SBIR Phase II: ERC-Small Business: Micromachined Thermal Probes for Localized Nano-Manufacturing

Project Details


NSF invites funding requests from current Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase II grantees to perform collaborative research with an Engineering Research Center (ERC). The goals of this collaborative effort are to provide a mutually beneficial research and commercialization platform where SBIR/STTR Phase II grantees can perform collaborative research with ERC faculty, researchers, and graduate students, to strengthen the capacity of their firms, and/or speed the transition of ERC advances to the marketplace.

In accordance with the NSF solicitation NSF 10-617, PICOCAL, Inc has submitted a request for additional funding. The sub-awardee identified in the request is the University of Michigan. This proposal/request meets the requirements of the solicitation NSF 10-023.

The proposed collaboration leverages and extends the work from PICOCALs Phase II (SBIR Phase II Award Id: 0822810) and the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Wireless Integrated Microsystems grants. PICOCAL would be leveraging technology developed during its NSF SBIR Phase II in order to grow individual nanostructures while controlling their dimensions and orientation. During its Phase II effort, a vacuum scanning system was developed to provide nanometer positioning accuracy and accommodate specialized scanning thermal probes and probe arrays. From the ERC's side, the on-going research in the AMPP (advanced materials, processes, and packaging) thrust is relevant to the manufacturing of probes that can operate at elevated temperatures and in chemically reactive environments.

This proposal provides an opportunity for the small business (PICOCAL) and the ERC (WIMS) to work synergistically together to develop a manufacturing technology for carbon nanotubes (CNT) that would have control over location, size, shape, and orientation not currently possible by other commercial methods. The SBIR Phase II to PICOCAL developed a specialized vacuum scanning system to allow nanometer accuracy when using scanning thermal probes and probe arrays. The ERC provides advanced materials expertise and additional expertise in scanning probes that will be important to the extension of the Phase II technology. The proposed collaboration will extend the Phase II technologies and translate this technology into the marketplace more rapidly.

The proposed work, if successful, can have broad applications across a number of fields, including health care, energy systems, and environmental monitoring. The use of nanoprobes to control the growth and orientation of nanostructures can have a tremendous effect on nanotechnology and is something that will be synergistic with research now being pursued in the WIMS Engineering Research Center. The expected deliverables from this work include an improved probe tip, and improved probe wear. The proposed activity also helps broaden the participation underrepresented groups.

Effective start/end date1/12/1130/11/13


  • National Science Foundation: $199,920.00


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