Carbonics, spinoff of UCLA’s CNSI Incubator, launches with $5.5 million investment

Carbonics - wireless

A spinoff from research centers at UCLA and USC has become a standalone company, thanks to a $5.5 million investment from TAQNIA International.

The firm, Carbonics, Inc., is aiming to revolutionize traditional electronics by using carbon-based nanomaterials to vastly lower power consumption and improve the performance of smartphones and wearable devices.

Carbonics was created by UCLA’s Center of Excellence for Green Nanotechnologies, Aneeve — a resident company at UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute Technology Incubator — and the USC NanoLab, which is led by Chongwu Zhou. It will use licensed intellectual property from UCLA and USC.

Carbon-based nanomaterials include carbon nanotubes, nanodiamonds, fullerene, graphite and graphene. Engineers have been focused on finding ways to incorporate them in microchip processors for electronic devices, but Carbonics intends to use those nanomaterials to improve the performance of radio frequency transistor devices, which are found in all products with wireless connectivity.

“Carbonics technology will allow smartphones to be charged once a week instead of once a day, and they won’t heat up in your hand,” said Carbonics CEO Kos Galatsis, a nanotechnologist and former UCLA professor with more than 10 years of experience leading semiconductor technology programs.

Increased wireless traffic for everything from defense applications and big data management to wearable monitors and interactive gaming has created a need for radio frequency semiconductors that have better signal quality, higher data transfer rates, increased clarity and lower power consumption. Carbonics’ technology offers increased power efficiency and superior signal fidelity, or linearity, across a wide bandwidth.

The company is fabricating radio frequency transistor prototypes to customers’ specifications, with products scheduled for manufacturing via foundry partners in the second half of 2015.

“The need for higher bit rates and prolonged battery life is imperative for a seamless mobile user experience,” said Hani Enaya, a Carbonics co-founder. “Carbonics technology addresses the need for new materials and designs to improve the user experience.”

Kang Wang, who holds UCLA’s Raytheon Chair in Physical Electronics and is a Carbonics co-founder, said the company’s formation reflects CNSI’s mission to transfer new technologies from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace.

“The launch of Carbonics is an exemplary success of the CNSI ecosystem, from the incubator to the core laboratories,” Wang said, “Carbonics benefits from the use of the CNSI’s cleanroom core facility, a key infrastructure component to nanodevice prototyping.”