"Receiving this grant is a huge success for the company," said Stephen Empedocles, Nanosys co-founder and director of business development. "It is a validation of our technology and our strategy of migrating nanoscience from the academic laboratories into commercial products."

Nanosys says that it will use the cash to create nanowire-based molecular electronic detection systems that have medical, environmental and defence applications. The company claims that the systems will enable molecular detection at a much greater sensitivity and at a lower cost than current devices.