ONAMI Partner, Voxtel Inc., wins Air Force Nanotechnology Award

June 08 2005

Beaverton, OR, June 8, 2005 - Voxtel, Inc. today announced their selection for a two-year, $750,000 contract by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory to develop high-speed, microwave circuits made of nanocrystals embedded in polymers. The award follows a successful 6-month $100,000 study phase, which developed the innovative application of using nanocrystal polymer composites for high-speed photodetectors. Potential applications range from telecommunication to high-speed optical processing.

Rather than use silicon or other high-speed semiconductor technologies, Voxtel is pursuing an approach to make detectors using quantum dots.

Quantum dots are particles of matter a few nanometers (a few billionths of a meter) in size and made out of a variety of semiconductor materials. The small size results in new quantum phenomena that yield some extraordinary bonuses. Material properties change dramatically because quantum effects arise from the confinement of electrons and “holes” in the material (a hole is the absence of an electron; the hole behaves as though it were a positively charged particle). Size changes other material properties such as the electrical and nonlinear optical properties of a material, making them very different from those of the material’s bulk form.

Voxtel will refine the quantum dot technology with the help of technology partners from the Oregon Nanoscience and Microelectronics Institute (ONAMI), the University of Oregon, and Evident Technologies (Troy, NY). The University of Oregon will provide their specific expertise and facilities to identify and understand the properties of the chosen organic and inorganic materials and to control the effective manufacture of such advanced materials technology. The effort at the University of Oregon is directed by Dr. Mark Lonergan and Dr. Jim Hutchison of the university’s Department of Chemistry and Materials Science Institute.

States, George Williams, Voxtel’s President, “This research would not have been possible from a small company like ours without the availability of ONAMI and the University of Oregon. Understanding the interaction of single particles of light [photons] on these atomic scale particles requires sophisticated analytical equipment and microfabrication capabilities that would typically be beyond the reach of all but the largest research companies. With resources available through ONAMI, we hope to rapidly commercialize this technology for a wide range of commercial applications.”

Applications for the new technology include telecommunications, optical communications, improved night vision cameras, and optical signal processing.

The program was made under the Air Force Small Business Innovative Research program.

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

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

About Voxtel, Inc.
Voxtel, Inc., founded in 2000 in Portland, OR, is a leading developer of sophisticated detectors and electro-optical imaging systems for a wide range of government, industrial, and scientific markets. Their product technologies include near-infrared laser radar (ladar) receivers, radiation hardened imagers for space applications, and highly sensitive avalanche photodiodes (APDs) for fiber and freespace telecommunications.

Additional Links