Designer Carbon Nanomaterial Production - Isis Project No 3334
An Oxford invention substantially increases the production of endohedral fullerenes, which have great potential for applications such as quantum information processing, MRI contrast agents and solar energy harvesting.
Applications and demand
There is a growing demand for materials offering improved performance for information technology, medicine and energy harvesting. The Oxford invention provides designer molecules for these technologies at unprecedented quantities. The market size for fullerenes in general is expected to exceed £3 billion by 2016.
Endohedral fullerenes are molecules with properties ideally suited for organic photovoltaics, electron spin probes and quantum information processing. The Oxford invention brings endohedral fullerenes to target these applications.
An endohedral fullerene (ER2@C82)
The invention can raise the production of endohedral fullerenes to industrial (gram) levels. This constitutes a 100-fold increase in the amount of endohedral fullerenes currently produced in laboratories. Designer molecules with tailored properties are thus made affordable.
Simplicity of design
The Oxford invention introduces two novel features for the production of endohedral fullerenes. The first is a mounting frame that can accommodate a number of graphite rods to be used as electrodes during the arc process.
The second is a rotating inverted cone that creates centrifugal forces for maximum collection of endohedral fullerenes in anaerobic conditions. These two features result in near-continuous operation by minimising the required shutting down time and optimise the conditions for increased production of air-sensitive molecules.
Readiness for market
The Oxford invention is the subject of an international patent application with 62 claims. Know-how is available to support the exploitation of the invention and subsequent IP in collaboration with the chosen industrial partner.
The Technology Readiness Level is rated at TRL 4, with the proven MK1 (lower throughput) version operating as a production unit having sold commercial grade quantities of N@C60/C60 for medical applications.
For further information please contact the the Technology Transfer Manager by using the link below.