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U.S. Department of Commerce


U.S. Commerce Department Awards Grants to Small Businesses

$3.3 million for innovation research

Published: Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 17:09

(U.S. Department of Commerce: Washington, DC) -- The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently 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,” says 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,” says 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 the 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. of Rockville, Maryland, received $98,750 for their Nanometer Precision Absolute Linear Interferometera noncontact measurement technique for high-speed, repeatable, and accurate 3D 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. of Bozeman, Montana, received $99,732 for their Absolute Distance Interferometer for Manufacturing Metrology Applicationsa precision measurement technology for applications in the semiconductor industry and laser materials processing.

Innoveering LLC of Ronkonkoma, New York, received $99,692 for their High-Temperature High Resolution In-Situ Differential Pressure Sensora compact, accurate sensor to monitor high-pressure, high-temperature processes in chemical plants, power plants, and oil refineries.

MicroXact Inc. of Blacksburg, Virginia, received $99,979 for their High-Density Semi-Auto Closed Cycle Cryoprobera 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 processors with superconducting elements.

Omega Optics Inc. of Austin, Texas, received $100,000 for their Fiber Pigtailed On-Chip Mid-Infrared Difference Frequency Generation in Silicona technology for sensing simulated chemical warfare agents with possible general market applications in food, air, and water quality.

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

Symbio Robotics Inc. of Berkeley, California, received $99,992 for their Part Identification and Localization via Deep Neural Networksa 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. of Brattleboro, Vermont, received $97,023 for their High-Accuracy Angle Generator for Precision Measurementsa technique to improve angle measurement for better X-ray diffraction for molecular characterization in fields such as material science and biotechnology.

XploSafe of Stillwater, Oklahoma, received $100,000 for their Pre-Concentrator for Capture of Trace Fluorocarbonsan innovation to enable field analysis of greenhouse gas fluorocarbons in air samples from chillers, refrigeration, and air-conditioning systems to potentially identify emission sources and estimate released quantities.


Optofluidics Inc. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received $99,993 for their Protein Qspec: An Improved Method for Rapid Characterization of Protein Aggregates in Biologic Drugs for Increased Quality and Safetya 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. of Larkspur, California, received $95,925 for their Air Movement Efficiency Monitora 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 of Danville, Virginia, received $99,275 for their Bimetallic Zero Valent Iron-Carbon Composites for In-Situ Remediation: Improving Particle Lifetime, Reactivity, and Transporta 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 of Park City, Utah, received $300,000 for their Predictive Modeling Tools for Metal-Based Additive Manufacturing: A Composable Simulation Model for Metal Powder-Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing Processesa 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. of Mountain View, California, received $300,000 for their Tuning Germanium Reflectivity and Mosaica 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. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, received $300,000 for their Category-Theoretic Tool for Manufacturing Information Integrationan industrial-strength categorical data integration tool to solve manufacturing-related information-integration problems identified by NIST.

Weinberg Medical Physics LLC of Bethesda, Maryland, received $298,706 for their High-Throughput Low-Cost Manufacturing of Engineered MRI Contrast Agentsan 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 of Louisville, Kentucky, received $300,000 for their Access Control Policy Toola 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 of San Diego, California, received $299,969 for their 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 in filling an IT security gap.

Technology Transfer

Z-senz LLC of Gaithersburg, Maryland, received $300,000 for their Resonant Scan Lens for Scanning Beam LIDARa 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.


About The Author

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U.S. Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce promotes job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improved standards of living for all Americans by working in partnership with businesses, universities, communities, and our nation’s workers. The department touches the daily lives of the American people in many ways, with a wide range of responsibilities in the areas of trade, economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and business development, environmental stewardship, and statistical research and analysis.