Homegrown Delaware Firm Expansion Supports Its Defense And Semiconductor Work

Veteran-owned Phase Sensitive Innovations will expand R&D and manufacturing facilities for its radio-frequency components, devices and systems.

Phase Sensitive Innovations (PSI) will expand operations in its hometown of Newark, Delaware to support its continued growth within the domestic defense and global semiconductor industries. Founded in 2007, the company is a veteran-owned, University of Delaware spinoff specializing in radio-frequency components, devices, and systems. With this expansion, PSI will occupy an approximately 12,000-square-foot site along with its current 20,000-square-foot facility, both located in Sandy Brae Industrial Park in Newark.

Along with the physical expansion, PSI plans to expand staff from its current roster of 80 (all but three of whom are engineers) to more than 100 by the end of 2024, and add 30 to 40 more jobs in subsequent years. All of the new jobs will be skilled technical positions that provide a high degree of on-the-job training. PSI plans to continue recruiting locally from the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College.defense

“It’s rewarding to see a Delaware-born company expand in its hometown, adding highly skilled jobs to our workforce and increasing manufacturing and lab space in Newark,” said Governor John Carney. “I’m pleased by Phase Sensitive Innovations’ work to recruit employees from our institutions of higher education. Those relationships and support from the Delaware Prosperity Partnership create a vibrant workforce and strengthen our economy in the First State.”

“Delaware is so well-placed — with a prime location in the Mid-Atlantic region — and it’s an untapped resource when it comes to technical talent,” said PSI President Dennis Prather, who is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Delaware and a veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and who founded PSI with fellow faculty member Christopher Schuetz.

“We are very grateful to the State of Delaware for supporting the expansion of our manufacturing facility, which will enable PSI to become a major provider of a key technology to the defense and commercial sectors for years to come,” Dr. Prather added.

Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), the nonprofit public/private organization leading statewide economic development, has worked with the company since mid-2023 to explore growth opportunities. DPP supported PSI’s request to the Council on Development Finance for a Jobs Performance Grant of up to $139,800 and a Graduated Lab Space Grant of up to $566,090 from the Delaware Strategic Fund. Distribution of these grants is dependent upon the company meeting commitments as outlined to the CDF, which reviewed and approved PSI’s request for up to $705,890 in total funding.

Expansion Includes Manufacturing, R&D Capabilities

PSI’s new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will include more than 8,000 square feet of lab space and will focus on thin-film lithium niobate wafers and devices. This technology enables next-generation communications and radio frequency systems. PSI is believed to be the only domestic supplier positioned to manufacture these items domestically. The expansion also will free up space in the original building that will be used to expand research and development operations.

PSI has received $110 million in ongoing Department of Defense contracts — extending across Army, Navy, Air Force and Office of the Undersecretary of Defense programs as well as related work with the National Air and Space Administration and the Department of Energy — and other transactional agreements since its founding.

The company also works directly with prime contractors and other commercial partners to manufacture state-of-the-industry photonic components. The company recently signed a transition agreement to manufacture and supply original equipment manufacturer components to a global leader in photonic components and aims to grow further in the commercial sector with advanced technologies for wireless communications, broadband, smart devices, and other applications.

“Congratulations to Dennis Prather and the entire PSI team on the expansion of their facility in Newark,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “It’s critical to Delaware’s job market to retain successful homegrown businesses and to ensure success by creating more high-paying jobs right here in our community.”

“I am thrilled Dr. Prather is going to continue expanding in Delaware,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “Phase Sensitive Innovations is a remarkable innovative company that manufactures the next generation of technology which translates radio signals into optical signals in no small part because of their patent portfolio and great employees. Dr. Prather and his team of innovators have taken an incredible idea and turned it into a technology that is now contributing to the vibrancy of the Newark economy, the security of the United States and our global competitiveness. From my first meeting with Dennis in the basement of Evans Hall at UD, to my recent visit where I saw his facility in Newark bursting at the seams, PSI is one of the better examples of how strong IP, a great team of people and initial help from SBIRs and STTRs can help research move from the early development to rapidly scaling.”

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