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Oct 26, 2017 | By Troy Carter

Entrepreneurs help Navy brainstorm technology applications in California

TechLink facilitates Innovation Discovery event to boost technology transfer from trio of Navy labs

News Article Image of Entrepreneurs help Navy brainstorm technology applications in California
Jordan Planillo, physicist from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, explains the Planar Graphene Semi-Cyclotrons for Terahertz Applications that he helped develop.(Troy Carter/TechLink)

PORT HUENEME – Navy physicist Jordan Planillo got a couple of tough questions on Thursday, but it was for a good reason.

With two other colleagues, Planillo invented a tiny “cyclotron” racetrack for electrons using graphene that fills the “terahertz gap” in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared light.

Planillo explained how their patented solid-state radio frequency emitter worked to a six-member panel that included members of the local business community, who asked him questions before brainstorming what it could be used for.

“What’s happening fundamentally is electronics are at a speed limit,” Planillo said. “Why do we want it? Because nobody else is there… and once we get there a multitude of applications open up like communications, medical, you name it.”

Planillo was one of seven Navy inventors who attended the two-day Innovation Discovery event at the Navy’s facility in Port Hueneme, California.

Next generation augmented reality, biometric authentication, fiber optics and wireless communication technologies were also discussed.

Innovation Discovery events are designed to improve the transfer, transition, and commercialization of inventions being developed at the lab, leading to enhanced defense capabilities and positive economic impacts.

This week’s conference was facilitated by TechLink, the Department of Defense’s national partnership intermediary, which has worked with defense laboratories since 1999 to create more and stronger patents, which are marketed and then transferred to industry partners through patent license agreements.

“We help the Navy’s Office of Research and Technology Applications connect with industry partners to develop Navy inventions into products that have civilian and military value,” said Quinton King, a senior technology manager at TechLink. “To do that we tap the creativity of the outside panel, which helps the Navy draft a stronger patent application with broader fields of use.”

The transfer of the Navy’s inventions to businesses, through patent license agreements, can help the Navy (and American taxpayers) save money by reducing development costs and increasing product availability.

At this event, researchers were from the Naval Surface Warfare Center and Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Port Hueneme, and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (China Lake and Point Mugu).

Troy Carter can be reached at troy.carter@montana.edu or 406-994-7798.

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