UConn Incubator Company Receives $5.5 Million for Research

Baki Cetegen, left, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Engineering’s United Technologies Chair, and Eric Jordan, United Technologies Professor of Advanced Materials Processing, at Amastan at the Depot Campus. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Baki Cetegen, left, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Engineering’s United Technologies Chair, and Eric Jordan, United Technologies Professor of Advanced Materials Processing, at Amastan at the Depot Campus. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Amastan LLC, a company in UConn’s Technology Incubator Program (TIP), has secured a $5.5 million investment in support of its ongoing development of high-end plasma technologies for the production and processing of nanomaterials.

Amastan’s UniMelt Process technology allows for the production of superior quality, contamination-free nanomaterials, and advanced thermal spray coatings. The technology can be applied in a wide range of applications, including optics, missile domes, solid oxide fuel cells, turbine engines, additive manufacturing, and armored windows, says Kamal Hadidi, the company’s founder and CTO.

“It’s been a fantastic adventure,” Hadidi says. “This validates our technology and will help us put it on the market.”

The $5.5 million comes from two private sources: LaunchCapital LLC, a New Haven, Conn. firm that invests in leading-edge technology, software, and medical devices; and Dominick Pagano, a UConn School of Engineering alum, investor, and former chief executive officer of Dapco Industries Inc. and the EDAC Technologies Corp.

Amastan grew out of a private collaboration between researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UConn. The novel technology that led to the company’s creation was invented at MIT by Hadidi and fellow senior research engineer Paul Woskov, in collaboration with UConn professors Eric Jordan and Baki Cetegen. Jordan is an expert in thermal barrier coatings and the UConn School of Engineering’s United Technologies Professor of Advanced Materials Processing. Cetegen is head of UConn’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Engineering’s United Technologies chair professor. He is an expert in optical imaging and laser diagnostics.

“This is a great example of how UConn, Connecticut’s flagship public research university, is serving as an economic engine for the state and regional economy,” says Jeff Seemann, UConn’s vice president for research. “Our world-class faculty is awarded grants that support groundbreaking research on everything from military defense, to life-threatening diseases, to clean energy.”

Amastan has performed research for the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, and the Office of Naval Research. As part of the investor agreement, Pagano will serve as Amastan’s CEO and Konstantine Drakonakis from LaunchCapital will serve as chairman of the board.

Located on UConn’s main campus in Storrs, Conn., UConn’s Technology Incubation Program offers research and development space to accelerate the successful development of fledgling companies, while providing entrepreneurs with critical resources and business services.

Since it was launched in 2003, the Technology Incubation Program has helped more than 60 companies and maintained a new business start-up success rate more than double the national average. The companies have had a major impact on the state’s economy, raising $38 million in grants and generating over $41 million in revenue.