“Prior art” refers to the body of knowledge that already exists on a subject. A prior art search helps us determine whether your discovery or innovation can be patented.
As the researcher with deep familiarity with the subject matter, you are the best person to search for relevant prior art. The Georgia Tech library can help you search publicly available patent databases.
If you find patents (or patent applications) that are relevant to your work, read through them to determine your innovation/discovery’s differences or advantages.
Include the results of your prior art search when you report your innovation.