March 16, 2017 I was in LA to present a talk at QD Forum, the worldwide conference for the quantum dot market, in La Jolla California. As VP of Technology of the startup NanoElements Source, I presented a talk titled, "Biological Production of Quantum Dot Material." This was intimidating, but I had my talk down. The audience of pioneers in the field were very kind. Our product was clearly not at the level they are at or what is needed in the current industry applications. However, they offered good advice moving forward, and I made many good connections. This trip was funded from the first place winnings in the first Pitches and Pints in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Nano Elements Source, LLC
A fellow Bredesen Center student, Beth Papanek and I co-founded Nano Elements Source, LLC in 2015 with TopFive, Inc out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. We are a biotech startup using bacteria to produce abundant, natural nanoparticles. The high price of nanoparticles is hindering their adoption in markets such as energy-efficient, large-area displays, roll-to-roll printable solar panels, and printable electronics. Our radically different approach avoids the high energy demands and corrosive chemicals of traditional processes by using bacteria to grow nanoparticles.
GREATELY REDUCES COSTS
SMALLER AND MORE CONSISTENT PARTICLES
ELIMINATES TOXICITY CONCERNS OF CADMIUM-BASED QUANTUM DOTS
NATURAL FERMENTATION PROCESS THAT REDUCES ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Nano Elements Source, LLC uses bacteria to ferment high-quality, cadmium-free, quantum dot (QD) cores at greatly reduced production costs of traditional synthesis methods. Similar to the process of fermenting alcohol, sugar is fed to single-celled organisms. As these cells grow, they produce the QD cores extracellularly. We have licensed exclusive rights to this proprietary intellectual property.
The abundant, photoluminescent QD cores produced by this technology have a narrow size distribution that improves the optoelectronic properties, and makes the particles valuable for wide-ranging industrial applications including energy-efficient, large-area displays and printable electronics. Though QDs have an enormous market potential, implementing them broadly is currently insurmountable due to the extremely high cost of manufacturing. Our technology reduces the cost to a point where market expansion is feasible.
In addition to producing higher quality QD cores, we can replace the current methods of producing nanoparticles. Nanofermentation reduces the required energy consumption by operating at 70℃ with no additional mechanical inputs. By comparison, current technologies for nanoparticle production include harmful chemicals, temperatures from 400-600℃ and mechanical grinding to reduce the size of the particles. These methods make the energy requirements, and thus cost, for producing the particles extremely high. The reduction in heat and processing through fermentation greatly improves the energy efficiency of producing QD cores.
The history of NanoFermentation begins in extreme environments. In 1999, the discovers of Nanofermentation isolated extremophile bacteria from a two mile deep gold mine in Africa. Other Nanofermentation species were found in oil and gas deposits in 1992. The NanoFermentaion process won the research team a 2006 R&D 100 award and a 2006 Micro/Nano 25 award. Nanofermentation research continues at ORNL as scientists engineer bioreactor conditions to create more varied nanoparticles.
Patrick Caveney will present at Quantum Dot Forum 2017 in La Jolla California on March 16, 2017. Quantum Dot Forum is the key industry quantum dot conference in North America. He will be presenting the biological production of nanoparticles and highlight our understanding of Nanofermentation, the technology's capabilities, and future directions.
Nano Elements Source has been awarded a Small Business Voucher from the Department of Energy. The Small Business Voucher program connects technology startups with unique concentration of resources at Research Universities and the National Laboratories. We have partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to improve the quality of our nanoparticles, a critical step towards commercialization. By the end of this funding period we will have demonstrated improved quality of our nanoparticles as well as developed a cost effective method to improve their quality.
Nano Elements Source won first place in the first Pitches and Pints in Johnson City, Tennessee sponsored and organized by the founders of BrewFund, Perserbid, and Flow Medtech. This event brought together 8 tech companies from the Tri-Cities area to compete for $2,000. We won first place pitching the future of quantum dot manufacturing. This money will go towards
Nano Elements Source has executed an exclusive full license for the rights to produce nanoparticles with nanofermentation. This critical step will allow us to begin production and revolutionize the quantum dot market.
In November 2014, NanoElements, LLC was invited to speak at Knoxville's second annual Startup Day event. The afternoon was a showcase of local entrepreneurship activity including speakers by prominent entrepreneurs, investment organizations and entrepreneurial support organizations. The focus of the event was the pitches given by actual start up companies. The video is the elevator pitch given to introduce the company at the event.