TOKYO /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NEC Corp. announced that it has concluded an agreement with SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. (SWeNT, note 1), by which it grants SWeNT a nonexclusive license under basic patents owned by NEC covering the carbon nanotube discovered by Dr. Sumio Iijima, a senior research fellow at NEC, in 1991.
SWeNT manufactures and supplies carbon nanotube materials for a wide variety of applications worldwide using its proprietary CoMoCAT process (note 2), which was invented independently at the University of Oklahoma in the U.S. Anticipating a rapid increase in demand for carbon nanotube materials in a wide variety of fields and applications, SWeNT has recognized the necessity of acquiring a license from NEC under its basic patents to expand its business and has signed an agreement with NEC.
"NEC's carbon nanotube patents are basic patents covering single- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes, and licenses under our patents are essential for entities to manufacture or sell carbon nanotubes," said Keiji Ushijima, executive expert at NEC's Intellectual Asset Business Development and Licensing Division. "We are currently in negotiations with a number of entities worldwide who require a license from us under our patent rights, and we will continue to grant licenses to such entities, from venture companies to multinational corporations, with reasonable terms and conditions, to expand the markets of carbon nanotubes and their applications."
The carbon nanotube is drawing significant attention worldwide as a core material for nanotechnology. Owing to an extremely fine structure that has a diameter measuring on the nanometer scale (thin tube-shaped material) and superior physical and chemical properties, the carbon nanotube is expected to be used for various applications, including high-resolution AFM probes, flat-panel displays, extremely lightweight and high-strength materials, high-performance transistors, interconnect materials, fuel cells, ultra-sensitive sensors, absorbents, and conductive coatings.
NEC is actively supporting new business and value chain creation among licensees, trading companies, and application manufacturers through the licensing of its patents not only in the field of nanomaterials but also in a wide variety of business and industrial fields. It will continue to advance the licensing of its patents in connection with carbon nanotubes and their applications worldwide. For more information please visit NEC Intellectual Assets, which is a patent search database operated by NEC Corp. to introduce its intellectual assets to the market. These assets include a broad range of patents, technologies, know-how, and engineering services.
(1) SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. is a privately held independent specialty chemical firm, manufacturing single-wall carbon nanotubes for a broad array of specialty products. SWeNT was incorporated in April 2001 to spin off nanotube research developed by the University of Oklahoma. More information is available on the Web.
(2) CoMoCAT process: A catalytic method (CoMoCAT) that produces single-wall carbon nanotubes of high quality at very high selectivity, and with a remarkably narrow distribution of tube diameters. In this method, single-wall carbon nanotubes are grown by CO disproportionation (decomposition into C and carbon dioxide) at 700°–950°in flow of pure CO at a total pressure that typically ranges from 1 to 10 atm. This method is based on original work conducted by the research group of Prof. Daniel Resasco (currently chief scientist at SWeNT) at the University of Oklahoma.
About NEC Corp.
NEC Corp. is one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network, and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of its diverse and global base of customers. NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, by integrating its technical strengths in IT and networks and by providing advanced semiconductor solutions through NEC Electronics Corp. The NEC Group employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and had net sales of approximately 4,825 billion yen (approx. $41.2 billion) in the fiscal year ended March 2006. For additional information, please visit the NEC home page.