Company seeking tax breaks to move to Gurnee receives patent

  • Adam Khan

    Adam Khan

Updated 1/14/2015 7:06 PM

A company in line to receive state and local tax breaks to move to Gurnee has received a patent for technology being promoted as a way to improve how smartphones and other devices operate.

Plans call for AKHAN Semiconductor to bring 54 employees from Hoffman Estates and California to Gurnee if a deal is struck. The company pledges to create up to 80 jobs within two years because of explosive growth projected from manufacturing semiconductors with new diamond film technology.


AKHAN has had a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory 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., which Adam Khan founded in 2007.

On Tuesday, AKHAN received a patent for a process to adhere diamond to metals and alloys for what the company contends would create reliable wire bonding and high connectivity. AKHAN wants its technology to replace thicker, rigid silicon semiconductors typically found in electronics.

"This is huge," Khan said of the patent. "This is an actual AKHAN invention, not from Argonne."

Khan said the use of diamond semiconductors means devices can become thinner and operate at higher temperatures. Smartphones and "wearable" technology such as Google Glass would benefit from the diamond technology, he said.

To bring AKHAN into Gurnee, Lake County would contribute a maximum of $530,000 in tax rebates and the village $1.5 million over five years. Documents show the entire package of local incentives would be worth roughly $2.3 million and come on top of $3.5 million available to AKHAN through an agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

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While the state's financial incentives were announced in a news release last fall, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity denied a recent Daily Herald open-records request for the entire proposal ahead of a Gurnee village board vote on AKHAN that's expected Jan. 26. Attorney Sheila Chernis, the agency's Freedom of Information Act officer, said the documents are still considered confidential and not public records "until an award or final selection is made."

AKHAN would bring its corporate headquarters, manufacturing, and research and development to a 120,000-square-foot building west of the Tri-State Tollway in Gurnee that another company is vacating. Mayor Kristina Kovarik expressed satisfaction with the announcement about AKHAN's patent.

"I am in awe of the global impact that AKHAN will have with their innovative new product and tremendously proud that their world headquarters will be located in Gurnee," Kovarik said.

Argonne officials announced last November the agency granted an exclusive licensing agreement for diamond semiconductor technology to AKHAN.

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