Twelve Washington companies receive research funding

From contamination detection to cancer treatment, cattle waste to computer languages, twelve Washington companies got the green light to conduct critical research as a result of funding awards from Washington Technology Center. WTC’s Research & Technology Development (RTD) Grant Program awards more than $1 million annually to university researchers working with emerging technology companies on projects that show potential for commercial success.


Proposals are evaluated on the basis of technical merit, economic impact and commercial viability. The financing assistance is designed to help the companies advance specific R&D efforts that will enable them to enter or advance in the commercial marketplace and ultimately generate new technology jobs in Washington. The outcome of the research in these 12 projects is estimated to generate 600 new jobs in Washington over the next five years. RTD grants are awarded twice annually, in Fall and Spring.

The 12 RTD award recipients represent businesses across Washington extending from Seattle, North Bend and Snoqualmie to Wenatchee, Colville, Spokane and Tri-Cities. Companies teamed with researchers from two of the state’s major academic institutions: six are working with researchers from Washington State University (WSU) and six are collaborating with University of Washington (UW) researchers.

Congratulations to WTC’s 2004 Spring RTD award recipients:

Cray, Inc., Seattle, WA
Researcher: Dr. Lawrence Snyder, UW Computer Science and Engineering Department. This project will compare UW’s supercomputer language ZPL to Cray’s supercomputer language Chapel with the goal of creating one parallel language that builds off the strongest assets of each program. This new collaborative new language will be tested on Cray’s next generation supercomputers. Both software programs are open source and will be used to accelerate the adoption and sale of supercomputers.

Enerdyne Solutions, North Bend, WA
Researchers: Dr. George LaRue, Dr. Mohamed Osman, WSU Electrical Engineering Department. This project will focus on developing a Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) Radio Frequency (RF) amplifier for use in wireless communications and radar applications that has two-to-three-times higher thermal performance over existing designs. This has the potential to increase power and reliability without compromising battery life or adding to the cost, size or weight of the device.

Galaxy Compound Semiconductor, Spokane, WA
Researcher: Dr. Matthew McCluskey, WSU Department of Physics Research will focus on characterizing a new infrared detector material that will have a wider spectral range than conventional detectors. An indium antimonide (InSb) based material that operates in the far infrared region would be a strong competitor to mercury-cadmium-telluride (MCT) semi-conductors in this market. To achieve this, Galaxy proposes adding Bismuth (Bi) to the alloy to extend the wavelength. Prototypes of the new detector will be tested, opening up new markets for Galaxy and increasing interest in InSbBi semiconductor materials.

Impulse Accelerated Technologies, Seattle, WA
Researcher: Dr. Carl Ebeling, UW Department of Computer Science & Engineering. This project will focus on developing key applications and creating additional hardware and software interfaces for a new set of design toolsspecifically compilers, optimizers, and debuggers that allow software applications expressed in high-level languages to be compiled to Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA). The commercial availability of these tools will benefit applications used in imaging, biomedical research, data communication, geophysics, data encryption, and signal processing.

IsoRay, Richland, WA
Researcher: Dr. Leroy Korb, UW Radiation Oncology Department. This project will document the anticipated clinical and economic benefits of the company’s new brachytherapy seed isotope, the Cs131seed, for the treatment of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and IsoRay has the only FDA approved Cesium-131 brachytherapy seed that conforms to the AAPM Task Force 43 guidelines for clinical use. The results of the research will allow the company to gain a stronger foothold in the worldwide brachytherapy seed treatment market.

Lygan Technologies, Seattle, WA
Researcher: Dr. Guozhong Cao, UW Department of Materials Science & Engineering Research. This project will focus on developing and evaluating carbon-based nanostructures for use in industrial gas storage systems. These systems have the near-term potential to improve the safety, usability and cost-effectiveness of storing such gases as nitrogen and methane. A longer term goal would be to apply this technology to hydrogen, a desirable power source currently limited in use due to inability to effectively store this gas.

Magic Wheels, Inc., Seattle, WA
Researcher: Dr. Brian Flinn, UW Material Science & Engineering Department. This Phase II RTD project will continue testing the endurance, reliability and environmental resistance of Magic Wheels Inc.’s new two-speed manual wheelchair wheels. This two-speed drive contains composite wheels and provides multiple benefits to the manual wheelchair user including easier navigation on uneven terrain and possible reduction of arm pain.

MicroConnex, Snoqualmie, WA
Researcher: Dr. Scott Dunham, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering.
The research team will test the feasibility of a new process for manufacturing large arrays of high performance thin film transistors on flexible substrates. This new process has the potential to advance the production of thin, flexible semiconductor devices for use in high performance, high frequency applications such as radar, telecommunications and signal processing.

Multiform Harvest, Inc, Seattle, WA
Researcher: Dr. Joseph Harrison, Department of Animal Sciences, WSU Puyallup. The effectiveness of a fluidized-bed crystallizer to remove phosphorus from dairy waste to prevent environmental degradation of surface water will be trialed at a dairy farm in Snohomish, WA. Dairy production is one of the top-ranked agricultural industries in Washington. An estimated one-third of all dairy farms in Washington use flush/irrigation systems to create liquid fertilizer from the cattle waste. EPA regulations are calling for a reduction in build up of phosphorus in soil. Solutions currently available are costly and cumbersome for dairy farmers to implement.

Paine Electronics, Seattle and Wenatchee, WA
Researcher: Dr. David Bahr, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Research efforts will produce two prototype strain sensors for Paine’s pressure gauges that will increase the products’ sensitivity while maintaining the robust mechanical reliability of the devices. Paine’s pressure transducers and pressure transmitters are used in aerospace, defense, oil and gas, marine and other industries.

Vaagen Brothers Lumber, Inc., Colville, WA
Researcher: Dr. Vikram Yadama and Dr. Karl Englund, WSU Wood Materials & Engineering Lab. The project will focus on the analysis and characterization of sawmill residue as a potential fiber source for the manufacturing of wood plastic composites, the potential of which could add value to mill waste that is economically and environmentally sound.

Vista Engineering Technologies, Kennewick, WA
Researcher: Dr. Kelvin Lynn, WSU Center for Materials Research. Research will center around the development of a non-invasive gaseous tracers for use with Vista’s patented Pipeline Characterization Using Tracers (PCUT) method for detecting, locating and quantifying contamination within pipelines and ductwork. PCUT technology is advantageous and preferred over conventional inspection techniques as it can be used on any pipe diameter or configuration, has no moving parts, requires no equipment decontamination, and inspects all the interior pipeline surfaces. The PCUT technique has already been proven with other contaminants such as petroleum products and solvents. The current work with WSU will extend the use of the technology to pipelines and ductwork with heavy metal contamination such as mercury.

Related WTC links:

  • Research and Technology Development Grant Program

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    This entry was posted in Cray, Enerdyne, Funding, Galaxy_Compound, Impulse_Accelerated, IsoRay, Lygan, Magic_Wheels, MicroConnex, Multiform_Harvest, Paine_Electronics, RTD, Vaagen_Brothers, Vista_Engineering, WTC_News. Bookmark the permalink.

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