NIST Small Business Innovation Research Program Awards 21 Grants for Tech Development

September 25, 2017

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded nearly $3.9 million in grants to 21 small businesses to support innovative technology development. Awardees in 16 states will receive Phase I or Phase II funding through NIST’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The innovative products to be developed through the grants aim to solve specific technology challenges in collaboration and partnership, data and modeling, precision measurements, and systems. Phase I awardees receive up to $100,000 to establish the merit, feasibility and commercial potential of the proposed research and development. After completing their Phase I projects, awardees may vie for Phase II funding of up to $300,000 to continue their efforts. In Phase III, non-SBIR funds are used for technology commercialization. “These grants are a strong investment in the nation’s economic future,” said Paul Zielinski, director, NIST’s Technology Partnerships Office. “Small businesses build on NIST’s scientific advances and create next-generation products that boost U.S. leadership in technology.”

The 2017 Phase I awardees include:

Collaboration and Partnership

En’Urga Incorporated. (West Lafayette, Indiana) $100,000 - for an optical device for sorting particles by size. The device, based on a NIST provisional patent, will estimate the size of minute drops in advanced spray nozzles and fuel injectors designed to improve engine efficiency in the automotive and aerospace industries. 

Data and Modeling

MBSE Tools, Incorporated, doing business as ModGeno (Cumming, Georgia) $100,000 - for a model-based solution to improve the accessibility and affordability of manufacturing system simulations. MBSE will use an automated modeling and analysis tool to help manufacturers answer routine questions about throughput, capacity, cycle time and work-in-process inventory.

MetroSage, LLC (Volcano, California) $99,500 - for interactive software tools for processing QIF-formatted part models to generate realistic and accurate measurement plans and programs in standard digital languages. The software application for automated measuring machines is based on an ANSI standard for advanced manufacturing.

X-wave Innovations, Incorporated (Gaithersburg, Maryland) $100,000 - for a 3-D digital image correlation based non-destructive testing system for qualification of additive manufacturing parts. X-wave will use a 3-D nondestructive testing technology to detect defects in parts produced by advanced manufacturing, for applications in the aerospace and energy fields.

Precision Measurements

ColdQuanta, Inc. (Boulder, Colorado) $99,902 - for a compact vapor cell technology for Rydberg‐Atom RF Metrology. The device for high-accuracy radio frequency metrology with applications in detection and imaging of concealed weapons; biological sensing of optically opaque materials; and design and manufacture of smart antennas, phased arrays and radar systems.

Low Thermal Electronics, Incorporated (Itasca, Texas) $97,500 - for a precision 10 kV programmable voltage source. The voltage source to provide precise high-voltage and high-resistance measurements in a cost-effective instrument. 

Tetramer Technologies, LLC (Pendleton, South Carolina) $99,953 - for rational design of sub-100 nm polystyrene particles. The set of nanometer-scale calibration particles for optical sizing equipment, electron microscopy and semiconducting measurement tools for commercial products will be made using nanotechnology. 


Cadre Research Labs, LLC (Chicago, Illinois) $92,100 - for the development, validation, and implementation of CMC algorithm into a software platform for firearm nalysis. Cadre will develop the automated system based on a NIST-developed algorithm for firearm evidence identifications in crime labs.

InfoBeyond Technology LLC (Louisville, Kentucky) $100,000 - for Low‐Latency High‐Reliability Wireless Protocol for Advanced Manufacturing Applications—a wireless protocol to meet the communications needs of advanced manufacturing automated factories.

Nikira Labs, Incorporated (Mountain View, California) $98,177 - for a large field of view microscope for rapid, high-resolution imaging. The high-resolution microscope can rapidly image a large field of view and can be retrofitted into existing microscopes.

SIFT, LLC (Minneapolis, Minnesota) $99,835 - for the Integrated Secure Automated Bug Extraction List (ISABEL) program based on the NIST Bugs Framework (a dictionary of software bugs) that seeks out computer bugs and their sources to improve software development.

XpressRules LLC (Spokane, Washington) $100,000 - for the commercial implementation of PM/NGAC, an IT product based on NIST guidance that helps organizations manage and analyze their rules and policies, with applications in the pharmaceutical, health care, credit card, banking, government and insurance fields.

The Phase II awardees include:

Advanced Sensing for Manufacturing

Bridger Photonics, Incorporated (Bozeman, Montana) $299,926 - to develop the absolute distance interferometer for manufacturing metrology applications, a rapid, precision sensor for applications in the semiconductor industry and laser materials processing.

Innoveering, LLC (Ronkonkoma, New York) $299,867 - for a high-temperature, high-resolution in-situ differential pressure sensor, which is a compact, accurate sensor that monitors high-pressure, high-temperature processes in chemical plants.

MicroXact Inc. (Radford, Virginia) $299,959 - for a high density semi-auto closed cycle cryoprober, a cryogenic probe for testing sensors and electronic components for nuclear security, concealed weapons detection, astrophysics and signal processing, as well as testing classical and quantum processers with superconducting elements.

Omega Optics Incorporated (Austin, Texas) $299,240 - for a technology to improve chemical sensing and biosensing with possible applications in food, air and water quality.

Quantum Diamond Technologies, Incorporated (Somerville, Massachusetts) $300,000 - for a benchtop analysis system for quantifying the magnetic properties of single nanoparticles for quality control in biomedical applications.

Symbio Robotics, Incorporated (Emeryville, California) $299,587 - for a robotic perception engine developed in Phase I that will be enhanced to meet the accuracy and reliability thresholds needed for factory automation.


Optofluidics, Incorporated (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) $299,987 - a particle-analysis quality-control instrument that could ultimately speed up product development time and improve the quality and safety of biotherapeutics.

Cyber Physical Systems

XCSpec (Larkspur, California) $298,925 - for a air movement efficiency monitor, a small, inexpensive, wireless micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensor that operates as a “fitness tracker” for buildings by continuously monitoring and reporting duct leakage, air balancing and fan efficiency at key locations to lower operating costs.

Lab to Market

AxNano, LLC (Danville, Virginia) $299,994 - for a novel, low-cost remediation technology that will be prototyped and field tested for its ability to clean chemically contaminated waste sites.

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