nGimat Co., an Atlanta-based maker of nano materials for nanopowders, thin-film coatings and devices, was awarded a grant to develop yttrium aluminum oxide nanopowder that can be processed into transparent, small-grained polycrystalline laser host materials. The one-year, $390,000 Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project grant includes a second optional year for an additional $360,000. The research is funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and monitored by the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md. Completion of phase II will position nGimat to sell nanopowder for production of military and commercial high-energy laser (HEL) systems. In phase I, nGimat produced high-purity crystalline nanopowders that were pressed and sintered into polycrystalline Nd-doped YAG pellets. The phase II program will enable further development and manufacturing to produce commercial quantities of ultrapure unagglomerated yttrium aluminum oxide nanopowder with a particles less than 100 nm in diameter. "Sintering nGimats nanocrystals into transparent polycrystalline solids with submicron grain size would alleviate many of the manufacturing limitations associated with growing YAG single crystals," said Andrew Hunt, CEO of nGimat. "Nanopowder processing enables net-shaped part formation of almost any size without expensive ceramic machining." nGimat will use its NanoSpray combustion process to produce the nanopowders.