Nano-C was started in 2001 using technology developed at MIT for carbon nanotubes, fullerenes and functionalized materials in electronics, power components such as batteries and supercapacitors and solar cells.
“New materials are the key to unlocking future innovation in many markets because they possess qualities traditional materials cannot deliver,” said Ray Stata, who also joins the board. “When you look at the markets and applications that Nano-C can impact, it’s easy to see the opportunity this company has for growth. I am delighted to be a part of their future.”
The Performance Materials Division of the German industrial giant Merck in Darmstadt plans to put a custom small molecule developed at Nano-C into polymers for flexible organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices.
Nano-C will use this new capital to expand its support to existing and future customers. The funds will also enable Nano-C to implement an initial increase in production and staffing at its factory in Westwood, Massachusetts to meet the growing demand for its materials.
“The growth of Nano-C’s applications portfolio has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Chris Cheever, co-founder of venture firm Fontinalis Partners. Cheever joined Nano-C’s board of directors after the firm invested $3 million in 2012. “We are excited to see the acceleration in Nano-C’s commercial traction.”
Nano-C’s materials are being deployed in a wide range of markets from memory chips to displays for reducing power consumption. Neighbouring startup Nantero is using Nano-C’s carbon nanotubes in its new non-volatile random access memory (NRAM) chips, which are expected to have the read-write speeds of today’s DRAM with far lower power consumption. Nantero is backed by Cisco Investments, Dell Technologies Capital, Kingston Technology Corporation, CFT Capital, and Schlumberger, and Fujitsu confirmed its plans to be first to market with NRAM products in 2019.
Irresistible Materials in Birmingham, UK, is using Nano-C’s molecules for a new type of photoresist that will make possible the semiconductor industry’s advance to the N5 node via EUV lithography, keeping Moore’s Law on track. Leading memory and logic chipmakers are targeting pilot-scale trials of these materials in 2018/2019.
Nano-C has also been working with a display manufacturer to qualify its patented transparent carbon nanotube films, including its patented concept to “reinforce” conventional ITO. Initial tests with a commercial ITO film manufacturer show over a 30x improvement in mechanical durability as a drop-in replacement to conventional ITO with comparable cost.