U.S. Commerce Department Awards Small Businesses $3.3 Million for Innovation Research


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced that 19 small businesses will receive nearly $3.3 million in grants to spur U.S. innovation and competitiveness through federally funded research and development.

“Small businesses across our nation develop the new technologies, advance manufacturing processes, and products that ensure the United States remains the world’s leading innovator,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews. “The Department of Commerce is committed to supporting these U.S. businesses that strengthen our economy and create jobs here at home.”

“These awards demonstrate the importance of measurement science to launching innovative products and solving pressing technical challenges,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May. “Continually pushing the technology envelope helps to secure our country’s position in the global economy.”

Awardees in 12 states, ranging in size from one to 115 employees, will receive Phase I or Phase II funding through NIST’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The competitively selected awardees submitted proposals in response to calls for innovative products to solve specific technology challenges in advanced manufacturing, advanced sensing for manufacturing, biomanufacturing, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity and technology transfer.

Phase I awardees receive up to $100,000 to establish merit, feasibility and commercial potential of the proposed research and development. After completing their Phase I projects, awardees may vie for Phase II funding of up to $300,000 to continue their efforts. In Phase III, non-SBIR funds are used for commercialization of the technology.

Over the years, the NIST SBIR program has supported numerous technology advances, including a device to help ensure the safety and effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, more secure electronic health records and improved sensors for a variety of applications.

The 2016 Phase I awardees are:

Advanced Sensing for Manufacturing

Automated Precision, Inc. (Rockville, Maryland) $98,750
Nanometer Precision Absolute Linear Interferometer—a noncontact measurement technique for  high-speed, repeatable and accurate 3-D scanning for surface inspection of parts to minimize the cost of additive manufacturing and potential waste, in the defense, energy, aerospace and automobile industries.

Bridger Photonics, Inc. (Bozeman, Montana) $99,732
Absolute Distance Interferometer for Manufacturing Metrology Applications—a precision measurement technology for applications in the semiconductor industry and laser materials processing.

Innoveering, LLC (Ronkonkoma, New York) $99,692
High Temperature High Resolution in-situ Differential Pressure Sensor—a compact, accurate sensor to monitor high-pressure, high-temperature processes in chemical plants, power plants and oil refineries.

MicroXact Inc. (Blacksburg, Virginia) $99,979
High Density Semi-Auto Closed Cycle Cryoprober—a cryogenic probe for testing sensors and electronic components for nuclear security, concealed weapons detection, astrophysics and signal processing, as well as testing classical and quantum processers with superconducting elements.

Omega Optics Inc. (Austin, Texas) $100,000
Fiber Pigtailed On-Chip Mid-infrared Difference Frequency Generation in Silicon—a technology for sensing simulated chemical warfare agents with possible general market applications in food, air and water quality.

Quantum Diamond Technologies Inc. (Somerville, Massachusetts) $81,000
High-Throughput Single-Nanoparticle Magnetic Analysis Platform Using Diamond Magnetic Imaging—a system for rapidly analyzing the uniformity of magnetic particles used in biomedical and basic life science research.

Symbio Robotics, Inc. (Berkeley, California) $99,992
Part Identification and Localization via Deep Neural Networks—a fast and low-cost perception engine to allow next-generation robots to identify parts and detect their own position for manufacturing.

Vermont Photonics Technologies Corp. (Brattleboro, Vermont) $97,023
High-Accuracy Angle Generator for Precision Measurements—a technique to improve angle measurement for better X-ray diffraction for molecular characterization in fields such as material science and biotechnology.

XploSafe (Stillwater, Oklahoma) $100,000
Pre-concentrator for Capture of Trace Fluorocarbons—an innovation to enable field analysis of greenhouse gas fluorocarbons in air samples from chillers and refrigeration and air-conditioning systems to potentially identify emission sources and estimate released quantities.


Optofluidics, Inc. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) $99,993
Protein Qspec: An Improved Method for Rapid Characterization of Protein Aggregates in Biologic Drugs for Increased Quality and Safety—a particle analysis quality control instrument to enable stable and safe formulations of drugs and the detection of potential manufacturing and safety issues early in the process.

Cyber Physical Systems

XCSpec, Inc. (Larkspur, California) $95,925
Air Movement Efficiency Monitor—a small, inexpensive, wireless micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensor that operates as a “fitness tracker” for buildings by continuously monitoring and reporting duct leakage, air balancing and fan efficiency at key points.

Technology Transfer

AxNano, LLC (Danville, Virgina) $99,275
Bimetallic Zero Valent Iron-Carbon Composites for in situ Remediation: Improving Particle Lifetime, Reactivity and Transport—a novel, low-cost remediation technology will be evaluated for its ability to clean chemically contaminated waste sites.

The Phase II awardees are:

Advanced Manufacturing

3DSIM LLC (Park City, Utah) $300,000
Predictive Modeling Tools for Metal-Based Additive Manufacturing: A Composable Simulation Model for Metal Powder-bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing Processes—a set of simulation tools to predict residual stress and strain data to identify the minimum amount of material needed per part to reduce costs in additive manufacturing.

AdSem, Inc. (Mountain View, California) $300,000
Tuning Germanium Reflectivity and Mosaic—a manufacturing technique that will significantly increase efficiency of U.S. research nuclear reactors for condensed matter research and improve telescope focusing systems and the quality of x-ray images for cancer diagnosis.

Categorical Informatics, Inc. (Cambridge, Massachussetts) $300,000
A Category-theoretic Tool for Manufacturing Information Integration—an industrial-strength categorical data integration tool to solve manufacturing-related information-integration problems identified by NIST.

Weinberg Medical Physics LLC (Bethesda, Maryland) $298,706
High-Throughput Low-Cost Manufacturing of Engineered MRI Contrast Agents—an automated manufacturing process that could cut costs and increase diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging while reducing side effects, and which could also improve tracking of stem cells in research.


InfoBeyond Technology LLC (Louisville, Kentucky) $300,000
Access Control Policy Tool—a plan to design advanced features for NIST’s Access Control Policy Tool to verify and test if the access control policies will be correctly enforced as intended, eliminating the potential of unauthorized users accessing data in secure computers.

ObjectSecurity LLC (San Diego, California) $299,969
Automated Access Control Policy Testing System (A-ACPTS)—a project to extend and transition NIST’s Access Control Policy Tool toward commercialization by automating as many inputs as possible to make the tool more usable, efficient and accurate to fill a gap in IT security.

Technology Transfer

Z-senz LLC (Gaithersburg, Maryland) $300,000
Resonant Scan Lens for Scanning Beam LIDAR—a scanning lens for use in a resonant light detection and ranging (R-LIDAR) distance sensor with applications in microscopy, endoscopy, ophthalmology, scanning displays and laser machining.

As a non-regulatory 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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Last updated: 2016-07-06 14:04

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