BUFFALO, N.Y. — University at Buffalo engineers will
receive $50,000 from the statewide SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund
(TAF) to build a commercial prototype of a metrology system they
This patented technology is capable of capturing a single atom
or multiple atoms between two probes, and then studying and
measuring a wide variety of the atoms' electronic and physical
The state-of-the-art equipment needed to do this type of
research is vital for scientists looking to craft smaller, lighter
electronic devices and medical implants with atomic-scale parts.
The way that a single atom behaves is uniquely different from the
way atoms behave when found in bulk.
The project team is comprised of Jason Armstrong, PhD, who is
the principal investigator and a faculty member in the UB
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Gerry
Murak, president, CEO and founder of Precision Scientific
Instruments Inc. (PSi), a Buffalo-based high-tech manufacturing
startup that has licensed the metrology technology.
In their proposal, they state that their technology
“represents the ‘complete solution’ platform for
investigation and development of the next generation of devices as
small as a single atom.”
The team added, “There is a void in the current
marketplace for metrology equipment that is capable of forming and
studying materials and devices as small as a single
Armstrong invented the now-patented metrology device with UB
colleagues Harsh Deep Chopra, PhD, and Susan Hua, PhD, both faculty
in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. PSi is
working with the UB inventors to further develop and commercialize
it. The company's tagline is, "Where miniature is about to get
Launched in 2011, the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF)
cultivates innovation by speeding the commercialization of
high-impact SUNY inventions.
The UB project is one of five from across the SUNY system that
will receive TAF support in the current round of funding. The other
recipients were teams from Stony Brook University, the SUNY
Downstate Medical Center and the University of Albany, and a
collaborative team representing the SUNY Upstate Medical University
and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. SUNY
and the Research Foundation for SUNY announced
the awards May 29.
To date, TAF has successfully advanced the commercial readiness
of 11 SUNY-developed innovations. The fund has also contributed to
the establishment of two startup companies formed to commercialize
TAF-funded technologies and enable research teams to pursue funding
from federal funding sources.
Factors that evaluators considered in awarding TAF funding
included availability of intellectual property protection,
marketability, commercial potential, feasibility and breadth of
UB and PSi previously received funding for research and
development through SUNY's Strategic
Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR), which is
administered regionally by UB TCIE. SPIR connects corporate
partners with UB engineering brainpower, enabling businesses to
partner with UB on upgrading or introducing new technologies, or
otherwise improving products and operations.