SENIC typically works with 40-50 companies each year, some for a single process or measurement, and others with multi-year ongoing relationships. Below are a sample of these companies in four key application areas describing how SENIC has been able to help them in their research and development efforts.
- ClassOne Technology, Inc. uses SENIC (both IEN and JSNN) for equipment process qualification and validation. According to Byron Exarcos (CEO), “with the work conducted at SENIC, ClassOne has been able to win business at the world’s premier and most advanced fabs across the world for our Solstice automated plating system.”
- Mavric Semiconductor is an early stage start-up located in the ATDC incubator at Georgia Tech that is commercializing neuromorphic circuits developed at Georgia Tech for sensor processing. Tom Darbonne (President) indicates that “the facilities at IEN offer “in-house capabilities” which would not be cost attractive to a start-up to acquire or rent, but which can be cost and time-saving for projects under development. The combination of IEN training and tool access has proven to be a vital combination for our start-up.”
- Qorvo is a leader in RF solutions, providing filters, switches, power amplifiers, and other devices. “It is pretty crucial to stay ahead of the competition and be quick in testing things. IEN offers a variety of MEMS processing that we don’t have in house. These capabilities help us to speed up the test processes and end product development.”
- Georgia Tech start-up NextInput, which develops MEMS force sensors and was a long-time user of the IEN, has received $30 million in venture capital funding and has begun mass production for automotive and mobile touch panel applications.
- BNNano, Inc., with facilities in Burlington, NC, is currently the only company in the world for high volume manufacturing of Boron Nitride Nanotubes and NanoBarbs™ and uses JSNN characterization facilities for quality control and process verification. According to Steve Wilcenski (CEO), SENIC facility access saved them an estimated $100K in 2018.
- Florida based commercial licensing company, NXN-Licensing Inc., is involved in the development of electrochromic multi-color changing polymers technology and used IEN’s special project space from Sept. 2017 to Feb. 2019 in a collaboration with Prof. John Reynolds (Georgia Tech Chemistry and Biochemistry) for development of working demonstration prototypes. According to Lance Littell (Executive VP), NXN believes that IEN special project space is crucial to their success as they experience remarkable growth in their developmental efforts.
- Novelis, the world’s largest producer of flat rolled aluminum products, ships more than 3 million tons each year, with sales of $11.5 billion, and employs over 11,000 people in 11 countries. The Novelis Global Research and Technology Center (NGRTC), located just outside Atlanta, employs over 100 scientists, engineers, and technicians working on product and process innovations to meet customer needs and help develop future products for the beverage packaging, automotive, and specialty products industries, as well as on breakthrough science to explore new areas of interest. The IEN enables researchers at the NGRTC to explore new and innovative products with state of the art equipment and expertise.
- Matthews Marking Systems partners with IEN to support the development of innovative inkjet, laser and automation solutions for marking on packaging and industrial materials.
- Indian Wells Mining Co. is a small start-up mining company in the western US which has leased properties that have been core sampled showing promising amounts of precious metals including platinum and palladium. Samples have been sent to the facilities at IEN to help determine particle size and structure which help determine the most cost effective method of ore processing and metal extraction. The unique capabilities which IEN offers are especially needed by small start-ups with limited resources such as Indian Wells, which was unable to find any other source with tools such as the Ion Beam/SEM tool at affordable costs.
- SBIR funding was awarded to JSNN facility users AxNano (slow release technology for remediation of contaminated water) and Kepley Biosystems (synthetic baits for aquaculture).
- OPTI Medical Systems is a medical device company located in Roswell, Georgia which uses patented optical fluorescence technology to measure gases, electrolytes, and metabolites in blood and has over 12,000 instruments placed all around the world in the veterinary and human diagnostics markets. The company’s R&D focuses on innovative next generation products and continuous improvements of existing products, and the facilities at IEN offer analytical techniques necessary for critical projects under study. IEN capabilities of interest have included FE-SEM and powder XRD to analyze the microporous structures of in-process polymer materials key to sensor performance.
- ResonanceDx, Inc. is an Atlanta-based start-up (funding in part through a pilot grant from the Georgia Research Alliance) working to design and validate a new medical point-of-care diagnostic platform. Developed, in part, through the research conducted at Georgia Tech by Professor Bill Hunt, the platform utilizes a multiplexed array of piezo-electric MEMs sensors capable of detecting the deposition of molecular films in fluid environments. In conjunction with research conducted at the Emory University School of Medicine, ResonanceDx is applying this cutting-edge sensing technology to produce low-cost, high-accuracy medical tests for cancer and bacterial infection screening. While large-scale commercialization is the company’s ultimate goal, early-stage proof-of-concept development is only feasible thanks to the resources available at the IEN.
- RCE Technologies is a med tech company started in 2018 that is addressing a gap in post heart attack care, causing an 18% hospital re-admission in the first 30 days. In their efforts towards outcome improvement in value based cardiovascular care, RCE has innovated and developed an ECG wearable and an optical based sensor device for non-invasive protein detection, coupled with AI models which can detect a heart attack within 7 minutes compared to 55 minutes in a clinical setting. RCE Technologies leverages IEN’s optical characterization equipment (FTIR and visible spectrometers) for some critical bio-photonic studies, but they also utilize IEN’s best assets, “the capable staff who are welcoming and always eager to help.”
- Start-up company QuSwami Inc is developing a new, solid state energy harvesting technology. This company conducts device fabrication research in the Georgia Tech IEN cleanroom. These development efforts utilize a number of tools provided by the IEN, including various thin film deposition, lithography, etch and metrology equipment. The IEN shared user facility is critical to cost effective development of the company’s device.
- Battery maker Sila Nanotechnologies, a former user of IEN facilities, has recently (2019) received a $170 million investment from Daimler to support development of automotive batteries.