STTR Phase I: A Carbon Nanotube Metrology System for Industry and Research Environments

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
8100 Shaffer Parkway, 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE, Littleton, CO, 80127
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Thomas Campbell
(303) 792-5615
Business Contact:
Sheryl Suhr
(303) 874-8262
Research Institution:
Roop L Mahajan
1880 Pratt Dr
Blacksburg, VA, 24061 7000
(303) 492-7750
Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will develop the world's first quantitative, low cost, reproducible, and rapid means to characterize single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) for the parameters critical to the nanotechnology community. Only a few metrology techniques on the market today offer the ability to measure the main carbon nanotube properties i.e., species, impurities, and structural properties for process improvement in production and routine quality validation in research. However, no instrument presently on the market offers the desirable metrology characteristics of low cost, low complexity, and reproducibility. ADA Technologies, Inc. proposes to develop this metrology tool through a novel optical spectroscopy technique coupled with Raman spectroscopy. Major technical objectives will be to design, fabricate, and test a prototype system in this Phase I project. Independent validation of results will be made with conventional metrology techniques. ADA will collaborate with leaders in SWNT metrology, Raman spectroscopy, and SWNT production. A cost/benefit analysis will be done to ensure the new metrology tool offers commercial advantages over existing tools. The proposed work will offer the nanotechnology community a significant advantage compared to existing systems and thus a new tool to help accelerate commercialization of SWNTs.Commercially, there are 50 plus commercial producers of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) worldwide and some 700 institutions engaged in CNT research. Total current production levels for CNTs are several tons per year for a market of ~$170M. Forecasts place the future market at around $3.6B by 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate of >60%. Despite this rapid growth, a key enabling technology still needed in CNT technology today is better metrology. Although instruments based on fluorescence spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy can measure the critical parameters of species, impurities, and structural characteristics, application of them is hindered by their complexity, high cost and poor reproducibility. The proposed integrated system will offer the first quantitative, low cost, reproducible, and rapid means to characterize SWNTs for the parameters critical to the CNT industry. This new capability will facilitate enhanced scientific and technological understanding of CNTs, resulting in improved process control in industry and enhanced quality validation in research.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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