Since 2002, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has helped small businesses overcome technical obstacles through SATOP as a “Bronze” Space Alliance Partner, donating up to 250 man-hours per year.

SATOP works alongside LANL’s Technology Transfer Division, whose purpose is to help move technologies from the Lab to the marketplace to benefit society and the U.S. economy, and to bolster regional economic development in northern New Mexico. The division’s staff includes experts in technology transfer agreements, intellectual property protection, licensing, marketing and entrepreneurial activities. The division’s goal is to establish dual-benefit collaborations that meet the needs of both the Laboratory and its partners.

“Through SATOP, our company has provided small businesses technical expertise and access to world-class scientists and technologies,” said Donna Smith, Technology Transfer Division Leader.

Most recently, LANL aided Santa Fe-based STAR CryoElectronics when the company was developing new designs for a NASA/Small Business Innovative Research contract for applications in astronomy. The company needed electron microscopy images in order to understand what was happening on a microscopic level during the lift-off stencil process involved with fabricating the magnetic sensors. Using a scanning electron microscope, LANL scientists discovered that the lift-off technology was not working consistently.

Smith feels that as an Alliance Partner, Los Alamos has connected with businesses they would otherwise never come across.

“We don’t know where the small companies are, and SATOP finds them,” said Smith. “SATOP’s ability to identify small businesses with technical needs and make matches, along with our technological knowledge and capabilities, make this alliance a success.”