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Nanotecture starts work on tomorrow's power technology

Published: 12 February 2003

A University of Southampton spin-out company has received £525,000 in seedcorn investment to develop and patent materials based on tiny honeycomb structures many times thinner than the human hair.

This technology can be used to design new supercapacitors and batteries that can be charged and discharged quickly. The company, Nanotecture, is also working on improved gas sensors, which can be used in automotive systems and several other applications.

The establishment of Nanotecture is the culmination of ten years of research by Professor Phil Bartlett, Professor George Attard and Dr John Owen, all of the Chemistry department.

Dr Owen said: "Improving the power and capabilities of batteries is the key to the development of tomorrow's portable equipment such as mobile phones and laptop computers. It could mean mobile phone batteries taking just five minutes to charge and their power lasting longer between charges."

The first research grant for this work was given in 1992. This seedcorn money comes from sources including IP2IPO, SULIS and the Southampton Asset Management Fund.

Nanotechnology is science measured on a scale of atoms and molecules. Techniques now being explored involve the manipulation and control of these tiny particles to create new structures with unique properties.

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Notes for editors

  1. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £235 million.
  2. IP2IPO was formed by parent company Beeson Gregory to manage its partnership agreement with the University of Oxford. Through the agreement, signed in November 2000, Beeson Gregory acquired a 15 year interest in intellectual property commercialised from the University's Chemistry department. In March 2002, IP2IPO created a similar partnership with the University of Southampton, investing £5 million in early-stage university spin-out companies, and taking a 20 per cent stake in Southampton Asset Management, formed to hold the University's equity stakes in future spin-out companies. www.ip2ipo.com. SULIS is the University's shared seedcorn fund with the Universities of Bath and Bristol. The Southampton Asset Management Fund is the University's own £5million seedcorn fund.
  3. The Centre for Enterprise and Innovation is the focus of entrepreneurial activity within the University of Southampton. Formed in September 2000, the office now employs around 20 people, focusing on the commercialisation of university intellectual property through the creation of start-up companies and opportunities for license. It provides business and funding advice, IP protection and management, commercial legal advice and contract negotiation.

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