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State College’s L4IS develops cutting-edge laser technology


Laboriously cutting corn root specimens into ultra-thin sections for x-ray study at a rate of four or five an hour, Penn State horticulturalists approached the university's Applied Research Lab for a better way.
It was there that Benjamin Hall developed an imaging technique that uses lasers to create digitized, 3D models from physical samples and boosts productivity to 11 sections – per second.  Last year, Hall and Brian Reinhardt established Lasers for Innovative Solutions (L4IS) to develop and commercialize the technology.
Besides speed, the 3D models are much more cost effective and allow for easier electronic collaboration and analysis (scientists can “dissect” specimens without damaging them). “The amount of data we get out of them is enormous, measured in terabytes,” says Hall.
L4IS got an immediate boost with an early investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA and space at the BF TechCelerator in State College. This week, L4IS was a finalist in the Shell Gas Innovation Competition.
Besides plant biology, “new applications are showing up every day,” says Hall, who says that potential uses range from healthcare – think tissue and biopsy analysis – to manufacture of semiconductors to the oil and gas industry.
For now, the startup is focusing on developing its technology for tomography – imaging by sections – with a pending patent and developing a capacity for chemical analysis of samples using a spectrometer.
Source: Benjamin Hall, L4IS
Writer: Elise Vider

BFTP of Central & Northern PA, Energy, Life Sciences, News