The Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center awarded $250,000 in Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) funding to two Pennsylvania-based nanotechnology companies. The Center also released its latest Industry Impact Data detailing job, technology and patent creation, as well as funding levels.
The Center awarded $100,000 in AFRL funding to SolarPA Inc., to commercialize a nanocrystalline coating, “Nanocoat.” The nanocrystalline coating does the following: The nanocrystals in the coating bend the incoming sunlight minimizing reflection off the surface of the solar panels. It traps light inside the semiconductor materials and redirects incoming light so that rather than passing through the thin semiconductor material, it travels along its surface, increasing the chances it will be absorbed. The technology is inexpensive and is expected to lower the cost per watt of solar power.
“The grant from the Center will enable SolarPA to optimize the parameters for deposition of our nanomaterial solar coating at Lehigh University in order to enhance the performance of solar cells,” said Dr. Robert Castellano. “More importantly it gives SolarPA a unique opportunity of working with a solar cell manufacturer, Solar Power Industries, to evaluate and then incorporate our coating directly into the manufacturing process.”
The Center is also supporting Metalon – a Carnegie Mellon University start-up company – with $150,000 in AFRL funding.
Metalon’s mission is to provide chemical solutions to the nascent printed electronics market. Specifically, the company seeks to supply molecular inks comprised of novel metal complexes that can be printed as either solutions or neat liquids. These materials can then metalize, thermally or photo chemically, to form highly conductive traces and structures on a variety of substrates. This disruptive technology will further the field of printed electronics by providing low cost, printable and disposable devices across a wide spectrum of technologies.
“With this initial award from the Center, we have secured seed funding toward product development and commercialization, as well as access to the expertise and resources of the center,” said Dr. John Belot, Metalon President. “This is the first critical step in demonstrating functional products and successful business growth.”
“The Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center is pleased to announce this latest funding round,” said Dr. Alan Brown, Executive Director of the Center. “We believe this funding will help both Metalon and SolarPA commercialize their technologies and take their businesses to a new level.”
Creating Economic Impact for PA
Since 2007, the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center has provided seed grants to 15 companies to support 19 early stage prototype development projects using nanotechnology and three pre-commercialization projects with universities. The total public investment has been $4,191,582, which has been matched by the recipient companies in the amount of $2,994,388.
Using a survey process developed by the Center’s funding partner, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the recipient companies have reported the following economic impact from this investment:
- Jobs created and retained: 115
- Leveraged investment by companies due to the Center’s funding: $43,219,000
- New patents filed: 17
- New technologies developed: 20
In addition, through its workshops, webinars, proposal feedback and one-on-one assistance, the Center has helped 310 Pennsylvania companies obtain funding, form partnerships and provide access to novel nanotechnologies emerging from Pennsylvania universities.