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Tom Lacey Joins AKHAN Semiconductor as Chairman of the Board

BusinessWire- June 29, 2021

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor (AKHAN/the Company), a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of synthetic, lab-grown electronics-grade diamond materials addressing semiconductor, telecom and consumer industries and global markets, announced today that prolific semiconductor executive Tom Lacey has joined the Company’s Board as Chairman. The former President of Intel Americas, Lacey has more than three decades of experience leading both public and private companies in the semiconductor and licensing industries and will be instrumental in leading AKHAN as it plans for massive scale of its limitless Miraj Diamond® technology portfolio.

“Despite our revolutionary materials and impressive customer base, AKHAN, up until this point, has largely been made up of its nascent technology team. We’ve done an outstanding job in taking our Miraj Diamond® tech from concept to prototype, and now is the time for massive scale,” said Adam Khan, Founder of AKHAN Semiconductor. “Tom, who’s onboarding marks the launch of our operational growth phase, is one of the most well respected, trusted and knowledgeable leaders in the entire semiconductor and technology space, providing AKHAN with a distinguished executive who will lead the Company as we transform electronic capabilities.”

AKHAN, the only diamond semiconductor fab in North America, is well positioned for mass expansion as the United States works to address the global semiconductor shortage and recapture its leadership role in the industry. Lacey, in addition to heading Intel Americas, has worked across startups, mid-sized and large public and private companies in the technology space and will provide AKHAN with a tremendous amount of insight and deep understanding as the Company brings its limitless Miraj Diamond® technology portfolio to market across various industries including aerospace, consumer electronics, military & defense, automotive, telecommunications and more.

“Semiconductors have hit the global stage, and AKHAN is best positioned to pioneer the much-needed transition away from silicon semiconductors and usher in a new age of faster, lighter, simpler and more powerful devices that will lead to the Diamond Age of Electronics,” said Lacey. “Adam Khan and his impressive team have brought significant and much needed innovation to the space. Now it's time to unleash diamond’s immense capabilities on chips, as well as optical and glass coatings, as AKHAN has impressive successes in research and customer development in all three areas.”

While semiconductors are crucial technology to all types of electronic devices, they will become even more critical with the imminent technology-based innovations in various industries. Diamond is proven to be the most optimal semiconductor material, far outmatching industry-standard silicon in speed, power handling, density and operating temperature. AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond Platform™ will greatly improve semiconductor performance and offer diamond’s physical advantages to glass and optics (stronger, harder, more durable) too.

Lacey is a proven, successful, and high integrity executive who has worked for a number of premier technology companies, including Intel and Tessera/Xperi, among others. His roles have spanned positions in leadership, engineering, marketing, sales, OEM, retail channel, distribution, management, operations, Intellectual Property, P&L, Wall Street, fund raising, international geographies (especially Asia) and merger and acquisition areas, making him an ideal fit to lead AKHAN’s board as it brings its Miraj Diamond®​ Glass, Optics and Electronics solutions to market.

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Akhan Semi Pitches Diamond as Chip Material

EE Times- June 23, 2021

Alan Patterson

INDIANAPOLIS — Adam Khan, the founder and chairman of Akhan Semiconductor, expects diamond to be just one of the materials that will help take semiconductors to a new stage beyond the Moore’s Law era.

In 2014, the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory announced an intellectual property licensing agreement with Akhan, in a public-private partnership aimed at commercializing diamond-based semiconductor technologies. Today, with a strong patent portfolio and a pilot facility for chemical vapor deposition of diamond on silicon wafers, the company aims to be first to test a technology that promises to make enforcement of Moore’s Law less urgent.

“There’s sort of two camps, right?” Khan said in an interview with EE Times. “There’s the Moore’s Law, the more-than-Moore’s Law group, right? And then there’s the what-comes-next group.”

The next advanced semiconductor materials will need to solve issues like power levels and lithography, according to Khan. As transistor densities increase on a chip, there’s been a need to add multi-layer materials as a thermal management layer to reduce heating on the top, as well as growing problems like parasitic losses. The limitations of silicon in terms of efficiency and performance tradeoffs have turned attention to packaging because of thermal issues.

But besides packaging, Akhan is looking at diamond as a semiconductor material that may someday replace silicon.

“Not only is diamond the highest thermal-conductance material, it dissipates heat better than any other 3D material we know, and thus, integrating it solves a lot of the heating issues and the thermal shock issue of semiconductor electronics,” Khan says. “Diamond is also the best in terms of the wide bandgap materials.”

Wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors operate at higher voltages, frequencies and temperatures than conventional materials like silicon and gallium arsenide. WBGs are used in some radio-frequency applications, including military radars. WBGs are poised for adoption in a wider range of applications, especially in next-generation electronic devices.

The widespread use of diamond as a semiconductor material should not require any major changes in the current chipmaking process, according to Khan.

“The only additional tool that would need to be inserted into the foundry line or into the process itself would be the actual diamond chemical vapor deposition (CVD) tool.” Otherwise, the process includes “all of the normative semiconductor and metrology equipment that you would use, which we have running in a pilot facility.”

Not far from the Argonne Laboratory in northern Illinois, Akhan operates its so-called “diamond mine”, where it is running diamond CVD processes.

Customers can contract low to medium volume production out to Akhan and its 25 employees, but at the highest volume, the company is prepared for licensing and equipment sales to chipmakers.

“A customer would license our process and then bring the tool in-house to insert into their own fab,” Khan says.

Diamond’s cooling capability is five times that of copper and more than 20 times that of silicon, according to Khan.

“During operation, the temperatures on these devices now drop largely to room temperature, depending on the type of material you’re running and the thickness of the underlying material. But we have substantial reductions in terms of the thermal budget during operating temperatures.”

Akhan’s technology is used in optics, display glass and chips for customers that Khan identifies as Lockheed Martin and Honeywell. A “rather large smartphone OEM” that Khan is unwilling to name is also a customer as well as other companies in semiconductor equipment and end consumers in aerospace and defense.

With the Argonne National Laboratory, Akhan made what Khan calls “two major breakthroughs”. One was low-temperature deposition of diamond at CMOS-compatible temperatures. The partners also enabled a new co-doping technique in diamond for power and logic-based electronics.

From there, Akhan grew innovations into some 40 plus patents worldwide, covering various applications in optics, display glass and semiconductors.

There are certainly other companies in the diamond space, Khan says. He gives one example, Diamond Foundry, which is making lab-grown gem material and has a reported market valuation of about $1.8 billion. Diamond Foundry mainly makes high-end luxury diamonds for jewelry.

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Will The US Let The Chips Fall On Semiconductor Policy?

Forbes- May 31, 2021

Roslyn Layton

There is bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress for the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act (CHIPS for America Act), a set of investments and incentives to support US semiconductor manufacturing, research and development, and supply chain security. Recent proposals as part of the annual defense appropriations process calls for $49.5 billion ($39 billion in production and R&D incentives and $10.5 billion to implement programs including the National Semiconductor Technology Center and other R&D). Critics assert that this amount does not come close to other nations’ semiconductor ambitions. China plans to invest $150 billion (though this could be frittered away through waste and corruption), and South Korea just announced $450 billion. Some observers say the US needs sustained government investment of $100 billion for three to four years to catch up with other countries.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) asserts the US share of semiconductor manufacturing has eroded from 37% in 1990 to 12% today. It attributes this to other countries governments’ aggressive investment in chip manufacturing and R&D while federal dollars have been relatively limited. To lower labor cost and take advantage of foreign incentives, US semiconductor firms have long offshored. All things being equal, the same dollar invested in semiconductor manufacturing in Taiwan or Singapore offers a greater return than the US. As such, the CHIPS Act investment tax credit seems a no-brainer.

Jeff Ferry of Coalition for a Prosperous America and I document that while the US maintains its edge in the design of chips, its advantages will diminish by the lack of connection to production. To improve Americans’ security and prosperity, we call on industrial leaders and policymakers to rebuild America’s chip making capabilities with a commitment to produce at least half of America’s needed chips by US majority-owned firms. Such solidarity for the US is a tall order. Firms like Applied Materials, Lam Research, and KLA turn a profit by selling advanced semiconductor equipment to Chinese military fabs CXMT and YMTC, which in turn use this equipment to build war technologies which could be used against Americans.

Another critique of the CHIPS Act is it gives large semiconductor firms public money which already have the cash to invest. Moreover questions remain to whether US policy is adequate to fuel next generation innovation in semiconductors, extend Moore’s Law, and ensure a sufficient supply of chips. These and related policy issues will be discussed at China Tech Threat’s June 8 event “Let the chips fall at BIS? ” which explores the future of the Bureau of Industry and Security, a key regulatory agency in the space.

View from a semiconductor startup

About 95 percent of semiconductor device types have been made of silicon since the 1960s, but this presents some problems, not the least of which is overcoming the physical challenge of Moore’s Law. Silicon can get too hot as data is powered through it, and cooling it creates waste. Adam Khan is innovating a cleaner, cooler, faster, and more powerful semiconductor material alternative: diamonds. Through his Akhan Semiconductor, he wants to usher in the “Diamond Age” of electronics and revolutionize display glass, optics, thermal management to monolithically integrated diamond integrated circuits. Compared to silicon, electronics made of diamond material can run hotter without degrading performance, cool more easily, tolerate higher voltage, and deliver greater throughput.

Lab-grown diamonds originate from Cold War experiments to fabricate hard materials and have subsequently be improved. Khan studied these materials in college and founded a company to manufacture diamond materials and join them with silicon semiconductor elements. Though the industry’s choice material silicon carbide continues to grow with the current install base as well as favorable cost and performance factors, Khan believes that diamond material can emerge because of its technical superiority, cleaner environmental profile, and ability to be implemented without overhauling the existing semiconductor manufacturing processes.

The US China Commission reported on China’s efforts to use diamond coatings in the Hunan Space Bureau and its advanced weapons program. Indeed Chinese actors have been implicated in the alleged theft of Akhan’s diamond technology. Khan described cooperating with the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a sting operation targeting Huawei for the attempted theft of Akhan’s Miraj Diamond® technology. Chinese actors also attempted to compromise Akhan’s computer system, according to an audit by Dark Wolf Solutions. Khan claims that US semiconductor policy does not address the strategic issue of materials, notably diamonds. He calls the clinging to the “aging silicon platform” as an “investment in stage coaches when the internal combustion engine has been invented.”

Given their important to the US economy, innovation, and security, semiconductors have taken center stage in technology policy. Moreover, managing export controls of these sensitive, strategic and emerging technologies has catapulted the little-known BIS as a key actor in international affairs. Whether, how, and where the chips fall has implications for the future.

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As the U.S. Government Addresses the Semiconductor Supply Chain, AKHAN Semiconductor Partners with The Tech Advocates to Bring its Miraj Diamond® Technology to Various Government Innovation Projects

BusinessWire- May 25, 2021

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor (AKHAN), a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of synthetic, lab-grown electronics-grade diamond materials addressing semiconductor, telecom, and consumer industries and global markets, announced today a partnership with The Tech Advocates. As the Biden Administration addresses the current semiconductor shortage by assessing the existing U.S. semiconductor supply chain, The Tech Advocates will demonstrate AKHAN’s breakthrough Miraj Diamond® Technology which is well positioned to enhance various government projects that need access to the very best American technology and innovations through public/private partnerships.

The Tech Advocates, a team of individuals with experience working within the Department of Defense, amongst other key government agencies, strive to create strong, trusted relationships between rapidly advancing tech companies like AKHAN and innovative U.S. Government offices looking to solve real problems. As the United States Government works to prioritize the importance of stateside chip development and manufacturing, The Tech Advocates will work to integrate AKHAN with critical government opportunities surrounding AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond® Optics and Miraj Diamond® Electronics solutions to further advance government initiatives. Given the importance of semiconductors to both consumer and defense technologies, the U.S. government is set to benefit in various ways from AKHAN’s breakthrough tech, especially when you consider that recent AKHAN research was funded by the US Army.

“As we navigate a post-Moore’s Law world, AKHAN’s ability to take current semiconductor fabrication capabilities and rapidly create state-of-the-art enhancement with very little changes to the existing manufacturing processes makes us an ideal government partner. Our tech can efficiently integrate into existing technologies and enhance performance across applications,” said Adam Khan, Founder and CEO of AKHAN Semiconductor. “AKHAN chose The Tech Advocates as its first sales partner largely due to the outstanding job of Daniel Marrujo, who’s experience in the electronics, optical and semiconductor industries is equaled by his trusted relationships and desire to add value.”

The U.S. Government relies on a high mix of technologies and systems to support its various missions and projects, and AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond® portfolio has the ability to improve the overall performance of those systems with specific advancements to power transistors, radio frequency (RF) and microwave electronics, With a thermal conductivity higher than any other known material and thermal shock robustness 100 times that of other optical materials, AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond® Optics materials are critical for mitigating land, sea, air, and space threats delivered with ever increasing velocities, quantities, and accuracies. AKHAN’s Miraj Diamond® Electronics materials can be applied to various tech devices to make them faster, thinner, more powerful and able to operate at higher temperatures.

“The Department of Defense relies on a high mix of technologies that integrate into their systems. These systems must perform in traditional and irregular environments,” said Marrujo, who leads The Tech Advocates and is the former Chief Strategy Officer for the Department of Defense Microelectronics Activity, “AKHAN’s advanced diamond technology allows the Department of Defense to dramatically improve their performance for current and next generation platforms.”

Read The Full Press Release Here

AKHAN Semiconductor Adds Two New Members to Its Board of Directors

BusinessWire- February 02, 2021

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of synthetic, lab-grown electronics-grade diamonds addressing the semiconductor, telecom, consumer display and global markets, announced today that it has added veteran business executive King R. Lee and corporate finance and strategy consultant Holger Heims to its Board of Directors. Lee and Heims both bring distinct business acumen and decades of experience to AKHAN and will be instrumental in the company’s efforts to expand its Miraj Diamond® products globally across verticals, including consumer electronics, semiconductors, telecom/optics among the various industries AKHAN has targeted for key growth.

King R. Lee, a veteran CEO with 25 years of experience working in both public and private international companies, currently serves as a Partner of Resource Capitalist, LLC, where he advises companies in the technology space. In his recent past, King acted as the CEO of Good Technology, a cybersecurity company targeting mobile devices, where he helped transition from a consumer-focused company to an enterprise solution, increasing revenue by 700%. In addition to his experience across technologies, King has held numerous positions as CEO of both public and private technology companies, international and domestic, and worked with top tier international private equity firms as a board member, including fundraising in private and public transactions for growth companies.

“As AKHAN continues to develop their patent portfolio and its applications addressing several huge technology sectors, my experience in building high growth corporate structures and focusing on execution will be helpful in ensuring the Company reaches its goals,” said Lee. “Whether it’s for the semiconductor, telecom or automotive sector or applying it to other cutting-edge technologies, AKHAN’s diamond tech is an industry-changing solution with great global opportunity.”

Holger Heims also joins AKHAN’s board with extensive experience as CEO and CFO of public companies in the U.S. and Europe, and a track record of helping technology companies scale to a global level and enter new markets. Currently acting as the Managing Partner of Falcon Equity Advisors of Switzerland, Holger has more than 30 years of professional experience, in international private equity (Deutsche Bank and others), M&A and cross-border corporate finance, particular in the Middle East and emerging markets, all of which will be helpful to AKHAN as it targets new regions for expanded manufacturing capacity.

“As companies across industries come to realize they need AKHAN’s breakthrough solution, I’ve been provided with a great opportunity to step in and collaborate with existing leadership during this period of rapid growth,” said Heims. “As we continue to identify crucial avenues where AKHAN’s products can be applied, I’m confident my experience can assist in positioning the company for further successful and sustainable growth, and advancing their technology portfolio with almost limitless possibilities in entering various global markets.”

Read The Full Press Release Here

AKHAN Semiconductor Hires Chief Marketing Officer from Forbes to Same Position

BusinessWire- January 26, 2021

CHICAGO--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronic-grade diamonds, announced today that it has added Thomas P. Davis as its new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Davis is an experienced marketer with a proven track record of building teams to achieve business goals and stakeholder growth. Davis most recently held the positions of CMO and Chief Growth Officer at Forbes, a brand synonymous with business success and achievement. At Forbes, Davis worked to expand the reach of the business beyond the legacy magazine’s efforts into dozens of global partnerships and new audience platforms around the world.

Davis’ experience in developing global partnerships and knowledge of how business needs to keep pace with the rate of change will be instrumental for AKHAN as it expands its Miraj Diamond® Technology product line to address essential verticals, including consumer electronics, aerospace, military and defense, and more. As AKHAN’s technology continues to develop and advance, Davis will rely on his experience using new tools to build communities, increase engagement, corporate revenue and profitability while keeping pace with the rapid growth that AKHAN is currently experiencing.

“AKHAN Semiconductor and its breakthrough Miraj Diamond® Technology provides me with a unique opportunity to join a burgeoning company with products that will change all aspects of the way we live our lives, from more efficient cell phones to technologies that help keep our nation safe,” said Davis. “Adam Khan and the executive leadership team at AKHAN has developed game-changing technology, and I look forward to bringing it to the masses.”

In his new role at AKHAN, Davis will rely on his distinguished intellectual capital, gained from working closely with a powerful network of business partners and colleagues, to expand AKHAN globally, develop new product lines, and further transform the organization to create a culture of abundant thinking and powerful possibilities.

“Tom has a history of constant achievement and a proven track-record in taking successful businesses and growing them to reach their max potential,” said Adam Khan, CEO and Founder of AKHAN Semiconductor. “Tom will play a key role in developing market outreach and customer acquisition strategies across our entire Miraj Diamond® portfolio to ensure we’re continuing to meet the key growth metrics our stakeholders have come to expect. He’ll be a welcome addition to the executive team.”

Before joining Forbes in 2008, Davis held multiple roles at International Data Group (IDG), including Associate Publisher of Network World and General Manager of IDG’s Customer Access Group. In 2016, Davis joined the Ad Council Board of Directors. He was also recognized by the Advertising Club of New York in 2016 with the Action Award, honoring advocates for the importance of diversity and inclusion through MEDIACTION. Additionally, he received the 2016 Revvie Award as Marketing Executive of the Year along with the 2014 Min Award for Sales Leader of the Year. A graduate of Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, Davis lives in New York with his wife and children.

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AKHAN Semiconductor Awarded Additional Major Patents in Taiwan & South Korea

BusinessWire- January 14, 2021

CHICAGO--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronic-grade diamonds, announced today that it has been issued additional patents for invention by the Taiwan and Korean Intellectual Property Offices. The patents cover additional claims for AKHAN’s next-generation N-type diamond semiconductor electronics materials and devices. The applications for this technology platform span everything from control & guidance electronics in military & space, power inverter for automotive, to FPGA and Logic Integrated Circuits for the global semiconductor industry.

The Taiwanese-issued patent, I711153, and South Korea-issued patent 10-2195950, are key additions to AKHAN’s breakthrough Miraj Diamond® intellectual property portfolio. It is the Company’s fourth issued patent from Taiwan, the global leader in semiconductor chip manufacturing, and third issued patent from South Korea, another global leader in semiconductor foundry processing. The technology enables breakthrough performance in semiconductor electronics. Through the integration of high-quality doped diamond in semiconductor electronics applications, the novel systems allow for next-generation electronics performance, including higher power & frequency capability, higher voltages of operation, higher current density, higher thermal conductivity/reduced thermal budget, amongst other favorable attributes.

“Taiwan & South Korea both represent the global leadership when it comes to semiconductor foundries & production and are home to several of the largest chip foundries, including TSCMS, SMIC, and Samsung, so it’s important that AKHAN has an established presence in these countries, as well as the proper intellectual property protections in place,” said Adam Khan, CEO of AKHAN Semiconductor. “These patents will be critically important in advancing AKHAN’s partnerships and relationships with companies throughout Taiwan, South Korea, and the world.”

AKHAN’s comprehensive Miraj Diamond® Electronics portfolio is at the center of the company’s ability to manufacture next-generation diamond semiconductor technology. The platform enables fabrication of complex devices such as high speed/power transistors, RF, and microwave electronics. Fabricated devices have been shown to be faster, more efficient, and >1,000x thinner than the state of the art in both diamond and silicon technologies.

Read The Full Press Release Here

Amidst Rapid Growth, AKHAN Semiconductor Appoints New Board Member

BusinessWire- January 07, 2021

CHICAGO--AKHAN Semiconductor, a technology company specializing in the fabrication and application of lab-grown, electronic-grade diamonds, announced today it has appointed Haydar F. Alireza to its Board of Directors. An experienced investor with an entrepreneurial spirit, Alireza currently acts as the General Manager of Reza Investment Company, a diversified, private conglomerate that represents companies with interest in manufacturing, construction, industrial and commercial services, oil services, retail, food and advertising.

Reza’s operations span the Middle East and South East Asia, and Alireza’s appointment will provide AKHAN with welcome guidance as it targets those regions for growth. Alireza will also call upon his experience investing with distinguished companies pre-IPO, like DocuSign, Lyft, Palantir Technologies, Chime, Robinhood, among others, to catapult AKHAN Semiconductor as its Miraj DiamondⓇ Technology becomes a valuable resource across industries, from consumer electronics to aerospace and beyond.

“As the importance of semiconductors and the advanced materials used to create them comes to the forefront of the global stage, I am elated about the opportunity to apply my passion for growing businesses as a member of the AKHAN board,” said Alireza. “It’s my core belief that businesses have a social responsibility to implement programs that promote positive impacts across all aspects of business, including the environment and community, which is why AKHAN provides such a unique opportunity. With so many use cases for its Miraj DiamondⓇ Technology, I’m eager to collaborate with existing company leadership to meet the needs of key verticals, and ensure we’re doing it in a proper, sustainable way that benefits all involved.”

In addition to his current role at Reza Investment Company, Alireza currently serves on the board of several private companies, and has served on the boards of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization and the Young Presidents Organization.

Read The Full Press Release Here