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NIST

Innovation

NIST Announces 12 Small Business Innovation Research Awards

Competitive funding program encourages companies to commercialize new technologies

Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 11:47

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced nearly $2 million in Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to 12 U.S. businesses. These awards provide funding to help companies develop technologies that could lead to commercial and public benefit.

“We are delighted by the high quality of SBIR proposals we received, and congratulate all the awardees,” says Phillip Singerman, associate director for innovation and industry services at NIST. “Over the past year, NIST updated the solicitation process to focus on critical national priorities and provide maximum opportunities for businesses that are just starting out. With three-fourths of the Phase I recipients in business fewer than 10 years and two-thirds of them with 12 employees or fewer, the results of the solicitation demonstrate the success of that process.”

NIST’s SBIR program is a competitive funding opportunity that provides contracts to small businesses for federal research and development. In Phase I, small businesses can receive up to $90,000 to establish the scientific, technical merit or feasibility of ideas that support the commercial potential of their research. If after six months the Phase I awardees have accomplished their goals, they can compete for Phase II funding of up to $300,000 to continue their research and development efforts for up to two years.

The SBIR program’s goal is that companies will go on to commercialize their technologies, where appropriate, during Phase III, but this phase is not funded by the SBIR program.

NIST will provide the awardees with technical assistance and direct assistance as allowed by the SBIR statute, and direct them to additional resources through NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

The Phase I awardees are:

Information technology and cybersecurity

Fulcrum Biometrics LLC (San Antonio, Texas) $90,000
For: Plan for research and development of WS-BD-conformant, handheld fingerprint sensor

This project seeks to explore the development of new wireless biometric sensors that deliver biometric data over secure web services, and to understand technical challenges and limitations of such a framework for communicating and controlling the device. It also explores a state-of-the-art secure system on chips for future commercial development efforts. The end goal will be the development of a fully operational prototype device.

Nuvotronics LLC (Radford, Virginia) $89,995
For: Microfabricated broadband connectors for frequencies above 100 GHz

Developing information and communications technologies at high frequencies is hampered by a lack of broadband connectors both for system integration and testing. Nuvotronics will develop a new class of connectors and adapters for operation at high frequencies, based on the company’s extensive background in microfabrication of devices at millimeter wave frequencies.

SBG Labs (Sunnyvale, California) $89,918
For: A compact, tamper-resistant, portable fingerprint scanner

SBG Labs has developed a portable scanner based on proprietary holographic technology that features a compact, high-resolution scanner integrated with a smart, hardware data encrypted, GPS-enabled tablet. It can rapidly capture multi-fingerprint images that are fully compliant with FBI standards. In Phase 1, it plans to implement a NIST-compliant protocol for wirelessly communicating with and controlling the operation of the biometric device.

Manufacturing

Ceebco LLC (Charlotte, North Carolina) $89,985
For: Low-cost stabilized laser diode system

Ceebco aims to develop a frequency-stabilized laser diode system suitable for application in optical metrology and displacement measurement. The compact design of the semiconductor laser lends itself to many applications where a coherent light source is required and space is at a premium.

Intact Solutions LLC (Sun Prairie, Wisconsin) $90,000
For: Query-based interoperability and CAD/CAE integration in assemblies

Intact Solutions will design and implement a set of computer-aided design (CAD) queries by which to achieve model interchangeability in assemblies, model interoperability, and model integration for CAD and computer-aided engineering (CAE). The proposed query-based approach to support interoperability for advanced manufacturing is expected to sidestep many of the problems of a data-centric approach.

PaneraTech Inc. (Falls Church, Virginia) $89,916
For: Noncontact inline material sensor for measurement of electrical properties of nanofiber films

PaneraTech proposes a noncontact dual sensor for broadband and real-time characterization of thin nanofiber films during manufacturing. The solution offers several unique aspects that are ideal for this application, such as using a dual coplanar waveguide sensor for low frequencies and a free-space transmission system for higher frequency bands.

STAR Cryoelectronics (Santa Fe, New Mexico) $89,970
For: Improved microcalorimeter detectors for X-ray chemical shift mapping

STAR Cryoelectronics will develop the necessary processes to fabricate improved superconducting transition edge sensor detectors and integrate them into the company’s energy-dispersive microcalorimeter X-ray spectrometer for chemical shift mapping. This will significantly enhance the power of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy as an analytical tool for a broad range of applications.

X-wave Innovations Inc. (Gaithersburg, Maryland) $89,994
For: An automated lapping apparatus and process for high-process fabrication of high-precision random profile roughness specimens

The measurement and quality control for smooth engineering surfaces are becoming more important in modern science and technology due to their engineering functions and high production costs. X-wave Innovations Inc. proposes an automated lapping apparatus and process for fabricating high-precision, random profile roughness specimens. These will offer advantages such as high manufacturing throughput, high reproducibility, and low operation cost.

The Phase II awardees are:

Information technology

G2 Inc. (Annapolis Junction, Maryland) $299,066
For: SCAP content editor

The barrier to entry for security content automation protocol (SCAP) content creation is the requirement to have in-depth knowledge of the underlying specifications. This project aims to allow security experts to create SCAP content without the need to be an expert in the specification.

Manufacturing

Sigma-K Corp. (Durham, North Carolina) $300,000
For: Production methods and software for NIST calibration phantoms

Sigma-K proposes to develop a complete manufacturing method that will produce 50 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) phantoms that ensure measurement traceability of all parameters for MRI calibration. The work performed during Phase 2 will allow Sigma-K to immediately begin a production process that will allow this phantom to be purchased for less than $2,500.

Measurement Analysis Corp. (Torrance, California) $300,000
For: Irradiated environmental chambers

Using a novel concept for humidity control based on a proprietary saturated air source, Measurement Analysis Corp. will construct and evaluate a prototype of an environmental chamber for use with NIST’s SPHERE ultraviolet (UV) source for weathering or other UV degradation studies.

Sepax Technologies Inc. (Newark, Delaware) $300,000
For: Anion-exchange resin for chirality-based separation of single-wall carbon nanotubes

Sepax Technologies has identified a new type of anion-exchange resin that separates single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) with greater than 80-percent recovery yield. Improvement and scale-up of the targeted resin production will facilitate the separation of chiral nanotubes for academic research and industrial application.

As a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit www.nist.gov.

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NIST

Founded in 1901, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a nonregulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, NIST’s mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.