About InStep Nanopower

InStep NanoPower, LLC specializes in developing nanotechnology-based solutions in the areas of renewable energy, nanofabrication, and micro and nano-fluidics. The novel nanostructures that we develop create a foundation for revolutionary advances in a broad range of applications including high-power energy harvesting, biological and chemical sensors, and superhydrophobic, self-cleaning and anti-icing surfaces.

The main focus of our work is to commercialize a radically new high-power energy harvesting technology, which we have recently demonstrated. We are currently targeting several early applications of this technology including energy harvesting from human locomotion with the overall goal of providing users of mobile electronics with a robust inexhaustible high-power energy source capable of delivering up to 20 W of usable power.

Our research and development is supported by private investors and public agencies including United States National Science Foundation (NSF) and European Research Council (ERC). Our customers and partners include Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics (WCAM) and ICx Technologies.

InStep NanoPower research team is headed by Dr. Tom Krupenkin, company President who also holds professorship appointment at the Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. J. Ashley Taylor, company Vice President and a senior staff scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Our team has over 50 years of combined experience in micro and nano-fabrication, microfluidics, and semiconductor processing, published numerous papers and filed over 60 patents in these areas. Through our collaboration with Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics we have access to the state of the art nanofabriaction and materials characterization facilities at WCAM which are rated among the best in the country. Detailed description of these facilities can be found in R&D Facilities Section of our website.

Company Executives

Tom Krupenkin, Company President, received a Ph.D. in materials science from Moscow Institute for Physics and Engineering, Moscow, Russia in 1992, and a Ph.D in physics from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio in 1996. From 1998 to 2007 he was a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies. Prior to that, he worked for two years at the Materials Research Laboratory, University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds over 50 US and international patents and has authored over 35 publications. His research is focused on physics and chemistry of nanostructured surfaces, NEMS/MEMS devices, and physics of liquid-solid interfaces. Professor Krupenkin has received numerous professional awards and distinctions including the American Chemical Society Industrial Innovation Award (2007) for his work on tunable nanostructured surfaces; the Excellence in Research Award (2005) and the Energy Storage Enabling Technology of the Year Award (2006) for his work in Nanomembrane Battery; and the Emerging Technologies Award for his work in Microfluidics in Photonics (2003). His research has consistently attracted substantial media attention including articles and news pieces in The New York Times, Scientific American, ABC News, Nature Materials, Physics Today, Science News, and New Scientist.

J. Ashley Taylor, Company Vice President, received his BA in mathematics at the University of Texas in 1971 and his Ph.D. at the University of Houston studying photoionization of gaseous molecules. As a Postdoctoral Fellow, also at the University of Houston, he investigated the reactions of ions with surfaces. He then joined Perkin-Elmer, Physical Electronics Division conducting surface analysis (XPS and Auger) for many different applications. In 1984 he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Allentown, PA where he conducted many different studies characterizing materials used for the manufacturing of integrated circuits. In 1994 he moved to Orlando, FL to develop dielectric plasma etch processes for the Bell Labs VLSI Process Development Department. In 1997 he was assigned to SEMATECH in Austin, TX as the Project Manager for the Damascene Dielectric Etch Project, establishing joint projects with other semiconductor companies and tool vendors to implement low-k dielectrics as a part of integrated circuit processing. In 1997 he returned to Orlando, FL, now Agere, to develop plasma etch processes for low-k dielectric materials. In 2002 he joined the research team in Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill as part of the New Jersey Nanotechnology Center, a state-of-the-art clean room facility used to process optical MEMS devices, some of which were part of DARPA projects. He has 30 years of integrated circuit processing experience and is an author of over 40 publications and 10 patents with numerous others pending.