tomorrow's devices EnableD
Lauren Otto holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota. She has extensive research experience in optics, nanofabrication, materials, and devices including sensors, solar cells, and hard drive heads. Lauren has a passion for synthetic metals that was instilled in her while an intern at HGST, now part of Western Digital Corporation, in 2014. She completed her thesis work at the Molecular Foundry, where she developed techniques aimed at industrial deposition of plasmonic titanium nitride. Her work has resulted in over ten peer reviewed articles and conference proceedings. Lauren also holds B.S. and B.A. degrees in physics and mathematics from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.
Lauren has co-developed Laminera’s technology with Adam Schwartzberg and Shaul Aloni, both Molecular Foundry staff scientists, as well as Aeron Hammack, an industry scientist and entrepreneur.
Critical need: Energy and data storage technologies depend on electrically conductive materials like metals and metal alloys; however, the manufacturing limitations and thermal, chemical, and structural instability of these materials are a bottleneck in the development of new devices with higher performance and lower cost.
Technology vision: Synthetic metals are ceramic materials that have comparable conductivity to metals but can be deposited in thinner layers, patterned more easily, and have higher thermal, chemical, and structural stability. Structures manufactured from synthetic metals could serve as electrodes for supercapacitors or be used for precise magnetic recording in future hard disk drives.
Current state-of-the-art: Synthetic metals manufactured by atomic layer deposition (ALD) are currently available with research-scale tools; however, these tools are not optimized for industrial scale manufacturing and produce layers with insufficient conductivity for commercial applications.
Key innovation: We have developed a new ALD technique that enhances deposition, can improve film quality, and is more suitable for industrial scale manufacturing.
Competing technology: The best synthetic metal properties have been demonstrated using sputtering. Our technique promises film quality comparable to sputtering but allows for thinner films that can be grown conformally over complex three-dimensional surfaces at lower temperatures.
First market hypothesis: Development of next generation hard disk drives is limited by the instability of metallic components that dictate hard drive storage density and lifetime. Synthetic metals are more stable and can boost hard drive performance.
Potential for impact: Data centers account for two percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally and consume three percent of the world’s electricity—figures that are expected to triple over the next ten years. Future hard drive technologies enabled by synthetic metals could significantly increase the density of data storage, thereby reducing the overall energy used per terabyte stored. Synthetic metal electrodes could also improve the performance of energy storage devices like supercapacitors and batteries or serve as seed layers for semiconductor device fabrication.
We're looking for:
- Technical collaborators
- Joint development partners
- Technoeconomic analysis
- Team members - scientist, engineers
- Team members - business
Contact: Lauren Otto (lauren [at] laminera [dot] io)