Oregon State University researchers have discovered new ways of detecting copper in water sources, created the first thornless blackberry and developed an algorithm to protect the location of mobile data users. Each of the following innovations are now available for licensing:

Electron Capture Dissociation (ECD) retrofit for mass spectrometry

The need to identify complex molecules has propelled mass spectrometry into a $3 billion industry growing by 8 percent annually. Most commercial mass spectrometers analyze proteins through Collision-Induced Dissociation (CID), a process that can shatter molecules too far and complicate identification. Oregon State University researchers developed a mass spectrometry process that couples a thermionic electron source with Electron Capture Dissociation (ECD) technology. This process uses low-energy electrons to cut molecules with precision and identify them accurately. Researchers solved the challenge of confining low-energy electrons by sculpting magnetic fields that confine these electrons within a hockey puck-sized device. The device can be retrofitted into current mass spectrometers with minimal re-engineering.

Fast, economical and convenient heavy metal contamination detection

Microfluidic devices have grown in popularity as tools to accomplish rapid analytical measurements at a low cost. Oregon State University researchers have developed an accurate, economical, simple and portable device that detects copper at concentrations as low as 0.5 milligrams per liter in tap water, rivers or wastewater. Researchers can make simple modifications to the device to detect other targets at similar or better sensitivity.

Columbia Star Blackberry

Oregon State University researchers, in collaboration with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station and the Washington State University Agricultural Research Center, created the Columbia Star blackberry. The first thornless, machine-harvestable, sweet-tasting blackberry cultivar for both the fresh and processed fruit markets, the Columbia Star blackberry’s average yield is 16,750 kilograms per hectare.

Method for protecting location privacy of mobile data users

Oregon State University researchers have developed an algorithm that encrypts cooperative spectrum sensing — the way a mobile device picks up a signal — while still guaranteeing strong signal strength. This secure and robust scheme protects the location privacy of mobile data users more efficiently than other methods in terms of computation and communication overhead.