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7 August 2006


Kyma announces GaN FET R&D agreement with AFRL

Kyma Technologies Inc of Raleigh, NC, USA has signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to further understand how low-defect-density native gallium nitride substrates might positively impact GaN field-effect transistor device performance and reliability.

The focus is to perform advanced characterization analyses of native GaN materials and native GaN-based FET devices for RF electronic applications. In late March, Kyma signed a similar CRADA with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), also focused on low-defect-density native GaN substrates for high-power RF GaN FETs.

Because native GaN substrates are only now becoming available, past efforts to develop high-performance GaN FET devices have relied heavily on silicon carbide substrates, says Kyma.  While use of SiC substrates has led to excellent device performance demonstrations by several groups, persistant problems with device reliability must be solved before GaN FETs can be inserted into military systems.  Such device reliability problems are considered by many to have roots in poor device layer materials characteristics which arise when a foreign (non-native) substrate such as SiC is used.   

“We believe that native GaN substrates are a potential enabling technology for realization of ultra-high performance and reliability high-power high-frequency transistors needed for next-generation DoD and commercial RF applications.  However, much work in materials and device characterization is needed to get there,” said Kyma's co-founder and chief technical officer Dr Drew Hanser, who is technical lead for Kyma on both CRADA’s. The AFRL program manager for the CRADA is John Blevins.

“We look forward to working closely with AFRL scientists to accelerate our understanding of what it takes to build a reliable high-performance RF FET in the GaN materials system,” added Dr Keith Evans, Kyma’s president and CEO. “The improved understanding that we hope to reach under this CRADA has the potential not only to positively impact RF FET applications but additionally can be leveraged across a broad range of other device applications of import to both the military and the commercial sectors.”

Visit Kyma: http://www.kymatech.com

Visit AFRL: http://www.afrl.af.mil