May 02, 2005
Nanotechnology
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor


by Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!


Nantero has received three rounds of venture funding: $6 million in October 2001, $10.5 million in September 2003 and $15 million in March 2005. Investors include Globespan Capital Partners, Charles River Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Stata Venture Partners, and Harris & Harris Group.


Nantero makes switches by creating trenches on a wafer, then coating it with a carbon nanotube film. Using traditional lithography, they pattern and etch the film to create carbon nanotube belts, which may contain hundreds of nanotubes per switch. The belts behave like a single nanotube - they bend, connect and turn off. Once a switch is turned on, van der Waals force ensures it remains there when turned off. It's about 10× faster than flash memory, and unaffected by electromagnetic waves, making it ideal for space and military applications.


Nanochip, Inc. was formed in 1996 to develop MEMS storage chips for consumer electronic applications. On March 8, 2004 the firm announced a $20 million in its Series B financing led by JK&B Capital and joined by New Enterprise Associates, Microsoft and AKN Technology.


Nanochip's core technology is array atomic probes, moved with Micro-Electrical Mechanical System ('MEMS') actuators, combined with ultra-dense, nonvolatile, re-writable media. The process of fabrication is entirely performed by semiconductor fabrication tools in mass production, utilizing silicon wafer substrates. Two wafers containing the "head stack" die on one wafer, and the media on another wafer, are bonded together. This wafer stack is sawed into individual die pairs to form the storage units. Each die pair contains the read/write heads on one die and the other the data storage media. Bit densities of 1 Terabit/in2are typical. The storage substrate utilizes a proprietary technology,
with demonstrated rewrite cycles exceeding 10.. Nanochip will not fabricate the chips itself but plans to license its technology to manufacturers of removable memory devices.


When particles get small enough (and qualify as nanoparticles), their mechanical properties change, and the way light and other electromagnetic radiation is affected by them changes (visible light wavelengths are on the order of a few hundred nanometers). Using nanoparticles in composite materials can enhance their strength and/or reduce weight, increase chemical and heat resistance and change the interaction with light and other radiation. While some such composites have been made for decades, the ability to make nanoparticles out of a wider variety of materials is opening up a world of new composites.


Zyvex Corporation, based in Richardson, Texas, is a molecular nanotechnology company. Zyvex's vision is to be the leading worldwide supplier of tools, products, and services that enable adaptable, affordable, and molecularly precise manufacturing. Zyvex commercializes nanotechnology to address real-world applications with high growth potential. Zyvex carries its scientific breakthroughs into key commercial applications in the area of materials, tools, and structures.


In October 2001 Zyvex was awarded a $25 million, five-year, cost-shared NIST Advanced Technology Program to accelerate the production and commercialization of low-cost assemblers for micro- and nanoscale components and subsystems.


Zyvex's total revenue for 2004 was $8.6 million, which represented a 102 percent increase over 2003. The fourth quarter of 2004 accounted for $4 million and the first quarter of 2005 for $2 million.


Zyvex's NanoSolve Materials product line delivers nano-additives and concentrates that can deliver enhanced thermal, electrical, or mechanical properties by selectively transferring the superior intrinsic properties of carbon nanotubes into composite materials. Zyvex has developed a new surface treatment technology allowing excellent dispersion of Carbon nanotubes in various solvents as well as enhancing the interaction between CNTs and the host matrix.


Zyvex also offers manipulation and testing tools used with scanning electron microscopes, with focused ion beam systems and other microscopes for micro- and nanoscale research, development, and production applications. Further Zyvex offers systems for the development and characterization of active microelectromechanical systems devices. For example MEMulator is a new software product for process emulation and virtual prototyping of MEMS and other semiconductor devices fabricated with IC-style manufacturing techniques.


Nanosys, Inc. is a leader in the development of nanotechnology based products utilizing high performance inorganic nanostructures. Nanosys has built a broad technology platform with more than 300 patents and patent applications covering fundamental areas of nanotechnology. Based in Palo Alto, Calif. and privately held, Nanosys collaborates with industry leaders including Sharp, Dupont, Intel, Matsushita Electric Works and SAIC to develop revolutionary high-value, high-performance products for computing, optoelectronics, communications, energy, defense and the life and physical sciences.


Nanosys' core technology allows it to fabricate nanostructures from one or more inorganic materials, including silicon, silicon germanium, cadmium selenide, gallium arsenide, gallium nitride and indium phosphide. Different inorganic materials can manifest different properties or perform different functions. For example, traditional integrated circuits are made from silicon, while light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are often made from gallium nitride. They can also incorporate two or more materials into each individual nanostructure, forming functional interfaces between the different materials that can provide unique electrical, optoelectronic or physical properties. Nanosys can also control
the shze, shape and surface chemistry of nanostructures.




Nonotechnololgy Organizations


The NanoBusiness Alliance is the first industry association founded to advance the emerging business of nanotechnology and Microsystems. The NanoBusiness Alliance's mission is to create a collective voice for the emerging small tech industry and develop a range of initiatives to support and strengthen the nanotechnology business community, including: research and education, public policy, public awareness and promotions, forums/panels and industry support. The Advisory Board of the Alliance is headed by the leaders of the nanotechnology community and is headed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and venture capitalists Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher. Their website has links to
over 500 articles and whitepapers on


The Institute for Molecular Manufacturing (IMM) is a nonprofit foundation formed in 1991 to conduct and support research on molecular systems engineering and molecular manufacturing (molecular nanotechnology, or MNT). IMM also promotes guidelines for research and development practices that will minimize risk from accidental misuse or from abuse of molecular nanotechnology.
The Foresight Institute is a nonprofit educational organization formed to help prepare society for anticipated advanced technologies. The organization's primary focus is on molecular nanotechnology: the coming ability to build materials and products with atomic precision.


Foresight's policy is to prepare for nanotechnology by:
- promoting understanding of nanotechnology and its effects;


- informing the public and decision makers;


- developing an organizational base for addressing nanotechnology-related issues and- communicating openly about them; and,


- actively pursuing beneficial outcomes of nanotechnology, including improved economic, social and environmental conditions.


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-- Jack Horgan, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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