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9 October 2006


Army funds Kyma to develop non-polar GaN substrates

Kyma Technologies Inc has been selected for Phase I funding to develop native crystalline non-polar gallium nitride (GaN) substrates under the U.S. Army’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. As part of the program, Kyma will focus both on improving the current method of manufacturing non-polar GaN and on developing new manufacturing methods.

The company will work with academic research groups led by Professor Mark Johnson at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Professor April Brown at Duke University. The NCSU group has already investigated the electrical and structural properties of Kyma’s GaN materials and has worked with Kyma on novel approaches to manufacturing non-polar GaN. Professor Brown will extend her current programs in advanced epitaxial growth and characterization of non-polar GaN materials to Kyma’s low defect density substrates. The collaborators hope to gain new understanding of the physical properties of Kyma’s non-polar GaN substrates, including the ability to deposit high quality device layers thereupon.

Drew Hanser, Kyma’s co-founder and CTO, said: “This program enables us to accelerate the development of non-polar GaN materials with ultra-low dislocation densities and zero stacking faults. Kyma’s non-polar GaN offers a range of new possibilities in terms of device design and the potential to enable better device performance across several different semiconductor device types, including field effect transistors, heterojunction bipolar transistors, and visible and ultraviolet emitters and detectors.”

Keith Evans, Kyma’s president and CEO, added: “Non-polar GaN represents an exciting addition to our growing product line because of its strong potential to impact a broad range of military and commercial applications.”

According to Kyma, it is predicted that non-polar GaN will enable higher quantum efficiencies and improved electrical characteristics for light emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes and will enable the development of very high performance enhancement mode (e-mode) high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs).

In March this year Kyma signed a formal co-operative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) to develop GaN field-effect transistors. More recently, the the company also signed a CRADA with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to focus on how low-defect-density native GaN substrates might positively impact GaN field-effect transistor device performance and reliability. See related item.