AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have reached an exclusive licensing agreement on a patent portfolio that will provide AKHAN with the intellectual property to become a fully-integrated semiconductor designer, developer and manufacturer. The agreement covers the life of the patents, providing AKHAN with a competitive advantage in becoming the first company to fully develop the entirety of the diamond semiconductor process allowing full scale commercialization across a wide range of commercial applications.
“We’re thrilled to take the next step in bringing diamond semiconductors to the market in a scalable way,” said Adam Khan, CEO and founder of AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. “Our exclusive license for these patents positions AKHAN Semiconductor very favorably in the next-generation semiconductor market. Our capabilities in the market are unmatched, and this agreement gives us the exclusive rights to develop or license product lines that will serve faster supercomputers, advanced aviation and satellite technology, as well as develop superior radar communication and next-generation telecommunication technologies.”
With today’s announcement, AKHAN will be able to exclusively expand the capabilities of the diamond semiconductor platform, allowing for improved performance and thermal efficiency of existing silicon-based devices. The agreement will enable and define the future of semiconductors through incorporation with other next-generation high-performance materials such as graphene, sapphire, and quartz, which means far greater market addressability and vertical integration of AKHAN’s business and far greater market serviceability for its current and potential customers.
The standalone patent portfolio covers critical semiconductor processes such as deposition, which is the process of depositing a layer of polycrystalline diamond on a semiconductor wafer, as well as doping, which refers to the process of intentionally introducing impurities into an extremely pure semiconductor for the purpose of modulating its electrical properties. The portfolio also covers the forming of circuit elements such as transistors, capacitors and resistors, which are then connected to form complex circuits, such as memory devices, logic devices and microprocessors. Finally, the patents cover the integration of electronic circuits that are built on a single semiconductor base material or single chip.
The agreement is the result of more than two years of collaboration between AKHAN Semiconductor and Argonne National Laboratory. The company and researchers from Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials first collaborated on development of the low-temperature diamond deposition technology as well as diamond semiconductor research that demonstrated improved current carrying capability and dramatically reduced thickness. In addition to cementing AKHAN’s position in the market as the lead producer of next-generation semiconductor technology, the agreements are also part of a public-private partnership model that national labs have used to move research from the lab to market applications quickly.
“This agreement represents a stellar example of how Argonne is partnering with industry to move our technology into the marketplace,” said Argonne Director Dr. Peter Littlewood. “The investment that the American people continue to make in basic science continues to pay dividends in marketable technologies that have the potential to transform entire industries.”
The license agreement comes on the heels of an announcement made by the Governor’s office in September which supported a proposed $15 million investment in northern Illinois by AKHAN Semiconductor. AKHAN will receive approximately $3.5 million in state investment support and has pledged to create 80 jobs in two years, with the potential for many more. AKHAN is currently expanding its domestic and international operations, and the company will use the funds to help relocate and expand its corporate and manufacturing headquarters in Illinois.