Surrey NanoSystems/ University of Surrey

PROF RAVI SILVA, director of the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute
(ATI) and key researcher Dr Guanyow Chen, have developed a highly innovative, patented
system that, for the first time, provides the ability to grow carbon nanomateria

PROF RAVI SILVA, director of the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) and key researcher Dr Guanyow Chen, have developed a highly innovative, patented system that, for the first time, provides the ability to grow carbon nanomaterials at low temperatures in a highly-controlled and repeatable way. This solves a major obstacle in using devices such as carbon nanotubes in next-generation microchip manufacture. Because of their exceptional properties, many of the world’s largest technology companies are investing significant sums of money to find ways to grow and integrate these materials into their products.

However, until the ATI breakthrough, the high temperatures required in fabricating the nanotechnology devices led to the destruction of the base microchip circuitry. In 2003, Silva started to work with specialist machine builder CEVP to develop the world’s first turnkey NanoGrowth machine for the cost-effective, low-temperature production of precision-aligned multiwall carbon nanotubes. This will enable high efficiency, modular, scalable, products to be developed, for example, in key sectors such as the solar cell and lighting sectors, when mixed into nanocomposite hybrid material systems. The next challenge was to refine the machine and make it marketable. In December 2006, leading UK technology venture company IP Group joined forces with CEVP and the University of Surrey to form Surrey NanoSystems to take forward the commercial exploitation of the NanoGrowth range of systems.

The first stage of the business plan is based on developing the market for the machine in academic and commercial research laboratories. This is already taking shape with research establishments around the world choosing to enter partnership agreements with Surrey NanoSystems.

Thereafter, the plan is to develop the technology so that it can be incorporated more widely into a range of manufacturing processes. The market potential is huge, and it is believed that Surrey NanoSystems will grow into a multi-million pound business in two to five years.

For more information go to www.surreynanosystems.com