Diamond semiconductor startup involved in Huawei probe

February 07, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Diamond semiconductor startup involved in Huawei probe
Akhan Semiconductor Inc. (Gurnee, Illinois), a 2013 startup that has been developing poly- and nanocrystalline diamond materials, has said it has cooperated with a US federal investigation into an apparent theft of its intellectual property by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Akhan CEO Adam Khan was recruited by the FBI to wear a wire during a meeting with Huawei executives at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, which resulted in a raid on Huawei premises in San Diego, according to reports.

Akhan has developed a diamond technology platform it calls Miraj based on a process that converts methane gas into the nanocrystalline Miraj diamond material using a microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD). Miraj can be used for the creation of hardened glass and lenses and as a semiconductor material for power and RF electronics.

Akhan states that is sent examples of its Miraj diamond glass to Huawei under a specific contract expecting the material to be returned "unharmed." Reportedly, Akhan was interested in licensing the technology to a smartphone manufacturer but asked for the four-inch square sample be returned in 60-days and within specific limitations on testing designed to prevent reverse engineering.

Akhan said in a statement: "Akhan believes that Huawei destroyed our product, shipped it to China without authorization, subjected it to tests that it was not authorized to conduct, and returned most of it to us in pieces. We still have not recovered all of our product from Huawei, despite repeated written and oral requests and inquiries to Huawei."

Akhan said it will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and is considering any and all legal remedies available.

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