A small Utah company that was created throughUniversity of Utah research, has won an R&D100 Award for developing one of the 100 most innovative technical products of 1988.
FFFractionation, Inc., a Salt Lake City-based company barely two years old, has been cited for developing an instrument to analyze polymers, giant molecules used in making plastics. The instrument, called a polymer fractionator, is based on a method for separating molecules and microscopic particles that was invented and developed at the U.The method, called field-flow fractionation, was first conceived in the 1960s by Dr. J. Calvin Giddings, U. professor of chemistry. Giddings' research group has been expanding and perfecting the technique ever since. According to Giddings, Dr. Marcus N. Myers, research associate professor of chemistry, has played an "indispensable role in converting the concept into practical scientific instrumentation."
The award cites the two professors as co-developers of the new instrument, which is soon expected to be used worldwide.
"Every year our instruments and techniques got better and easier to use," said Giddings. "Soon our instruments could solve problems no other instrument could touch, so we decided it was time to get it out."
Giddings and Myers, with two others, then founded FFFractionation, Inc. The company now manufactures a second instrument, a colloid/particle fractionator, also based on the field-flow fractionation concept.
"Uses for these tools can be found everywhere. Any place big molecules and microscopic particles are found, there is a role for our techniques," says Giddings. "That includes the human body, which is made of cell particles and which is full of proteins, nucleic acids and other large molecules. It also includes many industrial materials and our environment."
The awards are sponsored by R&D magazine, a publication in new technologies.