UW Spinout Company Receives $1.2 Million Grant to Fund Research and Development of Advanced Technologies | New


August 3, 2022

Kristin Di Bona, CEO and co-founder of Wyonics and adjunct professor of chemistry at UW, and Caleb Hill, associate professor of chemistry at UW and co-director of the UW Center for Nuclear Energy Research, as well as co-founder of Wyonics, recently received a $1.2 million small business innovation research grant from the US Department of Energy. The grant will be used to fund the continued development and commercialization of instrumentation platforms for the non-destructive manipulation and analysis of micro and nanoscale materials. (Photo UW)

A Laramie company that originated at the University of Wyoming has received a $1.2 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy which will be used to fund the continued development and commercialization of instrumentation platforms for the nondestructive manipulation and analysis of micro and nano-sized materials.

“Identifying and manipulating particles at the micro and nanoscale is increasingly necessary for advanced technologies, such as the semiconductor and electronics industries, nuclear forensics and non-proliferation. nuclear,” says Kristin Di Bona, CEO and co-founder of Wyonics and adjunct professor. of chemistry at UW. “An advanced instrumental platform will be developed and prototyped to specifically manipulate and analyze these small particles. A key application of the technology will be the analysis of very small individual particles of actinide-containing materials, which is critical to ongoing nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

Radioactive elements, such as uranium and plutonium used in nuclear power and nuclear weapons, are considered actinides.

Caleb Hill, associate professor of chemistry at UW and co-director of the UW Center for Nuclear Energy Research, is the other co-founder of Wyonics.

Wyonics is a science-based innovation company founded in 2017, with a mission to develop sustainable technologies for Wyoming and beyond. The company’s scientific staff, which brings together researchers from the UW Department of Chemistry and the private sector, has combined expertise spanning the fields of chemistry, biology and materials science. Other ongoing projects at Wyonics include the development and commercialization of low temperature processes for the extraction and recovery of rare earth elements and other critical materials from alternative sources and the development of filtration materials. biodegradable to fight future pandemics.

The SBIR Phase II grant lasts for two years, starting this month and ending in August 2024.

Hill will receive a $200,000 subcontract for this work, which will fund the work of one full-time UW graduate student and two or three UW undergraduate students for the duration of the assignment. grant. Declan McDonald, a senior from Littleton, Colorado, majoring in chemistry and chemical engineering, is part of the research team.

This award continues and advances the work of the company’s $200,000 Phase I grant obtained last year, Di Bona said.

“Phase I has fully demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed technology, showing that it can serve as an ideal tool for small-scale particle manipulation and is compatible with all desired ex situ analytical methods,” she says. “Phase II will focus on the continued development of the manipulation platform demonstrated in Phase I, with the ultimate goal of producing a working prototype system for commercialization. Phase II prototyping, software development, customer outreach and beta testing will produce a robust commercial platform capable of meeting the needs of current and emerging high-tech applications.

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