SBIR Phase I: An automated software for dimensional analysis of nanomaterials from electron microscopy images

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

FullScaleNANO, Inc.
400 Capital Circle SE, Suite 18227
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will further develop a new software package for automatic dimensional analysis of nanomaterials from electron microscopy images. The difficult task of manual dimensional analysis of nanomaterials is a significant barrier to the success of the emerging nanotechnology industry, nanotechnology research and development, and nanotechnology-related government programs. The current methods of manual analysis are slow and tedious, introduce human errors and have no traceable standards or procedures. The innovation of this project lies in the application-specific design of the proposed software and the special features that will enhance the user's experience and understanding of the results. The main objectives of this Phase I proposal are the refinement and validation of algorithms and software routines for automated diameter and length measurements, and self-calibration. Validations will be conducted by comparison of the automatic measurement results with those from traditional manual measurements. Images of samples in the form of both "string-shaped" and spheroid nanomaterials will be used for this research and then calibrated using gold nanoparticles size standards. The anticipated result of this proposal is a software package that is well suited for nanomaterials dimensional analysis: fast, reliable, and easy to use. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is its facilitation of the emerging nanotechnology industry by saving time and money and reducing errors during dimensional analysis of nanomaterials. The commercial impact to industry will be greater profitability for nanomaterial manufacturers and nanotechnology device producers, which will use the software package to conduct rigorous but cost-effective dimensional quality control on their products. Additionally, the proposed software package will foster trust along the nanomaterials supply chain by establishing the first universal standardized dimensional analysis procedure. The target market for the final software also includes nanotechnology research facilities, where an educational impact will result from the use of the proposed software by the next generation of nanotechnology scientists and engineers. Regulation of nanomaterials and nanotechnology will also benefit from the traceability and reliability afforded by this software, and this will facilitate greater public acceptance and trust of nanotechnology, stemming from improved nanomaterials quality control.