Branchburg, NJ, Austin, TX and Ithaca, NY (March 28, 2014) – AZ Electronic Materials (“AZ”), a leading global producer of high quality, high-purity specialty chemical materials used in the manufacturing of semiconductors, flat panel displays and LEDs, and Axium Nanofibers LLC (“Axium”), a material science company headquartered in Austin, TX commercializing a novel class of nanomaterials for a broad range of applications including energy storage, announce that they have initiated co-sponsored research at Cornell University (“Cornell”) with the goal of developing materials based upon AZ’s graphene nano- ribbons (GNRs) and silicon-based materials to address applications in energy storage devices and other fields.
AZ has exclusive worldwide rights to the unique preparation methods of GNRs invented by Dr. James Tour’s group at Rice University, TX offering a lower-cost route to functionalized GNRs. Axium has exclusive worldwide rights to a highly advanced nanofiber platform that has been under development in Dr. Yong Lak Joo’s group at Cornell. Axium has been sponsoring research at Cornell for many years with an initial focus on the commercialization of a breakthrough lithium-ion battery that delivers far higher energy density than conventional lithium technologies and can successfully scale to be competitive on price. Under the sponsored research agreements, AZ and Axium have commenced the co- sponsored work in Dr. Joo’s laboratories at Cornell to investigate the synthesis and properties of various hybrid nanofibers.
The integration of AZ’s GNR and silicon-based materials coupled with Cornell’s novel high throughput, gas-assisted electrospinning technology for electrodes and separators will offer a collective and substantial enhancement on the performance of the entire battery system Results from preliminary tests have demonstrated a potential for significant improvement in
the performance of today’s conventional full cell Li-ion batteries by tailoring nanostructures in nanofiber-based electrodes and separators. AZ’s GNR and silicon-based materials in hybrid nanofibers play a crucial role in enhancing charge transport and ionic conductivity, which leads to higher capacity and improved capacity retention at high charging rates.
Geoff Wild, AZ’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), commented: “Our collaboration with Axium could provide AZ with the opportunity to bring new material solutions to our customers in our core electronic material business and to help Axium improve the performance of their energy storage devices. Axium’s highly innovative nanomaterial science platform coupled with AZ’s unique precursor materials could result in strong product pipelines for both companies.”
Axium’s CEO, Eric Donsky, said: “This collaboration could further demonstrate the power of our platform to enable the mass commercialization of graphene and other carbon -based
nanomaterial inclusions that have historically been difficult to scale to commercial products.
Carbon nanotubes and graphene have proven to be quite conductive, but difficult to transition out of the research environment. Axium’s highly innovative manufacturing process is proving to overcome this formidable barrier to successful translation from the lab to the market”.
Axium’s co-founder, Dr. Joo, added: “We are very excited about the partnership with AZ Electronic Materials to capitalize upon hybrid nanofiber technologies developed in our laboratory. With AZ’s expertise in specialty chemicals for electronics applications, and Axium’s work on the development of proprietary nanomaterials for the energy storage market, the transition from the Cornell laboratory to commercial products will be realized in the next 18-24 months.”
Axium is building a state-of-the-art R&D and pilot manufacturing facility in Austin, TX that should serve to accelerate these commercialization efforts.
Source: AZ Electronic Materials