Gurnee diamond tech maker announces $20 million investment, consumer product ambitions
AKHAN Semiconductors raised $20 million in funding, which company officials say will help increase production at "Diamond Mine 1," the Gurnee headquarters where the business makes its patented, lab-grown diamond material.
The company was founded by Adam Khan of Gurnee, who opened the headquarters at 940 Lakeside Drive in 2015. His vision is for the village to be known as the diamond prairie.
Diamond Mine 1 now produces AKHAN's Miraj Diamond technology around the clock, said John Thode, AKHAN's president and chief operating officer.
"We went from five clean-room employees to 32 today," said Thode, adding they are filling the 19,000-square-foot facility with people and equipment. "We're very excited about where we are going and what the $20 million is allowing us to do."
Miraj Diamond is made by spreading microscopic diamonds along a glass surface a few nanometers apart. The glass is placed in a machine that pumps in methane and other gases and applies heat, making the diamonds grow in all directions until the surface is coated.
Company officials have claimed that when compared to glass their material is six times stronger, 10 times harder and more than 800 times cooler because of how well it dissipates heat.
Their aim is to bring the technology to market. Thode and AKHAN's new CEO and Director Craig Mitchell joined the company in January to lead it to that point.
Thode said the company will be ready with commercialization in the next 12 to 18 months. He said officials have been in touch with many companies they might work with to make commercial products.
For now, the company is focused on producing consumer-level glass products such as cellphones, computers and TV screens.
"Everyone is in search of the sleekest cellphone that doesn't need to be protected by a bulky case, but that's only the beginning," Khan said.