Tucson welcomed another technology startup to its growing high-tech industry this month when Tailored Materials Corp., a manufacturer of carbon-based elements called “nanotubes,” announced it had raised $2 million in private equity to finance the initial phases of commercializing and marketing its proprietary technology.
While initially focusing on the market for flat-panel graphic displays, the technology could eventually be applied to bioscience-related areas of medical imaging and diagnostic devices.
A 2004 spin-off from Materials and Electrochemical Research Corp., TMC uses nanotechnology developed a decade ago by University of Arizona physicist Donald Huffman to produce custom-tailored, ultra-pure, carbon double-wall nanotubes on a large scale. UA still maintains some licensing rights in the patent and is slated to receive a portion of TMC’s revenues.
Compared with the older, single-wall nanotube technology, double-wall nanotubes are longer-lasting, more durable devices that use less power. These characteristics will yield “more practical, cost-effective devices,” according to Chuck Hassen, TMC’s vice president for business development.
TMC intends to market the double-wall nanotubes to domestic and international producers of field emission displays and other diverse devices such as batteries and solar cells.
“This is a critical time for this technology—everything looks like it’s moving ahead quite well,” said Patrick Jones, director of the UA’s Office of Technology Transfer. While UA’s potential share in the success of TMC’s technology is confidential, Jones said that it could be a substantial windfall for the university.
“It would definitely be the biggest deal of the year, and my understanding is that it will exceed our current revenues,” Jones told the Arizona Daily Star. UA received about $1 million in such licensing payouts for research last year.
For more information:
“UA could profit from ‘nanotubes’,” Arizona Daily Star, 07/15/2004