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November 25th, 2007
A nanotechnology company in suburban Chicago can rearrange carbon atoms in methane gas to create another form of carbon: diamond.
Turning its patented synthetic material into path-breaking devices _ a cell-phone chip or even a vision-restoring retinal implant _ hinges on finding room at an affordable research lab.
"We have our own equipment for making the diamond," said Neil Kane, president of Advanced Diamond Technologies Inc. "But all of the subsequent steps require access to a clean room, to tens of millions of dollars of equipment that no small company could ever afford. Many big companies can't afford it either."
And so his Argonne National Laboratory spinoff, in pursuit of a commercial breakthrough, rented space for one of its chief researchers this year at Cornell University's Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility.
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