Shocking Technologies, a privately held San Jose-based company developing voltage switchable dielectric (VSD) materials used for the electrostatic discharge protection of electronic equipment, has raised $10m (£6m) in a second round of funding led by Vista Ventures.
Other participating investors include ARCH Venture Partners, ATA Ventures, Balch Hill Partners and private investors.
‘Shocking’s embedded nano-composite technology solves a problem that has been plaguing the electronics industry for years. It will make design at both the system and chip level considerably easier and more effective,’ said Jim Hogan of Vista Ventures.
More specifically, the company’s VSD material functions as an insulator during normal circuit operation and becomes conductive when the voltage increases beyond a predefined threshold.
The material becomes an insulator again after the voltage drops back below the threshold to normal operating levels. This unique property, coupled with the ability to tailor the voltage threshold, opens up several new areas in electronics.
In use, the VSD material is placed adjacent to and in contact with a ground plane. During an ESD event, the voltage and current ramp almost instantaneously. If the circuit has proper access to the VSD layer, no matter where a high-voltage pulse is introduced into the device, the VSD material will react to it by clamping the voltage and shunting the excess current to ground in less than a nanosecond.
‘We have been very fortunate that we’ve identified a huge problem and have been able to develop our unique patented solution,’ said Lex Kosowsky, president and chief executive officer at Shocking Technologies. ‘The [latest] funding will allow us to build out our manufacturing infrastructure and continue our development as we work with our customers to bring our initial products, cell phones and flash drives to market in the coming months.’