Scion Plasma LLC Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D

East Lansing, Michigan, January 29, 2019 – Scion Plasma LLC has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on an innovative single beam ion source that overcomes the limitations of conventional ion sources. The focused single beam of ions generated without a filament has widely tunable ion energies for optimal ion-surface interactions. The ion source can be operated with wide range of pressure that is compatible with most of the physical and chemical vapor deposition systems. The low-cost and simple design allows drop-in replacement for existing vacuum systems for long-term stable operation in thin-film processing environment. This project will play a key role in the manufacturability of high-quality thin films and enable the development of new materials and devices to create new markets that will collectively equate to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Scion Plasma LLC is founded in 2018, as a spin-off startup company from Michigan State University (MSU). Scion Plasma has partnered with several leading institute and vacuum companies to provide hardware and software products for plasma enhanced performance. The single beam ion source can be transformative for the manufacturability of high-quality thin films and have a significant economic impact. This project is expected to contribute in the technology-driven economy growth of Michigan by growing the company’s employment. Likewise, engaging and educating undergraduate and graduate students through collaboration with MSU and hence promoting the leading position of the US in the advanced manufacturing.

“The National Science Foundation supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”

“This funding allows us to develop a very unique ion beam source for the next generation of thin-film technology,” said Dr. Maheshwar Shrestha, Principal Research Scientist, Scion Plasma. “It will help us to discover our future customers and make our revolutionary products ready for the market. We are very excited and honored to be awarded and be a part of the technology innovation and commercialization.”

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $225,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.

To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit:

About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7.8 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.