The electronic materials group at TDA is comprised of three principle investigators (PIs) and four or five chemists and technicians. This group is diverse in its background, ranging from organic synthetic chemists to chemical engineers. Our goal is to rationally design molecules and macromolecules with novel physical, electrical, and optical properties that are specifically suited for use in a next generation technology.
We are currently located at TDA's Table Mountain Lab Facility in the Coors Tech Center near Golden CO. For those of you unfamiliar with the Denver area, Golden is located about 20 miles almost due west of downtown Denver. This places us right at the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. We're also only about five minutes drive from the Coors Brewery. To view a map of our location, click here.
This area is ideally situated with easy access to Metro Denver and Boulder, yet is out of the way enough that deer and coyote sightings are common. This area is also attractive because there are a number of universities nearby and we frequently collaborate with academic research groups and also make use of the many facilities at the University of Colorado and Colorado School of Mines.
This location is comprised of 27,000 ft2 of chemical wetlabs (many including fumehoods), offices, shop areas, and high-bay storage. This building was previously occupied by Acculabs, a company that specialized in analytical testing. Much of the lab space that was left behind by Acculabs was well suited to our needs. Besides having a modern set of synthetic labs now set up, we also have many excellent materials characterization capabilities. Our instruments and test equipment includes: FTIR, Gel Permeation Chromatography, Fluorescence Spectroscopy, Electrochemistry, AC Impedance Spectroscopy, Four-Point Conductivity, Oxygen Permeation, and Dynamic Mechanical Analysis. At our Wheat Ridge location we have many more instruments and techniques available like: Scanning Electron Microscopy, Confocal and Fluorescence Microscopy, DLS Particle Size Analysis, UV-vis Spectroscopy.
Funding and Business Plan:
The electronic materials business at TDA started in 2000 after receiving NSF funds to develop the first generation of organic-soluble conducting polymer derivatives. Our results from the NSF funded research were encouraging enough to attract the attention of H.C. Starck, the current manufacturer of BaytronŽ P, and many potential end-users including Cambridge Display Technology, our partner in the OLED business. H.C. Starck, and industries in the business of anti-static coatings, ferroelectric displays, and energetic materials are currently evaluating our p-type materials and finding interesting results. We are receiving funds from the NSF through their SBIR program and from the Air Force through their STTR program.
The commercialization strategy for most of our electronic materials follows two phases. In the first phase, TDA manufactures test quantities of the polymers and markets them using the distribution line of a fine chemicals company like Sigma-Aldrich. We have recently become a qualified vendor to Sigma-Aldrich. This will allow a broad distribution of our products among researchers in both academia and in industry. Considering that most of the major potential applications of our materials (OLEDs, organic solar cells, plastic transistors, super-capacitors, etc) are still immature technologies and that our polymers themselves are still under development and improvement, it is difficult at this time to define the exact specification of the final products that will be manufactured on a large scale. Likely, a number of products will evolve and emerge from interaction with customers. Thus, using our in-house manufacturing capability and the distribution line of Sigma-Aldrich will allow us to distribute many different "flavors" of our materials subject to broad evaluation by customers. Feedback from end-users and the evolution of the markets toward definitive products will allow us to identify winning candidates for large-scale production.
Ultimately, when each market has defined its needs and expanded to a reasonable size, TDA will license the technology of its electronic materials to a manufacturing partner, who will take over manufacturing and distribution of the polymers for the second phase of commercialization. TDA will receive royalties from those sales. TDA has filed a patent application to cover the base technology of our conducting polymers (USPTO Pub. No. US2003/0088032 A1 filed August 31 2001). All of the authors of this application are TDA employees and the Patent is assigned to TDA.