Graphene Patent Leader Angstron Materials
A recent report on Graphene by IDTechEx forecasts that 100 million dollars of graphene will be sold in 2018 into a range of applications, including RFID, smart packaging, supercapacitors, composites, ITO replacement, sensors, logic, and memory, etc. In previous articles, we highlighted various companies that are primarily engaged in the production of graphene such as privately held XG Sciences and publicly traded Applied Graphene Materials (LON:AGM). One other company in this space is privately held Angstron Materials.
About Angstron Materials
Ohio based Angstron Materials was co-founded in 2007 by Dr. Bor Jang, a leading expert in the research and development of low-cost carbon nanomaterials, batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells. Angstron Materials was spun out from a company called Nanotek Instruments which performs R&D on novel applications of nanomaterials and was also founded by Dr. Jang. Nanotek Instruments holds the world’s first patent for the production of nano-graphene plates (NGP) and is involved in developing graphene applications for lithium-ion batteries.
Angstron Materials is an IP leader and the world’s largest producer of nano graphene platelets (NGPs) with more than 22,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The Company claims to be the only manufacturer that can produce pristine graphene. Angstron has developed six different graphene products, the description of which can be seen below:
In a recent interview held by Graphen-Info.com, the Company’s marketing and business development chief, Ian Fuller, disclosed that last year Angstron provided their graphene products to customers in over 25 countries with these same materials being used in undisclosed commercial applications in Asia. The same article states that Angstron’s annual production volume is 300 metric tons per year with plans to expand capacity to 1300 metric tons per year by Q4 of 2015. The Company is currently working to raise an additional $8 to $10 million to scale up to these target levels of production.
Cofounders of Angstron, Dr. Bor Jang and Dr. Aruna Zhamu are ranked among the top five in the world for their development of intellectual property publications for graphene according to the Company’s website. Dr. Jang is a co-inventor of 200+ patents (issued or pending) among which 110 patents are related to graphene and 60 are related to supercapacitors and batteries. Dr. Jang is widely recognized as the first person to successfully isolate single-layer and multi-layer pristine graphene sheets with a patent granted to him for this accomplishment in 2006.
While the company claims to have a strong graphene IP portfolio, we noted in a previous article that as of February 2013 there were over 8,400 published patent applications relating to graphene. Just because Angstron has some of the core patents behind the production of pristine graphene, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the task of maintaining their position as the claimed “world leader” will be an easy one.
The Co-inventor of graphene and Nobel laureate, Andre Geim, perhaps summed this up best by saying:
We considered patenting graphene; we prepared a patent and it was nearly filed. Then I had an interaction with a big, multinational electronics company. I approached a guy at a conference and said, “We’ve got this patent coming up, would you be interested in sponsoring it over the years?” It’s quite expensive to keep a patent alive for 20 years. The guy told me, “We are looking at graphene, and it might have a future in the long term. If after ten years we find it’s really as good as it promises, we will put a hundred patent lawyers on it to write a hundred patents a day, and you will spend the rest of your life, and the gross domestic product of your little island, suing us.” That’s a direct quote.
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