Technology Research Center in Virginia Receives Government Grant

A $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy will bring AMAC International, a research and development company based at Jefferson Lab's Applied Research Center, another step closer to completing technology that could eventually help lower cellular phone and wireless services costs for all consumers, according to the company's founder.

AMAC used a previous $100,000 grant to complete the first phase of design and testing for a high radio frequency window and coupler, an instrument that would move electrons faster and more efficiently through radio waves. With this second-phase grant, funded through the DOE's Small Business Technology Transfer Program, the company will build a prototype for commercial use and license it to Communications & Power Industries, one of the largest radio-frequency companies in the United States, which will then mass-produce it, said Quan-Sheng Shu, AMAC founder and president.

The DOE envisions the technology as a way to decrease costs of satellite communications. But it also has applications for the electricity industry and manufacturers of semiconductors, or computer chips, Shu explained.

And becuase AMAC's instrument helps move power throught the air less expensively, it would make cellular and wireless services cheaper as well, he said.

Shu founded AMAC which stands for accelerator, magnets and cryogenics in Texas in 1996. Soon after, he moved the company to Newport News, lured by state incentives and the reputation of the accelerator work at Jefferson Lab.

Over the last two years, AMAC has received $1.25 million in DOE grants to collaborate with an international group developing a $100 million project called TESLA (Tera Electron Volt Energy Superconducting Linear Accelerator). Based in Hamburg, Germany, that project uses the same technology as AMAC's high radio frequency instrument.