The National Science Foundation, through the Small Business Innovation Research, approved a $150,000 grant to Mayagüez start-up Cutting Edge Superconductors Inc., plus another $100,000 from the Puerto Rico Science, Research and Technology Trust, which it will use to launch the first phase of its research this month.
Cutting Edge Superconductors operates in the ViTec2 incubator in Mayagüez and is currently developing a technology in the field of superconductivity that could reduce the cost of of magnetic resonance imaging studies by 40 percent.
“This technology is the effort of 20 years of research in the area of superconductivity. I found that by adding magnetic and non-magnetic impurities, the conduction properties of MgB2 wires are optimized, which are the cables that operate the MRI machine,” said Mayagüez Physics professor Dr. Yong Jihn Kim, who owns the company.
“Given the technology’s novel status and its marketing potential, our company is among the best of the 15 the NSF selected to receive SBIR funds. Therefore, the NSF has high expectations for our company,” he said. “Cutting Edge Superconductors has always had the Trust’s support, which had already given us $50,000 for the initial phase of the project.”
The first phase of research under the SBIR will run between July and December, when the company will test the feasibility of the concept. During this phase, Cutting Edge Superconductors will collaborate with European firm Luvata, global leader of superconducting cables, which will provide technical infrastructure for scale simulations. Cutting Edge Superconductors will also receive the support of General Electric, manufacturers of MRI equipment.
In May, the Puerto Rico Science, Research and Technology Trust approved financing to another 18 research and development projects, said Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Alberto Bacó, who also chairs the Trust.