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Eleven industry-university collaborations receive funding from Washington Technology Center

For Immediate Release: July 15, 2002

Seattle - Washington Technology Center (WTC) awarded $930,000 in June 2002 to university researchers teamed with eleven Washington-based companies through WTC's Research and Technology Development (RTD) program.

The companies, located in areas across the state, are working with researchers from either Washington State University or the University of Washington.

Caldus Semiconductor, Richland
Researcher: M. Grant Norton, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Caldus Semiconductor develops silicon carbide-based semiconductor packages for high temperature sensors that can be used in harsh environments, such as those found in fuel cells and the catalytic reformer. The recent move of fuel cells into the mainstream of energy generation provides huge opportunities and requirements for the company's robust sensor technology. They will collaborate with M. Grant Norton and Hussein M. Zbib of WSU to study interface structures formed during processing as well as to develop a model of the package design that will be used as a predictive tool for package performance and to shorten development time. Dr. Norton has extensive experience in the use of electron microscopy for interface characterization. Dr. Zbib's expertise is in the areas of solid mechanics, plasticity, dislocations and applications to manufacturing processes.

General Dynamics Space Propulsion Systems, Redmond
Researcher: Todd A. Anderson, UW Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
General Dynamics Space Propulsion Systems provides on-board propulsion for spacecraft using a range of technologies from conventional chemical engines to advanced electric propulsion systems that accelerate electrically charged plasmas. At the heart of the latest propulsion technology, the Hall thruster, are high performance electromagnets that accelerate ionized xenon gas to speeds up to 20 km/s. The company is teaming with Todd Anderson of the UW to produce innovative, high temperature, compact, lightweight electromagnetic assemblies. Dr. Anderson has expertise in embedded sensors and multifunctional structures and especially materials. The team believes that by combining the right conductor and insulator materials with an unusual coil topology, the mass of these critical assemblies can be cut in half, while providing high reliability in severe thermal, vibration and radiation environments.

GenPrime, Spokane
Researcher: Dong-Hyun Kang, WSU Dept. of Food Sciences and Human Nutrition
GenPrime specializes in developing microbial measurement kits for product quality management in the beer, dairy, and other food industries. Dong-Hyun Kang of WSU is collaborating with GenPrime to develop a method to test for coliforms, or bacteria that make humans sick, in half the time of current methods for a fraction of the cost. Dr. Kang is a food safety specialist with expertise in detection of food-borne pathogens.

MCD Technologies, Tacoma
Researcher: Juming Tang, WSU Dept. of Biological Systems Engineering
MCD Technologies manufactures drying equipment for use in the food processing, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, chemical, and waste treatment industries using Refractance Window™ technology to gently, efficiently, and cost-effectively remove moisture from delicate products. MCD Technologies is collaborating with Juming Tang of WSU to evaluate the aroma, color, flavor, and nutrient level of this proprietary heat transfer technology adapted to food evaporation. Dr. Tang has expertise in food drying technologies, microwave heating, and heat and mass transfer simulation in food processing operations.

Mimic Technologies, Seattle
Researcher: George M. Turkiyyah, UW Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mimic Technologies is developing computer simulation hardware and software that will allow medical personnel to practice their surgical skills before trying them on people. This new technology provides feedback on internal stress and strain as simulated tissue is manipulated, which allows surgical tasks to be performed and evaluated in real time. Mimic has teamed with George Turkiyyah of the UW and the UW Human Interface Technology (HIT) Laboratory to develop a realistic, real-time suturing simulator. A central feature of this technology is its ability to allow the doctor in training to feel the procedure and see surgical tools interacting with simulated tissue via a new breed of human-computer interaction hardware that brings the sense of touch to the desktop experience. Dr. Turkiyyah is an expert in finite element modeling, scientific computing, and geometric modeling.

Recycled Plastics Marketing, Redmond
Researcher: Vipin Kumar, UW Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Once thought of as waste, recycled milk and orange juice jugs have found a new use as environmentally-friendly plastic lumber. Recycled Plastics Marketing (RPM) manufactures plastic lumber products in its Tacoma production plant from 100% recycled High-Density Polyethylene plastic, the same material used for many beverage containers. RPM has teamed with Vipin Kumar of the UW to increase its production rate with more efficient heat extraction and a reduction in batch-to-batch variation. Dr. Kumar's research interests include polymer processing and manufacturing with extensive work in microcellular plastics technology.

Sienna Technologies, Woodinville
Researcher: Yasuo Kuga, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering
Sienna Technologies manufactures high performance aluminum nitride components for demanding thermal management in electronics and microwave communications applications. Sienna Technologies and Yasuo Kuga of the UW are researching a new family of microwave communications lens materials, Functionally Graded Artificial Dielectrics (FGAD) materials and meta-materials. FGADs allow microwave lenses to be much smaller and lighter than traditional lenses by bending microwave energy throughout the entire lens, rather than just at the lens surface like traditional lenses. Dr. Kuga will analytically and numerically model FGAD materials using his expertise in electromagnetics. Sienna Technologies will then fabricate FGAD samples as modeled for evaluation and testing. Dr. Kuga has expertise in electromagnetics and remote sensing.

Sonus Pharmaceuticals, Bothell
Researcher: Jin-Gang Zhang, WSU Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Sonus Pharmaceuticals develops therapeutic drugs using its drug delivery technology platform, which features a vitamin E-based oil-in-water emulsion to promote the solubility of lipophilic (fat-soluble, non-water soluble) drugs that require novel drug delivery formulations for effective delivery into the body. Encapsulating injectable cancer killing drugs in a vitamin E emulsion may lower the toxicity of the formulation, which could lead to a product that can be administered more easily to patients with fewer side effects and better efficacy. Dr. Marc Fariss of WSU has discovered a class of vitamin E derivatives that have the ability to selectively kill human tumor cells while protecting normal tissue. This project teams Drs. Fariss and Zhang of WSU with Sonus to investigate the ability of Sonus's platform as well as its vitamin E components to selectively enhance the antitumor activity of chemotherapeutic agents. Dr. Zhang has expertise in the mechanisms of vitamin E derivative-mediated cytoprotection and antitumor activity.

Syntrix Biosystems, Redmond
Researcher: William M. Atkins, UW Dept. of Medicinal Chemistry
Syntrix Biosystems has developed a microchip platform for drug discovery that avoids the coding and decoding constraints of other chips. Syntrix is collaborating with William Atkins of UW to validate the ability of Syntrix's Combi-Chip™ to screen and identify drug candidates. The project aims to use the microchip platform to identify promising cancer therapeutics by allowing large combinatorial libraries to be synthesized and screened. Dr. Atkins is an expert in the enzymology of glutathione-S-transferases, the promising cancer therapeutic targets that are the focus of the project.

Systematix Controls, Tukwila
Researcher: Richard R. Gustafson, UW College of Forest Resources
Systematix Controls manufactures pulp and paper process control systems. The company is collaborating with Richard Gustafson, UW professor of Paper Science and Engineering, to further develop an optical sensor for measuring lignin content of individual wood fibers. Lignin is the natural glue that holds cellulose fibers together in wood and must be removed when making paper and pulp products. The sensor, originally developed with support from UW's Center for Process Analytical Chemistry, the U.S. Dept. of Energy, and pulp and paper companies, will allow paper and pulp mills to produce a more uniform product. Dr. Gustafson's expertise is in the area sensors and control of pulp and paper systems, recently focusing on single fiber analysis techniques.

VisionGate, Gig Harbor
Researcher: Eric J. Seibel, UW Human Interface Technology Lab
VisionGate is developing a new high throughput cell analysis platform that automatically performs 3-dimensional analysis of biological cells. VisionGate has teamed with Eric Seibel of UW to further develop this new technology capable of screening for early detection of lung cancer. The technology uses Flow Optical Tomography (FOT) to take a series of snapshots of cells and recombine them as a 3-dimensional image showing subtle changes in the cells that may be associated with cancer. The project aims to develop an optical bench prototype and assess the photonics issues leading to clearly focused images with adequate brightness. Dr. Seibel, a bioengineer, has expertise in custom fiberoptic point sources and integration into medical imaging systems.

Related WTC links:

  • RTD Grants Program

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  • SBIR/STTR Conference -- May 2002

    Nearly 140 people attended the first WaFAST Pacific Northwest Regional SBIR Conference in Spokane in May 2002, gathering the latest information from federal funding agencies and proposal writing consultants for the upcoming rounds of solicitation deadlines. In addition to full day sessions on technical and cost proposal writing, conference participants were able to schedule one-on-one time with federal agency program managers to discuss their research needs and fit with the agency interests.

    Related WTC links:

  • SBIR Program

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  • SPIE executive director to speak at WTC's October 8, 2002 photonics workshop

    Don't miss "Lighting the Way," WTC's second workshop on photonics systems -- spanning optoelectronic materials, devices and systems!

    The market may be sluggish for the photonics industry, but that hasn't stopped the technical progress at companies and universities. The workshop will feature a keynote address by Eugene Arthurs, executive director of SPIE, one of the most widely known organizations representing the photonics community.

    Axel Scherer from CalTech, nationally recognized professor and researcher, will describe the development, fabrication, and applications for photonic bandgap structures. Speaking on the investment/business side of the photonics industry will be George Ungras, Adams Capital Management and David Tuckerman, CMEA Ventures. In addition, Larry Dalton will discuss the University of Washington's new NSF-funded Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research / Science and Technology Center.

    The workshop will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bellevue on Tuesday, October 8, 2002. Join us to meet with other professionals for an update on the research and business issues that impact the photonics community.

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    Microfabrication Laboratory news

    A significant milestone was reached in WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory in May 2002: the Simplex autodialer was activated to provide 24/7 notification to lab staff in the event of a potentially hazardous situation. This heightened level of monitoring, coupled with the lab's HAZMAT response team, gives lab users the assurance that they are working in a protected, safe environment.

    With the removal of the old and infrequently used photo-reduction camera and stepper, the Mask Making Room has been converted into a Metrology Room. Sensitive, specialized measurement and characterization equipment is being consolidated in this area to isolate them from the mainstream process flow and activity in other areas of the lab.

    In line with the growth of the Lab, an updated lab brochure has been completed and is available for distribution. Stressing capabilities, the new brochure incorporates the process and equipment additions that have been made in the past 5 years.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • WTC welcomes new board members

    Katherine R. Tuttle joined the Washington Technology Center Board in March 2002. For the past seven years, Katherine has served as the director of research at the Heart Institute of Spokane. She also has been an attending physician at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane since 1991, and at other hospitals in San Antonio, Texas from 1988-91.

    Craig J. Hogan, vice provost for research at the University of Washington, came on board in June 2002. Prior to his May position appointment, he served as Divisional Dean of Science in UW's College of Arts and Sciences. He has been a professor of astronomy and physics at the UW since 1990, the serving as chair of astronomy from 1995 2001. Craig's main research interest is astrophysical cosmology.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC's current board of directors

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