LEMONT, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $35 million in funding for diverse small businesses to pursue clean energy, climate and other scientific solutions. These Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards aim to transform DOE-supported science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services.

Researchers at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory will contribute to three SBIR/STTR projects. The projects will draw upon Argonne’s many strengths in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), as well as quantum information science. Each project will receive approximately $200K for six months to a year.

In one project, a team led by Argonne nanoscientist Maria Chan will be working with VISIMO (Coraopolis, PA) to develop data management software based on AI and ML. This software will use AI and ML to automatically label and organize microscopy images, such as those from DOE’s Nanoscale Science Research Centers. Such automation will allow researchers to more easily make discoveries such as new or improved catalysts and batteries for sustainable energy production and storage.

For the second project, a team led by Argonne scientist Subramanian Sankaranarayanan will be working with Sentient Science Corp. (West Lafayette, IN) on another software package that leverages AI and ML. Their software will accelerate the development of new models for studying the properties of materials that can be applied to solving industrial problems, such as predicting the short- and long-term failure rates of mechanical systems, like wind turbines, rotorcraft and rail transport.

For the third project, Argonne scientist F. Joseph Heremans is teaming up with Adamas Nanotechnologies (Raleigh, NC) and the City College of New York to develop a method for commercial production of a key quantum material for new sensors. This material is diamond that has been engineered with defects in the crystal structure to exploit their quantum properties. At present, the absence of commercial production of the core “quantum diamond” material hinders the field. Quantum probes with such defects could leapfrog current sensing technology and find applications in physics, chemistry and medicine.

“The DOE SBIR and STTR are powerful programs to engage small businesses in stimulating innovation for the U.S. economy,” said Megan Clifford, Associate Laboratory Director for Science & Technology Partnerships and Outreach at Argonne. “Argonne is excited to partner with small businesses to expand our impact and support technology transfer.”


Christopher J. Kramer

Head of Media Relations

Argonne National Laboratory

Office: 630.252.5580