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Commerce's NIST Awards 13 Companies with 2013 Small Business Innovation Research Funding

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The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today that more than $2.3 million in funding for Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects will be awarded to 13 U.S. small businesses. The awards provide funding to help develop manufacturing and cybersecurity technologies that could lead to commercial and public benefit. 

"We congratulate the companies selected out of the numerous high-quality proposals we received," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. "The SBIR program provides a great way to foster technological innovation at small businesses and help keep America innovative and competitive."

NIST's SBIR program seeks to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, especially at minority and disadvantaged firms, strengthen the role of small business in meeting federal research and development needs and increase commercialization of federal research and development.

SBIR awards are funded through a competitive, three-phase process. In Phase I, small businesses can receive up to $90,000 to establish the technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential of the proposed research and development. Phase I awardees compete for Phase II funding of up to $300,000, enabling them to continue their efforts. Phase III involves commercial applications of the newly developed technologies, with funding from outside the SBIR program.

"We're pleased that our focus on new businesses has once again been successful," said Phillip Singerman, NIST's associate director of Innovation and Industry Services. "We received many more quality proposals than we could fund." 

Following are the NIST 2013 SBIR awards announced today:

Phase I 

Cybersecurity

ATC-NY (Ithaca, N.Y.) $89,920
Automated SCAP Tool Validator (ASTV)
ATC-NY will design and develop the Automated Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) Tool Validator (ASTV) for use with the SCAP Public Validation Test Suite and others. By running multiple test cases concurrently in a distributed or cloud-based ASTV installation, thorough validation of SCAP tools will be dramatically faster than currently possible.

Gener8 Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) $89,957
Bragg Grating Enhanced Narrowband Single Photon SPDC
SourceGener8 proposes to fabricate a prototype Bragg grating based on an innovative fabrication method. The project goal is to demonstrate significant narrowing of the Spontaneous Parametric Down conversion spectrum, which will enable new fundamental quantum computation research.

Manufacturing

High Precision Devices, Inc. (Boulder, Colo.) $90,000
Flowing Water Optical Power Meter for Laser Measurements
High Precision Devices plans to develop and market a commercially viable 25kW flowing water optical power meter (FWOPM) for industrial, research and government applications. The effort will reduce costs and use best practices to increase manufacturability, exploit economies of scale and develop suitable alternatives for several time-intensive assembly and fabrication steps.

Nimbis Services Inc. (McLean, Va.) $90,000
Smart Manufacturing Workflow Environment
Nimbis Services will provide an open workflow environment that supports the sequential execution of third-party apps using networked information-based modeling and data analytic technologies to integrate manufacturing intelligence across an entire manufacturing ecosystem. The result will optimize plant operation by providing management alternatives in the right context, at the right time and to the right user.

Polaris Sensor Technologies, Inc. (Huntsville, Ala.) $89,973
High Speed Imaging Spectropolarimeter for Dynamic Samples
Polaris Sensor Technologies will design a device that integrates the established polarimetric architectures of division of aperture, focal plane and time to yield a multiplexed data collection method that simultaneously characterizes samples across all relevant dimensions. This approach, in conjunction with proposed dedicated data processing hardware, promises to open up the technique to additional applications such as thin-film process control.

Prime Synthesis, Inc. (Aston, Pa.) $90,000
Three-Dimensional Test Materials for Solid Supports
The proposed structural studies are of great value in developing a family of hybrid controlled pore glass (CPG) products that could dramatically reduce the manufacturing costs of several important classes of advanced pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals.

RadiaBeam Technologies LLC (Santa Monica, Calif.) $89,642
Digital Micromirror Device Detection Scheme for Transmission Scanning Electron Microscopy
The novel detection system proposed will use a digital micromirror device for precise selection of any combination of small angular portions over a large area of the diffraction plane and will easily transition between the production of bright field and dark field images and transmission diffraction patterns.

SynTouch LLC (Los Angeles, Calif.) $89,989
Advanced Tactile Sensing for Dexterous Robot Hands in Industrial Automation and Assembly
SynTouch will develop measures of robotic grasper dexterity and use them to evaluate new tactile sensory technology with the older tactile sensors of the Schunk Dexterous Hand. The biomimetic nature of the BioTac sensor and its biologically inspired reflexive behaviors will lead to a new level of dexterity, enabling advanced applications in industrial automation and assembly.

X-wave Innovations, Inc. (Gaithersburg, Md.) $89,999
High-Sensitivity, Low-Cost, Surface-Acoustic-Wave Based Microscale Thermogravimetric Analyzer for Nanoparticle Characterization
X-wave Innovations (XII) proposes a high-sensitivity, high-accuracy, low-cost, surface-acoustic-wave based microscale thermogravimetric analyzer (SAW-µ-TGA) for nanoparticles. The proposed approach is based on XII-developed surface acoustic wave sensor technology, which can simultaneously provide accurate temperature and mass change measurements at elevated temperatures and in real time. 

Phase II Awards: 

Information Technology & Cybersecurity

Fulcrum Biometrics, LLC (San Antonio, Texas) $300,000
WS-BD Conformant Handheld Multi-biometric Acquisition System
Fulcrum Biometrics will develop a new wireless multi-modal biometric acquisition system that will deliver biometrics information securely over standard Web services. The objective is to produce a hardware design and software package ready for mass production.

Manufacturing

Intact Solutions, LLC (Sun Prairie, Wis.) $300,000
Query-Based Interoperability for Simulation of Composite Structures
Intact Solutions will design and implement a query-based approach to interoperable modeling and simulation of composite material structures. With use-case scenarios for modeling and simulation of as-manufactured material composite structures, the company will develop commercial strength software that demonstrates the approach on a current challenge faced by U.S. manufacturers.

PaneraTech, Inc. (Falls Church, Va.) $300,000
Inline Material Electrical Characterization Sensor (IMECS)
PaneraTech, under the NIST SBIR Phase I program, demonstrated feasibility of an Inline Material Electrical Characterization Sensor (IMECS) for non-contact evaluation of nanofiber films during manufacturing. Under the Phase II program, PaneraTech will build a fully functional prototype, which will be ready for transitioning to market.

STAR Cryoelectronics (Santa Fe, N.M.) $300,000
Improved Microcalorimeter Detectors for X-ray Chemical Shift Mapping
STAR Cryoelectronics will fabricate improved transition-edge sensor detectors with an energy resolution of 2 eV for 1.5 keV X-rays and integrate them into an X-ray spectrometer for chemical shift mapping. This will enhance significantly the power of X-ray spectroscopy as an analytical tool for a broad range of applications.

X-wave Innovations, Inc. (Gaithersburg, Md.) $300,000
An Automated Lapping Apparatus and Process for High-Precision Random Profile Roughness Specimen Fabrication
Measurement and quality control for smooth engineering surfaces are becoming increasingly important in modern science and technology due to critical connections to engineering functions and high production costs. This project will produce an automated apparatus for manufacturing high-precision, random profile roughness standard reference material specimens for NIST to use in supporting U.S. manufacturing.

The SBIR program was established by Congress in 1982 under the Small Business Innovation Development Act and has been extended through Sept. 30, 2017. For more information on NIST's SBIR program, visit http://www.nist.gov/tpo/sbir/index.cfm. The fiscal year 2014 solicitation is scheduled to be announced in November 2013.

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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