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Technology Evaluation

The following quotes are from technical experts at the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and the National Cancer Institute (NIH-NCI) that evaluated the UFT and PPS technology in their reviews of four Integrated Sensors SBIR Phase-I proposals, and two SBIR Phase-II proposals, and all of which have resulted in SBIR Awards.


Phase-I DOE reviewer at the Office of Nuclear Physics (Jan 2019):


“This [proposal] is aimed to develop novel high-performance [redacted] material for detecting and counting charged particles. Because of its unique properties, the material undoubtedly has great potentials to move the current state-of-the-art charged particle detector technology to a new level.


This is the first group to design a particle beam detection system based on this material.

As stated in the proposal, a preliminary evaluation has generated significant interest at MSU-NSCL/FRIB and the LHC-ATLAS detector group at the University of Michigan (UM), with both groups having committed to working with I-S as subcontractors on the proposed program. Interest has also been expressed at JLab and BNL which have provided Letters of Support.


Both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, participating in this project as subcontractors, are the top research centers specialized in radiation detection and nuclear instrumentation.


It is clearly beneficial for DOE-NP that one of the tasks of the proposed work focus on improving beam quality primarily for high-energy experiments and especially for exotic beams, as well as reducing the time spent on beam tuning/development and therefore lower operational costs and more time for experiments.


If successful, the proposed technology will provide a new type of material and a novel beam monitor to enable enhanced particle accelerator performance. Nuclear and high energy physics, high-tech industries and medical treatment of cancer can all benefit by this technology.”


Phase-II NIH reviewers at the National Cancer Institute (Jan 2016):

Summary of Reviewers Discussion:  “This Phase II application proposes to develop a new detector, the plasma panel sensor (PPS), which has the potential to remove the barriers of existing detectors. As the interest in proton radiotherapy continues to grow, these detectors have potential applications for both imaging and beam monitoring. The applicant is well experienced in chemical engineering and also an expert in the proposed research area. His team of physicists and engineers has complementary expertise, and they are well positioned to carry out the proposed studies. The applicant has successfully completed the Phase 1 studies and is now seeking to expand in this Phase II application, with plans for taking it further with Phase III funding commitment by a commercial company. Reviewers agree that the strategy and objectives described herein are appropriate and sound. The new research plan has the key description of relevant PPS detector attributes and experiments, along with the needed simulation studies. Furthermore, the application as written includes a detail commercialization plan. Despite the minor concerns regarding experimental details from some reviewers, the committee members agree that the proposed studies are of high clinical significance, with high likelihood of success to lead to enabling technology for particle beam monitoring and imaging. Overall, the enthusiasm is high among the committee members for this outstanding to exceptional Phase II application from a well-established investigator with impressive track record.”


Phase-I DOE reviewers at the Office of High Energy Physics (Jan 2014):

“The potential benefits of the current proposal more than justify the proposed cost. PPS – based detectors may work better than any other technology as muon detectors in the forward regions of the LHC during HL-LHC operation because they may have a superior combination of radiation tolerance, position resolution, and time resolution... If PPS – based detectors can be developed that provide very good position resolution and are extremely radiation tolerant, then they could be the detectors of choice for use during proton irradiation of tumors.” (DOE Reviewer 1)


“This is a strong proposal… The proposed device has the possibility of being very useful in particle physics, both for the low cost per area coverage, the excellent spatial resolution, and the exceptionally fast timing characteristics of the device. The proposed work brings together a number of existing ideas and technologies to provide a novel, new, and promising detector idea… The new design also provides for studies of quenching resistors for individual cells, another feature likely to show significant performance improvements.” (DOE Reviewer 2)


“This is a new and unique idea pursued by a small collaboration of researchers in the US and Israel. This may have extremely high potential with applications ranging from medical imaging to homeland security so a breakthrough is possible… The potential is very high and a spectrum of products quite broad ranging from applications in research to industry to medicine!” (DOE Reviewer 3)


Phase-II DOE reviewers at the Office of Nuclear Physics (2014):

“I regard this as a unique and clever idea for adapting a mass-product technology to the purposes of precision measurement of charged particle position and trajectory… If successful, the project would produce significant technical advances in measuring the position of charged particles in fundamental physics experiments and cancer proton therapy.” (DOE Reviewer 1)


“Strong points of these detectors are their radiation hardness and the large and fast signals. This makes these detectors well suited to beam monitoring like the described irradiation applications.” (DOE Reviewer 2)


“The applicant and collaborators have demonstrated extensive knowledge and experience in the development of PPS sensors and related areas, most notably PDP fabrication technology which is the origin and basis for much of this project… In my opinion the proposal effectively argues that a ‘breakthrough’ is possible… The phase I objectives as described in this proposal have been met, and the results are quite impressive… I am confident this will have direct technological benefit to DOE programs. It may have technological and economic benefits to large scale applications such as proton therapy and homeland security… I believe the work will proceed to commercial products, and I believe the company is committed to that and capable of making it happen.” (DOE Reviewer 3)


Phase-I DOE reviewers at the Office of High-Energy Physics (2012):

“The proposed work enters uncharted territory and has the potential of a breakthrough, potentially leading to cheap, reliable, high-rate particle sensors with very high granularity. As far as I am aware of, this idea is unique… The Principal Investigator (i.e. Dr. Friedman) and the various collaborators appear to have the necessary know-how to turn this concept into a useful technology for future HEP experimentation. This appears to be a very professional group… If successful the proposed work will lead to applications in HEP, medical imaging, and any other field where subatomic particles need to be tracked.” (DOE Reviewer 1)


“This proposal has the possibility of providing a low cost, large area, solution to charged particle detection for HEP and could provide a breakthrough in this area of application, and indeed in a number of other areas also… There is currently a need for efficient, fast, large area, low cost charged particle detectors for High Energy Physics and many other applications… The significance of the successful development of the detector systems described in this proposal could be very high in lowering the cost of systems for HEP, allowing the widespread use of advanced detection systems for security applications, and making low cost advanced medical imaging systems more widely available – thereby potentially lowering medical costs by advanced detection.” (DOE Reviewer 2)


“The proposed R&D builds on this group’s previous plasma panel detector R&D and it is certainly leading edge technology. The ideas presented in the proposal are new and unique to the proposing group and they are an important elaboration of their previous SBIR proposal (last year)… I think it is likely the proposed work will result in a marketable product.” (DOE Reviewer 3)


Phase-I DOE reviewers at the Office of Nuclear Physics (2012):

“The proposed work is very valuable, and if successful will be a great advance for nuclear and particle detector physics. The possible applications of the ideas go well beyond mere uses in physics research, extending to homeland security and medical imaging for example… The proposed work builds nicely upon what has already been done by this group, and the prospects for success seem very high.” (DOE Reviewer 1)


“The basic technology is novel and state-of-the-art, and the proposed enhancements would have unique benefits… The applicant demonstrated deep knowledge of the subject and scientific issues, and clearly has the expertise to perform and succeed in this project… From a business revenue perspective, medical diagnostic applications would appear to be most promising, and in this area the market is quite large - and growing. It is also true this industry is active in the U.S. and this technology could play a role in maintaining U.S. leadership in this field.” (DOE Reviewer 2)


“This is an innovative proposal to continue the development of a new kind of detector with extraordinary performance potential… It is a breakthrough proposal - with some risk. Applicant is highly qualified with a strong record of achievement.” (DOE Reviewer 3)