A Laramie business that originated at the University of Wyoming has received a $200,000 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop and commercialize instrumentation platforms for the nondestructive manipulation and analysis of micro- and nano-sized materials.
“This ability is highly sought after in the fields of nuclear forensics, nanomedicine and semiconductor fabrication,” says Caleb Hill, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Chemistry and co-founder of Wyonics. “The grant will provide the funds needed to set up a new research and development program at Wyonics, directly creating new job opportunities in Laramie. More broadly, it will strengthen the presence of the high-tech manufacturing sector in Wyoming.”
Wyonics is a scientific innovation company founded in 2017 with the 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, possesses a combined expertise spanning the chemical, biological and materials science fields. Additional 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 biodegradable filtration materials to combat future pandemics.
The DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant runs for nine months, beginning this month and ending in March 2022. Kristin Di Bona, CEO and co-founder of Wyonics and a former UW postdoctoral researcher, will lead the project.
UW will receive a subcontract that will fund the work of UW undergraduate and graduate students on the project, Hill says.
After the grant period expires, the company will apply for a two-year, $1.1 million Phase II SBIR grant from the DOE to further grow the work, he adds.