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PA NanoMaterials Commercialization Center Announces Awards

August 6, 2010
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The Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center announced that it has provided $450,000 in funding to five companies located throughout the state of Pennsylvania in its seventh round of awards. This round of funding was focused on commercializing the application of nanomaterials for new energy solutions.

Companies whose awards were underwritten by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development include the following:
  • Pittsburgh-based Crystalplex Corp. was awarded $130,000, with a company match of $65,000, for developing its proprietary quantum dot light-emitting diode prototypes. The Crystalplex technology enables the manufacture of more cost-effective and efficient solid-state light sources at performance levels beyond the reach of current rare earth phosphor-based white LEDs. It also enables the production of liquid crystal display (LCD) backlight units with improved performance. The prototypes will lead to the joint development of commercial subassemblies for solid state luminaires and LCD backlight units with commercial partners.
  • Lancaster-based Illuminex was awarded $130,000, with a company match of another $130,000, for the commercialization of a novel copper-silicon nano-structured anode for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Silicon is an attractive anode material because it has a low discharge potential and the highest known theoretical charge capacity. However, bulk silicon expands up to 400% as it reacts with lithium, and disintegrates from the stress, preventing the successful implementation of silicon in LIBs so far. The Illuminex technology provides a high quantity of silicon in a thin film configuration that expands homogeneously to minimize stress, with a ductile behavior accommodating any existing stress. This innovation will lead to higher energy density LIBs used in portable electronics and will benefit the development of electric vehicles.
  • With 30 employees at its Pittsburgh operations, ICX was awarded $30,000, with a company match of $31,648, for developing a production process of molecules that are identical to diesel fuel. This novel biofuel is designed to be a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based fuels, and can represent an improvement over current biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel.
  • The center awarded $30,000, with a match of $30,000, to support Panghai Wand, Ph.D., a professor at Penn State University, as he develops and commercializes an advanced graphene-based nanocomposite for electrochemical energy storage applications such as lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors. The advanced material will have high energy density and/or high power in the energy storage devices, and it can significantly improve electrode kinetic and cycling stability for energy storage applications.

In addition, funding of $130,000 underwritten by the Air Force Research Laboratories, with a company match of $130,000 (), was awarded to Pittsburgh-based Industrial Learning Systems to assist in the development of a novel silicon wafering technology for the continuous production of nano-structured solar cells. The project is based on the patented technology filed through Carnegie Mellon University and licensed to Industrial Learning Systems. In this project, the light capturing ability of the wafer is improved by chemical texturization and nano-architectures to increase the surface area and reduce the reflectivity. This provides enhanced light absorption and solar conversion efficiency. The proposed wafering and texturization process has the potential to reduce the wafer’s present cost by a factor of four or more.

For additional details, visit www.pananocenter.org.

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