The specific aim of this Phase II SBIR proposal is to develop a commercial method for manufacturing small sterilizable RFID tags for use in a bio-medical application; including ultra- low- temperature storage of samples vials. In our successful Phase I efforts, we showed feasibility of developing RFID tags that could withstand 25 kGy of e-beam irradiation, fit the bottom of an SBS-96 vial and function at -196o C. Hundreds of millions of new biological samples are stored annually. For the most part, tracking these samples is done manually. Tracking samples and performing required inventories using these manual methods leads to errors and is extremely time consuming. The lack of an automated tracking method has become an acknowledged problem in the field. Our company has addressed this problem for the ubiquitous 5.25? sample box. We have developed a unique RFID-based method of tracking individual vials and boxes in the freezer of a biobank in real time. Our success in developing a suitable RFID device was supported by a Phase I, Phase II, and IIb SBIR. We are currently selling products based on those findings and continue to develop that product line and will be beta testing an entire freezer/vial system at several sites in 2016, supported by the Phase IIb SBIR. There is currently a tremendous growth in the 96 vial SBS format. To use RFID based tags in this market the vials must withstand radiation sterilization because they are shipped preassembled in racks and ready for use. Currently available RFID tags are destroyed by irradiation. An additional challenge is making a small tag which that is tuned to the standard UHF RFID frequency range. In the Phase I we have shown that there is a clear path to creating an RFID tag that is sterilizable, has the appropriate tuning frequency, and is functional at temperatures down to -196 oC. We must now develop an affordable commercial method of manufacturing these tags. To this end, we will carry out the following tasks: 1) produce a sterilizable RFID chip, 2) use these chips to design a manufacturable RFID tag that fits the SBS-96 format vials and 3) port our manufacturing method to a commercial manufacturer.

Public Health Relevance

The number of archived biological samples is very large and ever growing. Maintaining large collections of these samples is fraught with difficulties arising from inadequate labeling technologies, the inability to automatically locate the samples and a lack of robust connection between the physical sample and archiving software. We propose to develop small, encapsulated, sterilizable RFID tags that can be built into modern sample vials and sterilized in situ. This will bring the advantages of RFID technology to the many forms of sterile plastic ware used in the biomedical community. This will reduce human errors, save cost, allow locating samples, and will minimize the need to handle frozen samples.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Contreras, Miguel A
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Bio Tillion, LLC
United States
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