STTR Phase II: ERC - Small Business: Laser Vapor Deposition for thin film functional polymers and nanocomposites and mid-infrared characterization

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

AppliFlex LLC
1244 Reamwood Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Research Institution

Princeton University
P. O. Box 451
Princeton, NJ 08543
Institution POC


NSF invites funding requests from current Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase II grantees to perform collaborative research with an Engineering Research Center (ERC). The goals of this collaborative effort are to provide a mutually beneficial research and commercialization platform where SBIR/STTR Phase II grantees can perform collaborative research with ERC faculty, researchers, and graduate students, to strengthen the capacity of their firms, and/or speed the transition of ERC advances to the marketplace. In accordance with the NSF solicitation NSF 10-617, AppliFlex LLC has submitted a request for additional funding. The sub-awardee identified in the supplemental request is Princeton University. This proposal/request meets the requirements of the solicitation NSF 10-023. This collaboration program offers an excellent opportunity to test AppliFlex's process in this unique mid-infrared wavelength by utilizing the capabilities and expertise of the Engineering Research Center on Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE). Both AppliFlex and MIRTHE share the same platform, mid-infrared light; AppliFlex focuses on mid-infrared laser materials processing and MIRTHE focuses on mid-infrared laser diagnostics. Therefore, the company and MIRTHE complement each other perfectly and together, they can synergistically maximize transformational mid-infrared technologies. AppliFlex LLC is a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II company. Vanderbilt University (Vanderbilt) is working with AppliFlex on the STTR grant. AppliFlex is proposing to work with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) Institute for Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and Environment (MIRTHE). MIRTHE is an active ERC headquartered at Princeton University, (Princeton) with partners including the City College New York, Johns Hopkins University, Rice, Texas A & M, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. AppliFlex is proposing to work with MIRTHE to develop a laser vapor deposition (LVD) for depositing thin films and heterostructures of polymer and functionalized nanoparticles. LVD utilizes mid-infrared laser to convert organic materials to a gaseous plume for deposition on surfaces with minimal photo-fragmentation. This collaboration between the small business and the universities will speed up market entry and aid expansion into adjacent markets for mid-infrared laser processing of materials. The research partners have complimentary skill sets with the small business having expertise in resonant excitation of organic and polymer materials with mid-infrared laser light, while the core mission of MIRTHE is the resonant absorption and sensing of materials with mid-infrared light. The innovation starts with the modeling and using matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE). The ERC and the small business and its STTR partner will be developing technologies that will potentially help the nation in detection of compounds important to health and security. Additional applications are also envisioned that will improve lives. Additionally, the research will be centered around training for graduate students at the two partner universities furthering the education of the workforce in science, engineering and math.