JumpStart invests $250,000 in ADAP Nanotech after University of Akron discovers gecko feet adhesive

CLEVELAND - Thanks to research done on gecko feet adhesive, by scientists at The University of Akron, a company stuck financial backing by Cleveland-based JumpStart.

JumpStart invested $250,000 in gecko feet, that is, the adhesive properties researchers at The University of Akron discovered with them. Scientists at UA created a new kind of "glueless" adhesive that sticks without the stickiness. And two entrepreneurs started their own business, ADAP Nanotech, using the unique adhesive.

ADAP Nanotech, housed in the Akron Global Business Accelerator, plans to use the funding, in part, to produce commercial samples of the adhesive for potential customers to test out.

"We want to show that our thermal pads are not only effective, but also very cost effective to produce," said Sunny Sethi in a news release, part owner of ADAP Nanotech.

The two-person startup is eager to begin producing NanoTIM in quantities they can sell.

Dr. Ali Dhinojwala, chair of the UA Department of Polymer Science and Morton Professor of Polymer Science, fascinated by gecko feet forces that allow such movement, developed synthetic materials with similar adhesive properties. He said the discovery of carbon nanotubes with its gripping power "has opened opportunities for advancements in microelectronics, medicine, robotics and common objects to improve everyday life. Someday, people might even have gloves or shoes that will enable them to climb mountains, walls, and cling to ceilings."

The dry adhesives promise successful use in extreme atmospheric and temperature conditions and other applications that present challenges for liquid adhesives, according to Dr. Dhinojwala.

"They can be used in space, where there is a vacuum. Think of using this adhesive on a robot that needs to navigate the uneven terrain on Mars. Like a gecko, this robot can adhere to or move quickly across, up and over any surface," explained Dr. Dhinojwala. 

Another commercial application for the carbon nanotubes could be as a coating on microprocessors to absorb heat and keep computers cooler.

"This product will allow miniaturized computer systems to work more quickly and efficiently by reducing the effects of heat build-up," Dr. Dhinojwala said. "Gecko-based adhesives could be reused thousands of times over."

ADAP Nanotech is the 62nd company in JumpStart's portfolio.

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To learn more about gecko feet stickiness, visit: www.uakron.edu/innovation/gecko.dot

For more information about JumpStart, visit: www.jumpstartinc.org

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