Anna Pla-Dalmau is a prolific inventor at Fermilab, with several patents to her name. These patents relate to extruded plastic scintillator, which is used in particle detectors. She has explored the extrusion of polystyrene pellets with dopants to yield high-quality scintillator. The extrusion line built at Fermilab continues to produce the material for research institutions around the world.

Congratulations! You have invented a new technology that would benefit the world! …Now what? Among your list of tasks will be questions like: Who are your most important customers? How will you get your product to the customer? How costly are your customer relationships? These questions factor into the Business Model Canvas, a valuable template and the standard tool in forming new venture business models. Each section of the Canvas contains its own questions, and the sections have an interlocking…

Bring a cup of coffee (or tea!) and join Fermilab’s patent and licensing executive for an informal discussion of intellectual property on Friday, May 29, at 1 p.m. If you have an idea for an invention or would like to learn more about intellectual property at the laboratory, drop in. Read on for sign-in information.

As scientist-entrepreneurs navigate new territory in their value propositions and customer discovery, they can refer to a familiar tool: the scientific method. As much as a scientist’s hypothesis must evolve, so too will the entrepreneur’s. The difference comes in collecting insight instead of data. The customer discovery process helps entrepreneurs assess their understanding of current problems in an existing marketplace. They develop open-ended questions that give customers the chance to explain a situation in their own words: “What sort of…

Sujit Bidhar contacted OPTT in 2017 about a compact, low-power nanofiber electrospinner he was developing to produce targets for high-intensity particle beams. OPTT filed a provisional patent application in February 2018. The technology is currently patent-pending.

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Fermilab scientist Arden Warner began experimenting with oil in water seeded with magnetite. He found that magnetite forms a preferential bond with the oil and can be manipulated with magnetic fields. Warner shared his idea with the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer in 2011, and the first electromagnetic boom patent was issued in 2014. The technology is in the process of being commercialized.

Fermilab employees are continually creating technologies that address problems in basic science, and it turns out that many of these technologies can be spun off for uses beyond particle physics. That’s a big reason to protect them. When we protect technologies, we can support their use in our everyday lives. Your invention could help improve medicine, the environment, industry and the economy.

What began as an experiment in a nine-ounce cup of water has been developed into a full-scale technology that recently became a finalist for a 2019 R&D 100 Award. Achieving the honor was E-MOP™ — electromagnetic oil spill remediation technology — developed from patents owned by Fermilab. The technology uses materials that are environmentally safe, reusable and natural.