For the past six years, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has tapped more than 150 companies to commercialize technology developed within its sprawling site in Laurel.

Its most recent company of choice: Link Plus Corp. of Columbia.

This month, APL granted Link Plus exclusive rights to its Moleculalry Imprinted Polymer, a plastic that can detect gases emitted by explosives, said APL chemist George Murray.

The plastic can be sprayed or converted to an ink-like consistency that's placed on bomb detectors. Murray foresees its use on cargo carriers or in subway stations.

Link Plus's task will be to apply the polymer to an electronics package that can alert authorities to potential explosives.

"If you think of a dog, APL has a great nose, and we provide the rest of the body," said Jonathan Gluckman, president and chief operating officer of Link Plus. "When their nose sniffs something, we make sure that the master sees it."

Under the licensing agreement, APL expanded its existing stake in the company and expects to collect royalties when a final product is sold. No further financial details were made public.

IBiquity Pushes Digital Radio

IBiquity Digital Corp.'s success hinges on persuading old-fashioned radio stations to adopt its digital technology, which promises to deliver crisp, almost static-free sound. But it's not always an easy sell for the Columbia-based company.

That's because stations must first buy equipment that transmits digital signals, and consumers must spend big bucks (at least for now) on radios built to receive those signals. The challenge is getting consumers excited enough about digital radio that manufacturers mass produce them. Or vice versa.

The Corporaton for Public Broadcasting -- one of the early believers in High Definition radio -- is taking its chances. This month, CPB purchased a license that allows 400 of its publicly funded radio stations to adopt iBiquity's digital technology. CPB had done the same for another 400 stations previously and purchased the necessary equipment.

IBiquity's technology promises to deliver CD-quality sound for FM stations and FM-quality sound for AM stations. It allows stations to send digital and traditional signals simultaneously on existing airwaves so that listeners can have the improved sound without having to search for a new dial position.

In addition to music, the digital signal can deliver text, voice and pictures. One day it might be possible to hear customized traffic reports or press a button to order a CD as it plays on the radio.

More than 2,800 radio stations in this country are, going digital, and more than 500 broadcast digitally.

BWI-Ocean City Flights

For $45 each way, the new Simmons Air can shuttle a limited number of passengers between Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Ocean City in less than 35 minutes each way.

The airline launched this month with two Cessna aircraft. One carries 12 passengers, and the other carries eight, the company says.

On its Web site, the fledgling airline lists three daily departures from the General Aviation terminal at BWI and another three from Ocean City Municipal Airport.

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