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8 April, 2020 - 12:57 By Tony Quested

Poro Technologies wins £1.5m seed cash to fire electronics revolution

Poro Technologies, a Gallium Nitride (GaN) material technology developer and recent spin-out from Cambridge University, has closed a £1.5 million seed round to develop a pilot plant in Cambridge and its first major products. 

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

Porotech focuses on the development of high performance and energy efficient wide-bandgap compound GaN semiconductors by applying cutting-edge material technologies and solutions to unleash the full potential of GaN to revolutionise the electronics industry.

Porotech’s unique production process allows the controlled creation of a new class of porous GaN semiconductor materials and structures, which provide enhanced functionality. 

Porous GaN could be regarded as a semiconductor composite of solid GaN and air. It enables Porotech to engineer a wide range of material properties, such as optical, mechanical, thermal and electrical, and consequently offers an entirely new material platform for semiconductor devices to be built upon.

Porotech’s porous GaN wafers, material technologies and device solutions will not only redefine what is known and what is possible with existing GaN technologies but also deliver multifunctional GaN semiconductor wafers with the material properties and functionalities targeted to the specific final device application for the cost-effective manufacture of LEDs, lasers, power electronics, quantum light sources, sensors and solar cells.

With Porotech’s process and product IP portfolio, scale-up and instrumentation solutions, know-how and interdisciplinary expertise in semiconductor materials and devices, and materials chemistry, its licensing business model (involving proving by making) is to commercialise its unique material platform technology and device solutions in conjunction with its partners and foundry network.

Professor Rachel Oliver, CSO and co-founder of Porotech and director of the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride at the University of Cambridge, said: “I am really excited about the potential of Porotech’s new porous gallium nitride materials and processes.

“Gallium nitride 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.”

CEO and co-founder Dr Tongtong Zhu, added: “Without a doubt, gallium nitride is the semiconductor material of the future. It is on the rise to revolutionise and transform the electronics industry. 

“Porotech is at the forefront of this particular revolution, where we have developed the first production technique that allows the integration of porous GaN in tailored forms to significantly increase performance of real-world electronic and optoelectronic devices and applications.”

Porotech was the winner of Cambridge Enterprise’s Postdoc Business Plan Competition 2018 and won the golden award of the 5th China Internet Plus Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition in October 2019.

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