Nitride Solutions closes funding round to develop AlN substrates

A Kansas company has received $2.5 million in series A funding to commercialize its process to grow high-quality, low-cost aluminum nitride substrates.

Nitride Solutions Inc., a Wichita, Kansas-based developer of aluminum-nitride (AlN) substrates for LEDs, lasers and power electronics, has closed its Series A financing. The round was oversubscribed and closed at $2.5 million. Nebraska Angels and Aurora UV again joined lead investor Midwest Venture Alliance in completing the round.

Nitride says that it will use the funding to “perfect its technology and begin sampling” in the first quarter of 2012. Nitride is finishing commercialization of a high-volume manufacturing technology that will, it says, deliver low-cost, single-crystal AlN substrates.

AlN substrates offer particular advantages for the growth of short-wavelength LEDs emitting in ultraviolet region. Such UV-LEDs tend to contain AlGaN layers with a high aluminum content, so AlN makes a better substrate than sapphire, for example.

However, current commercial processes for making AlN substrates are either self-limiting and will not allow crystal growth beyond a certain limited size, resulting in inefficient production and high costs, or they use materials and processes that can produce larger crystals but of lower quality and purity that limit performance of the ultimate device.

Nitride Solutions says that its AlN substrates have projected defect rates 10 times lower than substrates currently on the market, and so will improve the performance, efficiency and cost of existing LED, laser and electronic products, while also making possible deep-UV devices.

“We were very gratified with the momentum that built during our fund raising,” said Jeremy Jones, president and CEO of Nitride Solutions. “I think it is clear evidence of the excitement from investors regarding our technology and market potential.”

“Nitride Solutions is a great example of what can be accomplished when experienced management is combined with innovation and talent,” said Bart Dillashaw, president of Nebraska Angels. “We are excited about the potential for this technology, and the strong demand for the Series A financing is a demonstration of our confidence in the company's ability to execute on its business plan and deliver this revolutionary technology to market.”

“Fund raising in this economy is difficult. All of us at the Midwest Venture Alliance are very excited to see the support from the regional investment community as demonstrated by the oversubscribed Series A offering, and we are looking forward to the growth and success of Nitride Solutions,” said Trish Brasted, managing member, MVA Capital Group.

Founded in 2009, Nitride Solutions maintains strong ties to Kansas State University in Manhattan, with key employees and advisors hailing from the university, as well as UC Santa Barbara.

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