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38. From Lab to Fab

It’s rare to find people who can talk about nanotechnology in the present tense. But Greg Schmergel happily (and patiently) explains how his company, Nantero, managed to introduce its carbon nanotubes into a semiconductor-chip fabrication plant in 2004. Eventually, they’ll replace silicon, producing smaller and more powerful processors and “instant-on” computers. But experts didn’t think anyone would get the material into production for at least 10 years because sophisticated semiconductor “fabs” have to remain ultraclean, and carbon nanotubes generally are not (think soot). “Every day we ran analyses on our filtration process, counting down the removal of banned particles,” Schmergel says. Now that Nantero has successfully moved its technology from “lab to fab,” 2005 will be the year when it actually gets a production-ready sample into customers’ hands.

2005 FAST 50 WINNER

Greg Schmergel, 36

Cofounder and CEO
Nantero Inc.
Woburn, Massachusetts

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