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Driving Innovation with Collaboration
Driving Innovation with Collaboration


At Portland State University, community engagement is essential to how we fulfill our mission to “Let Knowledge Serve.” As our partners in the community know, engaging with PSU faculty, students, and staff can provide the extra resources needed to achieve great things. Take TangiTek LLC, a Portland-based start-up that develops novel materials for the electronics industry. TangiTek recently received a $224K Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research and development work on a project they created with assistance from PSU faculty and students.

The collaboration began when TangiTek approached Professor Branimir Pejcinovic, Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty, requesting assistance with the evaluation and characterization of novel electromagnetic radiation absorption materials the company had developed. These materials block federally regulated electromagnetic radiation escaping from or entering into electronic devices, which is critical to the performance of electronics. Pejcinovic and several students began working on the project, which eventually led to the development of a Fall 2016 capstone course in which three students, Thanh Le, Tran Ha, and Jeff Brown working under the guidance of Pejcinovic conducted research and analysis that resulted in TangiTek and Pejcinovic preparing the SBIR proposal.

Included in the SBIR award is a $25K sub-award to PSU. Those funds will support a new round of testing and analysis to be carried out by Pejcinovic and students in PSU’s Electromagnetics Lab and the Integrated Circuits Design and Testing Lab, which Pejcinovic codirects.

“With this award, we’re focused on addressing the technical challenges of successfully scaling and commercializing our innovation,” said Robert Doneker, president of TangiTek and former PSU faculty member. “We look forward to working with Professor Pejcinovic and the students at Portland State University to characterize and model our technology.”

Pejcinovic expects the work will result in several master’s theses and perhaps a Ph.D. dissertation.

“For our students, this is a great opportunity to gain knowledge, experience, and expertise in an area related to our existing work which should expand our research program and grant application opportunities,” Pejcinovic said. “I also think this is a great example of how PSU serves our community. We can apply our knowledge and resources to helping start-up companies succeed through close collaborations. Collaborations like this are exactly the kind of work the Integrated Circuits Design and Testing Lab was created to do.”