My guess is that one of the Finnish technology breakthrough companies for 2010 will be Canatu’s team, lead by CEO David Brown. Canatu produces and sells a new class of versatile carbon-based components to OEMs and brand names. These components are based on carbon nanotubes and a novel NanoBud nanomaterial. The key competitive advantages of Canatu’s components include low cost, high performance and a diminished environmental footprint for optical and electrical devices. For instance, Canatu’s components are 25 times stronger than steel, 1000 times more conductive than copper and heat twice as well as diamond. The environmentally friendly aspect covers both the production and recycling process. And finally, the production of these components can be industrially scaled.

The development of components has raised interest in the electronics industry because the expanding need for transparent electrodes for optoelectronic device applications is jeopardizing the availability of indium-tin-oxide (ITO), the main constituent of which, indium, is both scarce and very expensive. In addition, the development of flexible, low energy and environmentally friendly materials and electronics sets new requirements for films and components.

Canatu will enter the market in 2011 and will first target the couple of hundred million euro market segment for E-paper and touch sensors enabling flexible conductive films in the multi-billion ITO replacement market. Canatu’s products can be used to replace ITO layers in applications such as LCD displays, organic LED (OLED) displays, E-paper, lights and solar cells, which all represent triple digit market growth for future years.

Founded in 2004, Canatu is a spin-off from the Helsinki University of Technology. Canatu’s strong IPR portfolio includes 45 patents pending covering the entire value chain from synthesis to products.