NEC Corp. of Tokyo announced that it has signed an agreement with SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. (SWeNT) of Norman, Okla., giving the company a non-exclusive license to carbon nanotube patents owned by NEC. The patents concern the carbon nanotube discovered in 1991 by Sumio Iijima, a senior research fellow at NEC. SWeNT, a specialty chemical company, manufactures carbon nanotube materials using a proprietary process invented at the University of Oklahoma. Anticipating a rapid increase in demand for carbon nanotube materials, SWeNT sought to acquire the license to expand its business, NEC said. Because of its superior physical and chemical properties, the carbon nanotube is drawing attention worldwide as a core material for nanotechnology and is expected to be used for applications including high-resolution atomic force microscope probes, flat panel displays, high-performance transistors, fuel cells, ultrasensitive sensors, absorbents and conductive coatings, NEC said.