ISU Headlines

ISU Idaho Accelerator Center, Niowave partner on three grants to develop new accelerators for commercial use

Posted April 3, 2014

The Idaho State University Idaho Accelerator Center and Niowave, Inc. have received three new Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research grants to create new, compact accelerators intended to provide various commercial uses.

Bridging the development gap, which is a common obstacle encountered by university scientists, is essential to attract investment and development partners from both industry and the venture community. Creating and nurturing this synergy between the IAC and Niowave, Inc. provides another opportunity for Idaho State University to exercise leadership and continue the development and translation of promising new technologies intended to benefit the public and society as a whole.

“The Idaho Accelerator Center has one of the largest installed bases of accelerators for government and private sector research as well as a faculty and staff with exceptional background in science and operations of accelerators,” said Howard Grimes, ISU vice president for research and economic development. “We are pleased that Niowave has selected us as its partner.”

Niowave is a company that builds superconducting electron accelerators, using the element Niobium, to solve high-tech challenges in health care, national security and energy development. It develops applications using accelerators for medical sterilization without radioactive materials, and for testing materials used to build nuclear power plants. Its accelerators can also be used for medical radioisotope production and fundamental “photonuclear physics” research.

“Niowave is aggressively developing the leading-edge superconducting accelerators for applications around the world,” said Terry Grimm, Niowave CEO. “We selected the IAC because of their expertise and excellent support for our development.”

Niowave accelerators use superconductivity to efficiently accelerate electrons to high velocity and energy where the electrons can then be used as a tool for a number of purposes. Niowave has recently identified commercial markets for compact versions of these superconducting electron linear accelerators.

During the first phase of these three-phase development projects, the IAC team will assist Niowave in computer simulations of systems performance in nuclear particle tracking, and neutron and x-ray flux generation. IAC will also analyze the thermal response components in the device structures. Experiments to validate calculations will be performed at the IAC accelerator facilities.

In future phases of the projects, the IAC will do high-power testing of various test designs and will assist in identifying specific device needs for commercial applications.

“This is an exciting time for the Idaho State University Idaho Accelerator Center. We have forward momentum, expedited by the partnership of Niowave, Inc., and these grants,” said Grimes, “These partnerships allow us to improve continuity between research and economic development as our new technologies and developments become investment-grade opportunities.”