(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first article in a series providing an update on Cohort 4 of “Innovation Crossroads.” The Cohort is in its second year of the program. Each article will focus on what’s next for the innovators and their companies.)
By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA
Coming out of the first year of the “Innovation Crossroads” program with a patent and funding from Launch Tennessee and a Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, Renee Carder is ready to see what the second year will bring.
Carder, Co-Founder and Vice President of PixelEXX Systems, is a member of Cohort 4 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program through Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The company works in improving digital imaging (read more in this teknovation.biz article). Like many other innovators in the program, Carder said PixelEXX had to get creative during the pandemic. Prior to shutdowns, she said the company had been working out of the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility in New York. However, when the coronavirus struck, the lab shut down any work from people outside of the state.
Once that lab shut down, Carder said PixelEXX began working with three new consultants. This allowed the company to come up with innovative solutions to the fabrication process.
“The biggest adjustment we made as a result of the pandemic was modifying our fabrication plans,” Carder said. “PixelEXX has established ongoing relationships with three new consultants whose expertise spans a broad range of fabrication processes including many that were previously inaccessible to the company.”
The new fabrication processes helped move along the technology that already had a wide range of implications. Carder said her time in the “Innovation Crossroads” program has been dedicated to creating a product roadmap and viable commercialization plan. That has helped narrow down the focus.
“We are exploring two key applications,” she said. “One that takes advantage of the low light sensitivity of our sensors for scintillation detection applications, and the other that focuses on wavelength selectivity without the use of filters or other optical devices.”
Carder said she plans to spend the remainder of the programming refining PixelEXX’s product roadmap. The company also received a patent in the spring, providing protection for the core technology – a novel image sensor. The company also received a Phase II SBIR grant from the Department of Energy for $1.15 million, as well as an additional $300,000 through the “Tennessee SBIR/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Fund Grant Program” from Launch Tennessee. Learn more in this teknovation.biz article.