Topic 1¾Physics

253. Enhanced SQUID Electronics and Sensors Adapted for Use with Cryogenic Detectors-Phase II
Quantum Magnetics, Inc.
7740 Kenamar Ct.
San Diego, CA 92121
tel: 619-566-9200; fax: 619-566-9388
Principal Investigator: Alan L. Singsaas
President: Andrew D. Hibbs
NSF Grant No. 9623957; Amount: $299,959.37

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the need for improvements in the readout electronics for cryogenic radiation and particle detectors that are being developed for diverse applications in astrophysics, particle detection, medical imaging, and materials science. Many of these devices use the superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) for reading out the signal from the detector. The extreme sensitivity of SQUIDs to small changes in current, voltage, or magnetic flux is essential for reaching the detection and resolution limits of the new detectors. Existing SQUID systems are often ineffectual or of limited usefulness in exploiting the full potential of these detectors due to limitations of bandwidth and slew rate, which make high count rate detection and pulse shape determination difficult or impossible. Recent work on high speed SQUID electronics and improved sensors has shown that performance can be greatly improved not only in frequency response and slew rate, but also in stability, reliability, and noise level. This will be a significant advance for cryogenic radiation and particle detector readout. The improvements will also aid in enabling SQUID technology to emerge from the laboratory for other industrial, military, and field-use applications.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The technology developed here will significantly advance the use of dc SQUID systems by providing the capability for measurements over a much wider range of frequencies, as well as in harsh environments where measurements have been difficult or impossible to perform. Commercial applications include enhancement of eddy current and biomedical instruments, ground-based or airborne magnetic anomaly detection, and airborne gravity gradiometers.

254. Accelerating-Focusing Structures for Industrial Electron Accelerators
World Physics Technologies, Inc.
1105 Highland Cir.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
tel: 540-953-2249; fax: 540-953-2249
e-mail: wptinc@usit.net
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicolay P. Sobenin
President: Dr. W. Peter Trower
NSF Grant No. 9704039; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will construct and test an accelerating-focusing Rectangular Cavity Biperiodic Structure (RCBS) to be used in an electron Race Track Microtron (RTM). Circular cross-section cavities produce weak radial focusing of relativistic electrons. In rectangular cross-section cavities, the balance between transverse electric and magnetic forces acting on these electrons is changed so that there is substantially increased focusing in one transverse direction and weak defocusing in the other. In Phase I the rectangular cavity focusing strengths were further increased by replacing circular beam holes with rectangular beam slots. Methods were also developed to optimize these rectangular accelerating-focusing structures by varying both the cavity and beam aperture dimensions, thus allowing a beam to be tailored to a specific application. Introducing an RCBS into an RTM allowed the so-called 1st orbit problem to be elegantly solved and assisted in obtaining appropriate beam optics, while the impact of space charge effects was negligible. Thus, in Phase II the RCBS design parameters will be optimized for a compact 70 MeV prototype RTM. This structure will be manufactured and tuned, its electrodynamic characteristics will be measured, and then it will be subjected to a full range of field tests.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Commercial applications of RCBS, in addition to those in (1) RTMs, include (2) high-power Continuous Wave Electron Linacs (CWEL), (3) high charge-per-bunch Free Electron Laser (FEL) drivers, and (4) electron-positron linear colliders.

Topic 2¾Chemical Synthesis

255. Second-Generation Lead CVD Precursors for PbTi03
Advanced Technology Materials, Inc.
7 Commerce Dr.
Danbury, CT 06810
tel: 203-794-1100; fax: 203-830-4116
e-mail: tbaum@atmi.com
Principal Investigator: Tom Baum
President: Eugene Banucci
NSF Grant No. 9509175; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will focus on optimizing the physical properties of lead complexes identified in Phase I as safer, more volatile precursors for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of ferroelectric materials. The program will demonstrate successful deposition of device quality PZT films, and large-scale synthetic methods will be developed. In addition, ATMI will collaborate with a major ferroelectric IC manufacturer to integrate the source reagents and ATMI’s liquid delivery system into a commercial process. This will lead in Phase III to the introduction of a lucrative commercial manufacturing technology for CVD of lead-based ferroelectrics.

Chemical vapor deposition is the most promising manufacturing method for lead-based ferroelectrics such as lead titanate and lead zirconate titanate (PZT), which can be applied in a wide variety of next-generation electronic devices, including nonvolatile memories, electro-optic spatial light modulators, piezoelectric actuators, and pyroelectric infrared detectors. The use of CVD in a manufacturing environment is currently limited by the inadequacy of available Pb source reagents that display low volatility or high toxicity. In the proposed Phase II program, Advanced Technology Materials will produce new lead precursors specifically designed to meet high purity film growth and current safety requirements.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Chemical vapor deposition of lead-based ferroelectrics is desirable for numerous electronic devices. Synthesis of safer, optimized lead precursors will have an immediate impact on the market for ferroelectric materials. In addition, there is growing interest worldwide for direct liquid injection systems and the solution chemistries associated with this methodology.

256. Novel Chemical Methods for Labeling Small Peptides
Assay Designs, Inc.
1327 Jones Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
tel: 734-668-6113; fax: 734-668-2793
Principal Investigator: Russell C. Hart
President: Russell C. Hart
NSF Grant No. 9531248; Amount: $296,655.24

This Small Business Innovative Research Phase II project will further develop ways to replace radioactivity for small peptide immunoassays using chemiluminescence detection methods. The concentration of small peptides in biological samples is normally measured using bioassays or by radioimmunoassay methods. Bioassays tend to be inaccurate and cumbersome to perform, while radioimmunoassays use 125I labeled peptides as a detection method. The cost, handling, environmental, stability, and sensitivity concerns of using 125I for these assays make alternative detection systems attractive.

In Phase I we demonstrated the chemiluminescence can be applied to measure a small peptide, vasopressin, with speed and sensitivity. We managed to make stable conjugates of vasopressin that demonstrated increased speed and sensitivity. The use of peptide analogs for raising antisera and for conjugation to chemiluminescent detection systems needs to be further tested. We were able, using analogs of vasopressin, to synthesize conjugates that have better binding and sensitivity in the assay. We wish to explore the possibility of raising antisera to immunogens using these and similar peptide analogs. We believe that the use of these analogs, where the conjugation position has been chosen to be chemically isolated from the native peptide, may yield antisera with better specificity and reactivity.

Assay Designs is a company with a proven track record of developing, marketing, and selling novel immunoassay test kits using chemiluminescence. We advertise in national scientific magazines on a regular basis and have distributors in Japan, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The application of chemiluminescence technology to the measurement of analytes where the only sensitive, reproducible methods are radioactive has tremendous potential. The concerns with the use and disposal of 125I make chemiluminescence the method that can replace this RIA system and improve the sensitivity of these assays. One RIA manufacturer has 139 different kits selling for up to $450 per kit. The market for nonradioactive kits with the advantages of speed and sensitivity is substantial.

257. High-Definition Raman Imaging Microscope
Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc.
21 Erie St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
tel: 617-491-2627; fax: 617-864-3730
e-mail: pjmiller@world.std.com
Principal Investigator: Peter J. Miller
President: Peter V. Foukal
NSF Grant No. 9703950; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will build on the successful Raman imaging instrument demonstrated in Phase I, and produce second-generation instruments and software that fully exploit the potential of this new technique. In Phase I, chemical species were imaged using a narrowband liquid crystal tunable filter (CTF) and CCD camera integrated into a Raman microscope. Diffraction-limited spatial images were obtained with complete (and spatially independent) Raman spectra at each pixel in the image, yielding an image cube with two spatial axes and one spectral axis. The novel LCTF approach renders high-definition Raman imaging feasible for the first time, and brings the power and specificity inherent in Raman spectral analysis to the imaging of chemical species.

In Phase II, key improvements will be made: transmission will be doubled (or more) based on a high-efficiency design identified in Phase I, and the long-wavelength limit will be extended from the present 700 nm to 1050 nm. Such an LCTF appears to offer near-revolutionary benefits in certain applications including semiconductor analysis, biomedical imaging, and pharmaceutical research. Performance in these areas will be assessed experimentally in Phase II. Finally, data analysis methods will be developed to extract chemical species information from the large, spatially resolved datasets involved.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Commercial sales of LCTF Raman imaging systems are estimated at $21 million over the next five years in research, semiconductor, diamond, pharmaceutical, and power generation industries.

Topic 3¾Materials Research

258. Coupled HPLC/FTIR Instrumentation for the Characterization of Polymers
Lab Connections, Inc.
201 Forest St..
Marlborough, MA 01752
tel: 508-481-9764; fax: 508-481-9764
Principal Investigator: James L. Dwyer
President: James L. Dwyer
NSF Grant No. 9501303; Amount: $149,765

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will further improve hyphenated LC/IR technology for use in polymer characterization. This methodology provides a marked advance over conventional chromatography/IR spectroscopy analytic methods.

Phase I research successfully developed a prototype of value to the research chemist for a wide variety of polymer applications. The Phase II research plan is divided into four parts: (1) define limits of the system, including quantitative analysis, and examination of artifacts; (2) expand the list of applications: test additional copolymer systems, as well as blends and alloys; (3) modify system design to provide automated multi-sample analysis; and (4) develop three-dimensional/IR software to link with commercial chromatography software packages and to provide additional modes of data analysis.

The combined capacity of the hardware/software represents a quantum advance in capability for polymer characterization, which will result in optimization of polymer syntheses and formulation. It is anticipated that the results of this study will expand the commercial market for polymer chemists working on a wide range of applications. The design modifications will expand the current market for the LT-Transform from the research chemist to manufacturing and quality control.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: For virtually all classes of polymers: fundamental characterization, product deformulation, additives identification, stability, aging analysis, formulation optimization.

259. Synthesis and Characterization of High Purity ZnGeP2 INRAD, Inc.
181 Legrand Ave.
Northvale, NJ 07647
tel: 201-767-1910; fax: 201-767-9644
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ilya Tsveybak
President: Dr. Warren Ruderman
NSF Grant No. 9501330; Amount: $299,967

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the need for a process to grow large ZnGeP2 single crystals of high optical quality and low absorption in the 1 to 3 micron optical region, at low cost. The research objectives are as follows: (1) measuring phase equilibria in the Zn-Ge-P system; (2) extending our understanding of the defect structures in ZnGeP2 single crystals; (3) determining the role of important impurities; (4) developing a new synthesis and crystal growth process; (5) annealing studies of grown ZnGeP2 crystals to decrease optical absorption; and (6) extensive characterization of grown ZnGeP2 crystals.

This Phase II project is expected to demonstrate lower cost growth of large ZnGeP2 crystals having improved optical transmission and crystal quality through a better understanding of the ternary Zn-Ge-P system.

ZnGeP2 are needed for the efficient generation of tunable laser radiation from 2.5 to 12 microns. Applications include remote sensing of contaminants in the atmosphere, defense systems, and spectroscopy. A U.S. source of ZnGeP2 will have important worldwide markets.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: A process for the synthesis of high-purity ZnGeP2 with the correct elemental composition and high transmission at 1 to 3 microns will accelerate the development of ZnGeP2 OPOs for producing tunable 2.5 to 12 micron laser sources. Such sources will have wide applications in scientific research and environmental monitoring of the atmosphere.

260. Structure-Property Relationships for Polyquinolines
Maxdem, Inc.
140 E. Arrow Hwy.
San Dimas, CA 91773-3336
tel: 909-394-0644; fax: 909-394-0615
Principal Investigator: Virgil J. Lee, Ph.D., Research Scientist
President: Robert R. Gagne
NSF Grant No. 9505282; Amount: $299,545

A critical deficiency exists in current dielectric materials that prevents their use in the next generation of semiconductor devices. Replacing conventional inorganic dielectrics with organic polymers is one of the more promising approaches to circumventing this problem. Organic materials offer lower dielectric constants, better planarization, and improved dimensional stability, and they require fewer manufacturing steps to process than their inorganic counterparts. However, current organic polymer dielectrics such as polyimides are not suitable as interlevel dielectrics for IC applications. Thus, new organic polymers with the right combinations of properties are required.

We are proposing to continue the development of a new class of dielectrics based on polyquinolines. Polyquinolines do not have the same deficiencies that plague polyimides, and polyquinolines are ideally suited to serve as dielectric materials due in part to their inherently low dielectric constants, low moisture uptakes, and unparalleled thermal stabilities. Unfortunately, the glass transition temperatures (£280°C) of most polyquinoline materials are too low for IC applications. In Phase I we sought and achieved the preparation of a useful polyquinoline derivative with a Tg above 300°C. In this Phase II program, we are proposing to continue the development of these materials and prepare polyquinoline dielectrics with Tg‘s ³350° C. The new polymers developed in this program will be subjected to numerous evaluations to qualify them as intermetal dielectric materials. The final confirmation involves the preparation and electrical evaluations of IC test structures made from these materials.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The materials polymers that will be developed in this program are being designed to serve as intermetal dielectrics in IC applications. However, the anticipated advantages that they will offer are likely to make them attractive in many dielectric uses, including IC passivation and various insulating layers for liquid crystalline display and multichip module applications.

261. Zeolite Membranes for Gas Separation
TDA Research, Inc.
12345 West 52nd Ave.
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
tel: 303-940-2327; fax: 303-940-2301
Principal Investigator: Chuansheng Bai, Ph.D.
President: Michael Karpuk
NSF Grant No. 9505382; Amount: $300,000

The objective of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is to develop and demonstrate zeolite-based inorganic membrane modules that carry out gas separations using a molecular sieving mechanism. In Phase I, TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) developed the techniques necessary to grow dense continuous films of ZSM-5. ZSM-5 films were successfully grown on single crystal silica and alumina substrates. The films were approximately 100 mm thick and remained bonded to the substrate even when thermally cycled. ZSM-5 films were then grown on porous silica discs. Before calcination, the films were found to be gas tight. Following calcination, permeation measurements were carried out using Ar, N2, i-C4H10, and SF6 as the test gases. The membranes were adherent, defect free, and the permeance data and calculated separation factors were consistent with a molecular sieving mechanism.

In the Phase II project, TDA will develop techniques to coat Membralox alumina monoliths in order to develop efficient, cost-effective inorganic gas separation membranes. To improve the gas separation properties of the membranes, the pore sizes will be optimized using chemical means. Nineteen channel Membralox alumina modules will be modified with ZSM-5 and mordenite films, the pore sizes optimized for selected gas separations, and the performance of the module will be evaluated.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Zeolite membranes have high separation ratios, extremely high fluxes, and can operate in high-temperature and aggressive chemical environments that would destroy polymeric membranes. Therefore, zeolite-modified alumina membranes will find their first applications in gas separations under aggressive conditions. Other potential high-value applications include use as solid electrolytes in advanced batteries, as selective films in chemical sensors, and in advanced optical and electronic devices.

262. Defect Reduction in Bulk 6H-SiC
Advanced Technology Materials, Inc.
7 Commerce Dr.
Danbury, CT 06810
tel: 203-794-1100; fax: 203-794-1100
Principal Investigator: Nicholas Buchan
President: Eugene Banucci
NSF Grant No. 9506072; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the need for silicon carbide (SiC) in power semiconductor and short wavelength optoelectronics. The availability and quality of SiC substrates, the underpinning of any semiconductor technology, has not kept pace with either technical or commercial requirements. In particular, the quality of the substrates is degraded by the presence of lattice distortion and "micropipes." In the Phase I program, we showed that Synchrotron White Beam X-ray Topography (SWBXT), a nondestructive characterization technique, is highly sensitive to strain in both horizontal and vertical cross-sections of the boule and resolves screw dislocations of all sizes. In addition, we showed that the majority of the lattice distortion in the seed crystal propagates through the growing boule, but that the micropipes can be reduced, using a proprietary growth process, from 670 cm-2 to 170 cm-2.

In the Phase II program, we will expand our arsenal of characterization techniques in order to reduce the dislocation density in our boules, and to progress from 1" to 2" diameter ingots. To achieve this we will complement SWBXT with a KOH etching technique. KOH etching has a quick turnaround relative to SWBXT and is much less expensive. Although KOH has been used qualitatively on SiC, the quantitative identification of defects that exists for chemical etches of silicon and GaAs does not yet exist for SiC. The first part of this program will use SWBXT to quantitatively identify the etch pit features. We will then use all of these techniques to evaluate the value of different seed orientations, new seed preparation techniques, and n-type doping to reduce the dislocation density in the boules.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Development of a commercially viable SiC substrate, with low defect density, large area, and acceptable cost, is required to achieve significant use of SiC electronics. SiC substrates also present a potential substrate for III-V nitride optoelectronics. These technologies will proliferate into many commercial electronics and sensor markets, including automotive, industrial power, communications, and displays. These markets could grow to >$1 billion over the next decade.

263. Novel Methods to Produce Nanocrystalline Materials
Materials Modification, Inc.
2929 Eskridge Rd., P-1
Fairfax, VA 22031-2213
tel: 703-560-1371; fax: 703-560-1371
Principal Investigator: Jacob J. Stiglich, Ph.D.
President: Donald A. Tapscott
NSF Grant No. 9509020; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project allows for the design and construction of an improved, optimized machine that will produce nanoparticles of alloys and dispersed phase composites using electrodes of inexpensive normal grain-sized materials, opposed electrodes of different materials, or braided-wire electrodes. The feasibility of producing nanoparticles of iron and nickel aluminides as well as Ta, W, tungsten and W-2% ThO2 was demonstrated during Phase I by using equipment that was adapted based on pulsed reactive electrode (PRE) technology. The machine will have much greater control over the process parameters and, hence, the final size of the nanoparticles produced. A secondary objective of Phase II will be to increase production rates from g/hr to kg/day, typically 5-10 Kgs of nanopowder per 8 hr shift, thus demonstrating a prototype production capability scalable to a full-sized commercial process in Phase III. The redesigned machine will be used to produce intermetallic nanoscale powders such as a and g titanium aluminides and molybdenum di sulphide (MoSi2)- both pure and in composite form with refractory metal (e.g., Nb, Ta) dispersed phases. The addition of reactive gases to the particle production process can cause formation of carbides, nitrides, and borides, thus creating unique nanocomposites.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: A potentially large application area exists for MoSi2-based nanomaterials in the kiln/incinerator/metallurgical furnace industries. A significant retrofit business has been identified for converting from direct fired rotary kilns and calciners to indirect fired systems. Additionally, automotive manufacturers such as GM and Ford are interested in connecting rods, hollow shafts, and fan blades from TiAl.

264. High Density Plasma Vapor Deposition of Metal Oxide Thin Films
Applied Science and Technology, Inc. (ASTeX)
35 Cabot Rd.
Woburn, MA 01801-1053
tel: 617-937-5124
Principal Investigator: Lawrence Bourget
President: Dr. Richard S. Post
NSF Grant No. 9527003; Amount: $299,254

ASTeX proposes to further develop the High Density Physical Vapor Deposition (HDPVD) sputter source for the growth of useful oxide compounds such as superconducting Y1BA2CU3O7-x-. Using an electron cyclotron resonance source to sustain an oxygen plasma, large current densities can be produced in the HDPVD source that uniformly sputter a large-diameter YBCO target when independently biased at low voltage. The large current density delivered to the sputtering target will yield high deposition rates without concomitant high-energy negative ion bombardment of the deposited film, a problem typically associated with magnetron sputtering. During this two-year program, ASTeX will fully characterize the parameter space for the HDPVD source and develop a robust, reproducible deposition process for the growth of high quality YBCO films over both the front and back sides of four-inch diameter LaA103 substrates. The HDPVD source has already demonstrated high growth rates with uniform film thickness for metals deposited over five-inch diameter substrates, and we expect that this process can produce high quality YBCO films with growth rates that are at least an order of magnitude larger than that obtainable with off-axis magnetron sputtering. Once an HTS process is developed, ASTeX plans to fully commercialize the HDPVD source and expects to sell these sources to several potential customers in the HTS community.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Once developed, the HDPVD source could be used for the deposition of numerous oxide materials for a wide variety of commercial applications. For instance, one potential high-volume application for YBCO films is switchable filter banks for installation in all U.S. cellular phone repeater stations. Furthermore, the HDPVD source could be utilized for other oxide materials such as ferroelectrics for high dielectric or RAM applications, thin film phosphors for use in emerging flat panel display technology, and a variety of nonlinear optical materials for other emerging applications.

265. Quality Manufacturing of Oxide Dispersion Strengthened Silver Sheathed High-Temperature Superconductor Wire Using Internal Oxidation
American Superconductor Corp.
Two Technology Dr.
Westborough, MA 01581
tel: 508-836-4200 x256; fax: 508-836-4248
Principal Investigator: Dr. Gilbert Neal Riley, Jr.
President: Dr. Gregory Yurek
NSF Grant No. 9527558; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will result in the development of quality manufacturing procedures for the cost-effective production of high-performance oxide dispersion strengthened silver (ODS-Ag) sheathed high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. We have demonstrated in our successful Phase I research that novel ODS-Ag materials fabricated using internal oxidation of a dilute Ag-alloy precursor are viable advanced sheathing materials for HTS wire that will enhance the mechanical and electrical properties of the resulting composite. Using total quality management (TQM) principles, we will build on our Phase I achievements and develop quality manufacturing procedures associated with the qualification and processing of dilute Ag-alloys. In our approach, we will address the underlying technical and economic factors associated with raw material procurement, processing, and quality assurance. Success in our Phase II program will result in dilute Ag-alloy qualification procedures optimized for the quality manufacture of high-performance ODS-Ag sheathed HTS wire, ultimately leading to a product with an incrementally improved price-to-performance ratio.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The successful development of cost-effective ODS-Ag sheathed HTS wire will significantly accelerate and broadly enable a multiplicity of HTS bulk applications. The increased strength and robustness of the improved wire will benefit mechanically demanding applications such as power transmission cables, motors, and generators. Similarly, the improved alternating current performance of the improved wire will benefit electrically demanding applications such as transformers, inductors, and fault current limiters.

266. Monte Carlo Simulation-A Design Tool for Investment Casting
CC Technologies, Inc.
6141 Avery Road
Dublin, OH 43016-8761
tel: 614-761-1214; fax: 614-761-1633
e-mail: jaskec@cctlabs.com
Principal Investigator: Carl E. Jaske
President: Neil G. Thompson
NSF Grant No. 9531304; Amount: $300,000

The proposed Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will complete the development of a software design tool that will be used to predict the grain structure of metals and alloys in advanced materials processing. This software will be a very important tool with broad commercial and technical value. Grain structure is a primary factor in materials properties and must be carefully considered in almost all materials processing applications. The advent of easy access to advanced computing power has made it possible to use computer simulation in engineering design. Results of the Phase I project showed that it is feasible to simulate the solidification grain structure of cast materials using high-end desktop computers. Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS) with a process control parameter was successfully employed to model grain nucleation and growth in fine-grain castings that are typical of superalloy investment castings. It was found that heat flow can be incorporated directly into the model and that MCS can be used to model most of the important features of cast grain structures. The objective of the proposed Phase II research will be to develop a robust model for simulation of cast grain structure nucleation and growth during solidification.

Six research tasks are planned to achieve this objective. In the first task, the physical components of the MCS process control parameter will be defined. A numerical model for each of these components will be constructed and mathematically formated for the MCS computer code in the second task. In the third task, thermophysical constants for these numerical models will be obtained from the literature. The relative merits of using finite-difference versus finite-element methods to model heat flow will be evaluated in the fourth task. In the fifth task, the simulation results will be validated by means of comparisons with experimental data on grain structures for representative castings. Finally, a prototype software package for the MCS model will be developed in the sixth task. The prototype software will provide the base for commercializing the research results in Phase III. Successful commercialization of the software will make U.S. industry more productive and competitive in the area of advanced materials processing. A representative of the advanced materials processing industry, Howmet Corporation, will continue participating in this project.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Modeling advanced materials processing, improving the quality of investment castings, controlling grain structure during materials processing, providing new software for application to the processing of advanced materials, designing and developing materials processing.

267. Development of APC NbTi Superconductors with Optimal Overall Composites
Supercon, Inc.
830 Boston Turnpike
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
tel: 508-842-0174; fax: 508-842-0847
Principal Investigator: Terence Wong
President: Dr. James Wong
NSF Grant No. 9531315; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will investigate the possibility of varying the composition of NbTi superconductors by using a novel artificial pinning center approach. All conventionally produced NbTi superconductors use a melted alloy of a single composition, Nb47wt%Ti. Economic and technical limitations have prevented the use of other alloy compositions. The Supercon APC process uses pure Nb and Ti sheets as the starting material; thus, overall NbTi composition can be varied simply by changing the thickness of the sheets. By varying composition, one should be able to optimize composition for particular applications. For example, a conductor that is used at high fields (³7T) must have the highest critical current densities at these fields. Thus, the composition that is most optimal would be one that optimizes the upper critical field. For a conductor that is used in low field applications, such as MRI, peak fields do not exceed 5T. In addition, these applications are very sensitive to conductor cost as measured by $/KAmp · M. In this case, a higher Ti content alloy would be attractive. It has been shown that higher Ti content composites can achieve low field Jc’s higher than the conventional melted alloy. The use of higher Ti content reduces the raw material costs because the Ti replaces Nb, which is two to four times as expensive.

The technical objective of Phase II is to develop a process for producing commercial-scale billets via the Supercon APC process with compositions optimized for a particular application. Two different compositions will be chosen, one for high field use, the other for low to intermediate field use. In addition, the process to produce monofilamentary material will also be scaled from R&D to commercial-sized billets.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: This SBIR program will result in a highly economical process for the fabrication of NbTi superconductors with excellent Jc performance. Conventional NbTi alloy-derived superconductors are the principal competing product for this Supercon APC material. Optimizing filament composition, elimination of the need for NbTi alloy and conventional precipitation heat treatments, and good ductibility should provide the necessary cost advantage for APC material to compete successfully with conventional material. Among the applications that can benefit from these improvements are MRI, laboratory solenoids, magnetic ore separation, magneto-hydrodynamic propulsion, magnetic levitation, fusion and high-energy physics magnets, and nuclear magnetic resonance.

268. Real-Time Magneto-Optic Nondestructive Inspection of Tagged Composite Materials
Physical Research, Inc.
12517 131st Ct., NE
Kirkland, WA 98034
tel: 425-820-1905; fax: 425-820-2693
e-mail: pri@halcyon.com
Principal Investigator: Mr. Gerald Fitzpatrick
President: Dr. William C.L. Shih
NSF Grant No. 9531461; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will further develop a nondestructive inspection technique (NDI) for composites first explored in Phase I. Composite materials are strong, lightweight substitutes for many traditional metallic structural components. However, composites are often difficult to inspect for discontinuities due to their high electrical resistivity and/or high ultrasonic attenuation. In Phase I, Physical Research, Inc. (PRi) demonstrated the basic feasibility of using real-time magneto-optic/eddy current imaging (MOI) techniques (developed by PRi) to form images of defects in "tagged" composites. Composites tagged during manufacturing with trace quantities of magnetic particles, or constructed with electrically conducting wire screens, were successfully inspected for voids, cracks, impact damage, and discontinuities in fiber weave. The principal objectives of the Phase II research are to (1) develop an MOI system that is specially adapted to applications in composites (e.g., improved magneto-optic sensors, on-board magnetizing devices); (2) work with manufacturers of composite materials to develop tagging techniques that are compatible with industry needs; (3) complete studies designed to elucidate basic principles. The Phase II research will consist of controlled experiments (and calculations) designed to determine the optimum kinds of tagging for a particular type of defect, the minimum amount of tagging required and the effect this tagging has on the physical properties of composites. PRi anticipates that the Phase II research will be successful and that an MOI system capable of inspecting a wide range of composite materials will be the outcome.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Both the military and civilian aerospace sectors will benefit from this new NDI method. Tagging composites with magnetic particles (or wire screens) during manufacturing will result in a simple, low-cost, rapid method for MOI-based NDI of composites. This new capability for NDI of composites during manufacture, and later in service or during repairs, will lead to enhanced sales of the MOI.

269. Coulombic Pairing of Dopants as a Novel Approach to Produce High Conductivity p-type GaN
Avyd Devices
P.O. Box 7942
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
tel: 714-751-8553; fax: 714-751-3326
Principal Investigator: Honnavalli R. Vydyanath
President: Honnavalli R. Vydyanath
NSF Grant No. 9623084; Amount: $221,956

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is aimed at optimizing the approach of coulombic pairing of dopants-feasibility of which was demonstrated in Phase I-to produce high conductivity p-type GaN for blue LEDs and lasers.

Avyd Devices’ approach to create shallow acceptors entails the coulombic pairing of a double acceptor with a single donor with the resulting pair acting as a single acceptor with an energy level that is shallower than that of either the first or second level of the acceptor in its unpaired state. Specifically, GaN crystals will be simultaneously doped with an element from group I and an element from group IV or group VI and then the crystals will be annealed under well-controlled thermodynamic conditions that would promote the association of the group I element occupying gallium lattice sites, acting as a double acceptor with the group IV or group VI element occupying gallium or nitrogen lattice site acting as a single donor. The resulting pair would act as a single acceptor with an expected energy level much closer to the valence band edge than that of either the first or second level of the group I acceptors in their unpaired states. Phase II research will focus on optimizing the coulombic pairing approach to create acceptor levels at <50 meV above the valence band edge in GaN-much shallower than that of Mg in GaN-and demonstrate prototype blue LEDs with superior brightness. By reducing the acceptor level from 150 meV for Mg to less than 50 meV with coulombic pairs, an increase in ionization by a factor of 200 is expected at room temperature. Creation of shallow acceptor levels at <50 meV above the valence band edge would also open the possibility of realizing the ultimate goal of blue lasers in the nitride system.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: High-power blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) for displays, traffic lights; high-power blue laser diodes for optical data storage.

270. Manufacture of Metal/Metal Oxide Powders by Spray Pyrolysis
Nanochem, Inc.
3740 Hawkins, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
tel: 505-342-1492; fax: 505-342-2168
Principal Investigator: James Caruso
President: M. Hampden-Smith
NSF Grant No. 9623767; Amount: $300,000

The Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project builds on the successful results obtained in the synthesis of high-value precious metal/metal oxide composite powders (Ag, Pd, Au, Pt) by spray pyrolysis carried out in Phase I. Powders containing precious metals are used extensively in the electronics industry for manufacture of circuit boards and capacitors. Current methods of powder synthesis cannot adequately control the size distribution of the powders, give controlled phase and elemental composition, or in the case of palladium, provide useful oxidation resistance. The Phase I feasibility study has demonstrated that Pd and Pd/metal oxide composite powders produced by spray pyrolysis have enhanced properties over commercially available powders made by existing techniques. Pd-containing powders have been prepared with better control over size, size distribution, and crystallinity, which also results in the added value of improved oxidation resistance. The Phase II effort is aimed at determining whether the added value imparted to these powders can be maintained at higher production scales. This will be achieved by the design, construction, testing, and refinement of a pre-production prototype spray pyrolysis reactor capable of producing sufficient (kg) quantities of these powders to be incorporated into pastes and tested in electronic components such as multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs). This requires the development of a novel aerosol generation and classification system and powder collection unit as part of Phase II research.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The powders produced by this research will have applications in the electronics industry as the base powder used in making screen-printed circuit boards and as the metallization of MLCCs. Successful completion of Phase II research will result in a strong advantage over traditional metal powders in the MLCC market due to better oxidation resistance and a cost reduction from inert filler material.

271. Real-Time Sputter Depth Measurement for In Situ Surface Microanalysis
Charles Evans & Associates
301 Chesapeake Dr.
Redwood City, CA 94063
tel: 415-369-4567
Principal Investigator: Carl Colvard, Ph.D.
President: Charles A. Evans, Jr.
NSF Grant No. 9627857; Amount: $298,737

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the problem of knowing what subsurface level of a sample is being analyzed at any given moment during an analytical depth profile. Depth profile analysis of elemental composition at solid surfaces with secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and Auger electron spectroscopy requires ion beam sputtering of material from the surface to form a crater of increasing depth. Only after the measurement is completed can the crater depth be measured by profilometry, the sputter rate averaged, and the calibration of composition versus depth completed. Unfortunately, sputter rates can vary widely in different materials, which shifts the apparent position of interfaces. Sputter rate has also been linked to ion yield, which affects the relative sensitivity factors used to quantify impurity data in SIMS.

As industrial demands increase for higher levels of spatial and compositional accuracy, and for faster analytical turnaround, it is important to measure crater depth and sputter rate in situ and in real time. We demonstrated in Phase I an interferometric technique that can perform this measurement. In Phase II, we propose to use this approach to create a new tool, adaptable to existing analytical instruments, that will provide dynamic depth measurements, during an analysis, with a resolution approaching one nanometer.

We will build a prototype instrument, adapted to an analytical SIMS spectrometer, that will monitor sputter depths at a single point during depth profile analyses. Its performance and functionality will be characterized, and shortcomings will be addressed. Experiments will be conducted to explore its behavior with different sample types, and multipoint extensions to the technique will be examined.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Immediate applications exist for incorporation of this tool into commercial secondary ion mass spectrometers and Auger microprobes, both in new instruments and as retrofits into the large installed base.

272. Superconducting Wires for Magnet Applications
American Superconducting Corp.
2 Technology Dr.
Westborough, MA 01581
tel: 508-836-4200
Principal Investigator: Dr. Alexander Otto
President: Dr. Gregory J. Yurek
NSF Grant No. 9629502; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is proposed by American Superconductor Corp. (ASC) to develop a novel, low-cost process for manufacturing the robust superconducting wires required for commercially viable magnet components capable of operating at temperatures that are accessible by inexpensive refrigeration technologies. Most of the potentially large-scale commercial applications of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) wires in magnet components require high sustained current densities at temperatures above 50 K in magnetic fields up to 5 T.

The proposed process is an innovative combination of the metallic precursor process pioneered by ASC and its partners for the economical production of robust HTS wires and of film processes that produce the highest demonstrated critical current densities above 50 K in fields above 5 T. The inherent formability of metallic precursor alloys presents a unique opportunity for manufacturing complex, geometrically precise, chemically homogeneous precursors similar locally to those used in film processes. The Phase II project will develop and demonstrate a readily scalable metallic precursor wire manufacturing process that employs reaction texturing mechanisms akin to substrate catalyzed reaction texturing mechanisms utilized in thin film processes. The transport property targets match the requirements for large-scale HTS magnet applications operating above 50 K. The key target is a whole wire current density of 10 kA/cm2 at or above 50 K that is sustained in a 5 T field oriented at any direction relative to the wire. The feasibility of reaction texturing the Y-123 HTS oxide in high filament count tapes made from metal precursors was demonstrated in the Phase I program, and the Phase II program will develop a useful process for manufacturing high-performance HTS wires based on this reaction texturing concept.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The main products enabled by this wire will be lighter and more efficient motor and generator coils, current limiter coils, SMES magnets, and efficient power electronic circuit inductors-all operating above 50 K where they can be cooled by inexpensive mechanical refrigeration. These products will make up the major portion of a large HTS industry if a suitable conductor is developed.

273. Low-Cost Silicon Carbide Fiber Development
Materials Solutions Int., Inc.
1815 Love Rd.
Grand Island, NY 14072
tel: 716-775-0146; fax: 716-775-0146
Principal Investigator: Dr. V. Venkateswaran
President: Dr. M. Srinivasan
NSF Grant No. 9703504; Amount: $299,981

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses subtopic 3.B.b in the NSF 95-59 Program Solicitation. Silicon carbide fibers stand out as a primary candidate among commercially available ceramic fibers that can be used as reinforcements to toughen ceramics for use at high temperatures. There are underlying sound technical and economic reasons why the presently available fibers have not made headway commercially.

These fibers degrade both chemically and mechanically during manufacture of the ceramic matrix composite. The cost of these fibers can range from $500 to $1,000 per kg, depending on the quality of the fiber and the quantity ordered.

This project addresses a new silicon carbide fiber manufacture that uses (1) low-cost silicon and carbon-containing raw materials, (2) simple furnacing technique, and (3) complete avoidance of fiber spinning or drawing and sintering methodology or polymer chemical conversion technology and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods.

The process produces potentially single-phase alpha or beta or a mixture of polytypes of silicon carbide fiber that will withstand high temperature (> 1400°C) use. The process offers relatively low risk in scale-up to demand-driven fiber manufacture.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Metal-matrix and ceramic matrix high temperature composite applications.

274. A New Laser Crystal for Holographic Interferometry
Holographics, Inc.
4401 11th St.
L.I.C., NY 11101
tel: 718-784-3435
Principal Investigator: Peter Nicholson
President: Peter Nicholson
NSF Grant No. 9509066; Amount: $299,440

Phase I of this project proved that Pr:YLF has unique capabilities for pulsed laser holography. Significant industrial applications in the area of nondestructive testing of bridges, nuclear power plant components, storage tanks, and off-shore oil platforms can become possible with an extended pulse separation holographic interferometry (E.P.S.H.I.) camera.

It is the object of Phase II to create a Pr:YLF laser with the characteristics that make a breadboard E.P.S.H.I. prototype camera field operational. The characteristics of the laser could be 10 pulses per second, 100 millijoules per pulse, and a coherence length of 30 cm to many meters. Laboratory testing on suitable test objects will also be undertaken to further characterize the excitation and pulse-separation requirements for successful interferometric testing of large structures. A novel method for pumping Pr:YLF will also be developed and evaluated.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: An extended pulse separation holographic interferometry camera would have many potential applications, most notably nondestructive testing of bridges and other large structures.

275. Process Control of Physical Property Variation in Vapor-Grown Carbon Fibers
Applied Sciences, Inc.
141 West Xenia Ave., P.O. Box 579
Cedarville, OH 45314-0579
tel: 513-766-2020
Principal Investigator: Ronald L. Jacobsen
President: Max L. Lake
NSF Grant No. 9623818; Amount: $299,285.05

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project seeks to define manufacturing process variables for the control of vapor-grown carbon fiber (VGCF) morphology. Previous efforts demonstrated that the properties of individual fibers depend on the degree to which they exhibit a morphological feature called crenulation. Further, it has been shown that the severity of crenulation can be increased by certain modifications in the manufacturing process. In the extreme, mild crenulations give way to a novel morphology with well-defined beads, scattered along the fiber’s length. This research effort will refine the CFD processing window for beaded fiber, and develop the window for crenulation-free fiber. The resulting products will be used to fabricate various composites, which will then be tested relative to their normal crenulated-fiber counterparts.

The beaded morphology is expected to give composites improved mechanical reinforcement, with reduced crack propagation, and greater flexibility in matrix choice due to its ability to physically interlock, rather than chemically bond, with a matrix. Crenulation-free fiber is expected to impart improved and more reliable thermal and electrical transport properties to its composites. Various allies have been enlisted to investigate specific applications of the fibers.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The VGCF morphologies under development would mechanically reinforce composites, and provide improved thermal and electrical properties. Such composites would be employed in the automotive and aerospace industries, where their low densities give them a very high weight-adjusted figure of merit. They would also be used in the electronics industry. The fiber is also being studied specifically for use in low-friction bearings, and as a reinforcement to tire rubber.

Topic 4¾Mathematical Sciences

276. Advanced Methods and Software for Nonparametric Wavelet Prediction
StatSci, a division of MathSoft, Inc.
1700 Westlake Ave. North, Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98109-9891
tel: 206-283-8802 x248
Principal Investigator: Andrew G. Bruce
President: Charles Digate
NSF Grant No. 9628595; Amount: $299,645

Statistical prediction or function estimation is of functional importance to the public and scientific good, with applications to a broad range of problems and objectives. In the overwhelming majority of situations, nonparametric prediction methods are the most appropriate. Based on the wavelet transform, Donoho and Johnstone have developed a powerful methodology, called "WaveShrink," for nonparametric function estimation. WaveShrink has very broad symptotic near-optimality properties and has proven valuable in practice. The ultimate objective of the proposed research is to develop an object-oriented software toolkit for wavelet-based nonparametric prediction. The current theory and practice of nonparametric estimation with wavelets is limited to a small set of prediction problems. The proposed research will make the fundamental advancements that are needed to develop new wavelet methodology encompassing a much broader set of prediction problems. The new and existing methodology will be matured and collected into a coherent object-oriented software toolkit. This toolkit will be accessible to a broad range of statisticians, data analysts, scientists, and engineers.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The research will lead to a completely new version of the S-Plus software module S+Wavelets. Other commercial opportunities include consulting and teaching, a Mathcad function pack and electronic book, software licensing, and the patenting of innovative algorithms.

277. Optimal Shape Design by the Boundary Contour Method
DeHan Engineering Numerics
95 Brown Rd., Box 1016
Ithaca, NY 14850
tel: 607-257-8284; fax: 607-257-8302
Principal Investigator: Dr. Yu Xie Mukherjee
President: Dr. Yu Xie Mukherjee
NSF Grant No. 9629076; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is concerned with development of a next generation computer-aided design (CAD) software package for three-dimensional (3D) stress analysis and optimal shape design of solid structural components. Although use of CAD is quite common throughout the industrial sector in the United States, the currently used finite element method (FEM)-based approach has serious shortcomings. The primary obstacle is the need to discretize (mesh) the entire domain of the 3D body into (volume) finite elements. This task, which cannot be reliably and efficiently automated for bodies of complex shape, becomes particularly onerous during optimal shape design where the shape of the body changes during successive design iterations and, therefore, the body must be remeshed during each iteration. Also, volume discretization is not naturally compatible with either solid modeling or shape design algorithms.

This project uses an entirely new computational engine-the boundary contour method (BCM). This approach only requires meshing of the bounding surface of a body and numerical evaluation of regular line integrals for 3D problems. Therefore, automatic meshing, both initially and between design iterations, becomes straightforward and the need to evaluate only regular 1D integrals makes the process very efficient. Also, the BCM approach, being surface based, is naturally compatible with both solid modeling and shape design algorithms.

The feasibility of the BCM approach, for stress and sensitivity analysis in 3D linear elasticity, has been demonstrated in the Phase I project. The primary research tasks in Phase II, in addition to further code development and testing, are (1) coupling of the code with optimization software in order to carry out shape optimization, (2) adaptive meshing-both initially and during each design iteration, and (3) development of a parallel version of the code for operation on a network of desktop computers.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: When completed, this novel package is expected to be a revolutionary advance in CAD technology. It should help to blur the current artificial and costly distinction between analysis and design engineers, greatly reduce product time-to-market and product development costs, and should be in great demand throughout the U.S. industrial sector.

278. A Global Multi-Grid GMRES Scheme for an Adaptive Cartesian/Prism Flow Solver on Distributed Memory Machines
CFD Research Corp.
215 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35805
tel: 256-726-4825; fax: 256-726-4806
e-mail: zjw@cfdrc.com
Principal Investigator: Dr. Z.J. Wang
President: Dr. Ashok K. Singhal
NSF Grant No. 9704186; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will develop a parallel computing system (PCS) for an adaptive Cartesian/prism GMRES/multi-grid flow solver. The system will include the following modules: performance monitor, domain decompositioner, GMRES/multi-grid flow solver, dynamic load balancer, and parallel flow visualizer. The performance monitor can display the convergence of the flow simulation and loads on each processor and, if necessary, launch the dynamic load balancer. The domain decompositioner and parallel flow solver will be generalized and extended to three dimensions in Phase II. For a cluster of workstations with constantly changing computational loads on each computer, a dynamic load balancer will be developed to balance the loads on all computers in user-defined time intervals. Last but not least, CFDRC’s commercial flow visualizer, CFD-VIEW, will be adapted for distributed memory machines to post-process the massive simulation data produced by the parallel flow solver. A message-passing interface (MPI) will be utilized to provide data communications between different modules and flow solvers. The PCS will run on both parallel computers and a cluster of workstations. The overall system will integrate grid generation/domain decomposition, flow simulation, load balancing, and flow visualization into a single user-friendly parallel computing environment to achieve automation, accuracy, and efficiency for flow simulation. The potential for significant cost reduction in CFD simulation is tremendous. The Phase II product will be very competitive in the current CFD software market because no other package can rival it in automation, efficiency, or parallel computation capability.

Topic 5¾Astronomy

279. Holographic Grating Filters for Ca II Line Imaging and Emission Spectroscopy
Accuwave Corp.
1651 19th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
tel: 310-449-5540; fax: 310-449-5539
Principal Investigator: Dr. Feng Zhao
President: Neven Karlovac
NSF Grant No. 9704054; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will demonstrate and test a compact, low-cost, and ultra-narrow bandwidth (~0.3Å) prototype holographic grating filter system for solar observing at the UV Ca K line (3933Å). This technique developed during Phase I addresses a key requirement for narrow bandwidth filters in the UV wavelength because of the difficulties in fabricating Lyot and similar interference filters with sufficient spectral resolution and optical quality. During Phase II, suitable recording materials will be optimized and used to record volume gratings using holography techniques developed during Phase I. The prototype filter system will be tested at Big Bear Solar Observatory or other suitable test sites. This Phase II program will enable sub-Angstrom passband filters to be constructed for field testing and provide further technical improvement for commercialization of this new technology.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Potential commercial applications of this new technology include optic receivers for optical remote sensing; pollutant, chemical, metal and mineral detection; solar-blind filters for free-space optical communications; high-density optical disks and holographic data storage; and UV optical projection lithography.

Topic 6¾Atmospheric Sciences

280. Predictions of Magnetic Activity Induced Hazards to Ground and Space Assets-Phase II
Mission Research Corp.
One Tara Blvd., Suite 302
Nashua, NH 03062
tel: 603-891-0070 x248; fax: 603-891-0088
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nelson Maynard
President: Steven L. Gutsche
NSF Grant No. 9531306; Amount: $299,948

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project proposes to continue the development of an operational prototype system to forecast ionospheric currents and related effects, such as enhancements in the auroral oval heating, density irregularities, and geomagnetically induced currents at customer-specific locations. The Phase I effort designed and proved the feasibility of the space Weather Ionospheric Forecast Technologies (SWIFT) system, which provides the first predictive temporally and spatially variable capability for determining ionospheric currents and resulting ground magnetic variations. These forecasts will depend directly on real-time measurements of the solar wind velocity, density, and interplanetary magnetic field. Application of this method to space weather forecasting will provide, for the first time, one-hour forecasts of impending geomagnetic storm and substorm activity, which can improve ground-based operations such as power distribution, pipeline management, and six-sigma manufacturing, and will positively impact the functionality and reliability of communications, navigation, and space operations. The proposed product will provide customer-specific forecasts for both commercial and government space- and ground-based applications. In Phase II it is proposed to (1) add refinements to the code to improve accuracy, (2) design a robust operational prototype that will operate efficiently without significant operator intervention and, at the same time, provide a quality-control output, (3) quantify the market for these products, and (4) develop a product tree that will provide customer-specific outputs for space weather effects mitigation. Based on the interest that has been generated with preliminary results, SWIFT is a viable and desired commercial product that will mitigate problems in the power industry and will have a high probability of addressing problems in communication and navigation. At the end of Phase III, SWIFT will be an operating, value-added space weather service, complementing the capabilities of the Air Force Space Forecast Center and the NOAA Space Environment Service Center, for commercial and government customers.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The product of this proposal will have broad commercial applications. It will provide critical warning of geomagnetically induced currents that severely impact power line transmission and that can affect pipelines, long communication lines, and high reliability "six sigma" manufacturing processes. It will also benefit high priority activities within the government, and will augment forecast capabilities currently under development for SESC and AFSFC. The potential savings are many millions of dollars per year.

Topic 7¾Earth Sciences

281. A Novel Three-Dimensional Seismic Imaging Method by Migration to Common-Offset in Variable Velocity Media
3DGeo Development, Inc.
465 Fairchild Dr.
Mountain View, CA 96063
tel: 650-969-3886; fax: 650-969-6422
Principal Investigator: Dr. Alexander M. Popovici
President: Dr. Biondo Biondi
NSF Grant No. 9531316; Amount: $299,954

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will develop and test computational software that offers the same accuracy as full three-dimensional prestack migration at a much lower cost. Applying prestack depth migration to three-dimensional seismic information is the main computational challenge facing the oil industry today. Cheaper and faster three-dimensional prestack imaging methods could open up new exploration venues in extremely complicated geological conditions such as those that exist in the overthrust region of the western United States and below layers of salt in the Gulf of Mexico.

The novel imaging algorithm developed by 3DGeo migrates seismic data to a common offset in a literally variable velocity earth, and can simplify three-dimensional prestack depth migration, reduce the number of calculations, and overcome the problems associated with manipulating very large prestack data volumes. The end result of this research effort is a migration-to-common-offset (MCO) algorithm that can be used to process the two main types of seismic data: marine and land. For marine datasets, MCO coherently stacks data along several azimuths, and is followed by common-azimuth migration for final imaging. For land datasets, MCO coherently stacks data for a predetermined number of vector offsets (fixed azimuth and offset length) and is followed by three-dimensional Kirchhoff migration for imaging the reduced-sized dataset.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The new MCO algorithm is of interest to oil companies and oil field contractors. The proposed method better delineates the oil field structure and is used in oil exploration and reservoir monitoring and characterization. Both the oil companies that process seismic data in-house and the data-processing contractors would benefit from such a method because it allows sophisticated, detailed processing at a much lower cost and over a shorter time frame than current methods.

282. Neutron/X-ray Measurement-While-Drilling Instrument
First Point Scientific, Inc.
5330 Derry Ave., Suite J
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
tel: 818-707-1131; fax: 818-707-2352
e-mail: JB@first psi.com
Principal Investigator: Dr. John R. Bayless
President: Dr. John R. Bayless
NSF Grant No. 9703919; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will develop a new and innovative approach for formation evaluation at the drill bit in oil and gas well development. Radioactive measurement-while-drilling (MWD) instruments are currently in use for measuring formation porosity and density. However, these have limited capabilities and involve substantial safety and environmental risks. The overall objective of this research project is to develop an electrical neutron/X-ray (N/X) instrument that will replace both of the existing radioactive tools. This novel instrument is expected to offer: (1) improved measurement capabilities; (2) lower life-cycle costs; and (3) greatly reduced safety and environmental risks. Based on the success in Phase I, the objective of Phase II is to complete the feasibility demonstration by developing a laboratory prototype N/X MWD instrument integrated into a 6.75 inch (17 cm) diameter drill collar. Phase II will include: (1) preliminary instrument design; (2) component development; (3) N/X instrument final design, construction, and testing at First Point Scientific, Inc. (including measurement of the neutron and X-ray outputs, the response to simulated formations, testing at high temperatures, and shock and vibration tests); and (4) experimental evaluation in calibration boreholes at the facilities of Sperry-Sun Drilling Services. Success in Phase II, combined with Sperry-Sun’s participation in Phases II and III, will ensure that this project results in the successful commercialization of N/X instruments.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Low-risk, low-cost measurement of formation parameters in oil and gas well development.

Topic 9¾Polar Sciences

283. System for Digital Elevation Map Reconstruction from Radarsat Antarctica Data
Vexcel Corp.
2477 55th St., Suite 201
Boulder, CO 80301
tel: 303-444-0094; fax: 303-444-0470
e-mail: jcc@vexcel.com
Principal Investigator: John Curlander
President: John Curlander
NSF Grant No. 9617591; Amount: $299,818

Radarsat is a Canadian satellite carrying a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensor that is capable of mapping the Antarctic continent in stereo using multiple passes. This SAR data has just become commercially available and can be downlinked to a network of ground receiving stations including the NSF-operated McMurdo Station. Before this SAR imagery can be effectively used by the scientists, it must be corrected for geometric distortions (orthorectified), which requires a digital elevation map (DEM). However, for a majority of the continent, current topographic data are of a relatively low accuracy and resolution. Such DEM data will considerably improve maps produced by the NASA-funded Radarsat Antarctic Mapping Project (RAMP), a mosaicking and orthorectification package to be used by scientists at Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar Research Center (BPRC). In addition to providing rectified imagery, higher resolution DEMs will also provide geologists and glaciologists with an important new means to assess questions about Antarctica’s geodynamic and ice dynamic processes.

This Phase II proposal describes a system for automatically deriving detailed surface topography and orthorectified images from a Radarsat SAR stereo pair and its associated ancillary data. Included are descriptions of the algorithms, example map products, a detailed research plan including a Unix development platform, and a description of the system’s validation and use at BPRC. We also provide a description of the commercial potential of this software package and Vexcel’s plans to commercialize it in conjunction with the remote-sensing company ERDAS during Phase III.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Vexcel has a multi-stage plan to commercialize the technology developed under the NSF Phase II SBIR. The initial element of this plan is the development of a commercial software package with ERDAS, the world’s leading image processing software company.

A second element of the commercialization plan is to offer radar data processing services to users of Radarstat International to become a recommended supplier for this type of service. We have also contacted the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) and they have expressed a strong interest in this project to meet their needs for mapping the equatorial regions of the earth.

A third element in the commercialization plan is to incorporate the radar stereo software into Vexcel’s ground receiving station for end-to-end processing of radar satellite data. Vexcel is already developing other elements of this ground receiving station. The radar stereo processing software is an important element of this system in that it is needed to generate the DEM needed to create an image product that is geometrically correct in a standard map projection.

284. Elastomer Bed Technology for Arctic Heat Recovery Ventilation
ElasTek, Inc.
842 Woodrow St.
Madison, WI 53711
tel: 608-238-2039; fax: 608-238-0270
Principal Investigator: Dr. Anthony DeGregoria
President: Dr. Anthony DeGregoria
NSF Grant No. 9661459; Amount: $74,791

This SBIR Phase I project will investigate the use of elastomer bed heat exchangers to improve indoor air quality and occupant comfort for arctic structures. It will investigate the use of a heat recovery ventilator based on a novel, patented, regenerative heat exchanger, the elastomer bed, which is compact, efficient, and robust in icing conditions. The regenerative approach provides fresh air ventilation while controlling the loss of moisture, leading to a more comfortable interior humidity level. A novel, proprietary ventilator design overcomes the seal icing problem of existing regenerative wheel designs. The regenerative heat exchanger is constructed out of thin elastomer sheets, stacked and stretched into the theoretically optimum, parallel-channel, laminar-flow heat exchanger geometry. Combining accessible, open channels with flexible elastomer sheets makes it possible to mechanically de-ice the heat exchanger, leading to an energy efficient, continuously available, compact ventilator for the arctic regions. Its compact size allows the unit to be installed practically anywhere, providing local heat recovery ventilation at the point where it is needed. It would be well suited for both fixed site and modular, transportable structure ventilation, enhancing arctic workers’ health and comfort.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The research can lead to products with commercial application across a wide range of building ventilation systems and personal comfort products in the U.S. and worldwide. Applications include home and commercial heat recovery ventilators and personal cold weather protective masks.

Topic 11¾Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

285. Using Multiplexed Luminescence to Extend Bioassay Capabilities
Promega Corp.
2800 Woods Hollow Rd.
Madison, WI 53711-5399
tel: 608-277-2573
Principal Investigator: Keith V. Wood, Ph.D.
President: William A. Linton
NSF Grant No. 9402762; Amount: $299,950

Current luminescent bioassays rely on measurement of light intensity only to transmit information, thus providing only one information channel. Greater information could be gained through a multiplexing strategy using different colors for channel separation. The only bioluminescent system capable of emitting a range of wavelengths, without requiring intermolecular energy transfer, are the beetle luciferases. Our research shows that individual amino acid substitutions in these enzymes control the color of light emitted.

From empirical and theoretical evidence, luminescent colors ranging from green to red should be possible. The objective of this research is to create a red-emitting enzyme by engineering specific substitutions into a green-emitting enzyme. When completed, the two enzymes should differ by only three-to-ten amino acids, and thus their physical and enzymological properties should be nearly equivalent.

The development process will use data and methods gained from Phase I to search for the optimal combination of amino acid substitutions. Newly created isozymes will be analyzed for spectral, physical, and enzymological characteristics. After development, both enzymes will be used together to demonstrate the feasibility of luminescence multiplexing in quantifying cellular physiology. The technology will advance quantitative measurements in complex biological systems for many commercial and basic research applications.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The multiplexing system has novel and important potential applications in several markets, including "real-time" detection of toxics in environmental samples, new drug discovery, and food industry quality assurance. Advantages of this technology versus current "rapid" diagnostics include increased sensitivity, specificity, and the potential to develop tests for defined groups of contaminants in a single biosensor kit.

286. Molecular Engineering of a Biocatalyst for the Destruction of Chlorinated Solvents
Envirogen, Inc.
4100 Quakerbridge Rd.
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
tel: 609-936-9300; fax: 609-936-9221
e-mail: Steffan@Envirogen.com
Principal Investigator: Robert Steffan
President: Robert Hillas
NSF Grant No. 9623832; Amount: $299,983

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is aimed at producing cost-effective biological catalysts for use in the bioremediation of chlorinated solvent-contaminated environments. Toluene-4-monooxygenase (T4MO) is a multicomponent enzyme from Pseudomonas mendocina KR1 capable of oxidizing chlorinated solvents, which directly leads to their bioremediation. During Phase I of this project, we identified several regions of amino acid sequence that control the reactivity of T4MO. We then used in vitro mutagenic techniques (either site-directed or random-primed polymerase chain reaction) to alter the amino acid sequence in these regions. This effort resulted in the creation of new, catalytically active mutant isoforms of T4MO. One of the most promising of these new isoforms has an increased oxidation rate for halogenated hydrocarbons such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and chloroform, while several other isoforms exhibit changes in substrate specificity relative to the wild-type enzyme. These exciting results clearly demonstrate the soundness of our strategy to improve the catalytic versatility of the T4MO enzyme via genetic engineering.

We believe both of these mutant isoforms may prove valuable in commercial applications. The proposed Phase II project will evaluate the commercial potential of these promising mutants in detail, including further characterization of oxidation rates, substrate specificity ranges, product distributions, catalyst stability, bioreactor scale-up parameters, and other relevant structural and functional properties of these novel engineered biocatalysts.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The biocatalysts developed during this project will be commercially applicable to remediate many of the nation’s contaminated aquifers and soils at both government and private sites. Initial application will be in contained vapor-phase bioreactors, and future applications will include in situ treatment.

287. Biosensors for Trichloroethylene (TCE)
Envirogen, Inc.
4100 Quakerbridge Rd.
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
tel: 609-936-9300; fax: 609-936-9221
e-mail: Steffan@Envirogen.com
Principal Investigator: Robert J. Steffan, Ph.D.
President: Robert Hillas
NSF Grant No. 9704103; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project involves the development and testing of biosensors to measure trichloroethylene (TCE) in groundwater. During Phase I, TCE reporter strains were constructed by fusing a TCE-inducible transcriptional promoter from Pseudomonas mendocina KR1 to a bioluminescence gene cassette. The reporter strains produced light in the presence of TCE, and the amount of light produced was proportional to the amount of TCE in groundwater. During Phase II, we will evaluate the characteristics of the biosensors by measuring TCE in a wide variety of TCE-contaminated groundwaters. We will develop methods for applying the reporter strains including developing on-line biosensor probes that can be used for continuous monitoring of TCE in bioreactors and/or down-hole monitoring of TCE in groundwater monitoring wells. In addition to TCE biosensors, new biosensors will be constructed to measure gasoline (BTEX) contamination in groundwater. The BTEX sensors will also be used as QA/QC check standards to evaluate the accuracy of TCE measurements made with the TCE biosensors. A new series of biosensors for both TCE and BTEX will be constructed by replacing the bioluminescence reporter cassettes with genes encoding the production of green fluorescent protein, thereby allowing microscopic examination of reporter stains used for modeling the migration and performance of degradative organisms in aquifers.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The biosensors and biosensor probes will be used commercially to measure TCE in groundwater, improve process control in bioreactors, and reduce the cost of in situ remediation techniques.

288. Production of Periclinal Chimeric Potatoes Containing New Multigenic Traits for Pest Resistance
Tissue-Grown Corp.
414 Fourth St. A
Woodland, CA 95695
tel: 530-661-6898; fax: 530-661-6768
e-mail: johansen@pacbell.net
Principal Investigator: Carolyn J. Sluis
President: Carolyn J. Sluis
NSF Grant No. 9710654; Amount: $302,883

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the transfer of pest resistance traits from wild species to domestic potato via the generation of periclinal chimeras. Tissue-Grown scientists have developed a novel method for combining the best characteristics of two types of potato by forming chimeras. Chimeric plants are composed of cell layers from different parents. The goal of the proposed research is the creation of new potato varieties with the epidermal layer of a wild species and the core layers of a commercial potato variety. The germplasm targets of this proposal would combine commercial potato varieties with wild species lines selected for insect resistance and tolerance to late blight (Phytophthora infestans).

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The potential commercial application of the research is the rapid generation of new potato varieties that can take advantage of wild germplasm traits for pest resistance without the undesirable wild tuber traits so difficult to eliminate through breeding. Wild species contain a wealth of disease resistance genes and genes of horticultural interest, but they also come with a heavy burden of genes detrimental to potato tuber production, such as delayed tuber set, odd colors, shapes and sizes of tubers, and excessive tuber glycoalkaloids. Using chimeras, many well-established and valuable varieties can be enhanced without disturbing or damaging their primary commercial tuber traits. By manipulating only the epidermal layer, traits from the wild species will be restricted to a very thin coating. All of the commercially important characteristics of the commercial variety would be unaffected. This technology also has implications for genetic engineering as it could be used to restrict the transformed cells to the epidermal layer only. This project represents the first concerted effort to construct varieties with the intact genetics of two separate species.

289. Cloning and Automated Screening of Genes Encoding Cold-Adapted Lipases from Bacteria Inhabiting Lipid-Rich Whale Skeletons
Diversa Corporation
10665 Sorrento Valley Rd.
San Diego, CA 92121
tel: 619-623-5166; fax: 619-623-5120
e-mail: jstein@diversa.com
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey L. Stein
President: Jay Short
NSF Grant No. 9710655; Amount: $297,996

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will develop recombinant esterases and lipases for use in detergent and other industrial applications. To reduce the need for high-temperature wash conditions and thereby conserve energy, the detergent industry has targeted high specific activity/low-temperature lipases for use in detergent formulations. During Phase I of this work, recombinant "environmental" DNA libraries were constructed from uncultivated bacteria encrusting lipid-rich whale skeletons located in deep sea basins. To subsist on the copious lipids exuding from the whale skeletons in this frigid (2-5°C) environment, members of these diverse bacterial communities manufacture cold-adapted enzymes. Recombinant expression clones were discovered from the whale environmental libraries during the Phase I work using high-throughput screening methods. In Phase II, the esterases and lipases expressed from these clones will be overexpressed and characterized kinetically to determine their suitability for use in detergent and other industrial applications. In addition, the discovery and screening processes will be optimized to generate a large collection of esterase and lipase genes that will serve as templates for a directed-evolution project to create enzymes that are highly active at low temperatures yet stable at high temperatures. This work will result in a collection of stable cold-active enzymes with the long shelf life required for enzymes in detergent formulations.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Detergent formulations; anti-stalling and ripening agents for food and beverage applications; interesterification processes in the chemical industry.

Topic 13¾Biological Instrumentation and Resources

290. Mathematical Models for DNA Sequencing Quality Control
Daniel H. Wagner Associates
894 Ross Dr., Suite 205
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
tel: 408-745-1800
Principal Investigator: Max A. Karlovitz
President: Barry Belkin
NSF Grant No. 9612376; Amount: $299,929

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the problem of associating consistent, quantitative error-rate estimates with DNA sequence data and the resulting improved quality control on such data. The growing use of DNA sequence data in research, databases, diagnostic and therapeutic biotechnology, and even litigation requires that the quality of data being used be objectively assessable. Variables will be identified that are important to quality control of DNA sequencing, such as error dependency on sequence content and position. We will develop methods for including such error-rate information into existing and developing database entries and, based on results from sequencing known optimally designed DNA sequences, provide a quality-control score for laboratories that routinely contribute DNA sequence data to such databases. Additionally, we will develop protocols and user-friendly software for periodically assessing the current state of performance for a given sequencing machine. This investigation will be based on theoretical statistical analyses, on computer simulations, and on results from sequencing experiments using specially designed, synthetic DNA fragments.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The potential users of this system include manufacturers of sequencing systems and anyone who uses these systems. The manufacturer would use the tools to certify the reliability of its products for various uses; different degrees of accuracy may be required for different applications (for example, forensics versus research or training). The manufacturer could check that its sequencer is operating in accordance with specifications, check the abilities of a particular worker or group, or recalibrate the sequencer for different protocols or applications. Thus, manufacturers of sequencing equipment and users of that equipment are likely consumers of such material/protocol/software packages. Alternatively, venture capital funding could be pursued to develop a commercial-grade quality-assurance paradigm and to market it directly to the sequencing community.

291. A Compact Accelerator Mass Spectrometer for the Analysis of Biological Samples
Newton Scientific, Inc.
7 Red Coach Lane
Winchester, MA 01890
tel: 617-729-8553
Principal Investigator: Robert E. Klinkowstein, Ph.D.
President: Ruth E. Shefer, Ph.D.
NSF Grant No. 9634259; Amount: $300,000

The goal of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is to develop a compact, low-cost accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) system for the measurement of ultra-low quantities of carbon-14 and tritium in labeled biological samples. The instrument will have a sensitivity 100 to 1,000 times higher than that of liquid scintillation decay counters and will allow the measurement of carbon-14 concentrations at or below naturally occurring levels in contemporary samples. The high sensitivity afforded by AMS allows the fate of environmental carcinogens, mutagens, and toxins to be studied on the molecular level at extremely low levels of exposure. Existing AMS systems use large, costly nuclear physics accelerators that are not generally available to biomedical researchers and are not compatible with interface to standard chromatographs used for the purification of biological samples.

NSI proposes to develop a dedicated, biomedical AMS system based on a new approach that allows the accelerator energy to be lowered by approximately a factor-of-three compared with existing systems. This greatly reduces the size, cost, and complexity of the instrument. The feasibility of this approach was demonstrated in the Phase I experiments, which showed that an AMS system using a 1 MV tandem accelerator will allow the unambiguous detection of 14C in labeled contemporary samples. The Phase II research will focus on the construction and testing of the first on-line sample purification and injection interface for biomedical AMS. The interface will make possible the direct introduction of biological samples from a gas chromatograph into an AMS system, thereby allowing the use of AMS in conjunction with standard, high-resolution chemical-separation technologies.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The development of the Phase II system will provide the critical front-end technology for a dedicated low-energy AMS instrument and will also make possible the use of any existing AMS system for the on-line analysis of biological samples. This system will be of interest to research and analytical laboratories studying the biological effects of environmental carcinogens and genotoxins.

292. The Development of a 600 MHz Wide Bore (89 mm) High Resolution NMR Magnet with Internal Tin Wires
Cryomagnetics, Inc.
1006 Alvin Weinberg Dr.
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
tel: 423-482-9551; fax: 423-483-1253
e-mail: cryomagnet@aol.com
Principal Investigator: Weijun Shen
President: D. Michael Coffey
NSF Grant No. 9704131; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is to develop a prototype 600 MHz wide-bore (89mm) high-resolution NMR magnet with internal tin superconducting wires. The feasibility of this approach has been fully proven in Phase I. Replacing bronze-processed wire with internal tin wire will signficantly reduce high-field NMR system costs. The Phase II research objectives are to build, test, and evaluate the proposed full-scale prototype NMR magnet. To achieve the objectives, Cryomagnetics, Inc., proposes a technical approach consisting of testing stability of each NbTi and Nb3Sn coil separately under persistent mode operation to ensure each coil’s performance, and then assembling coils and testing the magnet. At the end of Phase II research, a full-scale prototype 600 MHz wide-bore high-resolution NMR magnet will be developed and fully tested. This prototype magnet will be the selling point for the Phase III program-the commercialization of 600 MHz wide-bore high-resolution NMR magnets.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The new technologies developed in Phase I and II will generate great commercial impact by reducing NMR system costs. The proposed wide-bore NMR magnet system will be ideal for micro imaging and in vivo spectroscopy as well as biological solid-state NMR spectroscopy. The successful completion of Phase II of this project will make inexpensive, wide-bore, high-field NMR magnets available in the market.

Topic 16¾Computers and Computation Research

293. Use of Transputers for Wavelet Calculations
BioTraces, Inc.
10517-A West Dr.
Fairfax, VA 22030
tel: 703-273-6941; fax: 703-273-6968
e-mail: jwadiak@erols.com
Principal Investigator: Andrzej K. Drukier
President: E. James Wadiak
NSF Grant No. 9321351; Amount: $299,317

The goal of the proposed research is to develop low-cost desktop and portable systems with very high computational capabilities for both scientific and applied engineering applications. In Phase I we developed a transputer-based hardware platform coupled with a very powerful analytical tool, the wavelet transform. We demonstrated that with appropriate coding the wavelet algorithm allows almost perfect parallelization-that is, the computational speed is practically proportional to the number of transputers used. The Phase I results demonstrate that the hardware/software system we developed is scalable over two orders of magnitude in speed and memory.

The Phase II effort will consist of software development for two-dimensional wavelet transforms and its implementation on next-generation HTRAM transputers. The two-dimensional algorithms will be optimized for high efficiency (25:1 or better) real-time image compression as well as for a number of other applications. These include analysis of destructive wave propagation in complex mechanical structures, properties of nonlinear dynamical systems, and the properties of stochastic webs and percolation clusters. These analyses have important applications in turbulent diffusion, transport properties in plasma physics, hydrodynamics, and magnetic field generation.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The hardware/software system we will develop will have commercial application as a low-cost, extremely high-performance integrated toolset for scientific and applied engineering studies. Other applications include real-time high-efficiency image compression and near-real-time analysis of medical images.

294. A 3-D Image Matrix Processor
425 Lakeside Dr.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
tel: 408-733-7780
Principal Investigator: Jolyon A. Browne
President: R.A. Armistead
NSF Grant No. 9628968; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is a key part of an ARACOR initiative to develop a practical volumetric computed tomography (CT) scanner for three-dimensional (3-D) imaging applications. In the Phase I program, a high-level design for a specialized hardware accelerator, an Image Matrix processor (IMP), was developed. The IMP is capable of performing low-cost, high-speed 3-D reconstructions with the principal reconstruction algorithms: VOIR, Grangeat, and Feldkamp. The truly innovative aspect of the IMP is its ability to perform both 2-D and 3-D reconstructions with a single design. This is a significant technological innovation, eliminating the major technical obstacle to the progress of commercial 3-D CT: the exceedingly long reconstruction times required to process volumetric data. The goal of this Phase II program is to build upon the successful Phase I effort by demonstrating the practicality of an IMP-based workstation, where practicality is defined in terms of speed and affordability. In particular, the technical objectives of the Phase II study are to refine the IMP design; assess its performance through detailed, gate-level simulations of the custom integrated circuits (ICs) that lie at the heart of the IMP; produce and test enough ICs to build one IMP circuit board; and characterize and benchmark the performance of a desktop workstation with an installed IMP. The intent is to demonstrate that an IMP-based workstation with the power to reconstruct 10243 images in about two hours (at today’s CPU speeds) can be constructed for an order of magnitude less cost than a multiprocessor workstation capable of similar performance. This workstation, by virtue of its relatively low cost in comparison with a high-end workstation of comparable power, will, for the first time, make it feasible for emerging medical, industrial, and scientific applications that require the creation and visualization of large volumetric images to be within the domain of an ordinary desktop environment.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The commercial benefit of the IMP could prove to be extremely significant for America’s industrial, medical, and scientific markets. The advent of practical volumetric industrial CT systems will usher in a new era in manufacturing that will embody emerging concepts such as reverse engineering, rapid prototyping, and solid freeform fabrication. In the medical and scientific communities, a high-resolution 3-D CT instrument will be an indispensable tool for in vitro study of bone samples for osteoporosis research, for in vivo study of small laboratory animals for oncology and other research, and novel 3-D visualization technologies such as surgical planning and 3-D modeling.

Topic 17¾Networking and Communication Research

295. Multicast Transport of Compressed Audio and Video in Computer Networks
Optivision, Inc.
3450 Hillview Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94304
tel: 650-855-0200
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ciro A. Noronha, Jr.
President: Michael Liccardo
NSF Grant No. 9531394; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is aimed at the design, integration, and test of a complete system for transporting point-to-multipoint (i.e., one sender, multiple destinations) compressed video streams over traditional computer networks, both in the LAN and the WAN environments. The advent of MPEG compression has made it possible to encode high-quality video using relatively low bandwidth. This makes it possible to transport video using traditional LAN and WAN technologies.

From a transmission technology point of view, the main problems to be solved are error control and latency for interactive applications. The research proposed here will investigate (1) the use of forward error correction (FEC) for error control and (2) changes in the MPEG encoding scheme to reduce latency. FEC has been chosen because it is scalable to an arbitrary number of destinations and has little impact in the system latency. Additionally, error concealment techniques will be investigated for occasions where there are uncorrected errors. To complete the system design, session layer protocols and user-interface issues will also be considered.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Commercial applications of this research include video distribution (replacing analog channels), remote teaching, and remote surveillance and video conferencing, both in the LAN and the WAN environments.

296. A Wideband Wireless Network for Transactions, Files, and Digital Voice
ALOHA Networks, Inc.
5718 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94121
tel: 415-750-3403; fax: 415-750-3411
e-mail: norm@alohanet.com
Principal Investigator: Norman Abramson
President: Russell L. Schweickart
NSF Grant No. 9704008; Amount: $325,816.88

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project involves the design and construction of a packet radio network based on a broadband connection-free protocol for integration of transaction, file, and digital voice in a common channel.

Multiple access protocols are used to permit independent transmitters to share a common communication channel. When the number of transmitters is large and the network is required to support a variety of different kinds of traffic, a connection-free multiple access protocol is often required. Spread ALOHA Multiple Access (SAMA) is such a protocol, combining the proven simplicity and operational flexibility of an ALOHA multiple access channel with the high bandwidth and high throughput of a spread-spectrum channel. In this Phase II project we plan to modify an existing SAMA packet radio network to implement a new efficient protocol for the seamless integration of a wide variety of traffic types in a common channel.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The new wideband version of SAMA will have commercial applications in PCS networks that must integrate data into a voice-oriented architecture and in VSAT networks that must integrate voice into a data-oriented architecture.

297. New Architectures and Applications of Multiwavelength Optical Networks Using Waveguide Grating Routers
Optivision, Inc.
3450 Hillview Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94304
tel: 415-855-0217; fax: 415-845-2648
e-mail: jia@optivision.com
Principal Investigator: Dr. Feiling Jia
President: Dr. James S. Tyler
NSF Grant No. 9704126; Amount: $300,000

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will demonstrate the advantages of wavelength routing in telecommunication networks through the prototyping of an integrated optical add/drop multiplexing (OADM) system that combines waveguide grating routers (WGRs) with network management and control functionality. The prototype OADM system, including an electronic control board, will serve as the basic platform to experiment and evaluate solutions to system issues, especially on network management and control. The continued investigation of network architectures that incorporate WDM network system elements will explore opportunities for interconnecting the prototype OADM with other network systems for commercial/testbed deployment.

The Phase I effort of this SBIR project identified the optical crossconnect (OXC) and the optical add/drop multiplexer (OADM) as two important system elements in multiwavelength telecommunication transport networks. Different system architectures were designed utilizing the unique wavelength routing capability of the waveguide grating router (WGR) device. We also identified a set of system issues that are critical to the successful commercial applications of WDM systems, including network control and management, network restoration strategy, and network architectures that interwork with existing equipment. Solutions to these issues are currently open research topics and are expected to make up a significant part of the proposed Phase II research effort. At the end of Phase II, the deliverables will be the prototype four-wavelength optical add/drop multiplexer; the optical performance measurement results; the specification for network management and control functions; algorithms and analytical results for wavelength assignment; and a set of recommendations on network interconnection architectures and automatic fault-recovery mechanisms.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The proposed optical add/drop multiplexer has enormous potential applications in telecommunication infrastructure. By integrating the unique feature of WGR devices with management and control functions, results from this research effort can be utilized in WDM network testbeds as well as in commercial networking environments.

Topic 19¾Information, Robotics, and Intelligent Systems Resources

298. Volumetric 3-D Display Based on Switchable Binary Optic Element Array
Physical Optics Corp.
Engineering and Products Div.
20600 Gramercy Pl., Bldg. 100
Torrance, CA 90501
tel: 310-320-3088
Principal Investigator: Tin M. Aye, Ph.D.
President: Joanna Jannson, Ph.D.
NSF Grant No. 9529779; Amount: $299,986

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is proposed by Physical Optics Corp. (POC) to develop a new volumetric three-dimensional (VTD) display based on the switchable binary optical element (SBOE) concept. Current direct-view volumetric displays have limitations in their performance due to mechanical movement of the display screens, which can be overcome in the proposed VTD display. In Phase I, POC successfully demonstrated the feasibility of this new technology, which we plan to develop into a full-scale working prototype for demonstration. The Phase II objectives include VTD display optimization, component fabrication, and integration into a demonstration prototype for commercialization in Phase III.

In this concept, a two-dimensional array of surface printed binary optical elements (BOEs) are coated with a rapidly switchable ferroelectric liquid crystal layer. A stack of these arrays form the volume medium of the display. Each BOE, which forms a volume pixel (voxel) element, can be rapidly switched on and off, while a three-color (RGB) low-power laser beam is scanned across the display volume. When in an unswitched state, the medium will be transparent, while in a switched state, the scanning laser beam will be diffracted and diffused into a cone shape from the switched voxel elements. To produce a three-dimensional image, the scanned laser beam is modulated while scanned over the BOE plane. It is anticipated that this research will result in a real-time, flicker-free, three-dimensional volume display prototype without any moving parts.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The proposed VTD system will be extremely valuable for true three-dimensional display technology. Commercial applications of this VTD technology will be in entertainment (e.g., video games), medical imaging, CAD/CAM, surveillance, training and simulation, air traffic control, molecular modeling, and cockpit and shipboard displays.

299. Dexterous Manipulators for Minimally Invasive Surgery
Endorobotics Corp.
P.O. Box 4408
Warren, NJ 07059
tel: 908-271-1599
Principal Investigator: J. Kenneth Hatley
President: Wallace Tang
NSF Grant No. 9531896; Amount: $299,997

The goal of this project is to design and prototype a robotic manipulator for minimally invasive surgery. The robotic manipulator will provide surgeons with a new, more dexterous tool for performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The robotic manipulator has a wide variety of applications in minimally invasive surgery, including suturing, dissection, and retraction, and in procedures such as removal of the gall bladder and bowel resection.

300. A High-Speed Low-Cost 3-D Ranging System
Robotronics, Inc.
4950 Cloister Dr.
Rockville, MD 20852
tel: 301-962-0044
Principal Investigator: Dr. Z. Jason Geng
President: Dr. Z. Jason Geng
NSF Grant No. 9623621; Amount: $300,000

Robotronics, Inc., has successfully completed a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I program sponsored by NSF to study a novel three-dimensional (3-D) camera concept called the Color 3-D Camera. The Color 3-D Camera, invented by Robotronics, Inc., is able to capture 3-D images of objects in the scene at the camera’s frame rate (thirty frames per seconds or faster). No other commercially available 3-D vision system has this capability. Because our system uses only one CCD camera, it eliminates the time-consuming and often ambiguous correspondence problem of conventional stereo vision systems. There are no moving parts, nor is there a mechanical scanning mechanism, in our system; therefore, the mechanical design can be very simple and reliable. The system does not require lasers, hence there is no "eye safe" problem. The 3-D camera system can be integrated using off-the-shelf products, which leads to low production costs. The 3-D camera is also able to provide normal color 2-D intensity images in addition to 3-D range images of the scene, which facilitates object recognition and sensor fusion tasks in many machine vision applications.

The feasibility of the Color 3-D Camera has been investigated theoretically and demonstrated experimentally during the Phase I effort. All the Phase I objectives have been satisfactorily achieved. In the proposed Phase II effort, we will perform in-depth studies on several theoretical issues associated with the color 3-D camera principle. The Phase II resources will allow us to carry out more sophisticated design of a low-cost, high-speed 3-D vision system prototype and to perform extensive experimental tests. The design philosophy of our Phase II prototype will be to integrate seamlessly the system’s function modules in a compact printed circuit board equipped with multiple DSP processors. All the image acquiring, image processing, and range calculation will be performed on-board so the real-time range images can be produced. We believe that building a seamlessly integrated low-cost, high-speed 3-D vision system as a product line of Robotronics, Inc., is key to commercializing the SBIR results of the color 3-D camera. Such products will make a reliable and inexpensive 3-D vision capability widely available to many practical machine vision applications.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: The color 3-D camera is a fundamentally new 3-D ranging and imaging system concept with a broad range of applications. Robotronics, Inc., began its efforts to pursue the commercialization of this technology even before the end of the Phase I project. Identified candidates of commercial applications so far include the seam tracking in automatic welding control for GM’s vehicle assembly plants, forensic analysis for MSI, 3-D imaging of teeth molds for orthodontic parameter measurement, autonomous robots, high-speed parts inspection, lumber defect detection, and medical instruments. More application areas will be investigated in the Phase II effort.

301. The Development of a Solid-State, Laser Diode Driven Three-Dimensional Display Based on Two-Photon Upconversion
3D Technology Laboratories
200 Blossom Lane, P.O. Box 114
Mountain View, CA 94042-0014
tel: 415-964-4410; fax: 415-964-2844
e-mail: 3dlabs@pipeline.com
Principal Investigator: Dr. Elizabeth Downing
President: Dr. Elizabeth Downing
NSF Grant No. 9704036; Amount: $339,975

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will complete the final detailed system design and materials optimization that is necessary to construct a laser diode-driven, solid-state, three-dimensional (3-D) display. A fully functional device will be integrated, tested, evaluated, and optimized within the duration of this proposal and, when complete, will be capable of displaying true 3-D datasets from a variety of input sources. The device will offer real-time capabilities and will be able to display both static and dynamic images. Objects drawn in the display will be accessible to viewers through all sides of the display, with no restricted or obstructed regions, and with no need for glasses or headgear.

The potential commercial applications as described by the awardee: Potential commercial applications for this technology include medical imaging, computer-aided design and manufacturing, scientific visualization, air traffic control, geological and oceanic exploration, molecular modeling and computational chemistry, and education, entertainment, and general consumer electronics.