Meet Our Management Team

Steve Carlson

Steve Carlson

President & CEO

Dr. Steve Carlson is President, CEO, and Founder of Optodot, and has led Optodot for the more than 20 years since its founding in 2000.  He has over 40 years of experience as a chief technology officer or chief marketing officer for various high-technology companies in the battery, imaging, data storage media, coatings, and chemicals businesses. Steve’s inventions are protected by over 40 U.S. patents and patent applications, including 20 U.S. patents on ceramic separators for batteries.  He has been a registered U.S. patent agent since 1995.  Steve earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from MIT.
Ben Sloan

Ben Sloan

Vice President & General Manager

Ben has been part of the Optodot team since 2004, contributing in a number of different roles during his 15 years with Optodot.  Ben is as Optodot’s General Manager, while also overseeing Sales and Business Development.  Ben has been instrumental in leading efforts to monetize Optodot’s technology and IP through strategic partnerships, licensing agreements, and product sales. He is a co-inventor on several issued, pending, and provisional patents at Optodot.  Ben has a B.A. in Economics from Wheaton College, Norton, MA.
Jae-Bok Young

Jae-Bok Young

Director Asia Pacific Business Development

Jae-Bok Young has 25 years of combined international marketing, sales and consulting experience.   He specializes in evaluating global markets and new business opportunities as well as in executing comprehensive business and operational plans. He has provided targeted business analysis and leadership in a number of highly technical industries, including consumer electronics, semiconductor, factory automation, solar, and automotive. Fluent in both English and Korean, Jae-Bok brings extensive experience in building strategic partner relationships and in negotiating complex global contracts. Jae-Bok holds his MBA from Washington University’s Olin Business School.

Scott Swazey

Scott Swazey

Advisor

Scott has over 25 years of experience in hardware testing and development.  He has overseen multiple engineering and hardware development initiatives.  Prior to joining Optodot, Scott was Senior Manager, Hardware Test at Tesla where he was responsible for the development of production test hardware and software for the battery, motor, charger, and infotainment systems.  Prior to Joining Tesla, he spent 18 years of his career at Qualcomm, where he was Director of Engineering.  He holds numerous patents, and has a BSEE in Computer Engineering from San Diego State University.

Company Background

Since our founding in 2000, Optodot has been developing advanced materials technologies to meet the pressing needs of the 21st century world market.  Optodot continually seeks to innovate in the commercialization of next generation products based on nanoporous membranes and nanocrystalline infrared (IR) organic coatings. Our discoveries in this field have produced a wide range of products for commercial, government, and military applications.

As the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and high-energy electric grid storage accelerates, next-generation batteries must deliver increased performance at lower cost, all while satisfying stringent safety requirements.  The separator is arguably the most important component for achieving safety at the cell level.  As a result, battery separators have been upgraded to utilize a more heat stable metal oxide-based coating on the traditional plastic separators.  Optodot’s battery patents cover various metal oxide coatings with unique heat stability, porosity, and mechanical strength properties for separators to separate and insulate the positive and negative electrodes of lithium batteries from each other.

Dr. Steve Carlson, Optodot’s CEO, invented the use of hydrated aluminum oxide/boehmite separators in the mid-1990’s.  These separators are typically made using a sol gel coating that provides nanoporous separator membranes with a narrow and uniform pore size distribution centered at less than 100 nm. Hydrated aluminum oxide-based separators are now the preferred high performance battery separators for high energy density lithium batteries and today represent a $1.5 billion market that is growing at about 35% annually as the world converts to electric vehicles.  Optodot licensed its first generation of separator patents to three of the major lithium battery manufacturers.

Taking advantage of the functional hydroxyl groups on the hydrated aluminum oxide, the second IP generation covers the use of polymers, organic carbonates, organic sulfonic acids, and other materials reacted with the hydrated aluminum oxide to make superior grades of metal oxide-coated plastic separators, called ceramic-coated separators or “CCS” by the battery industry.  Optodot recently sold its patents for CCS to one of the top lithium battery manufacturers.

The second generation of separator patents also makes use of organic material treatments to enable a metal oxide separator, with no underlying plastic layer, that is strong and flexible, even though it is 45% to 50% porous, and thin (at a thickness of around 15 microns).  Optodot is the only company with a freestanding nanoporous separator of this type, called NPORE®, which features <1% shrinkage at very high temperatures and provides enhanced safety over CCS, all while reducing costs.

The third generation of Optodot’s separator patents covers the coating of the battery electrodes directly on the separator, which Optodot calls electrode-coated separators, or “ECS.”  Lithium batteries are currently made by coating the electrodes directly on a metal current collector foil, which is a costly and heavy material whose characteristics as a substrate are less than ideal for high-volume coating output.  ECS would reduce the capital and unit battery cost of lithium battery factories.  NanoPore® ECS provides a simpler process with fewer manufacturing steps and less factory labor, while retaining the key safety benefits of the NPORE® metal oxide separator with no plastic layer.

In addition to our research in the battery field, Optodot has also made important discoveries in the field of optical materials.  Our optical material patents, featuring unique properties in the infrared to prevent counterfeiting, have been used since 2009 in invisible security markings.  These optical materials have unique and intense absorption and reflectance properties that involve nanocrystalline organic materials and nanoscale coatings with a thickness of about 50 nm.

Location

Our Devens, MA headquarters are strategically located near manufacturing partners for convenient production outsourcing and collaborative research and development, and in close proximity to major universities and technical centers of excellence.