Angelo Gaitas, president of Ann Arbor-based PicoCal Inc., last week announced the completion of PicoCal’s Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation, grant award No. 0822810.

Gaitas said the grant resulted in a number of breakthrough innovations in high throughput scanning probe microscopy, thermomechanical analysis, and mechanical properties analysis.

“PicoCal Inc. continues to innovate and grow,” Gaitas said. “Our new patented technologies eliminate the need for complicated electronics, and therefore reduce overall system costs and make parallel probes a reality. Right now we are in discussions with larger instrumentation companies to bring our recent breakthroughs to market.”

Through this work the company has developed micromachined probes that include two embedded sensors on each probe: one for measuring the mechanical movement of the probe for providing localized heating and measuring heat related parameters. These new devices were used for topographical imaging and thermomechanical analysis to characterize materials and determine transition temperatures. They were also used for the study of local mechanical properties such as adhesion and elasticity and for high throughput applications such as large area topographical mapping.

The new probes reduce costs and complexity and allow for portability. They eliminate the need for expensive instruments such as an atomic force microscopes since all of the sensing capability has been embedded in the miniature probe. This feature has allowed the company to develop probe arrays for higher throughput applications.

PicoCal’s work has resulted in a number of product innovations, scientific peer-reviewed publications, and patents. These include recent publications in Sensors and Actuators A: Physical 2011, Review of Scientific Instruments 2011, and an up and coming presentation at the Eurosensors 2011 conference.

Founded in 2004, PicoCal leverages the many years of experience of its founders and associates in microfabrication, microscopy, and engineering.

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