Tech company eyeing Gurnee strikes exclusive agreement with Argonne National Laboratory

Tech company reaches exclusive agreement with Argonne National Laboratory

 
 
Posted11/12/2014 5:30 AM
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  • Adam Khan

    Adam Khan

Federal officials have granted an exclusive licensing agreement for diamond semiconductor technology to a company that wants to move to Gurnee.

Representatives for AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. announced Tuesday the deal was reached with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Under the agreement with Argonne, AKHAN is expected gain a competitive advantage by becoming the first U.S. company to fully develop its cutting-edge diamond semiconductor process.

"We actually intend to go into production once the Gurnee facility goes online," company founder Adam Khan said.

AKHAN Semiconductor was launched by Khan in 2012 and has had a partnership with Argonne to develop a platform using the diamond film as semiconductors for the aviation, defense, telecommunication and power industries. It is a subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc. in Hoffman Estates, which Khan started in 2007.

Khan said smartphone users would appreciate the diamond technology because chips with it don't overheat and use less energy than silicon. Diamond film also could be used to make the devices more scratch resistant.

Argonne Director Peter Littlewood was bullish on the exclusive deal with AKHAN.

"This agreement represents a stellar example of how Argonne is partnering with industry to move our technology into the marketplace," Littlewood said in a statement. "The investment that the American people continue to make in basic science continues to pay dividends in marketable technologies that have the potential to transform entire industries."

Khan said there are "a lot of moving parts" before a proposed incentive package to bring his business to Gurnee goes before the village board for a vote. Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik asked other local governments serving the village to participate in the deal.

In all, Warren Township High School District 121, Woodland Elementary District 50, Warren Township, the Gurnee Park District, village government and Lake County would provide a combined $2.3 million in tax incentives to AKHAN over five years. The local money would be on top of about $3.5 million available to AKHAN through an agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

AKHAN would locate its corporate headquarters, manufacturing, and research and development in a 120,000-square-foot building west of the Tri-State Tollway that another company is vacating. AKHAN intends to bring all 54 employees to Gurnee if an agreement is struck, with a pledge to create 80 jobs within two years because of explosive growth projected.

Funds gained through the tax incentives would be used to to help relocate and expand the corporate and manufacturing headquarters, according to AKHAN. The company estimates it would make a $15 million investment in northern Illinois.

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