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Home > News > A Little Bit on Nanotechnology

A Little Bit on Nanotechnology

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Source - Reading Eagle - 3/31/11 - By David A. Kostival

Executives of MinusNine Technologies, Birdsboro, explain what they do

As part of a nanotechnology conference, executives of a local company shared how MinusNine Technologies benefits from the technology.

Chief Executive Officer Hans Frederick and Chief Financial Officer Jon Goodspeed of MinusNine Technologies, Birdsboro, spoke Wednesday during an informal discussion with local nanotech companies.

The event, coordinated by the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Greater Reading Keystone Innovation Zone, was held at Penn State Berks.

Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. It involves developing incredibly small materials or devices.

The manipulated materials are measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter, hence the name nanotechnology.

The nanotech industry mainly involves research and development, but the conference demonstrated that businesses can incorporate the technology on a practical basis.

Frederick explained that neither he nor Goodspeed are scientists.

"You cannot identify either of us as chemists or scientists; we're businessmen," he said.

Goodspeed said the company was formed on the campus of Penn State University, University Park, in 2006.

"We were an outgrowth of nanomaterial science," Goodspeed said. "We licensed a basket of technology that involved manipulating and mixing particles."

"The next thing we had to do was to find a commercial avenue for this," Frederick said.

Today MinusNine manufactures industrial coatings that are scratch and corrosion resistant, Frederick explained.

"One of the markets for this technology is what we call knock-down furniture - inexpensive pieces which are basically made from particle board," he said. "We're developing new coatings that will enhance those products by offering greater rub or scratch resistance."

The company has grown considerably since its beginnings.

After it moved off of the Penn State campus, it set up shop in a garage in Broomall, Delaware County, and later moved to a 7,000-square-foot building in West Chester.

With the assistance of the Keystone Opportunity Zone, the company relocated to a 50,000-square-foot building in Birdsboro in January.

Goodspeed said his company reached out to several counties in an effort to relocate, and none was nearly as responsive as Berks County.

"Economically it works great for us," he said. "There are a lot of incentives to bringing a business to Berks County.

Because the building MinusNine is leasing lies within the Birdsboro Keystone Opportunity Zone, two benefits were extended to the company for relocating there, Debra Millman, director of business development for the Greater Berks Development Fund, said later by phone.

Greater Berks serves as administrator for the KOZ in the county.

Millman said because the building was vacant and is now being leased, the owner - Birdsboro Industrial Properties - does not have to pay property taxes on the property until the end of 2013.

"Although that benefits the owner, the cost of property taxes are usually passed on to the tenant through the lease," Millman explained.

"So basically the property taxes simply do not get charged back to MinusNine."

The second incentive offered to MinusNine is that the business will be exempt from paying any state corporate income taxes until the end of 2013.

The other business featured during the session was Lancaster-based Illuminex Corp.

The company was founded by CEO and Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained physicist Dr. Youssef M. Habib.

Habib explained his company's goal is to produce functional nanomaterials through research and development.

"We do research work for various companies," Habib said. "There are almost limitless applications for nanotechnology."

Contact David A. Kostival: 610-371-5049 or money@readingeagle.com.

Reading Eagle - 3/31/11