Illustration of an optomechanical accelerometer that uses light to measure acceleration. The NIST device can improve navigation, especially in situations where the GPS signal is not available.


F. Zhou / NIST

GEITERSBURG, Maryland – The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has published its “Annual Report on Technology Transfer: Approach and Plans, Activities and Achievements for Fiscal Year 2021”. The report describes technology transfer activities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Telecommunications Science Institute (ITS) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

“Technology transfer is a critical component of DOC’s mission to create the conditions for economic growth and opportunities for all communities,” said Mojde Bahar, NIST’s Associate Director for Innovation and Industrial Services. “By transferring technology to the commercial market, DOC laboratories are helping to boost US economic competitiveness, strengthen local industry and stimulate job creation.

The report highlights the success of each laboratory. For example, NIST has developed an accelerometer to better measure speed changes in smaller navigation devices. At just one millimeter thick, the device uses laser light instead of mechanical voltage to produce a signal. This could improve inertial navigation in systems such as military aircraft, satellites and submarines, especially when GPS signal is not available. NIST is also working with the National Institute for Innovation in Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) and the United States Pharmacopoeia to evaluate analytical methods and develop standards for adeno-associated viruses, which are a critical component in the delivery of gene therapies. NIIMBL is sponsored by DOC US Institute of Manufacturing.

NOAA Open Data Dissemination (NODD) provides datasets across platforms to US cloud service providers to offer improved, free access to NOAA environmental data. NODD provides near real-time data to support user operations and powers the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning applications; these capabilities have led to the creation of a new early warning service for natural disasters and other high-impact events by a California-based startup. Another NOAA project has led to a patented lionfish trap that could help reduce the environmental, cultural and commercial damage caused by invasive lionfish in waters too deep for spearfishing. The trap causes minimal damage to the ocean floor and is relatively easy to build, deploy and extract.

NTIA ITS continued to conduct critical research and development and testing of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), which allows shared federal and non-federal use of the 3.5 GHz spectrum band. ITS is working with the Federal Communications Commission and others to improve spectrum management and access certification. NTIA ITS also operates the Table Mountain Radio Reception Area of ​​the DOC Research Laboratories, which supports a number of collaborative research and engineering studies. The test site for advanced communications of the area was used in the financial year 2021 to support research in the field of monitoring of radio frequency interference, lidar technologies in different weather conditions and autonomous sensor and communication technologies for unmanned vehicles.

The full report for the 21st financial year can be found here.

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