Inventors: Teja Potocnik, Dr. Ralf Mouthaanm Dr. Peter Christopher & Dr. Jack Alexander-Webber, Engineering & Nanomation

The researchers and founders of the early-stage start-up Nanomation are experts in nanofabrication, specifically in the use of nanomaterials for electronic devices such as transistors and photodetectors.

One of the current difficulties in using nanomaterials is that fabrication methods require a number of time-consuming manual steps. The founders therefore decided to develop a system that could automate these processes, allowing nanomaterials to be built into bigger components more quickly and easily.

The result of this work is a software package that provides an integrated platform for automated nanofabrication. The patented LithoTag coordinate system consists of computer-readable markers on silicon wafers, which are detected by computer-vision algorithm along with desired nanomaterials. The software then automatically draws the required electrodes and circuits around the nanomaterials without needing the nanomaterials to be directly handled and moved.

The importance of this solution has been recognised by an ERC proof-of-concept grant and pre-seed investment funding, and the researchers are keen to move ahead with their commercialisation activities.

The role for the i-Team is to investigate the possible markets for the nanofabrication automation system as a whole, including possible routes-to-market for having the system adopted. They will also look into alternative markets for the LithoTag itself by interviewing relevant industry experts, and recommending next steps to the inventors.