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Chiral raises $3.8m for nanomaterial chip tools News | February 28, 2024 Swiss nanomaterials developer Chiral has raised $3.8m in a ‘pre-seed’ round to automate the production of nanomaterials for electronics. Chiral in…

Chiral raises $3.8m for nanomaterial chip tools

February 28, 2024
Nick Flaherty

Swiss nanomaterials developer Chiral has raised $3.8m in a ‘pre-seed’ round to automate the production of nanomaterials for electronics.

Chiral in Zurich has developed expertise in nanotechnology, automation, and high-precision robotics to support a move beyond silicon to the next generation of electronics.

Nanomaterials are increasingly used across a range of electronics including high-performance transistors, low-power sensors, quantum devices, and many more. However, existing production methods, mostly based on chemistry, are not controllable, which has thus far prevented commercialization of these devices.

Chiral has built high-speed, automated, robotic machines that integrate nanomaterials into devices. These machines can robotically place micrometer-sized (or even nanometer-sized) materials on substrates. Repeating this placement accurately in a fast and automated manner requires a very high level of engineering, which ensures the precision and control that conventional chemistry-based methods lack.

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The development of Chiral’s technology started as a national research project conducted at the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Zurich, EPFL, and Empa), in which the company’s co-founders, Seoho Jung, Natanael Lanz, and Andre Butzerin participated as PhD students. After 4 years of R&D, the research team finished its first prototype machine, which was 100 times faster than the other systems available at the time. The immediate reaction of the market to the prototype, which quickly led to the company’s first batch of pilot customers, convinced the co-founders that they should continue their activity as a company. They incorporated Chiral in June 2023 as a result.

“Chipmakers are aware of the potential of nanomaterials and we’re bringing that potential to life. This funding will accelerate the development of our next machine, which will unlock new market opportunities with its versatility and performance. We are also excited to scale our team to keep up with the growing demand and customer base,” said Seoho Jung, Co-founder and CEO at Chiral.

The global nanotechnology market size is projected to grow from $79.14 billion in 2023 to $248.56 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 17.8% and TSMC is looking to include nanomaterial-based transistors as its future architecture. 

“In the future, it will be normal for electronic devices or chips to contain nanomaterials. The development roadmaps of the world’s leading chipmakers like TSMC, Samsung, and Intel all share our vision. We are confident that Chiral technology will empower the industry to make this transition faster,” said Jung.

“Chiral’s AI- and robotics-based technology lets us envision a future where nanomaterial-based chips are being produced at the scale needed for commercialization – a major bottleneck up until now. We look forward to supporting Seoho, Natanael and André in their journey to introduce a new paradigm of chips beyond silicon,” said Pascal Mathis, Founding Partner at Founderful.

Alexis Houssou, Founding Partner at HCVC, commented: “With the current boom in AI applications, we stand at a pivotal moment where the slowdown of Moore’s law threatens to decelerate the pace of technological progress significantly. The team at Chiral has embarked on a critical mission to pave the way toward a groundbreaking post-silicon era, promising to transcend current limitations and unlock new possibilities for advancement. We couldn’t be more excited to support their mission, in collaboration with Founderful, as they build the future of computing infrastructure.”

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