TechConnect Innovation Program

Self-biased Circulators for Size Weight and Power Restricted Applications

Metamagnetics Inc., Massachusetts, United States


In order to address the urgent need for reduced T/R module size, cost, and weight as well as improve system robustness. Metamagnetics has developed an innovative circulator technology based on self-biased hexaferrite materials. These devices do not require external biasing magnets reducing device complexity, device weight and volume by 90%.

Primary Application Area: Electronics, Sensors & Communications

Technology Development Status: Prototype

Technology Readiness Level: TRL 5


Value Proposition: Metamagnetics’ self-biased circulators’ competitive advantage can be summarized as follows; a device weight reduction of >90%, a volume reduction of >90%, increased supply chain security, and a cost reduction of >30% compared to commercial-off-the-shelf (CoTS) solutions.


Organization Type: Early-stage Startup (Seed)

Showcase Booth #: 659



Government Funding/Support to Date: Metamagnetics’ initial technology development efforts were supported under a Ph1 NAVY SBIR contract (2011) N00024-11-C-4184 (150k). The success of the initial effort in demonstrating low-loss substrate materials prompted a follow-on Ph2 effort (2012, 750k). This effort was successful in raising the technology to a TRL of 5. Metamagnetics is currently in the final option phase of this Ph2 contract and is working closely with program sponsors at NAVSEA to locate a Ph3 transition. Alongside this effort, Metamagnetics won a Ph1 SBIR from NASA in 2013 (125k) to develop this technology for space-based applications. Over the course of this effort Metamagnetics developed ~100 prototype devices at a TRL of 5. Program managers at JPL were impressed with the technology and its potential to reduce the weight of current and next-generation satellite systems. Metamagnetics has applied for Ph2 funding from NASA (2014) with a targeted goal of TRL 6 through direct iteration of this technology with a prime partner into a planned NASA system. The expected start date for this effort is Q2 2014. Finally, Metamagnetics has been awarded a Massachusetts State Grant (100k) to aid in the commercialization of this technology. This money has been earmarked for activities related to business development not funded through the SBIR process. Metamagnetics plans to apply for a follow-on grant from the state in 2014. Metamagnetics has not received any outside funding for this effort and as such all equity is still owned by the company.

As background, Metamagnetics, Inc. is a for-profit veteran-owned small business incorporated in late 2008 and currently headquartered in Canton, MA. Metamagnetics was established as a spin-out of Northeastern University’s Center for Microwave Magnetic Materials and Integrated Circuits (CM3IC). Since its inception in late 2008 with 2 full time employees the company has grown to 9 full and 5 part-time employees, as well as several expert consultants. This growth has been the product of Metamagnetics’ success with the SBIR program, evident from 9 Phase 1 awards with 5 of those continued as Phase 2 awards. Three have moved on to successful Phase 3 programs. This success has enabled Metamagnetics to produce a significant amount of production equipment which can be used on the circulator effort reducing programmatic risk.

Primary Sources of Funding: Corporate Partner, Federal Grant, Other

Looking for: Both Funding and Development Partners