Keynote Presentation: PARTICLE ALD [PALD]

A Material Science Revolution 

Session Notes:


Paul Lichty

CEO of Forge Nano 


0:00:01   Hi, everybody. I'm Paul. Lichty I'm the founder and CEO Forge a Nano. Happy to be talking to you today
0:00:07   about particle atomic layer deposition. Um, I first off want to thank everybody for your
0:00:12   participation. We had no idea what type of interest we would get when we started putting this thing
0:00:17   together on We're just really pleased with the turnout, um, and the great group of speakers sponsors
0:00:25   on attendees that we have. So we really appreciate everybody joining us for this first of its kind
0:00:31   event on. We're very excited about what kind of progress we can make in educating people about the
0:00:38   field of particle atomic layer deposition. For my part, I wanted to discuss more of the Why not so
0:00:44   much the specifics on how or what we're doing here with PLD. But what motivates us why we decided to
0:00:52   get into this field? I plan on discussing a little bit about how amazing LD is and exploring the
0:00:59   advantages of the full tool kit that's available to us, including the unique advantages for
0:01:03   particles on. Then discuss a little bit about where we can go with what is essentially a revolution
0:01:09   in material science for me personally. When I attended grad school, I had an interest in helping
0:01:17   expand and improve renewable energies on that was my main motivation is trying to solve a very large
0:01:24   global problem. And I found myself in Professor Alzheimer's laboratory at the University of Colorado.
0:01:30   And there we focused on solar thermal hydrogen generation, and so that utilized on array of mirrors
0:01:36   to concentrate solar energy to drive high temperature chemical reactions and the specific materials
0:01:42   that we explored all had to do with hydrogen generation. For my project, we had to get specific
0:01:50   chemical store ikeyama trees onto a substrate that could withstand high temperatures. Thermal shock
0:01:56   on would speed along the kinetics of a gas phase reaction. So what we ended up doing was looking at
0:02:04   creating our mixed metal oxides on the surface of a substrate that had kind of the bulk performance
0:02:10   properties we were looking for. And we use the ailed de to achieve this in the lab on, we created a
0:02:16   whole host of different materials through not only a be cycling, but the integration of mixed metals
0:02:24   and then calc nation into a surface coating that would achieve the properties we want and through
0:02:30   this work, that's where I really understood and learned about the power of atomic layer deposition.
0:02:38   By creating chemical bonds with the service, you get a robust interaction. The coatings go down
0:02:44   pinhole free. You have absolute thickness control. You can't get better than Adam by Adam Control on
0:02:50   And then you can create these surface chemistries that are customized to your particular solution.
0:02:55   It really is a process that is an absolute necessity for the researcher. And when we look at most
0:03:07   chemical reactions and processes, it's important. Understand that the surface plays such a huge role
0:03:14   in dictating the different behaviors. And so by tuning that surface, we can really tune the material
0:03:20   behaviour on. It opens up opportunities to maintain bull properties and customize surface
0:03:26   interactions. And across the board, we believe that that creates stronger performance in higher
0:03:32   efficiencies. One of the really powerful aspects of ale de is just this ever expanding tool kit. Um,
0:03:40   the creation of different precursors and different processes to fine tune the surface coatings just
0:03:48   has exploded in the last decade, and the ability now for us to look at base different based
0:03:55   materials, oxide, nitride, soul finds etcetera. The advent of M. L D processes so that we can put
0:04:04   organics and then do different types of cycling or multi layers is just so powerful. This is this is
0:04:13   probably the most important aspect of how what what needs to be conveyed to the average customer is
0:04:21   just We have a tool kid that is unparalleled. There are infinite combinations of surface solutions
0:04:27   that we can provide. Um, and it's ever growing new processes such as atomic layer EPA taxi, where
0:04:34   you could do layer removal. And in some of the investigations into specific patterning on surfaces.
0:04:43   It just creates an entirely new world of capabilities and its applicability to almost every
0:04:51   substrate imaginable. When we look at particle systems, ale de is a no brainer. Most of these
0:04:58   systems are dictated by interactions particle to particle interactions that all occur at the surface.
0:05:05   And so, by utilizing a process that has no line of sight issues and can conform, Lee encapsulate the
0:05:12   entire particle that really drives the bulk change in the surface properties that you'd be looking
0:05:19   for. It's a gas phase process so you can get into all of the pores on all of the kind of nooks and
0:05:25   crannies on particle and create a robust bonded surface on and then through various processes, you
0:05:32   can avoid agglomeration. So, really, in the world of particle material science and particle systems,
0:05:40   ale de is just a obvious obvious choice for fine tuning those systems to get the performance that
0:05:48   you're looking for. So after developing my project with water splitting and really understanding the
0:05:56   power of atomic layer deposition, the robust tool kit that's available and the application into
0:06:04   particle systems, it was very obvious that this was a technology that needed to be introduced in a
0:06:10   much larger scale because the application space for fine tuning surface properties, whether it's
0:06:17   corrosion, resistance, whether it's viscosity, is just massive, and the number of particle systems
0:06:24   where there are real materials challenges that need to be overcome in order to provide, provide
0:06:30   solutions to or to solve larger global problems is just something that really got me motivated. T go
0:06:39   and tackle and here it fortune Anna. We focus on things such as energy storage. Ca Tallis is
0:06:45   filtration, looking at better batteries, better chemical processes, cleaner water, etcetera and a
0:06:53   whole host of different applications, and this is what, what really motivated my internal belief
0:06:59   that this technology needed to be pushed out into the marketplace. It needed to be adopted globally.
0:07:05   If we look at the history of lt, you know, the main challenges towards adoption is one that's not
0:07:11   new to most laboratory innovations, and that is one of scale. The main barrier for commercialization
0:07:19   in most cases is the scalability off the processes, and a lot of technologies have died on the vine
0:07:26   really do to that challenge. And so after um, going through all of our investigation after looking
0:07:34   at all of the opportunity, we decided that scalability was the biggest challenge. And that's what we
0:07:39   put our minds to in terms of being able to find a scalable process that could make pld viable at
0:07:48   scale and affordable. Because as you get to a larger and larger scale, you get closer and closer to
0:07:53   commodity materials where no matter how good the solution is, there always has to be a affordability
0:08:01   and price component. And so that's why we developed a commercial system by really applying basic
0:08:07   engineering principles to a complex, step by step process. And that was kind of the main innovation
0:08:14   in the nexus for forming Forge Nano. So after we developed a process, we build prototypes actually
0:08:24   in my garage. So this is truly a garage start up on By repeated attempts at optimizing and testing
0:08:34   and discovering what worked and didn't work. We were able to get a robust process that allowed us to
0:08:41   then build a company around, and we slowly started with SP I. Ours and Phase two's number of
0:08:49   development partners came on board to help us investigate and find solutions to different materials
0:08:56   challenges. And we continue to grow both our know how and our capabilities at size and scale on this
0:09:05   culminated last year with the merger that were announced between Forge Nano and Haledon Anil
0:09:10   Solutions, which just brings together what I think is the world's leading experts in particle A lt
0:09:17   applications solutions and systems. And this is what um really has me excited about this conference
0:09:27   is we are at a stage in our company evolution where we have we have definitive solutions we have
0:09:36   commercial capabilities on. We're really kind of off to the races in developing this into, uh, that
0:09:45   worldwide revolutionary product material science innovation with our combined companies, we are a
0:09:54   truly an end in nano material solution provider. We're moving into our new 40,000 square foot
0:10:01   headquarters here in Thornton, which which will be helpful for the entire team to be in one spot or
0:10:07   during this pandemic. Portions of the team being in one spot at any given time on built up the team
0:10:15   to a robust 40 employees. Right now, with a heavy emphasis on scientists, engineers, technical
0:10:23   experts, we focus right now on materials development, often times with our partners, and told
0:10:32   coating for commercial applications and systems sales, taking you all the way from basic R and D two
0:10:39   world scale production. We have the world's largest PLT coding capabilities in house right now on
0:10:46   the whole team. That's really motivated to be the leaders in materials innovations with our combined
0:10:54   team and are no new resource is we've been able to focus in and start tackling a lot of these global
0:11:01   problems. And one of the ones that Forge Nano has been focusing on for a number of years is in the
0:11:07   battery space where atomic layer deposition on the particles can lead to um longer range faster,
0:11:14   charge times safer and lower cost batteries. And that's very important to all of us that were able
0:11:22   to make an impact in this specific field. Because we all want to see the electrification of our
0:11:27   transportation system on the enabling of some of the more intermittent renewable energy sources that
0:11:36   require this type of energy storage. And by addressing the key material problems in the key
0:11:42   degradation mechanisms within these battery systems, we've been able to create huge amounts of
0:11:48   improvement. And just like everything else, I think we're still scratching the surface. What these
0:11:54   improvements are are a great first step, and we see this being applicability to creating a battery
0:12:02   that truly might last a lifetime. When we look at cells that we that have materials that we've
0:12:09   coated and we take him apart and reanalyze them, we found that it's very feasible to refresh the
0:12:16   materials by simple, real iffy ation. Um, not only does that unlock a great recycling pathway, but
0:12:23   for us it it illustrates, um, the impact of what we're doing in a complex system like a battery.
0:12:30   There are lots of things that are going on lots of side reaction lots of ways that the battery is
0:12:35   failing and by being able to take that material after the entire cell has failed. And real, if he
0:12:43   ate it allows us to identify that lithium, um in availability over the lifetime of the battery is
0:12:49   the main problem, which is not a cathode material problem. This lithium is getting hung up somewhere
0:12:54   else within the battery. And so that starts creating a roadmap for us to solve the different
0:12:59   material challenges within that battery system and the battery architecture to take advantage of the
0:13:06   performance improvements that we've been able to provide. And that's what gives us hope that we can
0:13:10   get to, ah, battery system that, you know, forget a 1,000,000 mile battery. We're looking for a
0:13:15   lifetime battery. We're looking for an energy storage solution that gin can solve and provide value
0:13:25   across multiple fronts. When we look at some of the progress that we've been able to make in the CA,
0:13:31   Tallis is space. It really does represent one of the more interesting opportunities just because of
0:13:38   the sheer amount of nano engineering that we can apply to these systems. So not only can nail the be
0:13:45   used to deposit very discreet particles in a very dispersed manner for active catalytic materials.
0:13:57   But we can then look at under coatings of the substrate to prevent corrosion. We can look out over
0:14:02   coatings to improve selectivity on dim prove regeneration. These are all things that we've been able
0:14:09   to show dramatic improvements for and really again, just like batteries were just scratching the
0:14:15   surface in terms of what is possible with some of the new capabilities out there were interested in
0:14:21   looking at trying metallic by metallic systems that can potentially replace precious metals or
0:14:29   creating robust enough catalyst systems where three efficiencies are improved and the overall costs
0:14:36   are reduced for driving a lot of the chemical products that we make today in the field of three D
0:14:42   printing, there's a great promise for what three D printing can effect in terms of efficiency on
0:14:49   demand, manufacturing and reduce costs. We see A L. D is a key component in enabling some of that to
0:14:57   become come riel, either through coating the materials and creating oxidation resistance, adding
0:15:05   centering aids or centering inhibitors so that your crystal structure can be highly tuned, or that
0:15:12   the strength and the overall performance of your part can be tuned really, at the atomic level of
0:15:19   what you're trying to create. Not only can we introduced new alloy improved absorb activity of
0:15:26   different materials, but we can improve the flow ability of the powders in those systems which can
0:15:32   enable improved in mawr efficient processing systems. So with power of PLD, I do believe that we're
0:15:42   entering into a new kind of manufacturing revolution in the way that we develop and create materials
0:15:52   is going to be fundamentally changed things to particle atomic clear deposition. And with this
0:15:57   expanding tool, kid, I think for the next century we will be developing and optimizing material to
0:16:05   get higher performance and better efficiency. And because of how dynamic and all of the resource is
0:16:11   and tools available in in this pl the ecosystem, rarely do we find a problem that we can't envision
0:16:18   a solution for. You know, the challenges from a material side, I believe, can largely be solved, and
0:16:26   then what we, as as AH company, have to solve and as researchers, what we have to solve really has
0:16:34   to deal with making those solutions scalable and economical. We're passionate about tackling all
0:16:43   these large material challenges, and we think we can. We can make a significant improvement in some
0:16:49   of the big ones some of the ones that our generation will hopefully be remember for, such as
0:16:54   improvements in fusion, energy, medicine, electron ICS and space travel. You know, these are kind of
0:17:01   some of the key areas that get me excited about what we're doing and hopefully can create large and
0:17:10   in dramatic benefits to society as a whole.
0:17:16   Our mission really is to educate, just as every other start up with a new technology has a challenge
0:17:23   of educating the market, educating their customers about what the capabilities are, what the uses
0:17:28   are because of just the broad broad. And I think large impact that PLD can have. Education is
0:17:39   absolutely critical for us on. So we look to, um, have these types of interactions with you on our
0:17:47   customers and researchers within the community. We know that innovation is going to be something
0:17:54   that comes through. I think, very close collaboration across a number of different application
0:18:03   spaces. We can not be experts and everything, and so we look to our collaborators are partners on
0:18:11   and even our competitors out there to help advance the science, Uh, and really focus in on solving
0:18:18   these large global problems because at the end of the day, that's that's what motivates us, uh, and
0:18:25   gets us out of bed. It's focusing on solving some of these large societal problems that we think
0:18:31   material science and PLD is well suited for. So thank you all for your attention. Thank you for your
0:18:37   attendance at this summit. I'm looking forward to all of the great talks throughout the day on.
0:18:43   Please reach out to me and the team here it forged Nano.