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U Manchester and Nanoco launch start-up to develop new nanomaterials


By David Schwartz
Published: May 8th, 2018

Universities often see commercialization strategy as a binary choice between a start-up or working with an existing company via research and/or license agreements. The University of Manchester and Nanoco Group PLC are taking a third route, working together to create a start-up — Nanoco 2D Materials Ltd — to develop a new generation of nanomaterials.

Two dimensional nanoparticles are a platform technology with properties suitable for the wide range of potential electronics, industrial and other applications. They are a mere one or two atoms thick and a few nanometers wide. But currently there is no cost-effective way to produce these 2D materials on a commercial scale, nor any reliable method to ensure consistency. 

For the past year Nanoco — already an established producer of nanomaterials — has been collaborating with the U Manchester’s Konstantin ‘Kostya’ Novoselov, 2010 winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on graphene, to establish viability of the new 2D materials. The start-up was created to formalize the partnership between the two groups and ensure funding is in place and continue the development of the technology.

Dr Nigel Pickett, CTO and co-founder of Nanoco (itself a Manchester spinout), said: “By combining Nanoco’s expertise with the knowledge base from Professor Novoselov’s lab, we have been able to push the boundaries of material science to come up with a new generation of versatile 2D nanoparticles and are now utilizing Nanoco’s 15 years of scale-up expertise on methods to produce them at commercial scale. Potential commercial applications for these materials span across a wide range of sectors including novel catalysts, photo-detectors, photovoltaics, inverters and light emitting devices.”

Novoselov added: “It is exciting to see how quickly 2D materials, beyond graphene, have accelerated from the early research stage to the technology we now have…. The ability of our combined teams to focus on particular technological and performance parameters is allowing the rapid development of these 2D Materials.”

Clive Rowland, CEO of the university’s innovation company UMI3, commented: “Part of the university’s strategy for commercializing graphene and its sister 2D materials is to work with existing companies and entrepreneurs to help them set up R&D centers and new companies close to the campus to create a technology innovation ecosystem here [called] Graphene City. I’m delighted that we are working with Nanoco, which itself is a spin-out from the University. Its experience in the handling and scaling up of nanomaterials and access to its relevant facilities were key factors in us deciding to support this initiative.”

Source: BQ

Posted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

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