Top techies visit Warren Township High School physics class

  • Argonne National Laboratory scientist Ani Sumant, right, demonstrates thermal conductivity of a diamond and other high-tech experiments to Becky Haight, center, and other Warren Township High School advanced placement physics and chemistry students Tuesday.

    Argonne National Laboratory scientist Ani Sumant, right, demonstrates thermal conductivity of a diamond and other high-tech experiments to Becky Haight, center, and other Warren Township High School advanced placement physics and chemistry students Tuesday. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Adam Kahn, right, a former Warren Township High School student and founder of AKHAN Semiconductor Inc., talks with Warren student Parker Main, during classroom demonstrations on growing micro-wires and thermal conductivity using diamonds. Kahn and some high-tech friends met Tuesday with Warren High advanced placement physics and chemistry students at the Gurnee school.

    Adam Kahn, right, a former Warren Township High School student and founder of AKHAN Semiconductor Inc., talks with Warren student Parker Main, during classroom demonstrations on growing micro-wires and thermal conductivity using diamonds. Kahn and some high-tech friends met Tuesday with Warren High advanced placement physics and chemistry students at the Gurnee school. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/30/2014 6:07 PM

An entrepreneur who wants to move his semiconductor business to Gurnee and some of his high-tech pals brought an award-winning mobile laboratory to a Warren Township High School physics class Tuesday.

Adam Khan, 30, a Warren grad and founder and chief executive officer of AKHAN Semiconductor Inc., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point chemistry Professor Michael Zach, and Argonne National Laboratory nanoscientist Ani Sumant captivated 40 students in physics teacher Piet Kreunen's class at Warren's Almond Road campus for juniors and seniors in Gurnee.

 

AKHAN Semiconductor was launched by Khan in 2012 and has a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne lab to develop a platform using diamonds as semiconductors for the aviation, defense, telecommunication and power industries. It is a subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc., which Khan started in 2007.

Students were treated to demonstrations that included copper pennies to show how diamond film is superior in conducting heat.

"This is a really good hands-on demonstration of heat conduction," Kreunen said.

With Khan acting as the conduit, Zach and Sumant visited the campus with their award-winning "NanoFab lab ... in a box!" Zach and Sumant received a prestigious R&D magazine award for top technologies of the year in 2014 for the shoebox-sized laboratory to grow nanowires.

Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik said approval is needed from Warren District 121, Woodland Elementary District 50 and other local taxing agencies for a combined $2.3 million package of proposed financial incentives for Hoffman Estates-based AKHAN to move to the village.

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If approved, the $2.3 million in local financial assistance for AKHAN would be on top of about $3.5 million available through an agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Khan said he intends to bring all 54 of his company's employees from Hoffman Estates and California to Gurnee by year's end if a deal is struck. He also plans to create up to 250 jobs within three years because of the explosive growth projected from the diamond film technology.

Gurnee village board members are expected to vote on the proposed AKHAN package this month. Kovarik attended Tuesday's demonstration at Warren High and said she appreciated Khan bringing the high-tech talent with him for the physics students.

"It's the gift that keeps on giving," Kovarik said of Khan.

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