Scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) have patented a microcapsule flow sensor that can identify and count tiny particles in a flowing stream as they pass through a laminar flow chamber. The sensor acts as a spectrophotometer by measuring the amount of wavelength-specific, transmitted, or reflected light from each particle or microcapsule without requiring colorimetry and special dyes, as do most established methods. While spectral analysis can be used to identify microcapsules containing drugs or bioactive ingredients, real-time analysis is required to distinguish between the target microparticles and sediment particles or debris that are approximately the same size. The JSC innovation enables the tracking and counting of more than 1,000 particles at the same time. The system is compact, battery-operated, and can be adapted as a portable field test unit. JSC has received patent number 7,295,309 for this technology.
Johnson Space Center has received patent protection (U.S. 7,295,309→) for this technology.
This technology is being made available through JSC’s Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.
If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA’s technology transfer program, please contact:Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office