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DOE Announces 86 Small Business Grants Supporting Scientific Innovation

Credit: Shutterstock, modified.

The Department of Energy will award 86 grants totaling $95 million to 74 small businesses in 21 states through the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

These are Phase II research and development projects which previously demonstrated technical feasibility during their Phase I grants and competed for funding for prototype or processes development during Phase II. In addition, prior Phase II awardees competed for sequential Phase II awards to continue prototype and process development.

Highlighted below are selected grants for each of the research and development programs that provided funding for these projects:

Low-cost, Time-resolved Chemical Characterization of Atmospheric Aerosols

Aerosol Devices Inc., Fort Collins, CO: $1,150,000.00

Atmospheric particles have a profound, but only partially understood, effect on human health, on the Earth’s clouds and hydrodynamic cycles. Our instrument will provide essential data on the chemical composition of these particles, enabling scientists to better understand and predict the sources, transformations, and the effects of these particles on human health and on our environment.

In-situ Characterization of Interfaces between Materials and Molten Salts for Molten Salt Reactors

Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc., Watertown, MA: $999,985.00

Molten salt reactors (MSRs) are a meltdown-proof type of nuclear reactor. For these reactors to be successful, we must understand how corrosion occurs at the interface between a molten salt and a containment vessel. Here, we propose to use X-rays to study corrosion in a molten salt at high temperatures.

Breakthrough Photo-thermal Modulation-based IR Microscope for Sub-micron Characterization of Cellular Metabolism and Chemical Processes within Cells

Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp, Santa Barbara, CA: $1,500,000.00

This project will develop a new microscope based on infrared spectroscopy that can perform chemical analysis on a length scale ten times smaller than current instruments. This microscope will provide the ability to measure and map the distribution of chemicals for critical applications in materials and life sciences and bioenergy.

3A Expanding Access to Electronic Property Modeling in Scintillator Crystal Growth and Development

Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc., Watertown, MA: $1,499,757.00

RMD will develop a computational platform that aims to speed the manufacture of radiation detection materials, vital to our nations’ security and providing benefits to science and health sectors also.

Developing New “Non-stick” Nozzles with High Temperature Tolerance

VRC Metal Systems, LLC, Rapid City, SD: $999,863.00

Cold Spray will be used to put solid rust-proof metal onto nuclear power plant components to protect them from corrosion. Small nuclear reactors will sustainably help meet future electricity demand, and Cold Spray will help these be built inexpensively and safely.

Interactive Visualization of Multi-Terabyte Datasets on Commodity Hardware

ViQi Inc., Santa Barbara, CA: $1,048,788.00

This project democratizes advanced analysis and visualization of very large scientific image datasets. Scientists and students utilizing common web-browsers will be able to evaluate, manipulate, and collaborate over these datasets. This in turn will foster learning and new scientific discoveries.

Very High Efficiency X-ray FEL Oscillator

Radiabeam Technologies, LLC, Santa Monica, CA: $999,551.00

This project will develop an extremely bright, tunable and directional source of light in support of the US national scientific infrastructure. It will also facilitate the development of high fidelity directed energy systems with tunable output for industrial and defense applications.

Atomic Force Microscope Active Optical Probe for Single-Molecule Imaging and Time-Resolved Optical Spectroscopy

Actoprobe LLC, Albuquerque, NM: $1,000,000.00

Though technical advances in Atomic Force Microscopy have enabled scientists to analyze complex information at the molecular scale, current technology acquires information about mechanical, not chemical/optical properties. This project will develop an innovative class of atomic force microscopy probes that will enable scientists to acquire nanoscale information about mechanical/optical/chemical properties.

Tip-based Femtosecond Multiphoton Spectroscopy with Radiative Heating

Laser Prismatic, San Jose, CA: $999,999.00

The understanding of materials in their molecular and atomic processes remains a grand challenge in science and technology. This project will develop a novel nanoscale, in-situ, imaging and spectroscopic characterization instrument that operate in extreme temperatures, based on high-resolution optical microscope that goes beyond the traditional resolution limit.

Optimization of Focusing Systems for Ultrafast Electron Microscopy

Radiabeam Technologies, LLC., Santa Monica, CA: $999,849.00

The project will develop a magnet-based, high-resolution lens array for ultrafast electron microscopy, for biology, chemistry, and condensed matter studies.

High Power Fiber Laser System for Polarization of 3He Gas

Raytum Photonics LLC, Sterling, VA: $999,997.00

Highly polarized 3He gas is an extremely important neutron target and filter for many nuclear physics programs conducted in DOE national labs. This SBIR proposal is to make the production of polarized 3He more effective and reduce the overall cost.

Extreme Temperature Sample Environment for Materials Research using Neutron Scattering

Materials Development, Inc., Arlington Heights, IL: $1,049,827.00

Advanced materials research using neutrons is critical in making technological advances in “smart materials” for aircraft, high capacity data storage, energy, and security technologies. This project will have a strong impact on US capabilities in advanced materials, energy technology and manufacturing competitiveness.

Dissimilar Metal Bonding of Corrosion-Resistant Cladding to Structural Materials in Next-Generation Nuclear Reactors

Mainstream Engineering Corporation, Rockledge, FL: $999,546.00

Clad nuclear reactor structural materials with a corrosion- resistant layer. This will overcome material hurdles associated with next-generation nuclear reactors and provide clean, sustainable energy security.

Hybrid AM/SM of Complex Bimetallic Structure

PolarOnyx, Inc., San Jose, CA: $999,928.00

An ultrafast pulsed fiber laser 3D printing technique will be developed for bimetallic structure manufacturing. It will enable a new and cost effective process for high temperature nuclear reactors.

Profiling Airborne Microwave Radiometer for Atmospheric and Cloud Research

Boulder Environmental Sciences & Technology, LLC, Boulder, CO: $1,050,000.00

A lightweight, low power, airborne microwave radiometer for clouds and atmosphericobservations from an unmanned aerial system is being developed. This uniquely capable sensorwill capitalize on the increasing utility of unmanned aerial platforms for scientific missions. It willmake observations more economical, timely, and useful for a wide community.

Compact, High Performance, Drone-mounted Spectral Imaging System for Ecosystem Carbon-Cycle

Spectral Sciences, Inc., Burlington MA: $1,050,000.00

A lightweight, spectral-imaging sensor integrated into a small drone multicopter will produce high-resolution maps of plant health for ecosystem research and precision agriculture. Researchers can map ecological status and change at the forest level, while farmers can control fertilizer and water based on the requirements of individual plants.

A Microfluidic Ice Nucleating Particle Counter for Continuous Measurements from Small Aerial Platforms

Handix Scientific LLC, Boulder CO: $1,549,482.00

Unmanned aerial platforms provide an exciting approach for studying the atmosphere, but lack small, lightweight instruments. This project will develop and test a new instrument that can be flown on unmanned platforms to measure ice cloud forming particles.

The median Phase II award is $1,000,000 for a period of two years. Additional information on the DOE SBIR and STTR programs is available at the SBIR/STTR Programs Office: http://science.energy.gov/sbir/.

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