Announcing the 2018 Singh Center for Nanotechnology Seed Grant Winners

The Singh Center for Nanotechnology announces the recipients of the 2018 Seed Grant Competition.  The grants will provide a total of $17,500 in laboratory and equipment time funding for ten startup and entry-level businesses.

“We were quite impressed with the level of submissions this year,” said Eric Johnston, Manager of the Soft Lithography Laboratory, Singh Center for Nanotechnology. “Submissions for the first two years were pretty local, but this year we’ve had entries from several states and we’re very excited that the word of this opportunity is spreading for startups and entrepreneurs to use our facilities.

“These grants are vital to young companies with limited resources,” said Pat Watson, Director of User Programs, Singh Center for Nanotechnology.  “Most startups just don’t have the financial support to access the type of next generation tools and equipment we provide to industry, so the seed grant program gives them the ability to use the same advanced equipment that our researchers and corporations are using to develop product and materials.” Grant recipients will have up to one year to use the Singh Center facilities.

The following recipients have been awarded grants:

Pouya DianatNanoGrass Solar LLC – Opto-plasmonic Photodetectors for Low-Cost Optical Communications Beyond 100Gb/s – This project produces high-speed photodetectors in an Indium-Phosphide material system that i) operates in tele/data communication rates beyond 200Gbit/sec, and ii) are compatible with Silicon Photonics (SP) technology through heterogeneous integration with silicon. This product solves a bottleneck in high-speed SP Integrated Circuits that use Germanium-based photodetectors as optical receivers.

Jay Morreale – P-Brane – The purpose of this project is to demonstrate a graphene-based frequency source that will emit electromagnetic radiation. Wafer size graphene FET are to be fabricated in four iterations or batches that increase the performance with the goal of reach 10 to 100 GHz output frequencies.

Katie Van Aken, Adam Fontecchio – Dragon Spectral – In this project, we are looking to integrate our tunable thin film optical filters onto a CMOS detector for future applications in miniature cameras. If possible, our technology could be used to integrate hyperspectral imaging into mobile devices for application in allergen detection, drone integration, food quality control, etc.

Theresa Dankovich – Folia Water – SEM imaging of our metal nanoparticle papers of our current product, Folia Filters, and future products under development is necessary for assessing quality in our product development process. In particular, SEM allows us to determine aggregation/nanoparticle morphology and substrate porosity. This nano-material characterization is important for quality control and materials performance purposes as well as future product design improvements for other materials applications, such as medical uses or food packaging.

Brandon Kao, Rui Jing Jiang, Adarsh Battu – VisiPlate – We are creating a revolutionary treatment for the second-leading cause of blindness in the world: glaucoma. VisiPlate, a nanoscale ocular implant, is transforming the industry paradigm for glaucoma treatment. The Singh Seed Grant would be tremendous in helping our team continue the development of this technology after graduation.

Tanya GarzaChromation – The ability to pattern an opaque, light-absorbing layer at the wafer scale is important for manufacturing of Chromation’s spectrometers. The goal of this project is to develop a simple process to pattern adhesive-backed black polyimide on a fused silica while maintaining the transparency of the cleared fused silica regions.

Neha Saxena, Thais Sielecki – PolyAurum LLC – PolyAurum’s novel gold-polymer nanoparticles have shown increased tumor cell death, decreased tumor size, and increased survival rates in animal tumor models. Here, we aim to characterize our particles before and after scale-up to determine if the use of a Precision Nanosystems NanoAssemblr is viable for future, pre-clinical studies.

Sumedh Surwade, Kalpana Madgula – SAS Nanotechnologies LLC – We propose to develop smart, self-healing, polymer based microcapsules encapsulated with corrosion inhibitor as anticorrosive additives in coatings. At the onset of corrosion, these microcapsule additives in coating will get activated and release the corrosion inhibitor at the corroding site preventing the metal from corrosion.

Zhao Li, Ping Wang – Paper-Based HIV POC Device – Proposed POCT technology develops a high-sensitivity and multiplexed electrochemical immunoassay on a paperbased microfluidic device, which can not only provide quantitative results for both HIV-1 and HIV-2 in ~20 minutes, but also offer the potential to early detect HIV at 2 weeks after infection.