The Edmond Sun

Business

March 6, 2007

Company receives big returns from tiny product

EDMOND — Dennis Donaldson, CEO of Edmond’s XetaComp Nanotechnologies, calls his line of work “the ultimate small business.”

That’s because his nanotechnology business deals in materials so tiny they’re measured in “nanometers,” each equal to one millionth of a millimeter.

For its diminutive work, XetaComp Nanotechnologies has won a big award. It is one of five Oklahoma companies receiving nearly $1.25 million in the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology’s Nanotechnology Applications Project awards.

XetaComp, in conjunction with an equipment manufacturer, has developed a proprietary manufacturing process to produce titanium dioxide, or n-Ti02, nanoparticles. XetaComp plans to manufacture the n-Ti02 in its Lawton facility and use it in sunscreens, cosmetics and other products, Donaldson said.

The particles used in the sunscreens and other applications will be less than 100 nanometers.

“By comparison, a human hair is 40,000 nanometers,” Donaldson said. “The surface area of 1 gram of our material is approximately 60-square meters.”

Ti02, an opaque material, already is used in many products, from toothpaste to paint, Donaldson said. The advantage of nanotechnology is the microscopic particles become transparent, making it suitable for use in cosmetic application.

“Our first retail product will be sunscreen. Titanium dioxide is a natural product, mined all over the world, that scatters UV-A and UV-B rays.”

Donaldson said titanium dioxide is by nature photocatalytic, and being so will create free radicals when exposed to light. XetaComp uses a process that coats each particle with other materials, creating a safe and effective slurry that can be used in formulations of many types of products.

“You can hit very high SPFs with this product,” Donaldson said.

The SPF, or sun protection factor, of a sunscreen is a laboratory measure of its effectiveness; the higher the SPF, the more protection offered against UV-B, which is the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn, and UV-A, which is more associated with longer-term skin damage.

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