NanoIntegris: A Case Study in Commercializing High Performance Carbon Nanomaterials
Mark C. Hersam 1
Carbon nanomaterials (e.g., carbon nanotubes and graphene) have attracted significant attention in the research community due to their superlative electronic, optical, mechanical, and chemical properties. However, efforts to realize reliable and reproducible applications based on carbon nanomaterials have been hindered by inhomogeneity in the physical and electronic structure of the as-synthesized raw material. This polydispersity problem is particularly problematic for single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) where atomic level variations in the SWCNT chiral vector can lead to discontinuous changes in electronic properties. In 2006, our research group developed a post-synthetic method for sorting SWCNTs by their diameter and electronic type (i.e., metal versus semiconducting) based on density gradient ultracentrifugation (DGU) . Within one month of publishing this method, we were inundated with over 100 requests for monodisperse SWCNT samples by researchers and application developers globally. To meet this significant demand, NanoIntegris was spun out of Northwestern University in January, 2007 . Within 2 years, NanoIntegris scaled up the DGU process by 10,000-fold, allowing the release of multiple SWCNT products to the market. In 2009, DGU was adapted to enable sorting of solution-processed graphene by thickness , leading to additional graphene products at NanoIntegris. By early 2012, NanoIntegris had sold products to ~500 customers in 40+ countries. In addition to delineating this commercialization trajectory, this talk will provide examples of the utilization of monodisperse carbon nanomaterials in technologically significant applications including transistors [4-7], digital circuits , optoelectronic devices [9,10], sensors , transparent conductors , catalysts , and photovoltaics .  M. S. Arnold, et al., Nature Nanotechnology, 1, 60 (2006).  http://www.nanointegris.com/  A. A. Green and M. C. Hersam, Nano Letters, 9, 4031 (2009).  M. Engel, et al., ACS Nano, 2, 2445 (2008).  L. Nougaret, et al., Applied Physics Letters, 94, 243505 (2009).  M. Ganzhorn, et al., Advanced Materials, 23, 1734 (2011).  C. Sire, et al., Nano Letters, 12, 1184 (2012).  M. Ha, et al., ACS Nano, 4, 4388 (2010).  M. Kinoshita, et al., Optics Express, 18, 25738 (2010).  S. Essig, et al., Nano Letters, 10, 1589 (2010).  M. Ganzhorn, et al., ACS Nano, 5, 1670 (2011).  A. A. Green and M. C. Hersam, Nano Letters, 8, 1417 (2008).  Y. T. Liang, et al., Nano Letters, 11, 2865 (2011).  T. P. Tyler, et al., Advanced Energy Materials, 1, 785 (2011).