Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund invests $150,000 in Manta Biofuel

Company could remove algae blooms from the Bay and convert them into crude oil

Manta Biofuel

The Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund has invested $150,000 into Manta Biofuel LLC, a company that produces crude oil from algae at a cost that is competitive with traditional petroleum, University of Maryland officials announce today.

The promise is this: Manta could one day skim algae right off of the Chesapeake Bay and convert it into oil, simultaneously cleaning up deadly algae blooms and providing the precursor for clean, renewable fuels.

Harmful algae blooms can choke out large swaths of the bay, depriving fish, crabs and other marine life of oxygen and blocking sunlight for underwater bay grasses. Algae blooms are caused by excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, entering into waterways, from sources such as agriculture, air deposition, septic systems, sewage treatment plants, and runoff from lawns, gardens and paved surfaces.

“Manta Biofuel has developed novel technologies for harvesting algae that address a critical threat to the Chesapeake Bay: life-killing algae blooms,” said Craig Dye, director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) Ventures Program, which administers the Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund. “The company has also solved key challenges for cost-effectively growing algae and converting it into oil, enabling the company to potentially compete as a viable fuel provider in the burgeoning energy field.”

Manta plans to use the funding to develop the next-generation prototype of its portable, solar-powered, floating algae harvester, which autonomously navigates through waters and collects algae.

Once collected, the algal biomass is converted by Manta into crude oil by subjecting it to high temperature and pressure in a process called hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL).

The oil produced is largely equivalent to petroleum and can be used as a drop-in replacement at the refinery level. Fuels produced from Manta’s oil are renewable and carbon-neutral.

Manta licensed its harvesting technology from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where company co-founder Ryan Powell invented it while earning his Ph.D. at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET).

Based in Reisterstown, Manta has also received more than $530,000 in total funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Invest Maryland Challenge, TEDCO Technology Validation Program (TVP) and the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technologies REEF program.

The company recently established a large pilot production facility in Thurmont, Md.

The Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund invests in Maryland-based startup companies with innovative technologies that may help improve air and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay area. The program, created in 2008, is made possible by funds from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Fund recipients are jointly selected by Mtech and DNR.

Previous recipients of Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund investments include: Zymetis (now Aemetis), Traffax Inc., Smart Slopes LLC (now Furbish) and NutriGrown LLC.

Redox Named Best Green Incubator Company in Maryland for 2015

Redox Power Systems

Redox Power Systems, an Mtech Technology Advancement Program (TAP) incubator company developing fuel cells and distributed power generation systems for commercial, industrial, residential, military and mobile applications, has won the 2015 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Award for Best Environment/Energy Company.

The award was presented to Bryan Blackburn and Tom Langdo of Redox, Eric Wachsman of the University of Maryland, and Craig Dye of Mtech at the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards ceremony on June 4 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Md.

“Redox is truly honored to be recognized as an Incubator Company of the Year, which is a result of the hard work and efforts of the Redox team,” said Bryan Blackburn, Acting Chief Executive Officer, co-founder, and Chief Technology Officer of Redox. “We are proud to do business in Maryland and look forward to being a driver of significant job creation in the state. We would like to thank Mtech and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland for helping us as we grow.”

Co-founded by Professor Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC), Redox is commercializing Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technologies with high power density and lower operating temperatures, enabling the company to drastically reduce the cost, size, and weight of reliable on-site electrical generation systems.

Among the technologies available to convert hydrocarbon-based fuels (e.g., natural gas) to electricity, SOFCs uniquely have an energy conversion efficiency of 45-65 percent, which is nearly twice the efficiency of conventional internal combustion engines.  In combined heat and power applications, the energy conversion efficiency can approach 90 percent. The modular nature of Redox’s products allows the tailoring of systems to a broad range of power generation capacities and fuel options.

Redox Power Systems fuel cell

The Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards publicly recognize achievements by current clients and graduates of all Maryland incubators and provides a forum for the nominees to increase their visibility in the business, technology, and investment communities. The Best Environment/Energy Company category recognizes companies that produce products or provide services that minimize damage to the environment.

Winning companies were selected based on their goals and success in achieving their objectives. Judges considered factors such as technology or product development, intellectual property, increase in employee numbers, growth in revenue or earnings, engagement of significant customers and strategic partners, receipt of awards or grants, attraction of outside investors, innovation, self-sufficiency, impact on the region and usage of the incubator’s services.

Redox has a long history with the Clark School’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech). In 2012, the company was a winner in the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. That same year, Redox entered Mtech’s Venture Accelerator (VA) program, which speeds the advancement of promising early stage technology companies at UMD through intensive business guidance. Redox graduated from VA program after only one quarter. In 2014, the company received an Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program grant to characterize the strength, performance, and reliability of enhancements Redox is making to its SOFCs. In late 2014, Redox entered the TAP incubator, which provides high-tech on-campus workspace and continued expert business guidance.

VisiSonics’ RealSpace 3D Audio Software Licensed by Oculus for Virtual Reality

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (

Oculus announced the deal at Oculus Connect, the company’s first developer conference, in Los Angeles, Calif.

RealSpace™ 3D Audio enables the virtual placement of sound anywhere in a 3D space with pinpoint accuracy, creating the perception of real source direction, distance, depth, and movement relative to a listener when heard through standard stereo headphones. It re-creates the auditory ambience of an environment, creating a completely immersive audio experience.

“Audio is an essential ingredient for immersive virtual reality,” said Brendan Iribe, CEO at Oculus. “The technology that the VisiSonics team has developed is a great start towards developing a fully-featured VR audio solution, and we’re incredibly excited to be licensing their work to drive VR forward.”

Based on ten years of research at the University of Maryland, RealSpace™ 3D Audio models the transformations sound undergoes as it travels from a source to a listener’s ears in an environment, using a combination of head-related transfer functions, room models and head-tracking, as well as their interplay.

“We are excited to see our RealSpace engine technology as part of the future of Oculus’ virtual reality systems,” said VisiSonics Founder and President Ramani Duraiswami. “We believe we are at a threshold for physics-based personal audio rendering in virtual reality. Oculus’ innovative technology is poised to catalyze the industry, and we are incredibly happy to play a role in this.”

RealSpace™ 3D Audio technology demos are available today at

VisiSonics is an Mtech Technology Advancement Program incubator company, Maryland Industrial Partnerships grant winner, and a previous finalist for the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition.

Free, Open Entrepreneur Office Hours Come to Baltimore

Services Include Advice on Business Strategy, Financing, Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer and Introductions to Resources

Pictured: The Columbus Center, located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Baltimore Entrepreneur Office Hours will located in the Columbus Center, home to the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET).

Pictured: The Columbus Center, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and home to the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), where Baltimore Entrepreneur Office Hours are hosted.

The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) and the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) are partnering with representatives from the greater Baltimore entrepreneurship community to offer free, open Baltimore Entrepreneur Office Hours on the third Tuesday of each month. Interested entrepreneurs and innovators can walk in, or reserve a slot online at

These services, offered to the entire Baltimore community, are modeled after Mtech’s Entrepreneur Office Hours at the University of Maryland, through which more than 1,000 entrepreneurs have received assistance since 2007.

“We are excited to partner with Mtech Baltimore Director Martha Connolly and Mtech Ventures Director Craig Dye to bring the institute’s expertise, along with business and legal professionals in the region, to cultivate the flourishing entrepreneurship ecosystem in Baltimore,” said Russell Hill, Director of IMET. “Baltimore Entrepreneur Office Hours are a great first step for current or aspiring entrepreneurs to receive free and impartial advice, brainstorm business strategies, investigate funding opportunities and learn about additional resources available to entrepreneurs.”

Baltimore Entrepreneur Office Hours will help aspiring and current entrepreneurs with tech-based startups or ideas get advice on how to:

  • Build and finance a startup company;
  • Develop and protect intellectual property;
  • Navigate the technology transfer process;
  • Refine their business strategy for rapid growth; and
  • Tap into additional entrepreneurial resources

Representatives from the following organizations and groups and more will typically be on hand to speak with entrepreneurs and innovators one-on-one regarding any questions they might have about starting a company or commercializing a technology:

“Mtech is enthusiastic about the opportunity of bringing entrepreneur office hours to Baltimore,” said Peter Sandborn, Director of Mtech. “We have found this service to be an effective way of supporting our own entrepreneurial community by providing them with free access to proven experts, along with connections to the vast resources available to them in the State of Maryland. We look forward to getting to know the thriving entrepreneurship community in Baltimore.”

Baltimore Entrepreneur Office Hours are open and free to any interested innovators or entrepreneurs in the greater Baltimore region. Participants can walk in or reserve a slot online at

Redox, UMD, Microsoft, Trans-Tech to Develop Transformational Natural Gas Fuel Cells Through $5 Million in ARPA-E Funding

Redox solid oxide fuel cell

Redox Power Systems LLC, the University of MarylandMicrosoft Corporation and Trans-Tech Inc. (a subsidiary of Skyworks Solutions Inc.) are teaming to develop transformational fuel cells through a $5 million cooperative agreement funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Reliable Electricity Based on ELectrochemical Systems (REBELS) program, company and university officials jointly announce today.

The goal of the project is to further advance Redox’s high-performance fuel cells and drive them to market-readiness for a broad range of applications, including low-cost distributed power generation and heating and cooling for homes, and for Microsoft—which is providing additional support for the project—energy-efficient datacenters.

These new markets complement Redox’s existing 25 kW product, known as “The Cube,” which is designed for larger commercial structures and can comfortably power a gas station, moderately sized grocery store or small shopping plaza.

The technological advances resulting from this project will also open the door for additional applications such as transportation.

“This project will finally make fuel cells an affordable technology,” said Professor Eric Wachsman, Director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, who is also a Redox co-founder. “All of the elements we are going to work on—lower temperature, higher power density, faster startup time and load following—these will make fuel cells easier to sell by bringing their cost down even further. It accelerates everything.”

Fuel cells—or devices that convert the chemical energy of a fuel source into electrical energy—are optimal for distributed power generation systems, which generate power close to where it is used, according to ARPA-E. Distributed generation systems offer an alternative to the large, centralized power generation facilities or power plants that are currently commonplace.

Those systems, powered by natural gas (or a wide variety of alternative fuel sources, including liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel) through Redox’s solid oxide fuel cells, could become a reality if this project is successful.

Led by Fulton, Md.-based Redox, the three-year ARPA-E agreement has UMD partnering with the company to improve its solid oxide fuel cells by the following minimum requirements:

  • Reduce the operating temperatures of their record high-power-density fuel cells from an already industry-leading 650 degrees Celsius to the 300-500 °C range;
  • Enable a start-up time of less than ten minutes; and
  • Respond to electrical load changes, from 10-90 percent power in less than one minute.

“This will be a major advancement in our fuel cell technology,” said Bryan Blackburn, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Redox. “It will not be incremental. We are working on every aspect of the cell—the anode, the cathode, the electrolyte. The materials will be different. Every single aspect will synergistically come together to form our highest performing, lowest-cost fuel cell.”

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell

View a high-resolution diagram of the Redox solid oxide fuel cell depicting how it works.

Trans-Tech Inc., based in Adamstown, Md., will work with Redox and UMD to ramp up the commercial production of new cell materials. They will also work with Redox to manufacture the improved fuel cells, establishing ways to reduce production costs. By bringing a large manufacturer like Trans-Tech into the development process early on and working with fuel cells produced using industrial processes, the required time-to-market for new generations of enhanced cells will decrease.

Redox will also redesign its fuel cell stacks to achieve ARPA-E performance targets and reduce costs even further, after which they go to Microsoft for integration and independent live testing in the company’s server racks.

“Our vision is to bring the power plant directly into the datacenter by integrating fuel cell stacks into every server cabinet, effectively eliminating energy loss that otherwise occurs in the energy supply chain and doubling the efficiency of traditional datacenters,” said Sean James, Senior Research Program Manager for Microsoft Global Foundation Services. “We expect to effectively double our efficiency, from fuel to load, while cutting out many points of failure. The resulting system could be significantly less expensive than traditional datacenter designs. Overall, we believe the advancements being made in fuel cells will someday change the game in terms of how energy is delivered and managed.”

Microsoft is also a powerful buyer.

“In this case the partner is also the potential customer,” explained Blackburn. “If Microsoft adopts these fuel cell systems at a large scale, they could provide just the right initial market and critical mass to drive the cost of our fuel cells down even further.”

The Redox-led project is one of 13 funded by the REBELS program, which ARPA-E announced on June 19, 2014, worth a total of $33 million.

“These 13 REBELS projects are an excellent example of how ARPA-E is developing innovative technology options to transform and modernize America’s evolving electric grid,” said ARPA-E Acting Director Dr. Cheryl Martin. “Distributed generation technologies like these could fundamentally change the way America generates and stores energy.”

Redox, initially co-founded by Wachsman and Blackburn after the former spent 25 years developing industry-leading solid oxide fuel cells, was a winner in the 2012 University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition, run by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech). After winning the competition, the company entered Mtech’s VentureAccelerator Program, which helps University of Maryland inventors get their research out of laboratories and into industry by creating successful companies.

Three months later, the company was reformed along with an outside investment and management team and moved to Fulton, Md.

UMD Alumni Hatch Sub-$300 Consumer 3D Printer, Raise $3.3 Million on Kickstarter

The Micro 1

Two University of Maryland graduates have designed The Micro, a consumer-friendly, sub-$300 3D printer, and are quickly staging one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all-time to produce it, hauling in $3.3 million with more than 10,000 backers.

The Micro raced past its $50,000 goal in just 11 minutes and hit the $1 million mark in 25 hours, faster than the Pebble watch, which took 28 hours.

Now, with less than 24 hours to go in a 30-day campaign, this is the last chance to order from the first batch of The Micro 3D printers on Kickstarter, a Web-based funding platform for creative projects.

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a computer-generated digital model.

“A 3D printer is a magical box that creates things,” said Michael Armani (B.S., mechanical engineering, 2005 and Ph.D., bioengineering, 2010), co-founder ofM3D, the company he launched with David Jones (B.S., computer science, 2006). “It’s that simple. There is nothing on your desk one second, and the next you have it.”

The Micro 2

Weighing just two pounds, medium watermelon-sized and box-shaped, The Micro can be used to create anything from custom jewellery, cookie cutters, everyday objects around the house, and even real engineering and artistic prototypes, according to the company. Much like a paper printer, The Micro attaches to a computer, through which users download or create models using M3D’s software, which company officials say is as interactive and enjoyable as playing a game. Once a model is selected, users hit print and the object is made.

“Starting with a seamless design, we created the Micro by preserving the best features of existing printers and redesigning everything else,” said Jones. “What’s more, we kept the cost of The Micro low by ensuring that it’s both space and power efficient, using as much power as a tablet would use. We are excited to be a part of the 3D printing revolution, and hope that The Micro will play its part in changing the way people build, innovate and create.”

Not only did Armani, Jones and the M3D team, which includes four others with UMD affiliations, create the most affordable 3D printer, they also claim 15 additional innovations over current models:

  1. Most space-efficient 3D printer ever made
  2. Lightweight, portable design fits nicely on a desk
  3. Micro motion chip provides completely automatic leveling and calibration
  4. Most quiet 3D printer ever made
  5. Lowest power consumption 3D printer ever made
  6. Carbon fiber rods: light, sturdy, self-lubricating and long-lasting
  7. Ceramic heater for rapid heat-up, power efficiency, reliability and safety
  8. Available in bold colors: silver, black, blue, red, orange and green
  9. New filament materials like Chameleon PLA.
  10. Inspirational Micro filament spools
  11. Modernized touch-capable software
  12. Replaceable print beds for alternative materials
  13. Replaceable nozzles for experimenters
  14. Designed for fast assembly in the U.S. for quality control
  15. An ABS-based print bed allows you to print larger ABS parts.

The Micro is powered by what the company collectively calls Micro Motion Technology™, a series of next generation innovations that together create precision at a fraction of the cost.

M3D plans to assemble its printers in the U.S. and is seeking manufacturing space in Montgomery County, Md. The company is based in Bethesda.
Armani and Jones met at UMD in 2002 while auditing a biology class that neither of them needed to graduate. Their friendship has grown ever since.

A serial entrepreneur, Armani won $5,000 in Mtech’s UMD $75K Business Plan Competition in 2010 for CloudSolar, a company he launched to develop solar energy technologies.

Additional UMD-affiliated M3D team members include: Danny Lee (B.S., 1989), Su Lee (economics, 2011), Aliaksandr Mamonau (electrical and computer engineering and computer science, expected fall 2015), and Syed Rahman (mechanical engineering, expected 2015).

High-resolution screenshots, logos and headshots are available here. For more information, please visit The Micro’s website here and M3D’s website here.

CoolCAD Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Security Keychain that Locks Your Computer When You Are Away

GateKeeper Chain

CoolCAD Electronics LLC, a University of Maryland-based electronics design company, just launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign for its new GateKeeper Chain security product, a small, colorful key fob that automatically locks your computer when you leave and unlocks it when you return, university officials announce today.

The GateKeeper Chain works over Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth SMART) wireless technology, combining a personal sensor with an encrypted connection that allows only its unique key to unlock your computer. The password is encrypted and stored on your PC, not the GK-Chain—so no one can steal it. The result is effortless security for your computer when you walk away, and easy access when you return.

“Our goal is provide people who use computers with optimal security and convenience,” said Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate Dr. Siddharth Potbhare (M.S. 2005, Ph.D. 2008), who co-founded CoolCAD. “It’s easy to forget to lock your computer when you leave your desk, and it’s a chore to log back in when you get back. GateKeeper takes care of both.”

As an extra layer of security, CoolCAD offers a companion smartphone application that lets you manage and track your keys, but more importantly—warns you when you leave your keys behind.

Initial prototypes work with PCs and Android phones, although the company is creating Macintosh and iOS versions as well.

Rewards for backers of the GateKeeper Chain Kickstarter campaign include access to pre-production-run prototypes, custom gold or silver key fobs, laboratory tours with CoolCAD’s engineers and designers, and up to 50 hours of one-on-one consulting to create customized products, which could include logos, additional branding and optional form factors.

CoolCAD plans to use its Kickstarter funding to take the patent-pending GateKeeper Chain from a fully functional prototype to a 200-unit pilot production run, which the company will use to obtain FCC certification and conduct comprehensive reliability testing and failure analysis tests.

Full production runs for the GateKeeper Chain are slated for June, with an expected delivery of the first 4,000 devices in July.

GateKeeper Chain

CoolCAD’s ten-member team includes Co-Founders UMD Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Research Professor Neil Goldsman, and Vice President and UMD alumnus Dr. Akin Akturk, who earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2006.

CoolCAD is a member of the Technology Advancement Program incubator, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, whose graduates include Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation, both of whom were acquired for more than $1 billion. The company’s headquarters are in Mtech’s Technology Ventures Building, located off-campus near the College Park Metrorail station.

CoolCAD has acquired research and development projects and subcontracts totaling over $4 million over the past five years, including Phase I and Phase II SBIRs/STTRs and four Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships program grants with two different UMD professors.

Mtech TAP Incubator Graduate Neuralstem Inc. Closes $20 Million Investment


Neuralstem Inc., a 2001 graduate of the Mtech Technology Advancement Program (TAP) incubator, announced that it closed on a $20 million investment from leading institutional and accredited investors in a registered direct placement of 6,872,859 shares of common stock at a price of $2.91 per share.

neuralstem_logoBased in Rockville, Md., Neuralstem, now a publicly traded biotherapeutics company, features a patented technology that enables the production of neural stem cells of the brain and spinal cord in commercial quantities, and the ability to control the differentiation of these cells constitutively into mature, physiologically relevant human neurons and glial cells.

“We are very pleased to have raised the capital in this offering from leading institutional investors, including dedicated institutional healthcare investors. With the proceeds strengthening our cash balance, we have the resources to further advance our cell therapy and small molecule clinical trial programs,” said Richard Garr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neuralstem.

Neuralstem’s NSI-566 spinal cord-derived stem cell therapy is in Phase II clinical trials for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Neuralstem has been awarded orphan status designation by the FDA for its ALS cell therapy.

Neuralstem was in TAP from April 1997 to December 2001. The company’s office space was accented with large, white canopies over its desks, creating a neural network-looking appearance when taken in aggregate.

In addition to ALS, Neuralstem is also targeting major central nervous system conditions with its NSI-566 cell therapy platform, including spinal cord injury and ischemic stroke. The company has received FDA approval to commence a Phase I safety trial in chronic spinal cord injury.

Neuralstem also maintains the ability to generate stable human neural stem cell lines suitable for the systematic screening of large chemical libraries. Through this proprietary screening technology, Neuralstem has discovered and patented compounds that may stimulate the brain’s capacity to generate neurons, possibly reversing pathologies associated with certain central nervous system conditions.  The company has completed a Phase I safety trial evaluating NSI-189, its first neurogenic small molecule product candidate, for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Additional indications might include traumatic brain injury (TBI), Alzheimer’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For more information about Neuralstem, visit or connect with the company on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.

Pixelligent Granted Innovation Research Award for Next-Generation OLED Lighting


Pixelligent Technologies, an Mtech TAP incubator graduate and MIPS funding recipient, recently announced it was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The nine-month, $150,000 program will enable Pixelligent to accelerate the development of its nanoadditives for use in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting, which is used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens, computer monitors, portable systems such as mobile phones, handheld games consoles and PDAs. As part of this program, Pixelligent will partner with OLEDWorks LLC, a leading OLED lighting company.

“As we continue working with the world’s leading electronics and next generation lighting companies, we are excited to partner with OLEDWorks, one of the leading American manufacturers of OLED lighting solutions”, said Craig Bandes, president and CEO of Pixelligent.

The SBIR program, established by the U.S. Congress, supports scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds. The goal of the program, titled Advanced Light Extraction Material for OLED Lighting, is to develop an internal light-extraction structure that will be fully compatible with OLED device manufacturing processes and operating conditions that can expedite the commercialization of white OLED lighting.

“We are honored to receive this highly competitive grant from the DOE that recognizes the significant value our advanced materials can provide in Solid State Lighting (SSL) applications”, commented Dr. Gregory D. Cooper, CTO and Founder of Pixelligent Technologies.

Since 2012, the company has received three SBIR grants from the Department of Energy, totaling $1.3 million, to expedite the development of its advanced materials for commercial use.

Once occupying four wet labs and two offices in TAP from 2005 to 2011, Pixelligent moved to Baltimore in June, 2011. In 2012, the company expanded its footprint to include more than 13,000 sq. ft. and has increased its work force by nearly 150 percent since moving operations to Baltimore. This growth is attributed to the increased demand for its proprietary Zirconia nanocrystal additives and the progress Pixelligent has made in significantly scaling-up its manufacturing capacity. The company is now producing and shipping its nanocrystal additives to customers around the world.

Also in 2005, Pixelligent worked with UMD chemistry and biochemistry Professor Daniel Falvey through a Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant on nanocrystal additives for increased resolution in photolithography. The project helped Pixelligent as it transitioned its technology to other applications in semiconductor manufacturing and the electronics industry, according to the company.

In December 2012, The Baltimore Sun reported that Pixelligent was “searching the region for space for a manufacturing facility capable of increasing its capacity to make nanocrystal coatings for electronics and semiconductors by 10 times or more.”

Pixelligent has raised more than $17 million over the past four and a half years.

Pixelligent’s first three employees earned their Ph.D.s from the University of Maryland. Founder & CTO Greg Cooper earned his Physics, Zhiyun Chen, Vice President of Engineering, earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, and Serpil Gonen Williams, Vice President of Product Development, earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry. Pixelligent also employs three other UMD graduates. Xia Bai and Selina Thomas both earned Ph.D.’s in Chemistry and Lei Zhang earned her Master’s in Material Science and Engineering.

Photos from Maryland Innovation Mpact: Bringing Fearless Ideas to Market, 10/23/13


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