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  • Nextreme Raises $8 Million
Feb 2005
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Feb. 9 -- Nextreme Thermal Solutions, a developer of thermoelectric materials and devices, announced it has raised $8 million in Series A financing. A spinoff of nonprofit research organization RTI International, Nextreme will be led by former RTI entrepreneur Jesko von Windheim, a co-founder of Cronos Integrated Microsystems, a MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) company acquired by JDS Uniphase in 2000 for $750 million.

The funding round, from investment firms SpaceVest, Aurora Funds, Harris & Harris Group Inc. and RTI, will be used to develop thermoelectric devices to address acute thermal management problems in the semiconductor industry and to further develop the application base, including power generation and optical communications. SpaceVest was also a backer of Cronos.

The technology, a thin-film superlattice material made from a semiconductor alloy, emerged from RTI's work with the US Department of Defense. The Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency have provided funding since 1993 for the company's development of the new materials and devices.

"Our technology provides a unique platform from which superior heat-pumping devices can be fabricated for applications where density, speed and efficiency requirements are a premium," said Rama Venkatasubramanian, director of RTI's Center for Thermoelectrics Research, and Nextreme's new CTO.

As microcircuits steadily shrink in size, the semiconductor industry is for the first time reaching limitations in performance because of thermal, rather than electronic, problems. For example, faster microprocessors generate hot spots that can reduce reliability and lead to technology failures. Nextreme's superlattice material, when placed directly under a semiconductor hot spot, can efficiently pump heat from the semiconductor package. The form-factor of this ultrathin thermoelectric device enables direct integration onto the semiconductor or into the chip package, providing an unobtrusive, high-performance, solid-state solution with no moving parts.

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