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AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. Partners with Lockheed Martin to Validate Breakthrough Weapons Countermeasure Technology

PR Newswire- October 16, 2019


WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc., in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, announced a successful demonstration of a new diamond-based coating technology that will enhance survivability of manned and unmanned military aircraft systems at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Expo.

AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. is a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of electronics-grade diamonds as functional semiconductors. The Illinois-based company has been awarded numerous patents and trademarks for inventions under its Miraj Diamond® Protective Coating platform of products.

The successful tests provide evidence the company's diamond coating will serve as an effective countermeasure to state-of-the-art directed energy weapons, including electromagnetic, kinetic and laser energy weapons, when applied to sensitive control systems and cockpit areas. Lockheed Martin supplied the testing environment and expertise to simulate the force of these weapons upon coated and uncoated fused silica samples.

"The opportunity to apply our technology to serve our nation's security and defense is an honor not taken lightly," said Adam Khan, CEO and Founder of AKHAN. "We are extremely grateful to be working with Lockheed Martin to demonstrate the capabilities and myriad applications of our Miraj Diamond coatings."

Multilayer anti-reflective coating systems are critical in military aerospace sensor and detector applications, amongst others. While previous coating systems have suffered from delamination, degradation and fluctuating optical transmissivity, AKHAN's technology enables new capabilities in optical sensing, detecting and transmission.

The technology further allows development of optical components with ultra-hardness, scratch-resistance, high thermal conductivity, hydrophobicity, chemical and biological inertness, and with high transmittance at a variety of critical angles.

Read original release here

AKHAN Semiconductor issued key patent in Korea

Chicago Daily Herald- August 23, 2019


Gurnee--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamonds, has been issued a patent by the Korean Intellectual Property Office covering a method for the fabrication of diamond semiconductor materials.

The technology is core to next-generation applications in automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, military, defense and telecommunications systems, among others.

Originally filed in 2014, the Korea-issued patent is the fourth foreign counterpart of other issued and pending patents owned by AKHAN related to the company's Miraj Diamond Platform products. With other patents awarded in 2017 and 2018 in Japan and Taiwan, this is the first patent for the Korean market and will cover Korean-based semiconductor electronics.

"The award of this key Korean patent and the country's recognition of our intellectual property is a significant development for our business, underscoring our leadership in the diamond semiconductor space," said Adam Khan, founder and CEO of AKHAN Semiconductor. "Korea represents the world's fourth largest economy and is home to major OEMs such as LG, Samsung and others."

AKHAN Semiconductor Appoints Vice Admiral Charles W. Moore Jr. to the Company’s Board of Directors

Yahoo! Finance- July 1, 2019


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronic-grade diamonds, announced today the appointment of Vice Admiral Charles W. Moore Jr. to its Board of Directors. Moore is a distinguished 36-year veteran of the United States Navy, who began his military career as a Naval Aviator and rose to the rank of Vice Admiral serving as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics and as Commander, United States Fifth Fleet and Commander, U. S. Naval Forces Central Command headquartered in the Middle East in the country of Bahrain.

“The technology developed by private companies is crucial to the United States Military’s success, and AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond® technology is critical in that it can be applied to a number of capabilities to increase durability and efficiency,” said Moore. “I look forward to joining the Board and lending my expertise to aid AKHAN in establishing itself as a valued partner to our country’s military."

Upon retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2004, Moore joined Lockheed Martin as Vice President, F-35 Program Assessment. Subsequently, Moore served as Vice President, Global Sustainment and President of Lockheed Martin Middle East and Africa. After retiring from Lockheed Martin in 2013, Moore joined the Dodsal Group, where he served as Chairman and President of Dodsal Resources, an oil and gas exploration and production company in the Dodsal Group. He also served as Chairman of Dodsal Group Executive Board, before retiring from Dodsal in 2016.

“As AKHAN continues to apply our Miraj Diamond® technology to more military and defense capabilities, Vice Admiral Moore will be instrumental in identifying new opportunities and helping us refine the technology to ensure we’re providing solutions that meet the United States military's needs,” said Adam Khan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at AKHAN. “AKHAN is excited and honored to add such an impressive and decorated American patriot to our board.”

A 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering, Moore earned his first Master’s Degree in International Relations from Salve Regina University and his second Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

AKHAN Semiconductor Appoints H. Delano Roosevelt to Board of Directors; Robert Mohr Named CFO

BusinessWire- May 16, 2019


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronic-grade diamonds, announced today that it has appointed H. Delano Roosevelt to its Board of Directors. Roosevelt, the grandson of United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, joins AKHAN from his current role as Director, New Business Development at Reza Investment Company, which focuses on assisting organizations and private investors in structuring cross-border transactions, technology transfers and direct investments globally with a focus on the Middle East.

“Delano is a world-renowned dignitary who has committed his adult life to promoting prosperous business relationships between the United States and Middle East, which makes him a welcome addition to the board,” said Adam Khan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at AKHAN. “His influence will be crucial to AKHAN as it continues to seek new technological applications for its Miraj Diamond Glass® technology.”

In addition to his role with Reza, Roosevelt, who resides in Bahrain with his family, is involved in a number of initiatives that promote business relationships between the U.S. and the Middle East, including roles as: Chairman Emeritus, Middle East Council of American Chambers of Commerce (MECACC), Board Member, Executive Board, American Mission Hospital Bahrain and Executive Board, and American Business Group Eastern Province. Roosevelt attended the International School in Geneva Switzerland, Brentwood Military Academy California, Pacific Palisades High School and Woodbury University.

AKHAN Appoints CFO

Robert Mohr, CPA CGMA CITP, will also join AKHAN in the role of Chief Financial Officer. Mohr joins AKHAN from his current role of Consultant at CFO Express International, which provides business coaching to assist in optimizing financial accounting practices and policies to maximize cash flow.

“Robert is a creative executive whose depth of experience in finance, accounting, operations and information technology will be valued as AKHAN continues to grow and develop new technologies,” said Carl Shurboff, President and Chief Operating Officer of AKHAN. “Robert will be charged with operationalizing the Company’s finances, and we’re excited to have him on board.” Mohr is a graduate of Illinois State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Financial Accounting and a master's degree in Management Accounting.

AKHAN Semiconductor Appoints Ex-CIA Chief Donald Hepburn to its Board of Directors as Global Security and Intelligence Advisor

Associated Press- May 8, 2019


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronic-grade diamonds, announced today that it has appointed decorated intelligence veteran and US national security expert Don Hepburn to the Company’s Board of Directors as the Global Security and Intelligence Advisor. He will be working closely with the executive management team out of AKHAN’s global headquarters, located in Gurnee, Illinois. Mr. Hepburn joins AKHAN from his current role as President at Boanerges Solutions LLC, where he serves as an expert advisor to US and foreign companies in the area of corporate security, intelligence matters and business development.

Prior to founding Boanerges Solutions, Mr. Hepburn served for nearly three decades in the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Directorate of Operations, where he achieved the rank of Senior Intelligence Service Officer. He completed his government service with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) where he served as the Deputy Assistant Director of International Operations overseeing all Legal Attache activities world-wide. During government service with CIA, Mr. Hepburn held executive command positions in both the field and Washington D.C.

“Don’s extensive experience serving the United States as a highly trained intelligence officer and with senior law enforcement executive experience makes him an ideal partner to ensure AKHAN’s security system scales as the Company grows,” said Adam Khan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AKHAN. “In addition to maintaining a safe and secure work environment for AKHAN’s employees and visitors, Don’s expertise will also be of particular use investigating and defending the company from potential cyber threats, and hostile activities directed by state and non-state actors that may threaten the Company as it develops its ground-breaking diamond technology. We welcome Don to the Board and look forward to his leadership and expertise.”

“We are excited to have such a well-respected and insightful member of the intelligence community join our board. His expertise will be especially valuable as the Company continues to build its relations with the various parts of the US defense and high-tech research communities,” said Carl Shurboff, President and Chief Operating Officer of AKHAN.

Don earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is the recipient of numerous awards and intelligence medals.

USPTO Awards AKHAN Key Optics Patent for New Diamond Based IR Antireflective Coating

Associated Press- April 17, 2019


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamond, announced today the issuance by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of a patent covering AKHAN’s next generation diamond based multilayer antireflective coating systems, key in military & aerospace sensor and detector applications, amongst others.

The granted and issued patent, 10,254,445, is a key addition to AKHAN’s breakthrough Miraj Diamond® Glass intellectual property portfolio, and enables new capabilities in optical sensing, detecting, and transmission. Through integration of high-quality diamond multilayer materials, the novel system allows for optical components with ultra-hardness, scratch-resistance, high thermal conductivity, hydrophobicity, chemical and biological inertness, and with high transmittance at a variety of critical angles.

“Due to diamond’s absorption spectra in the medium wavelength infrared region, the material has been historically absent for infrared application use. However, through our novel diamond-based multilayer materials, it is now possible to capture the favorable properties of diamond for more rugged systems use, such as experienced in battlefield conditions,” explains AKHAN Founder & CEO, Adam Khan.

“It was a great experience interacting with Army and Defense professionals, detailing AKHAN’s unique solutions for their technology needs,” said Ernest Schirmann, AKHAN Senior Electrical Engineer & xTech co-presenter. “I look forward to demonstrating our work later this year.” “Previous antireflective coatings have suffered from delamination, degradation, and fluctuating optical transmissivity. AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond® materials provide high transmissivity infrared windows with high reliability,” said AKHAN Chief Technology Officer Bill Alberth. “We look forward to announcing new products featuring this patented technology soon.”

AKHAN’s flagship Miraj Diamond® Glass for consumer display is 6x stronger, 10x harder, and runs over 800x cooler than leading glass competitors like Gorilla Glass by coating standard commercial glass such as aluminosilicate, BK7, and Fused Silica with proprietary lab-grown nanocrystalline diamond. Diamond-based technology is capable of increasing power density as well as creating faster, lighter, and simpler devices for consumer use.

AKHAN Named Finalist in US Army xTech 2.0 Competition with Miraj Diamond® for Future Vertical Lift

Associated Press- April 1, 2019


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States Army has named AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. as a Phase III winner and finalist in the United States Army Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch) 2.0. The company was awarded $120,000 and the opportunity to demonstrate its Miraj Diamond® protective coatings for Directed Energy and Electromagnetic weaponry for Future Vertical Lift Army Modernization Priorities.

Of the initial 300 competing companies, 25 were selected to present at the phase III event in Huntsville, AL at the AUSA Global Force 2019 meeting. AKHAN was among the 12 companies chosen to move on to the final phase, which includes a capstone demonstration of their technologies at the 2019 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting, scheduled for October 14-16th, 2019 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

“We are deeply honored for this recognition by the US Army,” said AKHAN Founder & CEO Adam Khan. “As we witnessed earlier this year, external interests have already identified the strategic importance of diamond technology, and ours in particular. We are grateful for the opportunity to leverage our expertise in this field to service the needs of the military and intelligence communities, especially in demonstrating robust and reliable countermeasures to future threats.” The Expeditionary Technology Search, shortened to xTechSearch, calls on companies to demonstrate technologies that can help the Army meet its modernization challenges. The goal is to seek nontraditional innovators who can work with the Army, including through cooperative research opportunities with Army scientists, as it modernizes the force.

“It was a great experience interacting with Army and Defense professionals, detailing AKHAN’s unique solutions for their technology needs,” said Ernest Schirmann, AKHAN Senior Electrical Engineer & xTech co-presenter. “I look forward to demonstrating our work later this year.”

AKHAN’s flagship Miraj Diamond® Glass for consumer display is 6x stronger, 10x harder, and runs over 800x cooler than leading glass competitors like Gorilla Glass by coating standard commercial glass such as aluminosilicate, BK7, and Fused Silica with proprietary lab-grown nanocrystalline diamond. Diamond-based technology is capable of increasing power density as well as creating faster, lighter, and simpler devices for consumer use.

AKHAN Awarded Phase II Win by U.S. Army for 2019 xTechSearch

Associated Press- March 13, 2019


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States Army has named AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. as a Phase II awardee and semifinalist in the United States Army Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch) 2.0. Later this month, AKHAN representatives will travel to Huntsville, Alabama to present live at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA)’s 2019 Annual Global Force Symposium and Exposition, the “largest land power exposition and professional development forum in North America” according to the event’s website. This year’s exposition will feature more than 600 exhibitors. It will also host as many as 30,000 attendees from more than half the world’s countries.

“We’re ecstatic to advance to the semifinal round of the U.S. Army 2019 xTech competition,” said AKHAN Founder & CEO Adam Khan. “We look forward to leveraging our advances in consumer technology to service the near-term and future Army modernization priorities. We are honored for the opportunity to present alongside so many military leaders and industrial experts.”

AKHAN will display its Miraj Diamond® technology for protective coatings on Tuesday, Mar. 26 in the event’s Innovator’s Corner — a designated area for xTechSearch Phase II winners to showcase new solutions in line with the Army’s priorities for modernization. Phase II winners will also give formal presentations of their technologies, spaced out across the three days of the AUSA event. AKHAN secured a Phase I Award earlier this year after competing among 300 entrants. Company representatives then presented AKHAN’s Future Vertical Lift solution live in Austin, TX, as part of xTechSearch’s competition for Phase II awards. xTechSearch is currently exploring technologies related to cyber warfare, future vertical lift, and other topics. To accelerate technology concepts that may benefit Army stakeholders, the program will award $2M to competing companies over the next several months. The program’s goals include “integrating the sector of nontraditional innovators into the Army’s research and development ecosystem.” The 2019 AUSA National Meeting will take place at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, AL from March 26-28.

AKHAN’s flagship Miraj Diamond® Glass for consumer display is 6x stronger, 10x harder, and runs over 800x cooler than leading glass competitors like Gorilla Glass by coating standard commercial glass such as aluminosilicate, BK7, and Fused Silica with proprietary lab-grown nanocrystalline diamond. Diamond-based technology is capable of increasing power density as well as creating faster, lighter, and simpler devices for consumer use.

U.S. Patent Office Grants Major Diamond Display Patent to AKHAN

Associated Press- March 5, 2019


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamond, announced today the issuance by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of a patent covering AKHAN’s next generation multilayer diamond display systems, key in smartphone/mobile display applications, amongst others.

The granted and issued patent, 10,224,514, is a key addition to AKHAN’s breakthrough Miraj Diamond® Glass intellectual property portfolio, and enables deeper integration of the Miraj Diamond® Glass technology within the smartphone display module systems. Through integration of high transmission diamond display materials, the novel system allows for lighter and thinner display modules, ultimately enabling a lighter, thinner, stronger smartphone which runs cooler during use.“The basis of today’s current display glass module utilizes chemically hardened aluminosilicate glass, which hasn’t substantially changed or improved since its debut in the 1960’s. Every aspect of our consumer technology has benefited from modernity, and now with the integration of our world leading nanodiamond on glass technology, display will too,” explains AKHAN Founder & CEO, Adam Khan.

“Beyond a first product offering of a more durable and efficient diamond-based display cover glass, we are excited to bring the next level of offering to our consumer electronics customer partners-- a fundamental increase in engineering capability with next-generation display modules which are lighter, stronger, and more heat efficient than what’s on the market today. This is a direction that our glass competitors simply cannot compete with,” said AKHAN President & COO Carl Shurboff. “We look forward to announcing new capabilities for the platform in the near future.”

AKHAN’s flagship Miraj Diamond® Glass for consumer display is 6x stronger, 10x harder, and runs over 800x cooler than leading glass competitors like Gorilla Glass by coating standard commercial glass such as aluminosilicate, BK7, and Fused Silica with proprietary lab-grown nanocrystalline diamond. Diamond-based technology is capable of increasing power density as well as creating faster, lighter, and simpler devices for consumer use.

AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond® Technology Selected by Army for Future Vertical Lift Protection and Survivability

Associated Press- February 18, 2019


Leading Diamond Technology Company Selected for 2019 U.S. Army Expeditionary Technology Search

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamonds, announced today that its Miraj Diamond® technology has been selected by the U.S. Army to be part of the 2019 Army Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch).

The proposal, submitted by AKHAN, calls for the integration of its proprietary Miraj Diamond® technology in protective coatings that can significantly enhance protection and survivability of aircraft developed under the Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative.

“Our multi-layer Miraj Diamond® materials have broad applicability for protection of both optically transparent and opaque surfaces including aircraft canopies, sensor windows, and other sensitive structures,” explains AKHAN Founder & CEO, Adam Khan.

“With the recent launch of our pilot production facility in Gurnee, Illinois, AKHAN continues to expand its rapid prototyping capabilities and deep expertise in developing innovative diamond-based solutions for consumer electronics, aerospace, and defense,” said AKHAN President & COO Carl Shurboff. “We look forward to expanding our market share in 2019.”

AKHAN’s flagship Miraj Diamond® Glass for consumer display is 6x stronger, 10x harder, and runs over 800x cooler than leading glass competitors like Gorilla Glass by coating standard commercial glass such as aluminosilicate, BK7, and Fused Silica with lab-grown nanocrystalline diamond. Diamond-based technology is capable of increasing power density as well as creating faster, lighter, and simpler devices for consumer use.

AKHAN Statement on IP Theft

BusinessWire- February 4, 2019


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor recently cooperated with a U.S. federal investigation into what appears to be a theft of its intellectual property by Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. When AKHAN agreed to send its proprietary Miraj Diamond® technology to Huawei pursuant to an agreement, AKHAN expected that Huawei would abide by the agreement and its material would be returned unharmed. Unfortunately, AKHAN believes that Huawei destroyed our product, shipped it to China without authorization, subjected it to tests that it was not authorized to conduct, and returned most of it to us in pieces. We still have not recovered all of our product from Huawei, despite repeated written and oral requests and inquiries to Huawei.

AKHAN takes seriously any unlawful use of its technology. The theft of any AKHAN assets, attempted or successful, will be not be tolerated. AKHAN will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and work towards an expedient resolution to this matter. Given the threat that Huawei’s apparent theft poses to AKHAN shareholders, employees, and customers-- and the potential loss to U.S. jobs, revenue, and other projected economic impact-- AKHAN is considering any and all legal remedies available, and will work with the involved parties to make public the relevant information to all stakeholders to the extent it can do so. AKHAN is committed to acting with integrity and conducting its business in a safe, ethical and legal manner.

Since its creation in early 2013, AKHAN Semiconductor, an Illinois corporation, has garnered global attention with its proprietary diamond-based materials and device solutions. From research and development work maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the advanced materials market, to the creation of new high-technology manufacturing and other STEM jobs, AKHAN is publicly committed to maximizing domestic economic impact with the commercialization of our Miraj Diamond® technology.

For more information, please contact Christopher Fox at 847.855.8400 or email at chris@akhansemi.com.

'Looking Into the Future': Miraj Diamond Glass Production Launches New Facility in Gurnee

Chicago Tribune/News-Sun- September 21, 2018

Yadira Sanchez Olson


Technology that its backers say promises to be part of the next wave of electronics was presented this week during a tour for investors, dignitaries and media at the Gurnee-based high-tech manufacturing company AKHAN Semiconductors on Wednesday.

Before the tour began on Wednesday, Adam Khan, the company’s founder and CEO, told the crowd he was happy to be unveiling the company’s new production space at the facility on Lakeside Drive.

He thanked Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik, state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, and U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-14th, for having supported his team since the move to that building in 2012, two years after Khan, a Warren Township High School graduate, founded the company.

Once it undergoes a final inspection next week, the facility’s “clean room,” as it is called, will produce and integrate Miraj Diamonds, the company’s patented material designed to make a display screen six times stronger, 10 times harder and run more than 800 times cooler.

“We can actually control the color, thickness and consistency all the way to the atomic level of properties,” Khan said of the lab-grown diamonds. The application of the electronic-grade diamonds has the capability to improve how consumers and even the U.S. government utilizes gadgets, such as cell phones and aircraft, according to Jeffrey Miller, an AKHAN sales advisor.

In August, AKHAN and U.S. Army officials announced the Miraj Diamond technology was selected to be part of the Army Expeditionary Technology Search, an approach that links innovators directly with Army labs.

Khan said he’s been waiting quite a while for this capability, and so has the rest of the technology community. He began his diamond work at age 19 at the University of Illinois Chicago as a research assistant. “The world has been anxiously awaiting the deployment of this technology,” Khan said. “We're very proud to scale it here from Gurnee, Ill., my former hometown, and hopefully it will be henceforth known as the diamond prairie worldwide.”

On Wednesday, Bush joked that she looks forward to the day when she can fling her phone and not have to have it replaced due to a cracked screen. She praised Khan and his team for making Lake County a part of the innovation she’s sure will soon be ubiquitous in a variety of tools that used today.

“These are exactly the kind of businesses — the kinds of dreams — that we want to be investing in Illinois. I believe that this is looking into the future,” Bush said. For the rollout of the new production, 54 employee positions will be created, and AKHAN officials expect that will grow to about 200 in the next two to three years. Carl Shurboff, the company’s chief operating officer, said the company has intentionally sought to work with local agencies and businesses, including a Lake Zurich company that designed the exhaust system of the clean room.

“These are exactly the kind of businesses — the kinds of dreams — that we want to be investing in Illinois. I believe that this is looking into the future,” Bush said. For the rollout of the new production, 54 employee positions will be created, and AKHAN officials expect that will grow to about 200 in the next two to three years. Carl Shurboff, the company’s chief operating officer, said the company has intentionally sought to work with local agencies and businesses, including a Lake Zurich company that designed the exhaust system of the clean room.

Why Tech Firm Sees Gurnee As the 'Diamond Prairie,' Home to New Cellphone, Warfare Material

Daily Herald- September 19, 2018

Doug T. Graham


If lab-grown diamonds are going to be the next big thing in cellphones and an important part of future warfare, then Wednesday was a historic day in Gurnee.

AKHAN Semiconductors, a high-tech manufacturer based in the village, debuted its new clean room to investors, local leaders and the news media Wednesday morning. The facility will produce the company's patented material, Miraj Diamond, designed to make glass stronger, harder and better able to dissipate heat.

Adam Khan, the company's founder, CEO and namesake, told the crowd it is an exciting time to begin manufacturing. "The world has been anxiously awaiting the deployment of this technology," Khan said. "We're very proud to scale it here from Gurnee, Illinois, my former hometown, and hopefully it will be henceforth known as the diamond prairie worldwide."

Miraj Diamond is made by spreading microscopic diamonds along a glass surface a few nanometers apart. The glass is placed in a machine that pumps in methane and other gases and applies heat, making the diamonds grow in all directions until they coat the surface.

The company plans to debut Miraj Diamond next year in smartphone screens. Company leaders say it will make the screen six times stronger, 10 times harder and more than 800 times cooler. Khan said his company has been inundated with orders from big-name cellphone companies.

AKHAN also has received interest from the Pentagon. The company is one of 125 to advance past the first round of a U.S. Army-sponsored competition called the Expeditionary Technology Search. It seeks to engage commercial companies that wouldn't normally participate in defense work.

Last month, AKHAN presented its Miraj Diamond prototype to Army officials in Chicago. They believe the material's heat dissipation will work well in directed energy systems -- laser weapons. AKHAN engineers believe Miraj Diamond-coated components in laser weapons won't melt, and they can coat military equipment or vehicles in Miraj Diamond to better withstand heat from enemy lasers.

Khan said the presentation went well and the company is waiting to hear back. If it wins the competition, the company could receive up to $331,000 in prize money and a contract with the Pentagon. Local officials including state Sen. Melinda Bush and Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik were among those who toured the new facility. Khan said the clean room will undergo a final inspection next week, then be enclosed before work begins.

AKHAN Semiconductor Selected for US Army's xTechSearch Pitch Competition

Photonics Media- September 10, 2018


AKHAN Semiconductor Inc., a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamonds, has announced that its Miraj Diamond technology has been selected by the U.S. Army to be part of the inaugural Army Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch).

xTechSearch aims to attract engagement with American innovators in the entrepreneurial community, small businesses, and other nontraditional defense partners. Such entities will pitch novel technology solutions directly to Army leadership. The proposal calls for the integration of AKHAN’s proprietary diamond technology in current air and missile defense and high-energy laser systems, thereby elevating component mechanical and optical properties in support of the xTechSearch air and missile defense technology focus area.

“Integration with our Miraj Diamond technology will dramatically improve component and system reliability and performance in extreme environments, protecting against system failure issues that arise from overheating and delamination while simultaneously maintaining the stringent performance demands incumbent upon these systems,” said Adam Khan, founder and CEO of AKHAN.

“AKHAN has demonstrated a deep expertise in developing innovative diamond-based solutions for optical technologies,” said Carl Churboff, president and CEO of AKHAN. “Our Miraj Diamond glass products include consumer-facing applications such as our smartphone display glass, as well as aerospace and defense applications, such as optical windows, mirrors, and lenses. We look forward to announcing new capabilities for the platform in the near future.”

Akhan fabricates electronics-grade diamonds as functional semiconductors. xTechSearch is a prize competition sponsored by the assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics, and technology.

Gurnee Diamond Maker Competes for Chance to Make Glass for U.S. Army Laser Weapons

Daily Herald- August 13, 2018

Doug T. Graham


A Gurnee manufacturer specializing in lab-grown diamonds is vying for a chance to work for the U.S. Army to build better laser weapons and other futuristic military technology.

AKHAN Semiconductor was named Monday as one of 125 companies to advance past the first round of a U.S. Army-sponsored competition called the Expeditionary Technology Search. It seeks to engage commercial companies that wouldn't normally participate in defense work.

A representative from the U.S. Army did not immediately return requests to comment on why AKHAN was selected. AKHAN's entry in the competition is its new patented material called Miraj Diamond, which is designed to make the glass stronger, harder and allows the material to dissipate heat, company officials said.

Miraj Diamond is made by spreading microscopic diamonds along a glass surface a few nanometers apart. The glass is placed in a machine that pumps in methane and other gases and applies heat, making the diamonds grow in all directions until they coat the surface.

Miraj Diamond is made by spreading microscopic diamonds along a glass surface a few nanometers apart. The glass is placed in a machine that pumps in methane and other gases and applies heat, making the diamonds grow in all directions until they coat the surface.

Unlike the laser cannons sci-fi fans might be familiar with, modern laser weapons are designed to focus a lot of energy on a target to heat it up, said Ernie Schirmann, an AKHAN senior engineer. "You could use it to lock on to a sensitive component of an aircraft, like a guidance system, to disable it," Schirmann said. "Or some are purely destructive, like burning a hole in a target." A big challenge is such systems become so hot they melt, he said. AKHAN engineers hope using Miraj Diamond-coated components will prevent similar meltdowns. Shurboff said the company is also looking into ways to coat military equipment or vehicles in Miraj Diamond so they can better dissipate heat from enemy lasers.

AKHAN opened in Gurnee in November 2015. It has 14 employees, mostly engineers, physicists and administrators. Adam Khan, the company's founder, CEO and namesake, said more employees will be added this fall when construction on a Miraj Diamond production line and clean room are completed." Diamond is interesting in that it isn't as mature as silicon or some of the other materials on the market," Khan said. "We're really pioneering the commercialization of it and will be dictating how it gets massively scaled." Khan and members of the team will make a presentation to Army officials for the next phase of the competition Tuesday in Chicago. The winner could receive up to $331,000 in prize money and pen a contract with the Army.

AKHAN Names Dan Gravelle Interim Chief Financial Officer

Yahoo! Finance- June 5, 2018


AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamonds, announced today that Dan Gravelle, has assumed the role of interim Chief Financial Officer of AKHAN Semiconductor, effective June 1, 2018, succeeding Kristie King, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

Gravelle, an accomplished executive with extensive experience transforming businesses around the world, will play a key role in supporting investments the company is making to scale production of its Miraj Diamond® products and introduce innovative approaches that will strengthen its competitive position. He has more than 25 years of start-up and late stage business and financial experience across a number of key areas, including corporate strategy and finance, mergers and acquisitions, treasury and balance sheet management and new business development. He also has a proven track record of driving shareholder value creation, strong financial performance, deal-making and building high-performing teams. Gravelle earned his undergraduate degree from California State University, Chico and his Finance MBA from Golden Gate University.

“We have built a strong executive leadership team, introducing game-changing technology into the global market. We are excited to add Dan’s insight and expertise that will support our company in the next-phase of our strategic plan and in building our global enterprise” said Adam Khan, Founder & Chief Executive Officer. “I look forward to working with him in bridging the ecosystems of Silicon Valley and the Diamond Prairie we are growing in our Northern Illinois headquarters.”

“On behalf of all of us at AKHAN Semiconductor, I want to thank Kristie for her many contributions to the growth and development of our company over the last two years.” said Carl Shurboff, President & Chief Operating Officer at AKHAN. “We wish Kristie great success in her future endeavors.”

High Performance Diamond Semiconductor Devices Coming Soon! - AKHAN's Miraj Diamond® Technology Granted Key Patents and Trademarks

IEEE Electronics360- May 31, 2018

Gary Kardys


Diamond-based semiconductors have marked performance advantages over silicon and compound semiconductors. The issuance of key TIPO patents and US Trademarks for AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond® technology signals more products with diamond chips will be showing up soon. The TIPO patents are important because Taiwan has become a major center for semiconductor and electronic manufacturing.

The new Miraj diamond technology is now poised to become the key enabler for advancements on complex devices such as high speed/power transistors (e.g., high-frequency field-effect transistors (FETs)), RF and microwave electronics, high-power switches, MEMS and higher efficiency passive devices. Akhan fabricated 100 GHz diamond demonstration chips over two years ago. These faster, thinner and cooler devices will result in faster supercomputers, advanced radar and telecommunications, hyper-efficient hybrid vehicles, robust electronics for extreme environments, and next-generation avionics instruments. Diamond MEMS devices can be specifically designed for the capacitive switching arrays to provide better dynamic tuning of high-end smartphone antennas. “The timing for our diamond-based semiconductor technology’s market debut could not be better,” said AKHAN CEO Adam Khan. “By using man-made diamonds at the core of our new chip technology, we are ushering in a new generation of semiconductor solutions that operate at higher temperatures, are thinner and require less power. These are exactly the attributes required for all the products that make up the Internet of Things.” While current silicon technology has been reaching its limits due to interconnection and crosstalk problems, Khan believes diamond technology will extend Moore’s law.

The AKHAN diamond process converts methane gas into the nanocrystalline Miraj diamond material using a microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) or plasma ball reactor. Their process is more environmentally friendly compared to silicon technology because it consumes 20% less water and could convert waste methane gas into a semiconductor. Akhan’s proprietary doping technology, which reportedly is more effective than nitrogen doping, should even enable the development of quantum computer chips.

Akhan is also commercializing "Miraj diamond glass" sheets for smartphone and VR display applications, Miraj diamond glass should be six times stronger and ten times harder than chemically hardened aluminosilicate glass (e.g. Corning Gorilla Glass or Schott BK-7, fused silica, and sapphire.

The company's comprehensive Miraj Diamond Electronics platform enables fabrication of complex active (FETs, switches) and passive (Schottky diodes) microelectronics devices. Diamond's dielectric strength is several orders of magnitude higher than silicon (1 x 107 diamond vs. 3 x 105 silicon), which allows thinning of devices. Fabricated devices using Miraj Diamond® technology perform at higher speeds and efficiencies while being more than 1,000 times thinner than other advanced diamond and silicon technologies.

The race is on to make iPhone, Samsung Galaxy screen glass unbreakable

CNBC- April 26, 2018

Maggie Overfelt


Smartphone makers Apple and Samsung spend billions on research and development each year so that our smartphones and other connected devices continue to evolve into high-tech works of art. Recent reports claim Apple is working on an iPhone with touchless gesture control and/or a curved screen, while its main rival is working on the first foldable Samsung Galaxy X and a Samsung wearable that wraps around our wrists and can be configured into an upright position to be used like a smartphone. Bigger, better and thinner screens are a big part of all these efforts.

But one fundamental technology challenge that is surprisingly difficult to solve is glass. What consumers really want, after spending hundreds of dollars on a new smartphone, like the pricey iPhone, is glass that won't break when dropped. According to market research firm IDC, more than 95 million smartphones are damaged each year from drops, the No. 1 cause of harm to handheld devices (No. 2 is exposure to liquid). That's roughly $29.8 billion worth of smartphones.

"Proving that a device is durable is essential to convince people to pay more for a phone," said Francisco Jeronimo, senior research director for European mobile devices at IDC, which in 2016 surveyed phone makers, retailers and repair centers around the world about smartphone issues. "Consumers are a lot more concerned about what happens to their phone and it being able to handle certain accidents. When people spend $1,000 on a cellphone, they don't expect it to crack the first time they drop it on the floor."

Creating phones that are technologically sophisticated, attractively thin and light, wider-faced and sturdy means the screen glass itself has to be a top priority, Jeronimo said. Big smartphone brands, special materials start-ups and university researchers are locked in a race to discover unbreakable glass — or something like it.

Glass makers' big challenge today is figuring out how to keep cover glass strong as manufacturers demand thinner, flexible plates for their new phone designs — think curved screens, bevel- and notch-less faces, foldable displays, and glass backs for a more luxurious feel and better transmission of data. Materials break at their weakest points, and as glass gets thinner, it becomes more vulnerable to being punctured.

"If we were at the thickness that was introduced with the first smartphone, your phone wouldn't break in a normal drop event," said John Bayne, vice president and general manager of Gorilla Glass at Corning, the 167-year-old glass maker whose Gorilla 5 offering runs about 0.4 mm to 1.3 mm thick. "Can I thin down the glass to 0.5 mm to make a sleeker, cooler design? There's a give-and-take [in the design process]; you can't solve it all in the glass."

Corning, which invests more than three times the dollar amount in R&D than its peers, according to Morningstar, recently received a $200 million gift from Apple to help develop more versatile and likely thinner glass in Corning's Harrodsburg, Kentucky, plant.

Synthetic Diamond Screens Enter the Picture

Akhan Semiconductor wants to coat your smartphone face with diamond. Not the bling kind, but a synthetic diamond-based film. According to third-party strength tests, glass treated with Miraj Diamond Glass is six times harder — and more scratch resistant — than Corning's Gorilla Glass 5, currently the strongest display glass on the market.

"We're always careful to say that nothing is unbreakable or unshatterable," said Adam Khan, founder and CEO of Akhan Semiconductor, a six-year-old materials science start-up north of Chicago. "In terms of scratches and strength, [Miraj] is definitely a lot harder and stronger than the existing offerings."

The first smartphones treated with Miraj Diamond will ship sometime next year, although Khan, who licenses the technology directly to device makers, won't yet name which brands. The company is also developing glass for watches. He also notes that because of the way diamond dissipates heat, it allows smaller devices to run more efficiently. "You can run a higher level of power through it," Khan said.

Read more at CNBC.com

AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond Technology Awarded Taiwan Patent and US Trademark

Semiconductor Today- April 5, 2018


AKHAN Semiconductor Inc of Gurnee, IL, USA, which specializes in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamond as functional semiconductors, has obtained official notifications from both the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) for the Miraj Diamond trademark registration and patent allowance.

The official registration of the Miraj Diamond mark by the USPTO (Registration No. 5,438,740) follows nearly six years of completed filings fulfilled by firm following its launch in December 2012. The TIPO issued patent I615943 is the second AKHAN patent to be granted by the country. The patent is a foreign counterpart of other issued and pending patents owned by AKHAN that are used in its Miraj Diamond products. The firm says that the claims protect uses far beyond the existing applications, including microprocessors. Covering the base materials common to nearly all semiconductor components, the intellectual property can be realized in everything from diodes, transistors and power inverters to fully functioning diamond chips such as integrated circuitry.

“The official declarations from both the USPTO and TIPO significantly add to the critical protections of the Miraj Diamond intellectual property portfolio and brand,” says founder & CEO Adam Khan. “Less than six years after our founding, the Miraj Diamond trademark is not only gaining global attention from the consumer electronics and semiconductor market places, but is also synonymous for next-generation performance, breakthrough capability, and flagship technology with diamond,” he adds.

“The notices of these issuances are very timely as we complete the construction of our cleanroom pilot production facility in northern Illinois,” notes president & chief operating officer Carl Shurboff, who highlights the targeted 2019 launch of Miraj Diamond Glass products for Smartphone devices and the concurrent development of Miraj Diamond electronics products for aerospace and defense.

“Safeguarding the technology and trademark from infringement, improper use and other challenges benefits not only our OEM customers, by preserving their market value and time-based exclusivity, but also our shareholders, corporate development partners, and technology partners around the world,” says Jeffrey G. Miller, sales advisor to the board.

The first phone with a diamond screen will come in 2019

CNET- February 5, 2018

Jessica Dolcourt


The superstrong glass is being tested even as you read this.

If dropping your phone and cracking the screen is your worst phone nightmare, you're not alone.

Phonemakers use chemically strengthened Gorilla Glass, shatterproof coatings and sometimes sapphire crystal toppers to help ward off cracks should your phone take a tumble. Now, one company says it's working with a phonemaker to test the first phone screen made with diamond glass.

You just have to wait until 2019.

Screen breakage is a common concern. Akhan's diamond glass uses a nanocrystal pattern that randomly arranges the crystals, instead of lining them up along their crystal planes -- that arrangement discourages deep cracks from forming and damaging the materials underneath.

Made with lab-grown diamonds, Akhan Semiconductor's Miraj Diamond Glass promises to be stronger than other materials used to cover the phone's fragile electronic display. It can be applied in conjunction with other materials, like Gorilla Glass, as a top layer.

When I first learned about diamond glass last year, Adam Khan, Akhan's CEO, promised that we'd see it in its first device by the end of 2017. We didn't.

Now, Khan says that the promising new technology is being actively tested with devicemakers, the identities of which Khan isn't ready to reveal. Akhan's partners are stress-testing the diamond glass' strength, and making sure the surface transmits electrical signals well, so your finger can navigate the touchscreen without a glitch.

Before diamond glass can come to a phone, the partners need to work out the details of production and manufacturing using a new material like diamond. They need to make sure that the diamond glass coating gets applied evenly on top of the cover material, which could be Gorilla Glass or a proprietary make.

They're also working to minimize the diamond glass' reflectance, which means how much light it bounces back at the user. Phone screens with higher reflectance are harder to read because you're interfering with glare. That prompts you to turn up the brightness to combat the glare, which then drains the phone's battery faster.

While diamond glass could come to any device with a screen, Khan says his company's only working with one vendor in each category, starting with a single phone and single aftermarket screen protector. If all goes well, it could expand into fitness bands and beyond.

2019 is a long time to wait for a phone that wants to sooth your fears of shattered glass. Don't expect it to be cheap, either. The process of making and applying lab-grown diamond to a phone's cover material comes at a cost. Expect it to debut on a pricier handset that promises a "shatterproof" screen, similar to the Motorola Moto Z2 Force, which I dropped 28 times to see if its screen would crack.

The countdown to diamond screens starts now.

Japan Issues Landmark Diamond Semiconductor Patent to AKHAN

Yahoo! Finance- November 15, 2017


CHICAGO--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamond, announced today the issuance by the Japan Patent Office of a patent covering a method for the fabrication of diamond semiconductor materials, core to applications in automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, military, defense, and telecommunications systems, amongst others.

“We are ecstatic to be awarded this key patent in Japan. Its issuance protects our proprietary interests in diamond semiconductor in one of the nations leading the globe in diamond research,” said Adam Khan, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. “Following this year’s issuances of a Taiwan diamond semiconductor patent, and a major US diamond transparent electronics patent, the Japan patent issuance is a further testament to AKHAN’s leadership in the diamond semiconductor space.”

Japan, which has actively funded millions of dollars into diamond electronics research since 2002, earlier this year announced marked progress in the development of diamond semiconductor device performance. The AKHAN granted and issued patent, JP6195831 (B2), is a foreign counterpart of other issued and pending patents owned by AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. that are used in the company’s Miraj Diamond™ Platform products. As a key landmark patent, the claims protect uses far beyond the existing applications, including microprocessor applications. Covering the base materials common to nearly all semiconductor components, the intellectual property can be realized in everything from diodes, transistors, and power inverters, to fully functioning diamond chips such as integrated circuitry.

AKHAN’s flagship Miraj Diamond™ Glass for mobile display and camera lens is 6x stronger, 10x harder, and runs over 800x cooler than leading glass competitors like Gorilla Glass by coating standard commercial glass such as aluminosilicate, BK7, and Fused Silica with lab-grown nanocrystalline diamond. Diamond-based technology is capable of increasing power density as well as creating faster, lighter, and simpler devices for consumer use. Cheaper and thinner than its silicon counterparts, diamond-based electronics could become the industry standard for energy efficient electronics.

“This patent adds to the list of other key patents in the field of Diamond Semiconductor that are owned by the company, including the ability to fabricate transparent electronics, as well as the ability to form reliable metal contacts to diamond semiconductor systems,” said Carl Shurboff, President and Chief Operating Officer, AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. “This patent bolsters the supporting evidence of AKHAN’s leadership in manufacturing diamond semiconductor products, and supports ongoing efforts with our major defense, aerospace and space system development partners.”

Raja M. Parvez Joins AKHAN Semiconductor Board of Directors

Yahoo! Finance- June 6, 2017


CHICAGO--AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc., a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamonds, announced today that Raja M. Parvez has joined the company’s Board of Directors as an Executive Technology Advisor. He will be working closely with the executive management team out of AKHAN’s global headquarters, located in Gurnee, Illinois. Raja joins AKHAN from his current roles as Managing Director and Venture Partner at Energy Foundry and KB Partners, where his focus is on new investment opportunities in semiconductor, advanced materials, optoelectronics, lithium-ion batteries and renewable energy industries.

Prior to this role, Raja has successfully led public and private corporations in the United States, Asia, Mexico and Israel. Most recently, Raja was CEO and President of Rubicon Technology, Inc. (RBCN), a sapphire crystal growth manufacturer, where he led a successful hands-on turnaround from significant operating losses to sustained profitability and a successful IPO in 18 months. As President of Optigain, Inc., a manufacturer of fiber amplifiers for communications systems, he spearheaded operational and strategic initiatives leading to a five-fold increase in revenues. The company was acquired by Furukawa Electric (TYO 5801). As COO at CyOptics, Inc., a start-up located in Israel, established the infrastructure to manufacture robust optical chip components. He collaborated with others on successful rounds of venture financing and key strategic acquisitions. The company was acquired by Avago Technologies, Inc., (AVGO). Raja spent sixteen years at Lucent Technologies - Bell Laboratories, most recently as Consulting Member and Distinguished Member of Technical Staff.

“Having demonstrated success with related and comparable materials and technology, Raja adds immense value to the AKHAN brand, as well as the future direction of the company, particularly as we begin to deploy our Miraj Diamond™ Glass products and accelerate development of our Miraj Diamond™ Electronics portfolio offerings,” said Adam Khan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AKHAN. “We look forward to him joining our team.”

Carl Shurboff, President and Chief Operating Officer of AKHAN continued “With over 30 years of experience in leading and cultivating new products, processes and customer relations as well as all facets of R&D, Engineering, and business operations, Raja’s illustrious career and extensive background knowledge will be an invaluable asset to our company moving forward.”

Raja earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Peshawar and MSs in Management Science and Industrial Engineering, both from New York University. He was a Midwest Region Finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and received the outstanding CEO of the Year Award from Cross Atlantic Capital Partners.

AKHAN gains ex-Motorola veteran as sales advisor to the board

Semiconductor Today- May 17, 2017


AKHAN Semiconductor Inc of Gurnee, IL, USA, which specializes in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade nanocrystalline (NCD)-based materials & devices for semiconductor and electronic applications, says that Jeffrey Miller has joined it as sales advisor to the board.

Miller was most recently Motorola Mobility LLC’s corporate VP & general manager of North American Sales and Operations based in Chicago, managing the firm’s multi-billion dollar North American P&L, including oversight of business relationships with wireless operators and retailers, while handling global technical sales, and program management. He also currently serves on the board of directors for 1871, Chicago’s start-up incubator.

“We are extremely pleased to have been awarded this key patent in the field of diamond based semiconductor. We believe that the claims in this patent will play an important role in incorporating diamond semiconductor materials in today and the next generation of electronics systems,” said Adam Khan, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. “This patent originates from a filing in 2012, and is a testament to our leadership in the diamond semiconductor space.”

Previously, Miller served in several general management positions and was responsible for leading Motorola’s Enterprise market segment, Global Strategic Accounts Program and served as the leader of Motorola’s Global eCommerce business.

Prior to these roles, Miller spent five years as executive VP of sales & marketing of Santa Barbara, CA-based start-up Somera Communications, which he took public in 1999. Before Somera, Miller worked at Motorola Inc from 1996-1999, leading sales, engineering and deployment teams within the Cellular Infrastructure Group. He also has more than 10 years of experience at AT&T, holding leadership positions in sales management, marketing and product management.

“With over 25 years of experience in the consumer hardware and telecommunications industries with Fortune 500 and start-up companies, Jeff’s distinguished career and track record for meeting business growth targets through strategic partnerships will be an asset to our company, particularly as we begin the launch of our Miraj Diamond Glass products for Consumer businesses,” says founder & CEO Adam Khan. “Having worked on several successful programs previously with Jeff, both myself and the other Motorola alumni on the AKHAN team look forward to continuing that success at AKHAN working alongside Jeff,” adds president & chief operating officer Carl Shurboff.

Diamond in the Rough: Precious Gem Coating May Protect Smartphone Screens

Scientific American- April 7, 2017

Morgan Peck


People cherish diamonds for their beauty and the sense of status and permanence they convey to the wearer, but someday soon these most precious of stones may serve an even more practical purpose than filling out engagement rings and anniversary pendants: protecting smartphone displays from the chips and spider web–like cracks that develop after countless drops and hours of tapping and swiping.

Unlike the nuggets mined from deep in Earth’s crust, display-screen diamonds would be grown in the lab of AKHAN Semiconductor, a company developing ways to use synthetic diamonds to enhance electronics. By the end of the year AKHAN plans to begin making glass smartphone screens coated with a microns-thick layer of diamond, which the company says will be more scratch-resistant and less prone to shattering. The company will not say, however, which smartphone makers might use its Miraj Diamond Glass or how it would keep the cost of those screens affordable.

Regardless of whether AKHAN delivers, the idea of using diamonds to solve the widespread problem of cracked smartphone screens bears scrutiny. A Motorola study from a couple of years ago noted nearly a third of U.S. smartphone users have handsets with cracked screens and that many continue to use those screens even after cutting a finger on them. Diamond is the hardest bulk material found in nature, and synthetic versions are likely to be more resistant to scratching than the Corning Gorilla Glass used to make most smartphone displays or even the sapphire crystal that Apple uses for its Apple Watch displays.

Despite its scratch and heat resistance, however, diamond is actually a very brittle material. “If you put enough stress on it, it will break and cleave along the weakest planes,” says Jim Butler, a consultant in chemical vapor deposition who spent 38 years as a researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory. Nor would a diamond coating necessarily protect the underlying glass screen from a drop that creates a blunt force into the screen or along its edges. At that point you’re back to counting on the strength of the glass or whatever material is used to make the original display screen, says Anthony Schiavo, an analyst with technology research firm Lux Research who specializes in advanced materials.

TAlthough screens coated with synthetic diamonds are expected to be more shatterproof than existing smartphone screens, their actual strength depends entirely on the way they are made. The process—known as chemical vapor deposition—involves dusting a substrate, such as a piece of glass, with a layer of fine diamond particulates made up of hydrogen–carbon bonds. The diamond-coated glass is then put into a chamber with a combination of hydrogen and a carbon-rich gas such as methane. The next step is to blast the hydrocarbon gas mixture with heat or subject it to an electromagnetic field until it turns into a plasma of carbon atoms and positively charged hydrogen ions. Under these conditions the diamond particles’ carbon–hydrogen bonds begin to break. A continuous diamond film forms as the hydrogen atoms in the diamond particulates are replaced with carbon atoms from the plasma. Structural defects can be introduced during the process due to variations in temperature or the size of the original diamond particles that determine the physical properties of the end product. Making a more shatterproof diamond film would require tweaking these variables.

As the diamond fragments come together, bonds between the carbon and hydrogen are being made or broken at a furious rate, which pumps energy into the diamond film and generates heat. “The optimal temperatures for growing diamond tend to be above 600 degrees centigrade [Celsius] and, depending on the situation, can be as high as 1,200,” Butler says. Diamond, which is extremely good at dissipating heat, stands up just fine in this extreme environment. Unfortunately, the underlying glass begins to melt at about 550 degrees Celsius.

AKHAN founder Adam Khan claims his company can make a synthetic diamond film at temperatures of 350 degrees C or lower. Butler is skeptical, pointing out the glass and its diamond coating will have different reactions even at those temperatures. “If you’re going to put diamond on something and that something is going to go through temperature cycles, there’s going to be a stress between the coating and the substrate,” he says. Such stresses are enough to crack quartz, which is considerably harder than glass. That challenge can be solved, he adds, “but it’s not a trivial problem.”

AKHAN’s ability to solve such problems will determine whether diamonds end up being a smartphone user’s best friend—or just another way for Apple, Samsung and other device makers to justify driving up the cost of their handsets.

Smartphones With Diamond Screens May Be a Reality by the End of 2017

NDTV- February 9, 2017

Ketan Pratap


Your smartphone screen may feature a tempered glass cover but it doesn't guarantee being shatter-proof. One of the worst nightmares of the modern age is to end up with a phone with a cracked display, but this might change by the end of 2017. A company that manufactures diamonds for use in electronic products claims that a commercial device with diamond used in the screen can be expected by end of 2017.

CNET cites Adam Khan, CEO of Akhan Semiconductor, who claims that screen made of diamond glass will be stronger, harder, and cleaner than the solutions available as of now. Khan calls the diamond glass as "Mirage Diamond Glass" and confirms that the company is in talks with multiple smartphone vendors. The company is reportedly choosing just one smartphone company at the moment. Similarly, Akhan Semiconductor, the company that grows diamonds for electronic use, adds that it is also working with a wearable company.

The report says that the decision to limit smartphone vendors is "partly due to supply and partly to give the winning device maker something exclusive to boast about." Akhan Semiconductor plans to make diamond glass for roughly 10 to 30 million handsets when "it ramps up production", and less than 1 million screens for use in wearables. Khan further adds that use of diamond on top of a regular glass or Gorilla Glass will make it 6 times stronger and 10 times harder. Apart from breaking capability, Khan also points that use of diamond will also help keep a device temperature in check, "both on the screen and at the semiconductor level."

Similar to other splash proof solutions, the diamond glass will also increase the overall pricing of the product. Khan however declines this believes and claims that "pricing will be competitive" when compared to Moto ShatterShield technology used on the Moto X Force.

Your Phone Screen Could Soon Be Made With Frickin' Diamonds

CNET- February 8, 2017

Jessica Dolcourt


A new technology promises to make screens stronger than glass or sapphire crystal alone.

This isn't a pair of Tiffany earrings or an engagement ring. By the end of 2017, you'll be able to buy a smartphone, watch or fitness band with a screen made with diamond. Yep, diamond.

You may have heard of gadgets made with sapphire crystal before (like the the 128GB version of HTC's U Ultra and 2014's Kyocera Brigadier). Adam Khan, CEO of Akhan Semiconductor, a company that grows diamonds for use in electronics, says screens made of diamond glass will be stronger, harder, and cleaner than anything you've used before.

And we'll get them before the end of 2017.

Even after it launches, you won't find "Mirage Diamond Glass" -- that's what Akhan's calling its screen -- on every phone. Khan says that although his company is in talks with major device makers, it's only choosing one manufacturer for phones, one for wearables, and so on. That's partly due to supply and partly to give the winning device maker something exclusive to boast about.

"Screen technology is extremely marketable," said Ben Stanton, an analyst with Canalys. "And most smartphone vendors are struggling to find a point of differentiation for their devices, especially in hardware."

Akhan Semiconductor plans to make enough diamond glass for between 10 and 30 million phones once it ramps up production, and fewer than 1 million screens for wearables like smartwatches and fitness bands. For comparison, Apple sold 78.3 million iPhones this past fiscal quarter alone (it ended in December 31, 2016).

So expect a diamond glass screen to come to a phone from a smaller manufacturer, or perhaps a more specialty device, perhaps a model variation like HTC's choice to give its highest-storage U Ultra a sapphire crystal display. .

So why diamond? Despite advances in glass durability, screens still split on impact or form cracks and scratches after repeated drops and contact with everyday items like your keys.

Diamond is one of the strongest substances on Earth. So depositing it onto glass toppers -- like Gorilla Glass or "regular", unstrengthened glass -- will make them 6 times stronger and 10 times harder than they would be alone, Khan added.

Diamond crystal's innate hardness also helps resist grime and water, so it won't gunk up as much or sustain water damage.But strength and toughness are only two of a diamond display's promising properties. It can also help keep electronics cooler to the touch, both on the screen and at the semiconductor level (so the processors are less likely to overheat), Khan said.

How much cooler? Over 800 times cooler during use than the usual materials, allegedly. That would make VR and AR systems much more comfortable to wear up against your face.

Diamond glass versus sapphire crystal

Diamond isn't alone in being an exotic foray into the making of more durable devices. Lab-grown sapphire crystal -- which is clear and not deep blue like the trademark stone -- has long been prized in aerospace, photography and watchmaking for its hardness and strength. Sapphire crystal is still used on phone screens like that HTC U Ultra I mentioned and luxe brand Vertu, though it's more often found in smaller camera lenses, like on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

But diamond glass may have the advantage. Nano-crystalline diamond is less brittle than sapphire crystal, Khan said, because it can be flexed to greater degrees. And since it can be grown in very thin layers on a large area, it may also be cheaper to produce. Not everyone is as gung ho on diamond or sapphire crystals as the smarter step forward. "The problem with crystals is that they are strong except on their crystal planes," said Jeff Evenson, chief strategy officer of Gorilla Glass-maker Corning, referring to the way that the atoms line up. The fact that a crystal's surface can shear off is how a diamond cutter can shape facets out of a substance as hard as a diamond, Evenson added. When you cut a shape, the energy propagates along a plane and cleaves the material. This might be a diamond glass surface's Achilles' heel. "To make them thin and big also makes them easy to break," Evenson said. "When we've tested sapphire for drops, that's what we see happening." Corning has used sapphire crystal in military and aerospace products since the 1960s.

Cheap and plentiful? Maybe not

Still, diamond glass will always cost more than the typical toppers, like standard glass or a chemically strengthened material like Gorilla Glass. As with sapphire crystal, making enough of it to go around will also be a problem. "Any new display technology needs to be implementable on hundreds of millions of devices in a short space of time," said Stanton. "This is something Corning does impressively well [with Gorilla Glass]. But would be difficult for a less established company." Pricing will be competitive to the Moto ShatterShield technology used in the Moto Z Force Droid and Droid Turbo 2, said Khan, who described Moto's tech as a plastic hard coat over the LED display. (Moto's site describes it as a "five-layer protection system"). Right now, the ShatterShield display module costs the phone-maker between $40 and $120 per phone, Khan said. While Moto declined to comment, you can buy a replacement ShatterShield lens for $30. (A Moto spokesperson said, "Unfortunately, our agreements preclude us from sharing the prices of our components.")

Like ShatterShield, sapphire crystal and Gorilla Glass before it, the promise of a diamond display has everything to do with keeping the phone screen intact after inevitable falls -- and without having to buy a glass screen protector on top of it. But before you get too excited, keep in mind that these things don't always work out as planned. Take Apple's supplier of sapphire crystal, GT Advanced, which filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after its relationship with Apple tanked. The company has since emerged from bankruptcy, and is "excited about our market opportunities," it said in a statement last March. Nobody wants to see scratches on their brand-new phone, Khan said. Or pay a company or independent repairer more to fix it. "People are tired of shelling out $129 dollars when they drop their phone and it cracks," Khan said. Is diamond the solution? If Khan's company hits its target, we'll soon find out.

AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. Issued Key Global Patent

Yahoo! Finance- February 2, 2017


CHICAGO -- AKHAN, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronics-grade diamonds, announced today the issuance by the Taiwan Patent Office, of a patent that covers a method for the fabrication of diamond semiconductor materials, ubiquitous in application for automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, military, defense, and telecommunications systems, amongst others.

This patent (I557776) is a foreign counterpart of other issued and pending patents (including US Patent Application #61/513,569) owned by AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. that are used in the company’s Miraj Diamond™ Platform products. As a key landmark patent, the claims protect uses far beyond the existing applications, including microprocessor applications. Covering the base materials common to nearly all semiconductor components, the intellectual property can be realized in everything from diodes, transistors, and power inverters, to fully functioning diamond chips such as integrated circuitry.

“We are extremely pleased to have been awarded this key patent in the field of diamond based semiconductor. We believe that the claims in this patent will play an important role in incorporating diamond semiconductor materials in today and the next generation of electronics systems,” said Adam Khan, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc. “This patent originates from a filing in 2012, and is a testament to our leadership in the diamond semiconductor space.”

AKHAN’s flagship Miraj Diamond™ Glass for mobile display and camera lens is 6x stronger, 10x harder, and runs over 800x cooler than leading glass competitors like Gorilla Glass by coating standard commercial glass such as aluminosilicate, BK7, and Fused Silica with lab-grown nanocrystalline diamond. Diamond-based technology is capable of increasing power density as well as creating faster, lighter, and simpler devices for consumer use. Cheaper and thinner than its silicon counterparts, diamond-based electronics could become the industry standard for keeping devices cool due to better internal heat conduction and more battery life.

This patent adds to the list of other key patents in the field of Diamond Semiconductor that are owned by the company, including the ability to fabricate transparent electronics, as well as the ability to form reliable metal contacts to diamond semiconductor systems.

AKHAN is a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of electronics-grade diamonds as functional semiconductors. AKHAN is headquartered in Gurnee, Lake County, Illinois.

AKHAN to Preview Miraj Diamond™ Glass Lens at the 2016 National Competitiveness Forum

Yahoo! News- December 9, 2016


CHICAGO -- AKHAN Semiconductor is pleased to announce that it will be attending and speaking at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness’ 2016 National Competitiveness Forum on December 9, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Council on Competitiveness’ National Competitiveness Forum is the nation’s premier C-Suite invitation only event providing a critical platform for several game-changing issues vital for the United States to maintain its competitive edge. This daylong event assembles the nation’s top public and private sector leaders to assess the state of the nation’s competitiveness and explore pressing and emerging priorities.

AKHAN Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Adam Khan will give a short presentation on AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond™ platform, which is leading growth in the advanced materials market with innovative diamond-based solutions for automotive, aerospace, military/defense, consumer electronics, and telecommunications.

“We are ecstatic to attend to speak at this prestigious forum. Having conducted the entirety of the initial research, development, product planning, and now commercial production launch domestically, we are proud to showcase our technology as an example of American innovation and competitiveness” said Khan. “With the addition of commercial lens glass to the company’s flagship Miraj Diamond™ Glass products, we are well positioned to address the entirety of the glass on present and future mobile, wearable, and VR systems, including camera systems. Sapphire, the 2nd hardest material behind diamond, has seen adoption in the marketplace with cost and performance second to Miraj Diamond™ Glass, which is 6x stronger and 10x harder than the leading consumer glass” added AKHAN Chief Operating Officer, Carl Shurboff, also in attendance at the forum.

"We are so happy to have AKHAN Semiconductor as a member of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. Adam Khan and his company represent a new generation of leaders who are becoming engaged in policy," said Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. "Their voices add much-needed perspective to the dialogue, raising awareness for important issues in technology. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with AKHAN and reaching more folks in the technology sector."

AKHAN Semiconductor is a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of electronics-grade diamonds as functional semiconductors."

AKHAN and Blue Wave partner to develop nanocrystalline diamond processes on HFCVD systems

Semiconductor Today- October 25, 2016


AKHAN Semiconductor Inc of Gurnee, IL, USA, which specializes in the fabrication and application of nanocrystalline (NCD)-based materials & devices for semiconductor and electronic applications, has announced a partnership with Blue Wave Semiconductors Inc of Baltimore, MD, USA (which provides processing tools and thin-film technology components and materials to R&D customers, Federal Government, and industrial partners) that is reckoned to constitute a key step forward for the R&D of both companies, allowing both to expand the functionality and applications of their products and processes.

Blue Wave produces hot-filament chemical vapor deposition (HFCVD) equipment, representing an important differentiator as AKHAN is now preparing to fabricate its Miraj diamond material from both microwave and hot-filament systems for a variety of thin-film substrates such as silicon, silicon carbide (SiC), and glass.

AKHAN is partnering with Blue Wave for nanocrystalline diamond process development on HFCVD systems. The partnership should allow AKHAN to optimize its diamond technologies for a variety of optical, mechanical & thermal/electronic product lines and is intended to also facilitate rapid and efficient commercial scaling.

"This partnership will greatly enhance our operational and commercial diamond capability, where our customers can benefit from an optimized lab-to-fab deployment schedule, while maintaining compliance with rigid electronics manufacturing standards," says AKHAN's president & chief operating officer Carl Shurboff.

"We are extremely excited to welcome officials from CINDE to our global HQ in Gurnee," said AKHAN COO Carl Shurboff. "AKHAN's advanced diamond materials, such as the Miraj Diamond Glass platform have allowed for synergistic discussions with the Costa Rican officials for expanding product manufacturing and collaborating on advanced R&D opportunities. AKHAN has been working quite effectively with both international businesses and officials, and we look forward to growing the bilateral opportunities with Costa Rica."

"This partnership strengthens our HFCVD product line for realizing diamond coatings applications to commercial opto-mechanical components," adds Blue Wave's CEO & CTO Dr R.D. Vispute.

AKHAN leaders look at opportunities with Costa Rica

Daily Herald- October 5, 2016


CHICAGO -- Gurnee-based AKHAN Semiconductor and Illinois state leaders was part of a recent meeting with the Costa Rica Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) that examined promoting and conducting semiconductor research and development among the two countries.

At the introductory meeting, AKHAN and CINDE discussed laying the groundwork for future deals with Costa Rican companies as well as created a development road map for partnership opportunities for product research, pilot development and high volume commercialization.

The meeting also focused on partnership opportunities for clean technology, and how CINDE can potentially license and collaborate on research with AKHAN, whose diamond-based semiconductors are pioneering electronics and engineering processes that minimize pollution and environmental waste.

Attending the event were Illinois State Sen. Melinda Bush and Economic Development Director Ellen Dean, as well as AKHAN senior leadership, including company Founder & Chief Executive Officer Adam Khan, President & Chief Operating Officer Carl Shurboff, and Chief Financial Officer Kristie King.

"We are extremely excited to welcome officials from CINDE to our global HQ in Gurnee," said AKHAN COO Carl Shurboff. "AKHAN's advanced diamond materials, such as the Miraj Diamond Glass platform have allowed for synergistic discussions with the Costa Rican officials for expanding product manufacturing and collaborating on advanced R&D opportunities. AKHAN has been working quite effectively with both international businesses and officials, and we look forward to growing the bilateral opportunities with Costa Rica."

Lucía Gross, Investment Promotion Manager Life Sciences sector at CINDE, notes that Costa Rica is interested in exploring new opportunities for collaboration with high level companies such as AKHAN. "Our country is the perfect location to develop research activities in several areas related to high tech manufacturing. We are very excited to establish contact and explore future agreements with [AKHAN]".

"I'm pleased to continue working with AKHAN as they do exciting work in Lake County and take steps to forge important international partnerships," says State Senator Melinda Bush. "This kind of cooperation is key if we seek to thrive in the global economy."

AKHAN completes executive line-up by adding chief technology officer and chief financial officer

Semiconductor Today- August 26, 2016


AKHAN Semiconductor Inc of Gurnee, IL, USA, which specializes in the fabrication and application of nanocrystalline (NCD)-based materials & devices for semiconductor and electronic applications, has completed hiring to its C-Suite positions with two new executives - Bill Alberth as chief technology officer and Kristie King as chief financial officer - joining existing CEO & founder Adam Khan and chief operating officer Carl Shurboff.

Alberth has nearly 30 years of experience in the mobile device and wireless technology sector. Before joining AKHAN, he spent 25 years with Motorola Mobile Devices along with Shurboff, overseeing the architecture and commercialization of wireless LTE, CDMA, UMTS, WIFI, Bluetooth and NFC products. In 2012, he founded Innovations Technologies Consulting Inc, where he has served as president.

King has over 20 years of senior leadership experience with Motorola Mobility Inc and Motorola Solutions Inc. She has worked with several startups and Fortune 100 companies, and has used her financial modeling skills, financial system design expertise, contract negotiation and financial management leadership to achieve these companies' business goals. King is also currently on faculty at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, where she designed and teaches the Entrepreneurial Finance course.

"Each with a proven track record of success in technology commercialization and research-to-product deployment, their respective skills, talent, and expertise will be invaluable in growing and maintaining our global lead in diamond semiconductor," believes Khan.

Look out Gorilla Glass: Diamond glass could be harder to crack

ExtremeTech- August 3, 2016

Ryan Whitwam


Hardened glass like the near-ubiquitous Gorilla Glass from Corning has made capacitive touchscreens the standard way of interacting with a smartphone. It’s constantly improving, too. Gorilla Glass is resistant to scratching, and newer screens won’t crack nearly as easily as they have in years past. It doesn’t have any bling, though. A company called Akhan Semiconductor says that it’s close to releasing a diamond coating for glass that would be even more durable than Gorilla Glass.

Corning, which recently announced Gorilla Glass 5, makes the glass for nearly every high-end smartphone including the Galaxy S7 and new Note7. Apple also uses hardened glass from Corning, but doesn’t like to talk specifics. Akhan Semiconductor says that its Akhan Miraj NCD diamond (that’s quite a mouthful) material is four times as crack-resistant and seven times as scratch-proof compared to Gorilla Glass.

Diamond, being the hardest material known, is a natural choice when you want to make something durable. It’s not the first place electronics companies looked, though. Sapphire glass has been slowly making its way into mobile devices like the Apple Watch and a few ruggedized phones. Apple famously wanted to equip the iPhone with a sapphire glass screen several years ago, but the company that was set up to supply that glass, GT Advanced Technologies, was unable to produce it in sufficient volume and eventually went out of business.

Akhan Semiconductor says that its diamond glass is actually cheaper and easier to produce than sapphire. Scientists have been able to create synthetic diamonds for years, so that’s no problem now. What sets the NCD diamond apart is that it’s only a very thin layer on top of regular UV glass manufactured by Corning. It essentially grows the diamond on a glass substrate via an inexpensive process called chemical vapor deposition. The diamond component is 800 times thinner than a Gorilla Glass 5 panel and stronger than a pane of sapphire glass.

That all sounds great, but diamond screens could be challenging to implement for some of the same reasons sapphire hasn’t taken off. Because diamond is harder, it won’t scratch, but it can shatter. Akhan claims the thinness of the diamond makes up for that, allowing the panel to be slightly flexible (see above). Reflectivity is also an issue with materials like sapphire and diamond. Again, Akhan says this won’t be a problem because it “tunes” the crystals to lower the index of refraction.

As for when you’ll see a Akhan Miraj NCD diamond display, that’s up in the air. Akhan Semiconductor thinks it can have the technology to produce the glass at scale within a year, but it’s looking for licensing partners to actually do the production. It’s even possible Corning will bite.

Move over Gorilla Glass: Diamond-coated display tech could be the future of smartphone screens

International Business Times (UK)- August 2, 2016

Owen Hughes


A company claims to have bested Corning's ultra-tough smartphone display tech with diamond-reinforced glass that's nearly four times as crack-resistant and seven times more scratch-proof than Gorilla Glass.

Corning's glass technology has been faithfully protecting our smartphones from life's inadvertent mishaps for years now. It introduced its new Gorilla Glass 5 on 21 July, which it claims can survive drops from up 1.6 metres and will allow smartphones to withstand up to 80% of face-down drops onto hard surfaces.

The US-based company has gone relatively unchallenged in this arena for a while now, although it seems as if another company is now vying for this lucrative territory.

According to Mashable, US company Akhan Semiconductor has developed a glass product "considerable stronger" and 800 times thinner than Gorilla Glass 5, achieved by covering standard UV glass with synthetic diamonds.

The company calls its product Akhan Miraj NCD diamond, which admittedly isn't quite as catchy as Gorilla Glass.

Akhan claims its diamond-coated glass is even tougher than sapphire, an ultra-tough material that is receiving growing attention from electronics companies as a means of protecting their gadgets. While it has seen some use – Apple used sapphire in the iWatch, for example −it's expensive to mass-produce. It is a gemstone, after all.

Meanwhile, Akhan claims its product is far cheaper and quicker to mass-produce. It does this through a method known as chemical vapour deposition, during which layers of diamond are "grown" on top of glass using microwave radiation.

Not only is it tough and thin, but it is also flexible. The company reckons its glass can be bent up to 45 degrees without breaking, making it a potential candidate for these flexible smartwatches and smartphones we've heard so much about but have yet to actually see.

Akhan told Mashable that it estimates being able to manufacture its Miraj NCD diamond glass at scale within a year. The company is now on the hunt for licensees and hasn't ruled out Corning as a potential partner, so it looks as if Gorilla Glass is safe from being dropped for the time being.

New diamond-coated screen tech could be stronger than Gorilla Glass

Mashable- August 1, 2016

Lance Ulanoff


If you’d like to save your phone screen, put some bling on it.

More than a decade ago, scientists figured out how to grow synthetic diamond as a potential replacement for the silicon MEMs or microelectromechanical systems. Now AKHAN Semiconductor says it’s figured out how to build on that original breakthrough, further refining the production process to create what may be the first-ever diamond-reinforced glass.

Diamond is attractive as a potential smartphone display cover not only because it’s the hardest material known to mankind, but also because of its chemical inertness, thermal capabilities and high resistance to contaminants. Lab-grown diamond is even more attractive as a potential consumer electronic component because you can use it without having to dig up the rare and expensive material.

It’s also “chemically more perfect than natural diamond,” said Adam Khan, CEO and founder of AKHAN Semiconductor. Now Khan’s company has figured out how to apply a nanometers-thin film of synthetic diamond, known as AKHAN Miraj NCD diamond, onto a standard UV glass to produce a material that, the company claims, is considerably stronger than Corning’s recently announced Gorilla Glass 5.

Corning’s ultra-thin, yet flexible, scratch-resistant and impressively strong glass has made its way onto most of the leading smartphones currently on the market, including the Samsung Galaxy S7, Google’s Nexus devices and, though Apple won’t confirm, probably some of the latest iPhones. Gorilla Glass can hold up to a lot of abuse, but as many can attest, it’s not break-proof.

A stronger display material, sapphire (it rates a 9 on the Mohs scale for mineral hardness, while diamond rates a 10), is slowly making its way onto consumer devices like the Apple watch, but it still can’t be reliably produced in large-enough volumes to work for phone and tablet display manufacturers. Corning is currently working on a Gorilla Glass-sapphire composite.

Read More at http://mashable.com/2016/08/01/diamond-glass/#cYl_lJs_GuqX

What if the iPhone 8’s screen is even more durable than Gorilla Glass 5?

BGR- August 1, 2016

Chris Smith


A few days ago, Corning announced its next-gen Gorilla Glass 5 screen that will protect the displays of some of the top Android flagships coming over the next year. The Galaxy Note 5 and iPhone 7 might be two of the first devices to get the ultra-durable glass cover. But what if the iPhone of the future came with a display cover made of artificial diamond that was even stronger than Gorilla Glass?

Damaging the screen due to accidental drops is one of the most annoying things that can happen to a smartphone. Hopefully, Gorilla Glass 5 (pictured above) will help prevent cracking even more effectively than the previous generation glass. But Corning isn’t the only company working on such technology.

AKHAN Semiconductor is a name you should remember. According to Mashable, the company figured how to create diamond-reinforced glass, with help of synthetic diamonds. AKHAN managed to apply a “nanometers-thin film of synthetic diamond,” or AKHAN Miraj NCD diamond, onto a standard UV glass. The resulting material is said to be “considerably stronger” than Gorilla Glass 5.

Without Steve Jobs’s insistence, the original iPhone may not have featured an all-glass display to begin with, and Corning wouldn’t have been pushed to came up with a feasible product in time for launch. Apple is at the forefront of the market, especially when it comes to product quality, so it would make sense for the company to be interesting in this new technology.

Time will tell if next year’s iPhone will dump Corning for this new breakthrough tech. After all, not so long ago, Apple wanted to protect the iPhone with sapphire glass.

AKHAN Miraj NCD diamond-covered glass is 800 times thinner than Gorilla Glass 5, and it may be stronger than sapphire. Even more impressive is the fact that diamond glass is cheaper to mass-produce than sapphire, and can be manufactured a lot faster. Other properties of this new material include flexibility (up to 45-degrees), which would play out well with Apple’s supposed plans of making an iPhone with a wraparound display. Furthermore, the diamond-coated display has a low thermal conductivity, which means displays could be kept even cooler.

AKHAN will be able to produce diamond glass at scale within a year, but the company could partner up with Corning for a licensing deal. The demo units AKHAN built used Corning glass as a substrate.

This Startup Wants to Replace the Silicon In Your Smartphone with Diamonds

Digital Trends- July 11, 2016

Kyle Wiggers


Chances are you’ve never heard of Akhan Semiconductor, but the company is well on its way to producing the hardware at the heart of your next smartphone, smartwatch, laptop, or virtual reality headset. The new components won’t only last longer and perform better than today’s tech, but their environmental impact will be much less severe, too. The big secret? Diamonds.

Instead of making processing chips out of silicon, Akhan is using jewelry’s favorite gem stone. Why make processors out of diamonds?

Diamonds, it turns out, aren’t just the hardest mineral on the Mohs scale. They have a knack for transferring heat, and do a much better job of retaining energy compared to the silicon in most of today’s electronics. The minerals, on average, can run five times hotter and eliminate up to 90 percent of energy typically loss in the course of electron transfer.

“We’re the only company in the world that can create [these diamonds],” Carl Shurbof, Akhan’s chief of operations, told Digital Trends, “and we’re uniquely positioned to create a new ecosystem.”

The applications are practically endless. For consumer devices like the smartphone in your pocket, diamond could drastically reduce the amount of heat it produces. A diamond-made smartphone would be cooler against your face when you’re chatting with a buddy, for one, but could also last substantially longer. High temperatures wear aggressively at electronics, meaning that any reduction in heat has the potential to boost their lifespan.

Your phone could be thinner, too, since it wouldn’t need the temperature-regulating heatsinks and fans of silicon models. And as an added bonus, it might be faster — the newfound thermal headroom would allow phone makers to bump up performance.

Perhaps even more incredibly, diamond-based electronics could be cheaper than their silicon counterparts, Shurboff said. That is, again, because manufacturers don’t have to worry about keeping the devices cool.

But smartphones aren’t the only devices that stand to benefit. Electric car manufacturers like Tesla are targeting circuitry efficiency improvements of around 18 percent, a goalpost Shurboff said Akhan’s diamonds could easily exceed. The diamonds are tailor-made for heavy manufacturing and aerospace firms, which often require materials strong enough to withstand extreme radiation like x-rays.“It’s both elegant and extremely high tech,” Shurboff said.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/diamond-processors-take-on-silicon/

At AKHAN, Motorola Vets are Using Man-Made Diamonds to Make Flexible Wearables

ChicagoInno - July 11, 2016

Jim Dallke


At a factory in Gurnee, IL, a group of motorola veterans and other technologists are building hardware of the future. And they're doing so by making diamonds in a lab.

AKHAN Semiconductor, founded in 2012 by Adam Khan, is developing wearable technology with flexible and transparent displays for a range of industries--industrial, defense, aerospace and consumer electronics--by creating man-made diamonds from methane gas.

Using diamonds as a semiconductor material, as opposed to traditional silicon, AKHAN says it can make flexible and transparent displays on smaller and more powerful devices, as diamonds allow electronics to be thinner and to operate at higher temperatures.

Think about how your cell phone gets hot after heavy use; AKHAN's technology can keep devices from overheating, making them more powerful and capable of handling more data, COO Carl Shurboff said.

""Diamonds will pull heat out of a device much more efficiently, and so the device runs cooler and runs more efficient," Shurboff said. "The cooler the device, the more efficient it will be."

Shurboff is among a group of 10 AKHAN employees, six of which are former Motorola Mobility veterans who worked on the company's iconic Razr phone, among other projects. Shurboff spent more than 25 years at Motorola, working his way from Integrated Circuit Designer to the Director of Product Management. He said working on the Razr helped inspire some the work AKHAN does today: making small devices that don't skimp on quality.

AKHAN is tight-lipped about the specific projects it has in the works, but Shurboff said the company is working on developing flexible technology and wearable devices that go far beyond what we have today.

"The wearable devices today are kind of a neat toy someone buys, but they don’t wear it a lot," he said. "Right now any wearable goes through issues, like scratched glass ... We have the ability to make the hardest material for wearable technology so you won’t worry about scratching the display."

AKHAN is currently partnering with tech companies to bring its technology to their devices, but Shurboff declined to give specific names other than to say the company is working with "major suppliers and OEMs" in the hardware space.

Shurboff said AKHAN is working on things like creating novel user interphases for a touchscreen display. For example, a smartwatch comes with a screen and a band. But what if the band was also part of the watch display, and something that you could touch and interact with?

"With our technology, you could make electronics in the flexible wrist band," he said. AKHAN isn't the only company growing diamonds in a lab. Diamond Foundry, a Santa Clara startup with backing from Leonardo DiCaprio, can grow diamonds up to nine carats in just two weeks, which it then sells to jewelry designers. But AKHAN says it's the only player in the diamond electronics space.

The genesis for AKHAN's technology was developed by the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and its Center for Nanoscale Material, where AKHAN's founder and CEO Adam Khan worked. (AKHAN has a partnership with Argonne to develop technology using diamond technology.)

When AKHAN decided to set up shop in Gurnee, the move was celebrated by local officials, with Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake calling Lake County "Diamond Prairie" as AKHAN becomes the first company to implement diamond technology into electronics. There was also financial incentive to grow in Gurnee, as village trustees approved $5.8 million in performance-based state and local tax breaks for AKHAN.

Shurboff said the company is planning to add dozens of more jobs to its Gurnee factory, and AKHAN is partnering with the College of Lake County to develop an incubator to foster high-tech companies in the area. AKHAN says it expects to employ 100 people in the next two years.

AKHAN Joins US Council on Competitiveness

Semiconductor Today - June 28, 2016


AKHAN Semiconductor Inc of Gurnee, IL, USA, which manufactures nanocrystalline (NCD)-based materials & devices, has joined the US Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan, leadership organization.

AKHAN Semiconductor Inc was formed in late 2012 as a subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc, which was founded in 2007 by Adam Khan to commercialize Diamond Lattice Technology for diamond-based semiconductor devices. The firm's IP portfolio combines AKHAN's Miraj Diamond portfolio with low-temperature diamond deposition technology developed by Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Nanoscale Materials.

"The Council prides itself on its innovative membership, and AKHAN embodies the type of forward-looking, advanced companies that will keep the US competing at the highest level in the coming decades," comments Council president & CEO Deborah L. Wince-Smith.

Founder & CEO Adam Khan joins more than 140 industry CEOs, university presidents, national lab directors and labor leaders on the Council, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this winter. The group identifies policy solutions and creates public-private partnerships between its members and the federal government in order to ensure US prosperity in the global economy.

"Having pledged to increase the US economic competitiveness in the global marketplace through our leadership and growth in the diamond semiconductor market, AKHAN's work and goals are well aligned with the broader mission of the Council," says Khan.

Diamond-Based Semiconductors Take A Step Forward

IEEE Spectrum - June 1, 2016

Dexter Johnson


Diamond-Based Semiconductors Take A Step Forward

Is the potential of diamond as a semiconductor now being realized? That’s certainly the case if we believe the praise being heaped upon the precious stone by companies such as AKHAN Semiconductor. AKHAN has pronounced that we are now in the “Diamond Age” of semiconductors.

Why? The superior thermal properties of diamonds, compared with those of silicon, are attracting increased attention. Unfortunately, doping diamond-based devices has proven exceptionally difficult, especially when it comes to producing n-type semiconductors.

Now, in joint research between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas at Arlington, scientists have developed a new method for doping single crystals of diamond; it could help diamond realize its full potential as a semiconductor.

Today’s diamond-doping techniques call for coating the crystal with boron and heating it to 1450 degrees Celsius. The problem with that process is the need to remove the boron coating at the end.

Furthermore, while that method works effectively for diamonds that consist of multiple crystals stuck together, poly-diamond structures have irregularities where the crystal structures meet that make them less attractive as a semiconductor material than groups of single-crystal diamonds. Heretofore, if you wanted to dope single-crystal diamonds, you had to inject boron atoms into the crystals as they were grown. Unfortunately, that approach requires powerful microwaves that degrade the diamond crystal.

But in research described in the Journal of Applied Physics, the joint research team found a way to dope single-crystal diamond with boron but at a comparatively low temperature.

As it turns out, the featured ingredient in their secret sauce was silicon. The researchers found that if they bonded a single-crystal diamond with a piece of silicon that had been doped with boron, then heated it to 800 °C, the boron atoms would migrate from the silicon and attach themselves to the diamond. This migration occurs because carbon atoms from the diamond shift to fill defects such as atom vacancies in the lattice structure. When they move, they leave vacancies in the diamond lattice structure that the boron atoms ultimately fill. Perhaps the key feature of this method is that it allows for selective doping that provides a higher level of control when making devices. Creating a diamond with a particular set of properties is achieved by bonding the silicon to a specific spot on the diamond crystal. While this method addressed p-type doping, which gives the diamonds positive charge carriers, it does not address the n-type doping that remains a more troublesome process to achieve. If the researchers are going to make devices such as transistors, they will need to overcome that hurdle. But in the meantime, they are focused on developing a simple device using p-type single-crystal diamond semiconductors. “We feel like we found a very easy, inexpensive, and effective way to do it,” said Zhengqiang (Jack) Ma, one of the authors of the research, in a press release. Ma added that achieving p-type doping is an important step, and might inspire others to find solutions for creating n-type single-crystal diamonds.

Why Diamond Could Power the Future of Electronics

Chemical & Engineering News - May 16, 2016

Matt Davenport


One company believes the diamond age is about to dawn

A well-dressed gentleman sits in the lobby of an upscale hotel in Washington, D.C., holding a black box full of diamonds.

The man, Adam Khan, isn’t a jewel thief, but he is trying to sell diamonds.

Well, lab-grown diamond films to be accurate. Khan is the founder and chief executive officer of Akhan Semiconductor, and he’s trying to usher in the age of diamond electronics.

Khan and like-minded researchers think diamond and its exceptional properties . . .

Chicago Council on Science and Technology Welcomes Adam Khan to Board of Directors

Yahoo! Finance - Mar. 15, 2016

Andrea Poet


Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST) is pleased to announce the addition of entrepreneur Adam Khan to its board of directors.

Khan is the founder and CEO of AKHAN SEMI in Gurnee, IL. Khan studied both physics and electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and worked with the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory on award-winning research, including co-inventing the Miraj Diamond™ Platform, the world’s first CMOS Compatible N-type Diamond Materials & Devices. He is an R&D 100 Winner, and was named by Forbes Magazine to their 2014 ’30 Under 30’ list.

Khan joins an esteemed board filled with Chicago’s civic leaders, representing research and academic institutions, museums, and industry. They include people such as the President and CEO of the Adler Planetarium, Michelle Larson; President and CEO of the Field Museum, Richard Lariviere; President and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry, David Mosena; the Director of Argonne National Laboratory, Peter Littlewood; the Vice President for Research and National Laboratories at the University of Chicago, Donald Levy; The Chief Information Officer for the City of Chicago, Brenna Berman; the Vice President of Global Nutrition and Research at Pepsico, Maria Velissariou; and the Vice President of Discovery at AbbVie, Jim Sullivan.

“We are thrilled to have Adam join our board,” said Krisztina Eleki, executive director of C2ST. “His enthusiasm for our work, and his commitment to furthering STEM education is apparent. We welcome his fresh perspective.”

Khan has long been a proponent of STEM education. Just last summer, AKHAN SEMI and the College of Lake County signed a memorandum of understanding to further workforce and economic development. Potential areas for collaboration between Khan’s company and the college include entrepreneurship training and development, academic programs, training and workforce development, and joint educational programs and events.

Khan first became familiar with C2ST when he presented as part of a program, “The Nature of Nano,” with then-director of the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory Amanda Petford-Long. Khan remained a fan, and presented again this fall, at a pub science program, “C2ST Speakeasy: A Diamond Age of Microelectronics.” /p>

"I am delighted and honored to be joining the C2ST board. As Founder and CEO of a high-tech company, researcher, and STEM Education advocate, I am incredibly excited to participate & build on C2ST's excellent work with the Northern Illinois community, particularly for advancing youth engagement," said Adam Khan.

C2ST produces approximately three dozen public programs per year, alone or in partnership, on a variety of topics. Upcoming programs include ‘Climate Disruption: What We Can Do Now’ on March 9, ‘Smell and Behavior in Humans’ March 15, and ‘The Science of Addiction’ March 23.

Chicago Council on Science and Technology is a not-for-profit that was founded in 2006, which works to bring together Chicago’s scientific leaders—from academic institutions, corporations, museums, National laboratories and in government—to provide a forum for the discussion of current issues of scientific interest. In an age when barely one in four voting adults meet a basic level of scientific literacy, C2ST aims to reignite an excitement and passion for science and technology, and remind Chicagoans of the quality and quantity of R&D that takes place in their backyard.

Your Future Smartphone Might Be Made With Diamonds

Fast Co.Exist - Mar. 8, 2016

Adele Peters


Too bad the bling will be hidden inside your phone, helping to save energy.

Since the silicon computer chip was invented in 1961, silicon has been the basis of basically every electronic gadget, from computers to electric cars. And while it helped transform the world, silicon doesn't actually work particularly well—especially when it comes to energy use.

Silicon runs hot, and just keeping the material cool enough for electronics to work ends up using a lot of energy; in a massive data center, around half of the power footprint comes from cooling. In a smartphone or laptop, the parts needed to keep the electronics cool take up so much space that it's hard to keep making gadgets smaller (Moore's Law, the idea that computer chips will pack on twice as many transistors every two years, and become twice as fast, is almost dead in part because of silicon's heat problem).

One startup thinks lab-grown diamonds—which can eliminate 90% of the energy lost by silicon—are the answer. Because a semiconductor designed with diamond instead of silicon can run five times hotter and deliver a million times more electrical current, diamond chips could make devices smaller and lighter, while also saving energy.

The technology could also avoid a large portion of electronic waste by eliminating cooling fans and heat sinks. "Not only do these cooling fans fill up the landfill quite easily, only about 10% to 15% of these materials are actually recycled," says Adam Khan, founder and CEO of Akhan Semi, the diamond-making startup.

Despite the prices at jewelry stores, diamonds actually aren't expensive to make. "A lot of people say silicon is made of sand, sand is very cheap," says Khan. "Well, diamond is made from methane, which is the most abundant molecule in the universe. So it's really because silicon is so utilized worldwide that the costs are so low at the system level."

Because it costs so much to keep silicon cool, Khan says that it's already becoming cheaper to use diamond (and other similar advanced materials, called wide-bandgap semiconductors), instead. And while Akhan currently buys methane to make the diamonds from an ordinary supplier, it may eventually be possible to use wasted methane gathered from farms or other sources of pollution.

Making the diamond chips also uses 20% less water than making a comparable silicon chip.

The startup's first products add diamond components to existing silicon platforms, replacing heat sinks to save space and energy. Eventually, they believe that designers will begin using all-diamond semiconductors./p>

Khan says that the new chips could also change the type of devices that it's possible to make—like completely transparent electronics. A phone that uses a glass display (or sapphire, like the iPhone 6), could add diamonds to the display instead of using a separate circuit board.

"You're talking about thinner devices, but they're actually more useful in that you're directly displaying images from the material on the glass," he says. "It's not just that we're making existing materials better, but we're also enabling the next generation of design."

AKHAN Deploys 200mm Manufacturing Process in New Diamond-Based Chip Fab

SemiconductorToday - Jan. 6, 2016


After relocating its global headquarters from Chicago, AKHAN Semiconductor Inc is deploying 200mm manufacturing equipment and process in its new production facility in Gurnee, IL, USA (formally opened in mid-November), continuing its preparation for delivering diamond semiconductor based-technology products to the firm's first commercial customer this quarter.

AKHAN Semiconductor Inc was formed in early 2013 as a subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc, which was founded in 2007 by Adam Khan to commercialize Diamond Lattice Technology for diamond-based semiconductor devices. The firm's IP portfolio combines AKHAN's Miraj Diamond portfolio with low-temperature diamond deposition technology developed by Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Nanoscale Materials.

"The proven, high-yielding 200mm semiconductor manufacturing process is proving ideal for the production of a wide range of semiconductors – sensors, MEMS, analog, power management – that are embedded in the rapidly growing number of connected devices, from smartphones and tablets to cars, home appliances, wearables, and commercial and industrial applications," says AKHAN's chief operating officer Carl Shurboff.

According to market research firm Gartner Inc, the number of Internet-connected devices (now referred to as the Internet of Things) will grow from 6.3 billion in 2016 to more than 20 billion in 2020.

This explosion in connected products is driving high global demand for all types of new semiconductors to power the new era of connected computing, says AKHAN. Industry association Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) noted in its 'Global 200mm Fab Outlook to 2018' that 200mm fab capacity is expected to grow from 5.2 million wafer starts per month in 2015 to more than 5.4 million in 2018.

"The timing for our diamond-based semiconductor technology's market debut could not be better," believes AKHAN's CEO Adam Khan. "By using man-made diamonds at the core of our new chip technology, we are ushering in a new generation of semiconductor solutions that operate at higher temperatures, are thinner and require less power. These are exactly the attributes required for all the products that make up the Internet of Things," he adds.

AKHAN reckon that its diamond semiconductor based technology will enable a new generation of commercial, industrial and consumer products such as flexible and transparent displays that can be used in wearables and thinner consumer devices that last longer. On the commercial side, the firm is already developing new diamond windows for industrial, defense and aerospace applications.

AKHAN's technology is based on a process that uses man-made diamond rather than silicon to produce chip materials. It is a result of the marriage of two breakthroughs: the ability to use nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) films and a new doping process the makes it possible to use NCD as a semiconductor material.

AKHAN says that it is currently actively hiring to staff its new facility, which is expected to employee 100 people in the next two years.

Tech Firm AKHAN Celebrates Move Into Gurnee

Daily Herald - Nov. 20, 2015

Bob Susnjara


With pageantry including the Warren Township High School band, AKHAN Semiconductor celebrated a long-awaited move into a Gurnee business park Friday.

Company founder and Chief Executive Officer Adam Khan told the crowd of roughly 75 politicians, community leaders and others that production will begin early next year for products using cutting-edge, diamond-film semiconductors.

In particular, AKHAN plans to make a diamond "window" in the Gurnee facility for high-powered lasers and other products for sale to the military defense industry.

"This is highly impactful technology not only to national security as well as the industrial ongoings, but it's a technology platform to really sink our teeth into and launch from here," Khan said to the crowd that was treated to breakfast goodies and the Warren band before a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony.

AKHAN has had a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory to develop technology using energy-efficient diamond film as semiconductors. Argonne has granted an exclusive licensing agreement for the technology to AKHAN, which is expected to become the first U.S. company to fully develop the process for industries such as aviation, defense and power.

Khan, a Gurnee native, said use of diamond semiconductors, rather than silicon, means devices can be made thinner and operate at higher temperatures, benefiting smartphones and "wearable" technology such as Google Glass.

Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano was one of the politicians who spoke Friday. Hultgren's 14th Congressional District includes some of Gurnee.

Hultgren said AKHAN fits into his efforts in Washington to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning by young students. He said good-paying jobs at AKHAN could be the end result for those pupils.

"We are talking with members of Congress, House and Senate of how can we inspire our young people ... to see opportunity right here (at AKHAN)," Hultgren said. "That if they are willing to invest their lives at a young age -- middle school, early high school or even earlier than that -- to see that there is great opportunity right here to be a scientist, to be an engineer, to be a mathematician, to be able to discover new technologies that no one else has thought of and to bring them to market."

Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake said it was a long road for AKHAN to take into the Gurnee office park since the company's plan was revealed in September 2014. She said AKHAN will be a catalyst for job growth in Lake County as it leads "Diamond Prairie."

"I really got the sense that it was more than just making money for him," Bush said as she recalled how she and Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik helped bring AKHAN to the village. "It was changing how we move about in our world, but having an impact on where he came from."

Documents show a $2.3 million package of local incentives would include property tax abatements from the Warren and Woodland school districts, Gurnee Park District and Warren Township government.

Approved early this year, Gurnee's end of the deal requires the village to reimburse a maximum of $1.5 million in sales tax to AKHAN over five years, unless the dollar total is reached earlier. AKHAN would receive the money only if it generates sales tax, according to the agreement.

About $3.5 million in income tax breaks also have been sought by AKHAN from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

'World-class technology' Firm Closes In On Move to Gurnee

Chicago Tribune - Jun. 3, 2015

Frank S. Abderholden


With a local management team in place, a new tech firm is expecting to get its operation running in Gurnee as soon as a permanent facility is found and built out.

Adam Khan, owner of AKHAN Semiconductor, addressed the Gurnee Village Board on Monday night to give an update on the company's move to the village. The Warren Township High School graduate's company was lured to Khan's hometown through a series of multimillion dollar tax incentives.

With the local investment secured, Khan told officials Monday that an exclusive licensing agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory will be complete this month. That deal, he said, paves the way for AKHAN to continue developing diamond lattice technology that the company hopes to incorporate into next-generation telecommunication devices.

AKHAN's product lines aim to serve faster computers, aviation and satellite technology, and radar communication.

"Here in the Midwest, we are developing world-class technology," said Carl Shurboff, who Khan announced Monday as his chief operating officer alongside company president Ahmed Fazil.

Shurboff has 25 years of experience at Motorola working on semiconductors and also spent time in technology licensing at Argonne.

AKHAN's new management team also includes executives James Sanford and Antonio Cabrera. While the semiconductor aspect of the company won't go into immediate production in Gurnee, the company will be working on what Khan called "diamond optical windows." Used with high-powered lasers, Khan said the product has a big market in the defense industry and can also be used for sensors.

Khan also announced he is working with the College of Lake County on a six-week job training program centered on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

"We need this now more than ever before because a majority of the jobs can't be filled," he said, explaining that job seekers don't have the qualifications STEM employers need. A technology incubator at AKHAN offices will also be made available to CLC students, said Khan, who called the incubator "a pipeline for students to bring their ideas to market."

CLC President Jerry Weber was among those anxiously awaiting AKHAN's full presence in Gurnee.

"I just want to reinforce how excited we are about the partnership. We're happy to be a part of it," Weber said.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D- Grayslake, said Khan's update is tremendously exciting.

"This is what happens when people work together. We need to do more of this in Illinois and the United States. We need to make investments in this type of technologies," she said. "This is going to be something we talk about for a very long time."

Khan was also congratulated Monday through aides from Congressmen Robert Dold and Randy Hultgren.

"AKHAN SEMI represents a great step forward for our district, both in scientific and economic development," Hultgren, the 14th District Republican, said in a statement. "The innovative and dynamic work being done by AKHAN SEMI will be an incredible asset to our community."

Under its grant agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, AKHAN will invest at least $15 million and create at least 80 jobs in two years. The company estimated that it might employ 250 people within three years.

In exchange, the company would get a credit worth an estimated $3 million over 10 years against its state income tax obligations. AKHAN also will receive $500,000 toward relocation costs and $40,000 to train its new hires.

The village of Gurnee will rebate sales taxes up to $1.5 million over the course of five years. Lake County approved a similar agreement for up to $500,000 as well as partial property tax relief. Local school districts 50 and 121, Gurnee Park District and Warren Township also awarded AKHAN property tax relief as part of a local incentive package worth roughly $2.3 million.

After Monday's meeting, Khan said his company is still negotiating on office space in the village.

Khan said he chose Gurnee because it's his hometown and it serves as a regional transportation hub.

At Warren High School, Khan played in the school band and on the tennis team. During his senior year, he acted in a number of school productions.

"It has a great quality of life and a great educational system," Khan said of Gurnee and its schools. "I did a little bit of everything."

After high school, the 32-year-old attended the University of Illinois at Chicago to study physics and electrical engineering. He completed graduate work at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility at Stanford University.

AKHAN Semiconductor was formed in 2012 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc., which was founded by Khan in 2007. In 2012, AKHAN Semiconductor patented its Miraj Diamond Platform, a breakthrough energy-efficient semiconductor technology developed at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials.

The Next Generational Shift to the Diamond Age of Electronics

ConsumerElectronicsNet - Feb. 5, 2015

Adam Khan


Looking across the consumer electronics market, it is clear the threshold for developing sleeker, more functional, and efficient devices approaches. However, challenges in meeting these demands with silicon based semiconductor persist as they will be increasingly unable to meet the necessary performance standards. Something will have to change - our technology will have to improve.

Devices of all kinds like smartphones, laptops, even TVs, often become hot to the touch from even normal use. Silicon is the villain because it is a poor conductor of heat. Not until recently has a familiar material, diamond, helped us clear this hurdle, promising to make diamond semiconductors a gadget's new best friend.

At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I shared a common sentiment with Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus Rift and its breakthrough virtual reality headset. We agreed that the composition of these electronics needs to change for us to develop more advanced tools and devices that are more functional and less bulky. Evidence of this abounds: mobile phones often can't retain power for a whole day without an external power source or another charge. Yet our expectations for these devices continue to rise. Further, designers struggle with capabilities today as in the case of Google Glass, the unique eyeglasses taken off shelves because critics deemed their look "terrible." Very simply, Google and others are experiencing difficulty because current technology leaves design and engineering at two different capability thresholds on the product development spectrum.

These thresholds will be broken in 2015. After years of R&D, the diamond thin film material will usher in next-generation electronics and open doors for advanced capabilities, longer battery life and most importantly, fully transparent devices.

The Fully Transparent Circuit
The values of a fully transparent circuit are endless - heads-up displays for drivers, cooks, pilots and the like; virtual reality; and other 3-D applications. Imagine the applications employed in Tom Cruise's Minority Report movie where computer users project images across a glass screen so they can add multiple layers. Imagine preparing a recipe without flipping pages or moving a book out of the way. And imagine pilots tightly maneuvering themselves and other aerial vehicles while peering through their glasses from various locations as in the popular film, Iron Man.

Before diamond semiconductors, we lived at the edge of practicality and conceded all future use cases to Hollywood. Today, and more importantly, tomorrow, with diamond material, these visions spring to life.

In mid-January, on behalf of AKHAN Semiconductor, I was granted a patent that qualified as "first to invent." It includes a system that bonds necessary contact metals to diamond semiconductor, creating a fully transparent circuit. The patent allows for the metallization of n-type diamond semiconductors, a process that gives a material the ability to conduct electricity. Previously, it was only possible to create n-type semiconductors with silicon, germanium, silicon carbide, and GaAs, which are widely used today. Each of these materials are nontransparent, presenting a foundational design challenge for the next generation of electronics. This means we can produce those concepts of transparent household appliances, heads-up displays and less clunky smart eyewear.

Virtual Reality
As discussed previously, product visionaries like Palmer Luckey realize the limitations of innovators using current high-tech availabilities. We both agreed that the application of diamond technology can complement the new materials developed by Palmer and other tech pioneers. On the clear path of the "Internet of Everything" lies augmented reality, where defense research agencies such as D.A.R.P.A. are investing in long term applications such as immersive VR for piloting of aerial and ground vehicles, requiring substantial improvements in the component equipment capability. On the consumer side, augmented reality represents the evolution and nexus of social media, advertising and mobile electronics. With significant corporate activities such as Facebook's acquisition of Oculus Rift, Google's recent announcement to suspend sale of Glass to consumers, Apple announcing plans to utilize sapphire in the iphone7 and the acquisition of transparent metal intellectual property concurrent to Samsung announcing adoption of Gorilla Glass for its future products, one thing is abundantly clear: the biggest stakeholders in mobile and those that threaten their market share are viewing future applications through a glass lens.

It's clear that to advance the consumer electronics market, designers must access an avenue from which they can work. For years, they pushed the boundaries of consumer electronics; so it is now up to scientists and engineers to usher in this next generation. First, diamond technology will arrive this year, paving the way. Why? Diamond can do much more beyond transparency and applications for virtual reality advancement. It can create greater efficiency and functionality.

Ultra Rugged Electronics
The hallmark of diamond semiconductor application rests in the ability of diamond to run hotter without degrading performance (over three times that of silicon). When a slew of programs are running on your computing device, you likely see programs run more slowly and definitely hear the fan inside your device turn on. Not only are these aspects annoying, they simply can disappear with the internal make-up of the devices.

Beyond greater capability to run hotter, diamond is cooled more easily (with 22 times the heat transfer efficiency of silicon), can tolerate higher voltages before breaking down and electrons (and electron-holes) can move faster through them. These advantages make diamond the obvious next step in developing the high-tech innards of our devices.

The advantages of using diamond to replace silicon semiconductors over time are substantial. And AKHAN Semiconductor is uniquely poised to realize this in 2015.

A New Era
As we introduce diamond into the CE marketplace, expect at least three applications next year from the Miraj Diamond(tm) Platform:

-Diamond in DC Power applications such as DC-DC converter for HEV and thermal management for both the former and mobile battery, enabling greater power control and conditioning for mobile power supply.

-Diamond thermal interface materials for integrated circuit packaging that allows diamond to enhance display capabilities in mobile and/or tablet electronics packaging.

-Scratch-resistant coating for sapphire and glass in laptops, tablets, mobile and wearable electronics displays.

The Miraj Diamond(tm) Platform combines two semiconductor advancements borne out of research and collaboration completed at Argonne National Laboratory, among the worlds' most respected and advanced research facilities.

Through cutting-edge material development and advanced manufacturing capabilities, AKHAN will make diamond-based semiconductors and tools real, market-ready and ubiquitous to overtake its limited predecessor, silicon. The era of diamond electronics is upon us and we can't wait to show you more.

Moore’s Law and Moving Beyond Silicon: The Rise of Diamond Technology

Wired.com - Jan. 29, 2015

Adam Khan


My “aha” moment occurred in 2004 when, as a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, double majoring in physics and engineering, a research paper seized my interest. It was about the role that diamond could play as an electronics material — vastly uncharted territory at the time. I recognized then that diamond technology could spark a seismic change in the electronics industry and I knew I wanted to play a role in making diamond semiconductor a reality.

Then, as now, silicon had been the popular material choice for semiconductor since the 1960s, and it still constitutes 95 percent of the device types available in the market. But it presented several long-term challenges. The perhaps better known problem, popularly expressed as “Moore’s Law” highlights the trend of smaller and faster electronics being physically limited by the capability of silicon — simply put, the speeds and sizes of devices in the market are almost the absolute best the material can physically perform. The still more pressing and visible problem in silicon was that of heat. Historically, heat management with silicon semiconductor devices has proven problematic for power electronics. The cooling methods required were inefficient and served as a major source of e-waste. The industry required a silicon alternative that enabled devices to be smaller, cooler, faster, more powerful, and cleaner.

That defines the diamond semiconductor. What was once considered the “holy grail” of electronics is a true alternative today, both as a silicon supplement and as a standalone semiconductor platform material. No longer just relegated to gem stone status, diamond provides a road map for an unknown number of years ahead in power electronic development and more broadly the global electronics industry.

The Power to Transform Industries
Indeed, many consider that the industry is entering the Dawn of a Diamond Age of Electronics. They believe the world’s hardest-known natural material with exceptional electronic properties will take a variety of industries to the next level of performance. It is on the verge of being the accepted choice to produce today’s most advanced industrial products – and its use in consumer electronics ranks close behind.

Why diamond? It can run hotter without degrading in performance (over 5 times that of Silicon), is more easily cooled (with 22 times the heat transfer efficiency of silicon), can tolerate higher voltages before breaking down, and electrons (and electron-holes) can move faster through them. Already, semiconductor devices with diamond material are available that deliver one million times more electrical current than silicon or previous attempts using diamond.

Diamond-based semiconductors are capable of increasing power density as well as create faster, lighter, and simpler devices. They’re more environmentally friendly than silicon and improve thermal performance within a device. As a result, the diamond materials market for semiconductors can easily eclipse that of the Silicon Carbide, which is seen growing at a 42.03 percent compound annual rate through 2020 from $3.3 Billion in 2014, due to performance, cost, and direct integration with the existing silicon platform.

The Future Is Here
The semiconductor industry dates to 1833, when English natural philosopher Michael Faraday described the “extraordinary case” of his discovery of electrical conduction increasing with temperature in silver sulfide crystals. But it wasn’t until this century that diamonds began to be considered seriously.

A little over a decade since that research paper sparked my interest, my company AKHAN SEMI, in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, has developed a series of advancements that allows us to manufacture standalone diamond materials, deposit diamond directly on processed silicon, fabricate complete diamond semiconductor devices, as well as attach diamond material to other electronics materials.

Diamond wafer technology is producing thinner and cheaper devices already in use in information technology, the military and aerospace applications. In addition, diamond semiconductor will have a major impact on the consumer electronics, telecommunications and health industries, among many others, starting as early as 2015.

Automakers are eyeing applications of diamond power devices in control modules for electric cars. Diamond semiconductors can also help better manage battery life and battery systems for a wide variety of devices including phones, cameras and vehicles.

For cloud computer servers, which are stored in data centers that consume vast amounts of energy in an exceedingly wasteful manner, diamond semiconductors use less energy more efficiently while delivering better performance. Because diamond technology shrinks the size and energy needed for a semiconductor, it paves the way for smaller personal electronics from washers and dryers to televisions and digital cameras. As for defense technology, it delivers greater range, reliability, and performance in both normal and extreme/hazardous operating environments.

As a result, diamond semiconductors lead to a greater range and energy efficiency in their applications. They help drive cheaper, faster cloud integration for consumer and business needs. They change the capability of where and how to use our phones, laptops and other personal electronic devices that have yet to be invented with the benefits extending well beyond performance. Power electronics such as diamond semiconductors represent an enormous opportunity to reduce electronic waste and cut electronic cooling costs in half.

The Perfect Synthetic, Not a Blood Diamond
Everyone knows that diamonds are formed in nature over a considerable period of time and cost thousands of dollars on the open market. However, lab-grown diamonds can be produced cleanly and affordably in a factory setting anywhere in the world from some of the most abundant molecules in the universe: methane and hydrogen gases, which are readily available. The process with which I am most familiar is the one my company employs, and utilizes at Argonne National Laboratory in which methane and hydrogen plasma are exposed to microwave energy to form very thin diamond materials over various sizes, thicknesses, and on different materials such as silicon, sapphire, glass, among others.

Once formed, utilizing these thin diamond film materials (about 1/70 the diameter of a human hair) we are able to alter the electronic properties and form device structures that are over a thousand times thinner than the leading silicon counterpart in addition to the previous state-of-the-art in diamond but with also increased performance, allowing the trend of smaller, faster, and more functional to continue.

In just a decade, as silicon reaches its threshold, diamond material is taking its place. It is time to pass the torch to diamond – a superior material that will enable the next generation of innovators to create faster, more powerful and greener electronics.

Location key to luring business to Lake County region

Lake County NewsSun - Dec. 4, 2014

Arthur Cyr


Cutting-edge technologies surmount enormous distances and other barriers, yet immediate location remains important. Developments in Lake County and just to the north in Wisconsin demonstrate the point.

AKHAN Semiconductor has reached an important exclusive contract with the Department of Energy, at the same time that the firm has announced a strong desire to move corporate operations to Gurnee in Lake County, near I-94, from Hoffman Estates further west.

Meanwhile, Janesville, Wisconsin, is having a major, direct impact on the U.S. space program, specifically the latest space probe mission to Mars, which began orbiting the planet in late September. Performance Micro Tool, based in that community, has established a specific and vital technical niche in our space program, and potentially those of other nations as well.

On Nov. 11, AKHAN announced that an important new partnership has been established with Argonne National Laboratory, also located in the greater Chicago region. The enormous laboratory to the south, which is operated by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy, is one of the most substantial scientific research facilities in the world.

The partnership will permit AKHAN to develop an innovative diamond semiconductor process. The company already has been implementing an agreement with the laboratory to develop a preliminary platform for using specialized diamond film. The film is a semiconductor in advanced aviation, defense, power and telecommunications industries.

AKHAN Semiconductor was launched by entrepreneur Adam Khan in 2012 as a subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies, currently based in Hoffman Estates. Khan, a Gurnee native, founded the parent firm in 2007.

The new facility would be housed in a 150,000-square-foot building west of I-94, which another company is vacating. Negotiations for the move involve several local government entities in Warren Township, the Gurnee Park District and Lake County government. Some local officials have objected to the proposed investment on the grounds that more information is needed from AKHAN. If the deal goes through, the company estimates the total investment in northern Illinois will amount to approximately $15 million.

Adam Khan readily states that he would welcome an opportunity return “home,” but nostalgia is not the main reason for any sound business decision. The proposed new location, while not too distant from Hoffman Estates, is much more central to the enormous Chicago-Milwaukee interstate highway corridors, as well as rail lines and water shipping.

Khan has already established considerable visibility. In 2014, Forbes included the 29-year-old in the “30 under 30″ category of leaders in energy and industry.

Up in Janesville, Performance Micro Tool represents a similar story of a new, extremely advanced technology company carefully selecting a geographically sensible location. The company was founded in 1999 by Dave Burton and a partner in Michigan, previously a base for electronics suppliers.

Like AKHAN, the firm is relatively small, specializes in products which are extremely tiny and complex technologically, and reflects the vision and daring of individual entrepreneurs. Customers are in such diverse industries as aerospace, communications, electronics, jewelry, medical devices and musical instruments.

Performance Micro Tool products include routers used on Mars explorer rovers. As space exploration evolves from intense Cold War competition to broad international cooperation, even more high-tech business opportunities will appear.

These two businesses show dramatically that companies here can succeed in the most complex and distant realms, and demonstrate also that facility planning should include focused regional location analysis.

Will 2015 see the emergence of a Diamond Age of Microelectronics?

The Next Big Future - Nov. 25, 2014


AKHAN has exclusive rights to a suite of breakthrough diamond-based semiconductor inventions developed by nanoscientist Ani Sumant of Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

With the licensing agreement, AKHAN will be able to exclusively expand the capabilities of the diamond semiconductor platform, allowing for improved performance and thermal efficiency of existing siliconbased devices. The agreement will enable and define the future of semiconductors through incorporation with other next-generation high-performance materials such as graphene, sapphire and quartz.

The licensed patent portfolio covers critical semiconductor processes such as deposition, which is the process of growing a layer of polycrystalline diamond on a semiconductor wafer, as well as doping, which refers to the process of intentionally introducing impurities into an extremely pure semiconductor in order to modulate its electrical properties. The portfolio also covers the formation of circuit elements such as transistors, capacitors and resistors, which are then connected to form complex circuits, such as logic devices and microelectromechanical systems. Finally, the patents include the integration of electronic circuits that are built on a single semiconductor base material or single chip.

The agreement is the second licensing deal between Argonne and AKHAN and represents the result of more than two years of collaboration between the two organizations. Previously, the two organizations combined Argonne’s low-temperature diamond deposition technology with AKHAN’s novel doping process, which has begun to enable the next generation of energy efficient semiconductor devices.

AKHAN Technologies, Inc is the global leader in diamond semiconductor technology. In addition to pioneering the world's most efficient n-type diamond material, AKHAN has made substantial advancements to the diamond semiconductor platform, uniquely enabling it for wide spread commercialization in microelectronics. Welcome to the "Diamond Age of Microelectronics

They are developing a way to make diamond microprocessors from industrial diamond. The chips can be thinner and require less energy.

The primary aim of AKHAN SEMI is the development and manufacture of next generation Nanocrystalline (NCD) based materials and devices. AKHAN SEMI's IP portfolio combines AKHAN's breakthrough Miraj Diamond(TM) portfolio with revolutionary low temperature diamond deposition technology developed by gonne National Laboratory's Center for Nanoscale Materials;-- resulting in the world's most advanced diamond semiconductor platform.

Argonne announces new licensing agreement with AKHAN Semiconductor

Research & Development Magazine - Nov. 19, 2014

Jared Sagoff


ARGONNE, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has announced a new intellectual property licensing agreement with AKHAN Semiconductor, continuing a productive public-private partnership that will bring diamond-based semiconductor technologies to market.

The agreement gives AKHAN exclusive rights to a suite of breakthrough diamond-based semiconductor inventions developed by nanoscientist Ani Sumant of Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

With the licensing agreement, AKHAN will be able to exclusively expand the capabilities of the diamond semiconductor platform, allowing for improved performance and thermal efficiency of existing siliconbased devices. The agreement will enable and define the future of semiconductors through incorporation with other next-generation high-performance materials such as graphene, sapphire and quartz.

The licensed patent portfolio covers critical semiconductor processes such as deposition, which is the process of growing a layer of polycrystalline diamond on a semiconductor wafer, as well as doping, which refers to the process of intentionally introducing impurities into an extremely pure semiconductor in order to modulate its electrical properties. The portfolio also covers the formation of circuit elements such as transistors, capacitors and resistors, which are then connected to form complex circuits, such as logic devices and microelectromechanical systems. Finally, the patents include the integration of electronic circuits that are built on a single semiconductor base material or single chip.

The agreement is the second licensing deal between Argonne and AKHAN and represents the result of more than two years of collaboration between the two organizations. Previously, the two organizations combined Argonne’s low-temperature diamond deposition technology with AKHAN’s novel doping process, which has begun to enable the next generation of energy efficient semiconductor devices.

“This agreement represents a stellar example of how Argonne is partnering with industry to move our technology into the marketplace,” said Argonne Director Dr. Peter Littlewood. “The investment that the American people continue to make in basic science continues to pay dividends in marketable technologies that have the potential to transform entire industries.”

“We’re thrilled to take the next step in bringing diamond semiconductors to the market in a scalable way,” said Adam Khan, CEO and founder of AKHAN Semiconductor. “Our exclusive license for these patents positions AKHAN Semiconductor very favorably in the next-generation semiconductor market.”

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Argonne National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

Why Diamonds May Be the Key to a Smaller, Thinner iPhone

Bloomberg - Nov. 16, 2014
Watch the video


AKHAN Technologies is developing a way to make microprocessors from industrial diamonds that can be thinner and require less energy. Bloomberg's Sam Grobart reports from the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago for "The Year Ahead: 2015" series.

Tech company eyeing Gurnee strikes exclusive agreement with Argonne National Laboratory

Daily Herald - Nov. 12, 2014

Bob Susnjara


Federal officials have granted an exclusive licensing agreement for diamond semiconductor technology to a company that wants to move to Gurnee.

Representatives for AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. announced Tuesday the deal was reached with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Under the agreement with Argonne, AKHAN is expected gain a competitive advantage by becoming the first U.S. company to fully develop its cutting-edge diamond semiconductor process.

"We actually intend to go into production once the Gurnee facility goes online," company founder Adam Khan said.

AKHAN Semiconductor was launched by Khan in 2012 and has had a partnership with Argonne to develop a platform using the diamond film as semiconductors for the aviation, defense, telecommunication and power industries. It is a subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc. in Hoffman Estates, which Khan started in 2007.

Khan said smartphone users would appreciate the diamond technology because chips with it don't overheat and use less energy than silicon. Diamond film also could be used to make the devices more scratch resistant.

Argonne Director Peter Littlewood was bullish on the exclusive deal with AKHAN.

"This agreement represents a stellar example of how Argonne is partnering with industry to move our technology into the marketplace," Littlewood said in a statement. "The investment that the American people continue to make in basic science continues to pay dividends in marketable technologies that have the potential to transform entire industries."

Khan said there are "a lot of moving parts" before a proposed incentive package to bring his business to Gurnee goes before the village board for a vote. Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik asked other local governments serving the village to participate in the deal.

In all, Warren Township High School District 121, Woodland Elementary District 50, Warren Township, the Gurnee Park District, village government and Lake County would provide a combined $2.3 million in tax incentives to AKHAN over five years. The local money would be on top of about $3.5 million available to AKHAN through an agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

AKHAN would locate its corporate headquarters, manufacturing, and research and development in a 120,000-square-foot building west of the Tri-State Tollway that another company is vacating. AKHAN intends to bring all 54 employees to Gurnee if an agreement is struck, with a pledge to create 80 jobs within two years because of explosive growth projected.

Funds gained through the tax incentives would be used to to help relocate and expand the corporate and manufacturing headquarters, according to AKHAN. The company estimates it would make a $15 million investment in northern Illinois.

Gurnee as possible new-job site - Warren alum to create jobs

My Suburban Life - Oct. 2, 2014

SUBURBAN LIFE MEDIA


GURNEE – Gov. Pat Quinn announced last month that his administration will support a proposed $15 million investment in Northern Illinois by AKHAN Semiconductor, which specializes in diamond technology.

Considering Gurnee for its headquarters, AKHAN would receive tax credit assistance and investment from the state worth about $3.5 million. The company has pledged to create 80 jobs in two years, with the potential for more, according to a news release issued by the state.

AKHAN founder Adam Khan is a Warren Township High School graduate. Khan visited the school Oct. 1 with Sen. Melinda Bush (D-31), Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik, and renowned scientists, to conduct diamond experiments.

Khan said the company "looks forward to creating new opportunities in production, research and design for years to come."

The Investment announcement is part of Quinn's stated agenda to create jobs and drive the state's economy forward.

"Illinois has placed a strong emphasis on technology and innovation to help fuel our economic comeback," Quinn said. "We are glad to work with and support such forward-thinking companies like AKHAN that are creating high-paying jobs and bringing 21st century technologies to our state."

AKHAN, which is expanding its domestic and international operations, stated it would use funds to help relocate and expand its corporate and manufacturing headquarters in Illinois, the release says.

"Illinois is in AKHAN's DNA," Khan said. "Born at the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and grown in northern Illinois for nearly eight years, we're thrilled to be taking the first steps to making a permanent home where we continue to build our business quickly, with all the local resources we need at our disposal."

Through the use of diamond lattice technology, AKHAN focuses on the commercial use of diamond-based electronic devices and is developing a product line to faster serve supercomputers, advanced aviation and satellite technology, radar communication and nextgeneration telecommunications needs, the release says.

AKHAN estimates it may employ 250 people within three years. In exchange, the company would receive a credit worth $3 million against its state income tax liability over 10 years, per the state's Economic Development for a Growing Economy program. AKHAN would also receive a $500,000 investment toward relocation costs and a $40,000 investment to train new hires.

Khan founded AKHAN Technologies in 2007. AKHAN Semiconductor was formed in 2012.

Kovarik said the town is an ideal home for high-tech headquarters, with its "well-educated workforce, central location and high quality of life."

Hoffman Estates tech firm could move to Gurnee

Daily Herald - Sept. 17, 2014

Bob Susnjara


Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik is seeking support from other local taxing agencies for a combined $2.3 million package of proposed financial incentives to a Hoffman Estates semiconductor company that supporters say could lead to a version of Silicon Valley in the village.

If approved, the $2.3 million local financial assistance for AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. to move to Gurnee would be on top of about $3.5 million available through an agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

AKHAN's founder and chief executive officer, Adam Khan, said he intends to bring all 54 of his company's employees from Hoffman Estates and California to Gurnee by year's end if a deal if struck, with plans to create up to 250 jobs within three years.

AKHAN would bring its corporate headquarters, manufacturing, and research and development to a 120,000-square-foot building west of the Tri-State Tollway. Kenall Manufacturing, which has produced high-quality lighting products in Gurnee for 26 years, is leaving the building for a larger facility in Kenosha, allowing room for 400 employees and the creation of 350 new jobs under an incentive package granted by Wisconsin.

Kovarik led a special village board meeting Tuesday night regarding the possibility of bringing AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. to fill Kenall's space in Gurnee. Elected officials from other taxing agencies that must approve the proposed deal -- such as Warren Township High School District 121 and the Gurnee Park District -- attended the session.

Kovarik said she hopes to receive quick approval from District 121, the park district, Woodland Elementary District 50 and Warren Township government so the Gurnee village board can vote on the financial incentives for AKHAN at an October meeting. She said AKHAN would bring high-paying jobs and younger residents, and likely attract complementary technology companies to the area.

"This is a meaningful investment that positions us extremely well for the next few decades to be the area with the new leader in technology to replace today's aging semiconductors," she said. "Similar to Silicon Valley, we think this will become the Diamond Prairie."

AKHAN Semiconductor was launched in 2012 and has a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory to develop a platform using diamonds as semiconductors for the aviation, defense, telecommunication and power industries. It is a subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc., which Khan started in 2007.

Khan, 30, a Gurnee native, said smartphone users would appreciate the diamond technology because it uses less energy than silicon.

"In terms of power efficiency, it's about 30 percent more efficient because none of that energy is lost," Khan said. "But above and beyond that, what it means is that during operation, that chip doesn't overheat, so your cellphones won't be the same level of temperature. They'll be a little bit cooler because the heat will be more effectively translated out of the chip."

To bring AKHAN into Gurnee, Lake County would contribute a maximum of $500,000 and the village $1.5 million over five years. The money would be contingent on AKHAN's performance, but the criteria were not made public.

School districts 50 and 121, Lake County, the Gurnee Park District and Warren Township would abate 50 percent of property taxes assessed to the new facilities for the next five years. Documents show the entire package of incentives would be worth roughly $2.3 million.

Gurnee Trustee Steve Park said the proposed incentives appear worthwhile.

"This is exactly the type of operation that makes sense for economic development," Park said.

Chip startup gets $3.5 million to keep HQ in Illinois

Chicago Business - Sept. 17, 2014

John Pletz


The state wants Gurnee to be known for computer chips as well as roller coasters and outlet stores: It's offering $3.5 million in incentives to lure a Hoffmann Estates-based semiconductor company to move its headquarters to Gurnee instead of another state.

Akhan Semiconductor says it will nearly triple its headcount to 80 employees in the next two years — mostly in research and technogy — and invest $15 million.

If it reaches those goals, the company will get $3 million in credits over 10 years to offset Illinois income taxes. Akhan also will get $500,000 for relocation costs and $40,000 on job training assistance.

Akhan has a long way to go: The wholly owned subsidiary of Akhan Technologies Inc. has 28 employees and is just beginning to enter the market. A year ago, however, it employed only three.

The company, founded by former University of Illinois at Chicago engineering and physics student Adam Khan, is chasing the next generation of computer chips. He's betting that artificial diamond film will replace silicon as the material of choice for the fastest chips.

He has licensed technology from Argonne National Laboratory, where the company was incubated, to produce the diamond.

ONGOING JOURNEY

Akhan plans to license its manufacturing-process technology for embedding circuits in diamond film to chipmakers. It also will sell them diamond-coated silicon wafers to be turned into semiconductors. Eventually, Akhan wants to manufacture finished chips.

For now, however, it's only begun licensing technology to a single customer in the aerospace and defense industry. Mr. Khan, Akhan's CEO, declined to name the customer. He says his first wafer customer is University of Wisconsin-Parkside, near Kenosha, which so far is only committed to evaluating his product.

Akhan started out in 2007 as a technology-licensing play but decided two years ago to become a manufacturing company. That's an expensive proposition, even if it contracts out production. Akhan has raised $15 million so far, primarily from Heller Industries Inc., a semiconductor equipment company in Florham Park, New Jersey.

Chipmakers have been worrying about the limits of silicon for more than a decade. But it's also a long shot, and Akhan isn't the only company trying to develop a diamond alternative.

"We think there's tremendous upside," said Adam Pollet, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. "The potential for the technology to be disruptive to our existing product base is exciting. On that basis, we'd want them here and growing."

Incentives lure Gurnee native's tech firm to his hometown

Lake County NewsSun - Sept. 16, 2014

Frank Abderholden
FAbderholden@tribpub.com | @abderholden
Sept. 16 6:35 p.m.


What is a diamond lattice technology?

According to AKHAN, diamond semiconductors have the ability to pass tremendous heat through electronic devices without causing damage.

Silicon semiconductors, the current technology, overheats easier, causing devices to fail and end up in landfills. AKHAN says its use of diamonds, which are considered among the best semiconductor materials, will help eliminate electronic waste and improve the use of electronics.

Diamond can conduct heat 22 times better than silicon and five times better than copper, according to AKHAN. AKHAN Semiconductor estimates a market of more than $3.3 billion for its products, based on third-party market research and analysis.

A company that is pioneering diamond semiconductor technology has announced intentions to relocate to Gurnee, invest $15 million into its local operation and create 80 new jobs with the possibility of 170 more within three years.

Hoffman Estates-based AKHAN Technologies is eyeing Gurnee for its AKHAN Semiconductor operations — partly because the company's founder grew up in the village.

"Gurnee is unique for our needs," said Adam Khan, the founder and CEO of the company that reflects his name.

He expressed excitement to join a local corporate economy that boasts Motorola, Abbvie, Baxter and Freescale Semiconductor in Libertyville.

On Tuesday, Gov. Pat Quinn announced that his administration will assist AKHAN with a state investment worth about $3.5 million. Additional local incentives are still being negotiated, with Gurnee

Mayor Kristina Kovarik and state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-31st, of Grayslake, saying the proposal would bring highly-skilled jobs to boost the Lake County economy.

"The State of Illinois has placed a strong emphasis on technology and innovation to help fuel our economic comeback," the governor said in a news release. "We are glad to work with and support such forward-thinking companies like AKHAN Semiconductor that are creating high-paying jobs and bringing 21st century technologies to our state."

Khan said the move to his hometown would help AKHAN create new opportunities in production, research and design.

At Warren High School, Khan played in the school band and on the tennis team. During his senior year, he acted in a number of school productions.

"It has a great quality of life and a great educational system," Khan said of Gurnee and its schools. "I did a little bit of everything."

After high school, Khan went to the University of Illinois at Chicago to study physics and electrical engineering. He completed graduate work at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility at Stanford University.

The 30-year-old currently splits time living in San Francisco and with his family in Gurnee.

Back in his hometown, Khan was scheduled to address the Gurnee Economic Development Commission at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16. The meeting agenda called for a discussion about local incentives to move the business to Gurnee, with a possible location in the Tri State Parkway commercial and industrial park off Grand Avenue near Interstate-94.

While AKHAN is expanding both its domestic and international operations, Khan said the state funds would be used to strengthen the company's local footprint.

"Illinois is in AKHAN Semiconductor's DNA," said Kahan, explaining that the company was "born" at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, which occupies 1,500 wooded acres about 25 miles southwest of Chicago.


Khan said his business has been growing in northern Illinois for nearly eight years.

"We're thrilled to be taking the first steps to make a permanent home where we continue to build our business quickly, with all the local resources we need at our disposal," he said.

AKHAN uses diamond lattice technology for the commercial use of diamond-based electronic devices. According to a company news release, AKHAN is currently developing a product line that aims to serve faster computers, advanced aviation and satellite technology, advanced radar communication and nextgeneration telecommunication needs.

The initial research behind AKHAN's devices was performed at Argonne, and the two organizations pioneered new production and diamond processing technology.

"Argonne's research collaboration with AKHAN has played a key role in bringing these new technologies into the marketplace, and we are very proud that our work is driving the creation of new manufacturing jobs here in Illinois," said Peter Littlewood, director of Argonne National Laboratory.

AKHAN Semiconductor was formed in 2012 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc., which was founded by Khan in 2007. In 2012, AKHAN Semiconductor patented its Miraj Diamond Platform, a breakthrough energy-efficient semiconductor technology developed at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials, according to an AKHAN news release.

Under its grant agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, AKHAN will invest at least $15 million and create at least 80 jobs in two years. The company estimated that it might employ 250 people within three years.

In exchange, the company would get a credit worth an estimated $3 million over 10 years against its state income tax obligations. The credit under the state's Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE program, is available to companies weighing an investment in Illinois against sites elsewhere. AKHAN also will receive $500,000 toward relocation costs and $40,000 to train its new hires.

"Gurnee is an ideal home for a high-tech headquarters, with its well-educated workforce, central location and high quality of life," Mayor Kovarik said. "AKHAN Semiconductor has an opportunity to stay close to home, which I wholeheartedly support. I hope to make Gurnee AKHAN Semiconductor's home for years to come."

State Sen. Bush said the state needed to jump on the opportunity of keeping a company that was created in Illinois.

"The permanent addition of AKHAN Semiconductor – a clear leader in the next generation semiconductor field – reminds others that a variety of advanced technology industries can thrive in Illinois," she said.

The Gurnee Economic Development Committee invited the Gurnee Village Board, Woodland School District 50, Warren Township High School District 121, the Gurnee Park District, Warren Township and community members to participate in Tuesday night's meeting.

A New Diamond Age - Developing the Next Generation of Computer Chips

WTTW Chicago Tonight - Jan. 28, 2014
Watch the video


We meet local scientist and entrepreneur Adam Khan to talk about his latest invention that he hopes will usher in a new diamond age of electronics that will make the silicon chip obsolete.