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SOLID STATE TECHNOLOGY – Insights for Electronics Manufacturing

Ultratech buys Cambridge Nanotech assets, adds ALD tech

12/20/2012
By James Montgomery
News Editor

December 20, 2012 – Ultratech has acquired the assets of Cambridge Nanotech, a developer and supplier of atomic-layer deposition (ALD) technology with hundreds of installed systems in the field. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The company says adding the ALD technology will expand its nanotechnology and IP portfolio, enabling it to address new areas within the electronics industry and entry into new markets such as biomedical and energy. “By increasing our IP and expanding our nanotechnology portfolio to new levels, we expect to generate a new revenue stream in existing and new markets,” stated Ultratech chairman/CEO Art Zafiropoulo.

Cambridge Nanotech was founded in 2003 by Jill Becker based on her Ph.D work in ALD at Harvard University. Weeks ago Cambridge Nanotech was quietly put up on the auction block; an announcement by Gerbsman Partners, the firm retained by the firm’s main backer Silicon Valley Bank, noted that the company had ceased operations on November 9 and that an auction would take place on Dec. 14. The firm indicated Cambridge Nanotech’s sales from 2004-2011 increased at a 84% CAGR (to $18.7M in 2011, according to a local report), with initial profitability after the first year but “lumpy” since then. “Recent working capital constraints and an overly leveraged balance sheet” were cited as the reasons for the decision to sell the company’s assets.

The asset sale includes several ALD product and technology lines, in place at academic and manufacturing environments for a range of electronics, MEMS/MOEMS, display/lighting, and energy applications:

– “Savannah” — R&D lab equipment
– “Fiji” — R&D lab equipment with plasma and additional
– “Phoenix” and “Tahiti” — Production equipment for high-volume manufacturing
– “Preboost” — To proliferate the use of more precursors in any ALD system
– “Roll2Roll” — Fast ALD; high throughput; atmospheric ALD

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