Maine Patent of the Month – June 2023

Orono Spectral Solutions, Inc. (OSS) develops analytical chemistry product sampling technologies which are used across the world. Given the complexities of the industry, the company continuously strives to improve the accuracy and usability of its products. Traditional methods of analyzing unknown residues on surfaces have proven to be challenging, often requiring large sample amounts and pure substances for accurate identification. OSS’s latest patented solution is designed to analyze surface residues regardless of volume.

The invention focuses on the development of “smart wipes,” which are designed to efficiently capture and concentrate target analytes from surfaces or interfaces using spectroscopic methods, including optical spectroscopy. Unlike existing portable spectrometers that rely on contact-based measurements and require isolatable and pure samples, these smart wipes offer a more versatile and reliable solution for field measurements.

One of the key advantages of these smart wipes is their ability to effectively collect and prepare trace residues on various surfaces without interference from the surface itself. Orono has engineered advanced materials with optimized physical, chemical, and electromagnetic characteristics, allowing high affinities for target analytes. These materials are specifically designed to concentrate and transfer the analytes for subsequent spectroscopic analysis, eliminating the need for additional sample preparation steps.

The collection substrates of the smart wipes are made of transparent and affinity-based materials that immobilize the target analytes, limiting scattering that could obscure spectral analysis. Depending on the application, the collected analytes can be directly analyzed using optical spectroscopy or transferred to another substrate for interference-free detection.

This invention extends beyond optical spectroscopy and encompasses ion mobility spectroscopy (IMS) and mass spectroscopy (MS). By capturing and concentrating the analytes onto the collection substrate, they can be released at a desired moment and directed into IMS or MS instruments for detection. This expands the range of analytical tools and techniques that can benefit from the smart wipes’ capabilities.

The applications of this invention are wide-ranging. From military operations and hazardous substance identification to environmental monitoring and forensic investigations, smart wipes offer a more efficient and reliable solution for detecting target analytes. Their ability to collect and concentrate trace residues opens up new possibilities in various industries, ensuring the safety and security of individuals and the environment.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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