Nanotechnology companies team up

The Houston nanotechnology company founded by Rice University Nobel laureate Richard Smalley and a California firm that plans to use nanotubes to build better electronics are merging, the companies will announce today.

The move will unite the world’s leading producer of carbon nanotubes, Carbon Nanotechnologies, and Unidym, a company that can use them to make better television, phone and computer screens and other electronics.

Hundreds of companies around the world are racing to use nanotubes to make higher capacity batteries, stronger bulletproof vests, solar panels, fuel cells, low-cost transistors and drug delivery vehicles for cancer treatments. Doctors might use a nanotube to deliver a cancer drug that might be toxic to normal cells directly into the malignant cell, CNI chief Bob Gower said.

“We’re at the brink of the really high-value applications,” said Gower, who likened the world-changing potential of nanotubes to the Internet. “This is truly disruptive technology.”

Unidym’s first product, expected to launch next year, is a transparent electrode intended to replace indium tin oxide electrodes in products such as touch screens and solar cells, Miller said. Existing touch screens fail after being repeatedly poked in the same place by a finger or stylus — a problem nanotube-based screens won’t have, said Miller, who estimated the potential market for the products at $1 billion.

More info:  Houston Chronicle article

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