I-Corps Alumni Spearheads Semiconductor Revolution with Carbon Nanotube Innovation

In the academic halls of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Katy Jinkins and her lab patented novel carbon nanotube technology have the potential to unlock the next generation of semiconductors. Jinkins believed the technology had commercial potential and participated in several entrepreneurial programs including NSF I-Corps. Now, as CEO of SixLine Semiconductor, Jinkins hopes to advance nanotube technology and bring it to market.

“SixLine Semiconductor is focused on disrupting the semiconductor industry using carbon nanotubes. These nanomaterials are essentially tiny straws, made entirely of carbon atoms, that are 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. Replacing current materials in your cell phones and electronics with carbon nanotubes can improve speed and energy efficiency and achieve performance not currently possible.” – Dr. Katy Jinkins


Dr. Katy Jinkins stands in her labDr. Jinkins in the Lab


Jinkins’ entrepreneurial journey started when she was a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. By participating in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Morgridge Entrepreneurial Bootcamp program, Jinkins got her initial introduction to business fundamentals. A few years later, and after a postdoc position at Northwestern University, Jinkins returned to Madison and returned to the nanotube technology. She and the team then went through the National NSF I-Corps program to further refine and test their assumptions about their research’s place in the commercial marketplace.

“NSF I-Corps is a very rigorous program, which I think is very needed because you have to ensure your product is solving a real need in the industry. It was a great experience because it forced you to get out and talk to people in the industry to test your initial hypotheses. Not only do you talk to your potential end customers, but anybody along the value chain for your industry. It was helpful to learn who these key players were, and what value we added for them. Overall, it was very beneficial for SixLine to participate in I-Corps and I would highly recommend entrepreneurs take advantage of this program.” 


Backed by the insights gained through the I-Corps program, SixLine Semiconductor applied for and received an NSF STTR Phase 1 grant. This grant is assisting in the company’s growth and further technology development. In addition, Jinkins is an Activate Fellow. The Activate Fellowship provides support and resources for entrepreneurs in early-stage companies. These support programs have allowed SixLine to continue growing and derisking its technology.


Dr. Bonnie Bachman, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Technology Entrepreneurship Office, describes Jinkins entrepreneurial journey:

“Katy Jinkins’ leadership as the co-founder of SixLine Semiconductor is truly commendable. Through her entrepreneurial journey, she has demonstrated remarkable vision and determination in harnessing the potential of carbon nanotubes to revolutionize electronics. Her involvement in the I-Corps program has provided her with essential business fundamentals and reflects her commitment to refining and testing the commercial viability of the research. Jinkins’ dedication to advancing technology and her ability to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship are inspiring.” – Dr. Bonnie Bachman


Buoyed by innovation funding and programs, Jinkins and SixLine Semiconductor are poised to continue to develop and refine their groundbreaking electronics technology. Programs such as I-Corps accelerate the translation of research into innovations that make an impact.





Learn more about SixLine Semiconductor by visiting their website.



Interested in I-Corps? Learn more about our programs.



Quotes Edited for Clarity


Photos Courtesy of SixLine Semiconductor


NSF I-Corps Hub: Great Lakes Region, 2024