Arrowhead Research Corp. (Nasdaq: ARWR) will provide some $680,000 in funding over the next two years to advance nanotechnology developed at Duke University.

The focus is on nanotubes that might be able to replace copper in semiconductors.

“There is a burning need in the semiconductor industry for a new material to replace copper interconnects. We believe the Duke team has a unique solution to this problem,” said R. Bruce Stewart, president of Arrowhead. “Our intention is to fund development of a CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) compatible process at Duke over the next two years, and then partner with device manufacturers to integrate carbon nanotube-based interconnects into their manufacturing processes.”

The research is being led by Jie Liu at Duke.

By providing the funding, Arrowhead gets exclusive rights to license intellectual property associated with the research as well as to commercialize it.

Arrowhead focuses on nanotechnology.

“To our knowledge, corporate research groups have encountered recurring problems in the manufacturing strategies they have pursued,” Stewart said. “We believe Dr. Liu and his research team at Duke have a completely different approach that could enable large volume manufacturing of nanotube interconnects in future chips.”