Technology that could revolutionize everything from CAT scans to naval weapons is making big strides in mid-Michigan.
Lansing-based Niowave, one of the only companies in the world that make superconducting particle accelerators, is about to push its research even further with a new $10 million facility.
"It means that industry, private industry is willing to put real money on the table," Chief Operating Officer Jerry Hollister said, of the expansion. "These devices are no longer just these cool science experiments in national labs, but they are really viable business opportunities."
Hollister says the 15,000 square foot Free Electron Laser and Medical Radioisotope facility will help the company develop larger, more powerful accelerators.
"It gives us the opportunity to test in an area that we wouldn't otherwise be able to," Hollister explained.
Accelerators use magnetic fields to crash atoms or subatomic particles together at high speeds. They help researchers understand the nature of matter, but have plenty of other applications, including cancer therapy and anti-missle defense measures.
"I don't have to have a magazine full of lots of projectile rounds, it's safer," Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, Chief of U.S. Naval Research said. "I have an endless magazine if threats come into our ships in the future or into our country, frankly the defense of our nation should be secure with this kind of technology."
The Navy is one of Niowave's biggest customers. It is planning to use the company's technology for high energy laser lights that will complement existing defense systems on its ships.
"We as a state need to excite people about science, about math, about innovation, that's really what Niowave is really all about," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing said. "It's bringing in new good paying jobs, working with MSU, science of the future, broad application."
Niowave is planning to add 25 new employees by the end of the year.