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Grolltex Joins Fight Against Pandemic

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, April 20, 2020
As researchers and companies around the world set out to battle the Coronavirus pandemic, many are revisiting graphene as a material with potential for helping to win this fight.

Grolltex Inc., a San Diego area biosensor startup that manufactures graphene has partnered up with Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute to develop a virus testing platform to help combat COVID-19.

The project involves using hand held reader units and disposable plastic testing chips designed for U.S. points of entry including, hospitals and “point of care” locations.

Jumping on the Project
Founded in 2017, Jeff Draa, co-founder and CEO of Grolltex said, “When we saw the COVID-19 virus detection work come out in the literature, showing sensitive and selective detection with a graphene sensor, we knew we had to jump on this project.”

Earlier this month, a team led by Boston College researchers used a sheet of graphene to track the electronic signals inherent in biological structures, to develop a platform to selectively identify deadly strains of bacteria.

Most interestingly, graphene sensors have been shown for several years to be capable of advanced detection and testing in fields such as genomics, small molecule-protein receptor interactions and advanced allergen sensing as well as virus detection, including Zika.

Graphene–Based Sensor
The new scientific findings also show a robust capability for a graphene-based sensor to detect the COVID-19 virus.

“Productization and roll out of a sensor like this is right in our technology wheelhouse. We’re very thankful for the quick response of the folks at Sanford Burnham with their help on the science and testing. It would take many more months, maybe even years, without them,” Draa said.

The company which spun out of UC San Diego has raised a total of $2.2 million from Tech Coast Angels, UC San Diego’s Triton Technology Fund, among other local investors.

Over the past three years, Grolltex primarily sold raw research materials to labs across the globe and eventually pivoted to servicing biosensors giants including a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company and another pharmaceutical organization based in Japan. Names were not disclosed.

As for the project, the “graphene sensor chip on plastic” platform uses a very small biological sample and can perform up to 4 to 12 viral tests, all at one time. As a result, this information may indicate the presence of having a normal flu symptoms versus serious pathogens, including the novel coronavirus.

In addition, its technology is plumbed with a number of control channels which eliminates time-consuming verification steps and helping to provide answers in minutes.

Can Be Made for Pennies
In terms of cost, using the Grolltex industrial-scale graphene manufacturing platform, sensing chips can be made for pennies and in arrays of about 10,000 per single square foot sheet, 100 sheets at a time, according to the company.

In particular, the sensor employs monolayer graphene, a single atom thick layer material. On top of the graphene, the company places additional proprietary and patented nanotechnology, including a unique sensing capability made of “gold nano-islands.”

As of today, the small startup lacks the bandwidth to roll its virus detection platform out following the completion of the science. Draa said, what lies ahead for the startup is to find a local financial partner to help scale its testing platform.

“We currently have our hands full with several prototyping efforts in place in other areas, ranging from glucose detection in saliva to a wearable blood pressure monitor in a patch configuration. But when the Sanford Burnham folks volunteered the science help on this COVID virus detection platform, we knew we had to jump on it”, said Draa, “We’re still a small start-up so we’re looking for a financial or resource partner to help us get this up to volume and in the right hands. We know we’re in one of the best locations in the U.S. for an effort like this so once we make the partnering connections, the ramp will be fast.”

Tags:  Boston College  Graphene  Groltex  Healthcare  Jeff Draa  Sensors 

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Grolltex Ships ‘World’s Smallest Graphene Strain Sensor’ to Large European Partner

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Grolltex, has shipped the first version of its patented single atom thick strain sensor to a large European sensor maker partner. The company calls this sensor device, ‘the smallest, most sensitive sensor in the world’ as the base sensing material is only one atom thick and the sensor performance is such that it is capable of measuring the contractive strength of individual heart cells called ‘cardiomyocytes’, providing an important parameter on heart cell health.

“Our strain sensor is very versatile because it is small, flexible, robust and with a gauge factor of up to 1300, it is incredibly sensitive. This means it can be used in a wide variety of applications”, said Jeff Draa, Grolltex CEO. “For example, it can be layered into the skins of airplanes to sense micro stress in the fuselage or be used as a wearable blood pressure monitor in a skin patch configuration. The prototype we delivered to our European partner was designed to measure any environmental pressure or strain that a silicon microchip might experience while sitting in its packaging. This can be important information for many defense or autonomous vehicle related device designs”.

Grolltex, short for ‘graphene-rolling-technologies’, is the largest commercial producer of single layer or electronics grade graphene in North America. The company is lately focusing more of its efforts on servicing sensor markets in the life science and biology areas and seeing continually more adoption of graphene as a sensing material for such uses as DNA sequencing and new drug discovery. Monolayer graphene films are today seen as the most promising futuristic sensing materials for their combination of surface to volume ratio (the film is only one atom thick) and its conductivity (the most conductive substance known at room temperature). 

“For advanced sensor makers that operate at the nano-scale, there is no better material to design your device with than single layer graphene”, said Draa. “The applications and devices that our customers are designing with this material are enabling many previously unobtainable measurements and single layer graphene is now available and affordable for industrialization”. Grolltex makes the raw materials for nano-sensing as well as designing specific sensor devices and packaging for many critical, next generation applications. “We are seeing an explosion of activity in the micro-sensing world as sensor makers are picking up on the versatility and measurement performance benefits of this single atom thick material”.

Tags:  Graphene  Grolltex  Jeff Draa  Nanosensors  sensors 

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Grolltex Drives Dramatic Increase of Single Layer CVD Graphene Production

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, February 25, 2019
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2019

Graphene and 2D materials producer,Grolltex has completed its recent capacity expansion and released production for 30,000 eight-inch wafer equivalents per year at its CVD monolayer fabrication facility in San Diego, California. This ‘single atomic layer’ type of graphene is used in advanced electronics and other nano-devices and supports many use cases in wearables, IoT, photonics, semiconductors, biosensing and other next generation devices.

“This is the only commercial CVD monolayergraphene production facility in California and in fact it is the largest capacity plant of its kind in the U.S.”, said CEO, Jeff Draa. “Demand for our electronics grade graphene has never been better.  Our production lines are capable of producing single layer graphene or single layer hexagonal Boron Nitride”.
Otherwise known as ‘white graphene’, hexagonal Boron Nitride (or ‘hBN’) is the single atom thick insulator complement to graphene, which is a conductor.  The material hBN also has many other interesting characteristics, including being highly transparent, very strong, possesses anti-microbial and flame-retardantproperties and is additionally a performance accelerator for graphene.  The Grolltex factory expansion supports the growth, production and transfer of both of thesesingle layer materials.

“Maybe even more exciting, we currently have four active evaluations where our customers’advanced nano-factories are testing our graphene for use as the basis for their final devices and each factory eval is going very well”, said Draa.  “The biosensing area is an early adopter for our graphene, as evidenced by customers using our material to detect DNA, find diseases in blood, monitor glucose in sweat in the form of a wearable patch and validating the safety and efficacy of new drugs in previously unthinkably short times and low costs.”

Grolltex, short for ‘graphene-rolling-technologies’, makes large area, single atom thick graphene sheets using chemical vapor deposition or ‘CVD’; essentially the process is depositing gas in a chamber, then allowing it to cool, which leaves a continuous one atom thick layer of carbon on a target substrate.  This type of graphene is highly valued for its electrical characteristics, strength and flexibility and some see it as‘next generation silicon’.

The company uses patented research and techniques initially developed at the University of California, San Diego, to produce high quality, single layer graphene, hexagonal Boron Nitride and other 2D materials and products.  The company is a practitioner of, and specializes in, exclusively sustainable graphene production methods and is committed to advancing the field of graphene to improve the future of leading-edge materials science and product design through the optimization of single atom thick materials.

Tags:  Biosensor  CVD  Graphene  Grolltex  Jeff Draa  Sensors 

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Grolltex Releases ‘Enhanced Performance Graphene’ for Electronic Devices

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Monday, October 15, 2018

San Diego based graphene and 2D materials producer Grolltex has completed characterization and is releasing for commercial sale a configuration of large area, single layer graphene that exhibits dramatically improved ‘electron mobility’, which translates to better graphene performance.  This ‘heterostructure’ contains a layer or layers of hexagonal Boron Nitride (or ‘hBN’) underneath graphene, enabling enhanced graphene capabilities.  

Grolltex has begun commercial pre-sales to customers of this ‘Enhanced Performance Graphene’ product, which can significantly improve device performance for sensing, transistors, connectivity and other key aspects of nano-devices.  This type of material performance improvement is often a stepping stone for new applications enabling large market growth toward faster, smaller, cheaper and more sensitive silicon-based devices.

“The data back from our large European device partner showed carrier mobility performance improvements starting at 30%, and our internal work shows us that with some configuration adjustments, we can even build on this toward electron mobility improvements in exponential regimes”, said Jeff Draa, Grolltex CEO and co-founder.  “We believe this is going to be incredibly important to many of our customers that build things on silicon”.

The first reason for the improvement of graphene electron mobility performance, when layered on top of hBN on a wafer, is that the underlying layer of hBN, between the wafer and the graphene, planarizes the surface of the silicon wafer and allows graphene to sit on a surface (hBN) far more conducive to graphene electron flow.  

Another reason has to do with the electron interference of the oxide coming out of the underlying Si/SiO2 wafer, if graphene sits directly on top of it.  With the hBN layer between the graphene and the wafer, the negative effect of the oxide from the wafer on graphene electron performance is greatly reduced, allowing a much freer flow of graphene electrons.  Additional advantages are lower processing temperatures and a much stronger adhesion of the graphene layer to the underlying substrate, with hBN present.

“So, when graphene sits on hBN, it performs much closer to the theoretical ‘electron superhighway’ that graphene users expect”, according to Draa. “We have characterized and are selling this heterostructure to our pre-qualified customers in up to 8” (200mm) diameter configurations and can layer hBN and graphene in any combination”. 

“Device designers, especially advanced sensor makers, are really keyed in to electron mobility. There are many variables that affect this and he who can square those away and show dramatic improvements in mobility can help add real, unique and substantial value to device performance”, said Draa. “Next on our characterization list is MoS2, which is an important ‘band-gap’ material that has been missing in 2D offerings.”

Grolltex, short for ‘graphene-rolling-technologies’, uses patented research and techniques initially developed at the University of California, San Diego, to produce high quality, single layer graphene, hexagonal Boron Nitride and other 2D materials and products.  The company is a practitioner of, and specializes in, exclusively sustainable graphene production methods and is committed to advancing the field of graphene to improve the future of leading edge materials science and product design through the optimization of single atom thick materials.

About Grolltex:

Grolltex, Inc., is a nanotechnology materials, products and equipment company focusing on the optimization and advancement of the key monolayer material ‘graphene’ and related 2D materials.  The company holds a number of strategic patents and technological advantages in areas relating to the manufacture of high quality, monolayer ‘CVD’ graphene and hexagonal Boron Nitride as well as on several advanced products made of graphene and 2D materials, such as hyper efficient solar cells, next generation sensors, advanced fuel cells and futuristic super-thin and flexible displays for use in wearables, smart phones and other electronics.  

For complete information, please visit: https://grolltex.com/

 

Media Contact:

Attn: Media Relations, Grolltex, Inc.

10085 Scripps Ranch Court, Suite D

San Diego, CA 92131

support@grolltex.com

Tags:  CVD  Electronics  Graphene  Grolltex  HbN  Jeff Draa 

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