attributes, the sensor provides a very high signal/noise and short response time.

Toxin Detecting Bacteriophage Nanoparticles

NRL has developed phage-like nanoparticles with the ability to detect toxins. The nanoparticles are produced in E. coli and can display many antibodies on its relatively large head. Toxin recognition is made possible with surface modification through either genetic engineering or direct chemical conjugation allowing for the display of llama antibodies. The multiple copies of antibodies per particle increases the detection sensitivity through increased avidity.

Stand-Off Detection of Explosives and Hazardous Chemicals

NRL has developed a Photo-Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectroscopy (PT-IRIS) technology for standoff detection of explosives, illicit drugs, chemical warfare agents, and biological warfare agents. PT-IRIS has been demonstrated for standoff or proximity detection of explosives. This approach employs quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) to illuminate a sample surface with one or more wavelengths, which are selectively absorbed by analytes of interest.

Zero-Power Bathythermograph Sensors

The Zero Power Ballast Control (ZPBC) is a technology that relies on microbial energy harvesting developments to enable unsupervised underwater sensing with subsequent surfacing and reporting capabilities. With an ultimate goal of producing simple, small, power- efficient data harvesting nodes with varia-ble buoyancy, the device will be able to monitor ocean temperatures with a stay time ranging from weeks to months and eventually years, providing a longer term than other mechanisms such as the Expendable Bathythermograph (XBT).