On July 9th, 2010, Mikro Systems announced that it was on the winning team, led by Los Alamos National Laboratories, for a prestigious 2010 “R&D 100” award. Recognized as the “Oscars of Invention” by the Chicago Tribune, these awards honor the top 100 proven technological advances of the past year. R&D Magazine has presented the awards annually for 48 years. Previous award recipients have included anti-lock brakes, the fax machine, halogen lamps, and liquid crystal displays.
The award recognized work on “MOXIE” – Movies of eXtreme Imaging Experiments. MOXIE is a high-speed, motion-picture camera designed to image extremely fast or short-lived phenomena, such as explosions, plasma formation, ballistics, and shock waves. One of the primary uses for MOXIE is nuclear weapon certification without nuclear testing through X-ray movies of mock detonations.
Mikro used its patented TOMOtm manufacturing process to develop the special X-ray collimator used in the camera. Mike Appleby, founder and CEO of Mikro, said, “We are very pleased to be recognized as part of the team for our work on this important project. We are proud of the work we do with our corporate and government partners in X-ray imaging, power generation, and security.”
As the principal developer of MOXIE, Los Alamos National Laboratories submitted the application for the award, along with co-submitters that, in addition to Mikro, included Varian Medical Systems Security and Inspection Products, National Security Technologies, and Bicron-Saint-Gobain Crystals. The MOXIE camera is capable of imaging more than 20 million frames per second and enables scientists to study the physical properties of materials, including equations of state, fusion plasmas, discharge formation, shock physics, and fracture mechanics.
Mikro was founded in 2001 as an R&D company that was supported largely through government-funded projects for agencies that included the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Air Force. In recent years, large companies, such as Siemens Energy, GE, Analogic, and Siemens Healthcare have recognized opportunities to incorporate Mikro’s breakthrough manufacturing technologies in efforts to rapidly and efficiently develop, test, and implement components that cannot be developed with traditional manufacturing processes. TOMO can be used to make advanced, high-performance components in a wide variety of applications using advanced materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites.
Currently, more than 60% of Mikro’s revenues come from commercial clients. Together with these clients, Mikro has more than 30 patent applications awarded or pending. Mikro currently has 27 employees based in Charlottesville, Virginia. “One of our objectives when we moved to Virginia 10 years ago was to bring high-tech manufacturing and research jobs to the area, and we have been very fortunate to be able to meet that objective,” Appleby said.