Power boost with porous GaN

Power boost with porous GaN

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Porotech, spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2018, focuses on the development of high performance and energy efficient wide-bandgap compound GaN semiconductors using such things as etching to create porous GaN with novel optical, mechanical, thermal and electrical properties.

The company has said it will use the money to develop a pilot plant in Cambridge and its first products.

It has long been known that etching materials at the nanometric scale can create quantum mechanical effects and changes to band-gaps and electronic properties. Although managing those processes while maintaining mechanical stability remains challenging.

The seed round was co-led by Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, and IQ Capital Partners, with the additional participation of Martlet Capital and a syndicate of angel investors from Cambridge Angels and Cambridge Capital Group.

Although the company is building a pilot line to “prove-by-making” its technology it plans to pursue a licensing business model. Porotech’s porous GaN wafers could be used to target specific functionalities for LEDs, lasers, power electronics, quantum light sources, sensors and solar cells, the company said.

The company was co-founded by Rachel Oliver, CSO and director of the Cambridge Centre for GaN research at the University of Cambridge, and Tongtong Zhu, a postdoctoral research associate at the university. There he studied growth methods for the formation of optical micro-cavities as single photon sources based on InGaN quantum dots.

“GaN is a material poised to have impact across electronics and optoelectronics – from efficient power transistors to quantum devices – and the introduction of porous architectures can extend its capability in all these realms,” said Oliver, in a statement.

Zhu added that Porotech has developed the first production technique that allows the integration of porous GaN in tailored forms to increase performance of real-world electronic and optoelectronic devices and applications.

Porotech has won prizes for business plan and entrepreneurship competitions in Cambridge in 2018 and in China in 2019.

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