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February 28, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Good news for three participants in the “Innovation Crossroads” program

Lux Semiconductors raised a $2.3 million seed round, while Hempitecture opened the country's first industrial hemp manufacturing plant.

Good news for three participants in the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Lux Semiconductors, a participant in Cohort 2, has raised a $2.3 million seed round that will accelerate the commercialization of its “System-on-Foil” technology. The round included participation by Ultratech Capital Partners, AIN Ventures, Hemisphere Ventures, and Lockheed Martin Ventures.

“To reclaim America’s preeminence in semiconductor manufacturing, we must focus not only on reshoring chip production but also on the advanced packaging technologies that are set to unleash a new era of system-level innovation,” says Shane McMahon, Lux Semiconductors Chief Executive Officer. “Adding more fabrication capacity is important for national security, but to truly regain semiconductor superiority, we must focus on building and scaling tomorrow’s technologies. Lux is honored to welcome our new investors who are helping the company fulfill this mission.”

As described in this news release, Lux’s “System-on-Foil” platform offers a compelling set of unique capabilities for the ever-changing semiconductor industry. They include:

  • Size. The new design allows for many small die or chiplets to be closely connected through high-density, high-speed interconnects for reduced package size.
  • Performance. System-on-Foil offers improved high frequency performance and superior thermal management compared to existing materials.
  • Supply Chain. Whereas 97% of chip packages are produced outside the U.S. today, Lux manufactures its products domestically, critical for supply chain security and U.S. growth.

DayLyte Inc., a participant in Cohort 5, was one of 53 small businesses developing technologies to cut emissions and study climate that shared more than $68 million in grants announced last week by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The company was awarded $1,149,987 for a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research project titled “Optimizing Solid Electrolyte and Air Electrodes for High Energy, 3D Na-Air Battery.”

According to information provided by DOE, the focus is on electric vehicles and solar and wind energy that require large-scale, low-cost batteries beyond lithium-ion made with abundant materials. The work is designed to refine an advanced solid electrolyte membrane for water-based sodium-air batteries that store 2-3x the energy of lithium-ion batteries.

Finally, Hempitecture, a member of the soon-to-graduate Cohort 5 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program, became the first industrial hemp manufacturing plant in the U.S. on February 17 when it officially did the ribbon cutting for its new 33,000-square-foot facility in Jerome, ID. The start-up’s flagship product is HempWool® Thermal Insulation, a bio-based, plant-based insulation product for walls, floors, and ceilings. It is manufactured with renewable energy, U.S.-grown hemp fiber, and Hempitecture is a custom-designed manufacturing process.

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