STTR Phase I: Development and Manufacture of Multi-Functional Materials and Structures

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Award Id:
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Small Business Information
3014 NE 21st Way, Gainesville, FL, 32609
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Young Noh
(352) 378-6620
Business Contact:
Young Noh
(352) 378-6620
Research Institution:
University of Florida
Roslyn S Heath
P.O. Box 103622
Gainesville, FL, 32610 3622
(352) 273-8030
Nonprofit college or university
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase 1 project will research and develop continuous micro stereo lithography as an enabling manufacturing platform of biocompatible, multifunctional material structures and systems such as plastic fiber microarray plates. These plates will have important advantages over existing glass fiber microarray plates: the platform of choice for biochips, microtiter plates, micro and picowell plates, microfluidic arrays and microcapillary arrays. The glass fibers have been extensively used to perform optical readout of fluorescence signals indicative of specific biochemical reactions. Use of special polymers will give the plastic fibers numerical apertures of up to unity, which has never been reached previously and will give the highest possible sensitivity. Because of the use of lithography, the plastic optical fiber arrays will have 0.1 micron position alignment compared to a few microns for glass fibers. This major difference in alignment accuracy will be increasingly important as array densities increase and size of fluorescent light sources decrease. The manufacturing cost of plastic fiber array plates are shown to be an order of magnitude less than for glass microarrays. Different types of microarray plates will be fabricated, characterized and tested for multifunctional biological assays and ultrasound imaging for biometric identification. Principal societal benefits from this project will be improvements in health care and national security. Improved biotechnologies will include: gene sequencing, proteomics, disease diagnostics, drug discovery and agriculture. These fields can benefit from the improved accuracy and lower cost microarray technology. Investments at the University of Florida in state of the art lithography and molecular biology equipment will be leveraged by using these facilities and collaborating with expert Faculty and students. The first commercial microarray products resulting from this project will be used in existing gene sequencing equipment and medical diagnostic arrays. The annual sales for glass microarray products in these market segments are $30M and growing at 25% per year. There will be a total $20M market in plastic fiber microarray plates for the ultrasound biometric market and Night Vision market. Nanoptics, Inc. has successfully commercialized previous SBIR/STTR technology and is the largest US producer of plastic optical fiber. These fibers are used in aiming devices on archery bows, hand guns and rifles employed by security forces, Israeli Defense Forces and the US Army. Nanoptics is also the leading global supplier of specialty clear plastic optical fiber used in medical devices, such as eye surgery. Annual revenue exceeds $1M.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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