SouthWest NanoTechnologies, a manufacturer of carbon nanotubes, has licensed NEC patents relating to the tiny cylinders made of lattices of carbon atoms, NEC said Thursday. Sumio Iijima, an NEC researcher, discovered carbon nanotubes in 1991, and NEC is working to profit from the work.
"NEC's carbon nanotube patents are basic patents covering single and multi-walled carbon nanotubes, and licenses under our patents are essential for entities to manufacture or sell carbon nanotubes. We are currently in negotiations with a number of entities worldwide who require a license from us under our patent rights," said Keiji Ushijima of NEC's intellectual asset licensing division, in a statement Thursday.
Nanotubes are being incorporated in everything from bicycle frames and water desalination systems to computer electronics and TV displays. But manufacturing cost is an issue for widespread use.