ONAMI helps Voxtel obtain $750,000 contract

June 08 2005

University of Oregon nanotechnology expertise and equipment to be involved in the contract’s research

EUGENE, Ore. - Voxtel, Inc., a Beaverton, Ore., technology company, in collaboration with the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), has been awarded a two-year, $750,000 research contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

The contract will involve the development of microwave circuits that could dramatically improve telecommunications and optical devices, such as night vision cameras.

Voxtel, Inc., is working to make high-speed photodetectors by using nanocrystals embedded in polymers. The process uses quantum dots, which are matter particles made out of a variety of semiconductor materials that are typically a few 10s of nanometers in diameter (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter).

Through ONAMI, Voxtel discovered chemists Mark Lonergan and Jim Hutchison of the University of Oregon’s Materials Science Institute (MSI).

“Voxtel’s area of research is a natural extension of the work conducted in my labs,” said Lonergan. Lonergan’s area of expertise involves synthesizing conducting organic polymers, the component of the photodetectors that surrounds the quantum dots, andunderstanding the electrical characteristics of such materials. He will work with Voxtel researchers to synthesize new materials and understand the properties of the resulting photodetectors.

As the project progresses, Hutchison will be consulted for his expertise in nanotechnology and in his position as MSI director. MSI includes the Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon, a major research facility that makes high performance characterization instruments available for industry and academic use.

George Williams, Voxtel president, credited ONAMI with making the research contract possible. “With resources available through ONAMI, we hope to rapidly commercialize this technology for a wide range of applications,” he said.

“The collaborative relationship between Voxtel and the University of Oregon, one of ONAMI’s founding institutions, demonstrates the realization of ONAMI’s goal to apply the resources of Oregon’s research universities and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to the commercialization of nano- and microtechnology products and the creation of new jobs in Oregon and the Northwest,” said Skip Rung, ONAMI executive director.

The award to Voxtel follows a successful six-month, $100,000-study phase, during which the company developed the innovative application of using nanocrystal-polymer composites for high-speed photodetectors. The contract also involves Evident Technologies of Troy, N.Y., which will supply quantum dots for Voxtel’s research. The funding was provided under the Air Force Small Business Innovative Research program.

ONAMI is Oregon’s first “Signature Research Center” for the advancement of research toward the commercialization of innovative technology within Oregon and the Northwest. It represents an unprecedented collaboration between Oregon’s three public research universities-University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University-and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the state of Oregon, selected researchers from the Oregon Graduate Institute and Oregon Health Sciences University, and the region’s world-leading “Silicon Forest” high-technology industries.

Voxtel, Inc., founded in 2000, is a leading developer of sophisticated detectors and electro-optical imaging systems for a wide range of government, industrial, and scientific markets.

The University of Oregon’s world-class research team and facilities within its Materials Science Institute and Department of Chemistry are uniquely equipped to study the electrochemistry, polymer chemistry, and photophysics of organic and inorganic materials as they are applied in optoelectronics.

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