AZ Electronic Materials have entered into a licensing and sponsored research agreements with William Marsh Rice University in the field of graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) for application to electronic and advanced optical devices. AZ will gain exclusive world-wide rights to several patent families invented by Dr. James Tour and his working group at Rice, covering preparation methods and application of GNRs.

This technology could potentially enable low-cost functionalize GNR production from commercially available carbon sources such as CNTs. The method developed at Rice is reductively open CNTs to provide high quality, highly conductive GNRs. This method also provides an easy way to chemically functionalize them at their edges, which leads to greatly enhanced stability of coating formulations without deteriorating the performance. This allows the GNRs to be formulated in solvents common to electronic device manufacturing processes, which can be coated on substrates by industry-known methods. AZ also licensed Dr. Tour's high-yield approaches to graphene oxide.

AZ will sponsor Dr. Tour's lab at Rice to investigate ways to further improve the conductive properties of various GNR forms, and to explore various methods to formulate and cast the resulting materials into workable films.