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Washington Technology Center gathers photonics professionals for workshop

For Immediate Release: October 24, 2001

Seattle - "Photonics 2001: Wavelengths of the Future," the Washington Technology Center's fifth annual technology initiative workshop is set for Tuesday, October 30, 2001 in Bellevue.

Photonics is the set of technologies used to generate and harness light. Photonics and related technologies have strong potential for future growth. These technologies will be impacting a wide range of applications, including medical and health care diagnosis and treatment, entertainment, information storage and computing, and the ever-expanding demand for higher speed and more bandwidth for telecommunications and computer services.

The state of Washington has a growing number of companies pioneering these technologies, industries involved with image acquisition and display to optical storage and networks. Existing companies such as Boeing and Aculight will benefit from these technologies, as well as newer companies like Microvision, Lumera, and New Light Industries. Many of the technical challenges facing industry are forming the basis for research topics at the state's universities -- providing an excellent opportunity for Washington state resources to have a pivotal impact on the continued growth of this industry.

This year's inaugural photonics workshop will bring some of the field's most recognized experts to the Seattle area, setting the stage for informative and stimulating presentations and productive interactions among industry and university professionals, all sharing a common interest in advancing the technical foundation in photonics and stimulating business growth in these areas.

This year's workshop will feature:

-- Phil Anthony, president of the Amplification Products Group for JDS Uniphase and president of IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, will be the keynote speaker. His presentation is entitled, "Photonics for the Long Haul -- Innovation and Realism."
-- Rod C. Alferness, senior vice president of Lucent Bell Laboratories Optical Networking Research, is presenting a session on All Optical Networks.
-- Nasser Peyghambarian, chair of Photonics & Lasers at University of Arizona's Optical Sciences Center, will speak on "Erbium-Doped Fiber Amplifiers."
-- Presentations of current research funded by WTC's Photonics Systems Initiative.
-- An interactive session for attendees to describe current work in photonics and technical challenges. Participants are invited to bring a set of viewgraphs for a 5-minute presentation.

The workshop will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel, 300 112th Avenue S.E., Bellevue, Wash.; the registration fee is $125.

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Washington Technology Center leads consortium in winning SBA FAST award

For Immediate Release: October 8, 2001

Seattle - A consortium of eight organizations from around the state, led by Washington Technology Center, was awarded a $100,000 matching grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration under their Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. The WaFAST award is to assist Washington companies compete more successfully in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award program and to commercialize the results.

Under the WaFAST program there will be:

-- A statewide conference for companies interested in participating in SBIR.
-- Subsidized assistance in writing SBIR Phase I and Phase II proposals.
-- Regional conferences for previous SBIR awardees featuring venture capitalists and business development specialists.
-- Half-day reviews and discussions for selected companies about their business plans with leading Washington industry experts.

Program funding is for one year; however, the program could continue for as long as five years. The consortium has committed to match an additional $215,000 in support of the federal award.

Consortium participants in addition to WTC include:

-- Washington Office of Trade and Economic Development.
-- Washington Small Business Development Center.
-- Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute.
-- Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
-- Columbia River Economic Development Council.
-- Biotechnology Association of Spokane Region.
-- Washington State University Tri-Cities Business Links.
-- Alliance of Angels.

"The Federal SBIR Program is a great way for growing technology companies to advance their research and business development opportunities," said Dr. Lee Cheatham, WTC executive director. "With WaFAST, Washington companies will be better prepared to compete for this support, and to leverage SBIR funding into new products and new jobs in the state."

Related WTC links:

  • SBIR Program

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  • WTC awards new FTI project

    In addition to the Research and Technology Development (RTD) program, WTC has two programs that facilitate fast-track industry-university research collaborations. The Entrepreneur's Access (EA) and Focused Technology Initiative (FTI) programs are ideally suited to assist small businesses and startup enterprises in collaborative technology development. Both programs are available throughout the year.

    FTIs provide up to $10,000–$30,000 and are targeted for companies with under 100 employees with a project duration of 6–12 months.

    Bio~OriGyn, LLC, Spokane
    Researcher: C. Harold Mielke, WSU Health Research and Education Center
    To meet medical blood transfusion demands, there is a critical need for a continuous supply of fresh human blood platelets. However, because of inferior storage methods, much of the nation's supply of platelets is discarded every year -- at a loss to the industry of nearly $300M. Since 1994, OriGyn Technologies has specialized in cell storage and in vitro handling systems, discovering a proprietary plant sugar currently used in their infertility products. These sugars, by reducing cellular oxidative stress during handling, can be used to improve the storage of blood products. In the FTI project funded by WTC, Bio~OriGyn is working with Dr. Mielke to develop a novel liquid storage system for banking fresh human platelets that not only prolongs platelet viability, but also improves functional capacity following collection and storage. Dr. Mielke is an expert on blood platelets and is the founder and Editor Emeritus of the Journal of Clinical Apheresis, a journal specializing in blood banking, blood cell separations and blood cell storage.

    Related WTC links:

  • Bio~OriGyn is a WTC client
  • RTD Grant Program

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  • WTC's year in review: highlights of the 2000-2001 annual report

    Our role at WTC is to foster collaborative efforts among Washington companies and the state's institutions of higher education leading to economic growth. We continued to enhance those relationships in a variety of ways.

    WTC's investments show results
    Our annual survey of companies and university partners showed a combined investment after WTC's involvement, of over $44.73 million -- including over $27 million in private sector funding into Washington small businesses in the last year. Once again we exceeded our 11:1 long-term leverage ratio -- this year, for every one dollar of state WTC monies invested in projects, the companies and researchers were able to raise an additional $12 dollars in outside funding for their work. At the same time, over 85 percent of WTC's work was with companies of under 100 employees -- a sector in need of both technical and financial help to support their growth opportunities.

    Other report highlights:

    -- Our research projects portfolio made a major shift into biotechnology -- an increase of 10 percent, representing over 27 percent of our portfolio of funded projects -- and replacing microelectronics as the number one funded category.
    -- Our 4th annual MEMS conference attracted over 100 people, confirming the impact of our Initiative effort in promoting this groundbreaking technology in Washington.
    -- We also launched a new Photonics Systems Initiative with sever initial projects.
    -- In our Microfabrication Laboratory, we installed a new $500,000 Deep Reactive Ion Etching machine that is now available to industry and university users across a variety of fields.
    -- We increased our regional presence by opening a second regional partnership with the Columbia River Economic Development Council in Vancouver.
    -- We also decreased our internal costs from 34 percent of our overall budget to 29 percent of our overall budget, reflecting tighter times ahead.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC 2001 annual report

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory news

    Silicon nitride process available on LPCVD

    WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory is now offering users a new process for thin film deposition of dielectric material. A silicon nitride (Si3N4) process has been brought up on the lab's Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD) system. The LPCVD tool reacts process gases within a tube furnace to coat substrates with films of the desired composition and thickness.

    The silicon nitride process uses dichlorosilane and ammonia gases as sources for the silicon and nitrogen, respectively. In addition to offering a conventional Si3N4 (i.e., stoichiometric) process, the new system is capable of providing low stress silicon nitride films by adjusting the ratio of the process gases at temperatures near 800 C. Films with stress less than 600 megaPascals can be produced, which are useful for MEMS structures where flatness after processing is required.

    The silicon nitride process is the second capability to be added at the Microfab Lab on the LPCVD tool. Earlier this year, a low temperature oxide (LTO) process was commissioned to provide amorphous dielectric thin films of silicon oxide at temperatures in the range of 425 C.

    As with the other capabilities in the lab, training on the LPCVD system is available to interested users.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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