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Moving new technologies from the lab to the marketplace

Judith Sheft, associate vice president for technology development at NJIT, has been awarded funds from the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology to assist faculty researchers with the most promising patentable inventions with funding grants of up to $50,000. The money, known as Gap grants, is designed to help bridge the chasm between an interesting idea and a commercial product.

Sixteen grants have been made since 2006 to NJIT faculty researchers. The most promising innovations include the following.

Timothy Chang, professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a Gap award last year for his patented nanopositioner which has 6 degrees of freedom for applications in such fields as semiconductor manufacturing, opto-electronics, life sciences and material handling. This year, he received two more awards -- one for his low transient pulse technique for ultrasound imaging to detect and monitor bone fractures, and another for broadening the application base of the SmartPin, a new liquid dispensing/handling system capable of producing tiny spots/droplets/geometric-features for molecular biology research and analysis.

Rajesh Dave, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, received a Gap award for his dry-particle coating technique. The technique enables a precise amount of nano-particles to be bonded onto the surface of cohesive powders as small as 5 microns. This nanoscale coating process opens a host of new applications for pharmaceutical, neutraceutical, food, energetic and electronics materials.

Sergiu Gorun, associate professor of chemistry, received an award to further develop his phthalocyanine dyes. The dyes have the unique characteristic of absorbing heat, allowing visible light to pass through the polymer thus opening up an array of new civilian and military applications. They include heat ray shielding laminated glass or film, plasma display grade filters, heat-retaining and heat-accumulating fibers, and liquid crystal display devices.

Zafar Iqbal, research professor of chemistry, received support to develop technology that applies the principles and materials of nanotechnology to a novel biofuel cell that converts the body's own glucose to power devices like pacemakers and glucose biosensors for diabetics. The device uses highly conductive nanomaterials -- carbon nanotubes and gold quantum dots -- to guide the electrons.

Treena Livingston Arinzeh, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Michael Jaffe, research professor of biomedical engineering, received a grant to refine and improve their electrospinning technique. They have used it to build scaffolds for tissue engineering which are then combined with adult stem cells to regrow bone tissue.

Michael Lacker, professor of biomedical engineering, received an award for his boundary method. The method generates new output algorithms for measuring skill, movement stability, and energy efficiency of human motion. He someday sees his research assisting people with neuromuscular and skeletal injuries with daily activities.

Chengjun Liu, associate professor of computer science, received a Gap grant for his patented face detection technology to develop new similarity measures required for a robust face detection pilot system. The system, which takes into account such factors as lighting and facial expressions, can be used as a security system with facial identification replacing a physical key or a password. Such a system could also assist law enforcement officials in locating fugitives by means of video cameras strategically placed in public places.

Somenath Mitra, professor of chemistry, and Zafar Iqbal, research professor of chemistry, received awards to refine their proprietary techniques for producing, purifying and changing the chemical characteristics of carbon nanotubes thus allowing nanomaterials to be combined into nanostructures, manipulated by chemical engineering, or embedded into a matrix of other materials for a wide variety of applications.

Kamalesh K. Sirkar, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, received multiple grants to participate in a NASA-sponsored large-scale demonstration of his hollow fiber membrane device. The device can remove and recover volatile organic compounds from air and waste-gas streams vented by a variety of industrial processes (water treatment, and chemical, food, petrochemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing), thus reducing the greenhouse effect.

G. Gordon Thomas, professor of physics, received two awards, one to improve and test a new tonometer. The instrument enables thru-the-eyelid measurement of intro-ocular pressure to diagnose glaucoma. He received a second award to continue work of his team's "smart shunt" for hydrocephalus and brain-injured patients.


Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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