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16 June 2008


Nitride Solutions wins UCSB start-up prizes

*The original firm named Nitride Solutions of Santa Barbara, CA, USA in this news story is now called Aurora UV Inc  - see In January, the name “Nitride Solutions” was acquired by the start-up now named Nitride Solutions Inc of Manhattan, KS, USA, which was founded in 2007 to manufacture aluminum nitride substrates – see

In this year’s University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Technology Management Program New Venture Competition at the end of May, $25,000 was distributed between five winners in different categories. Winning $10,000 and $5,000 in the ‘Most Fundable Idea’ and ‘Dow Materials Use’ categories, respectively, was the startup Nitride Solutions of Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

Currently, nitride-based LEDs are optimized for the blue spectrum, and relatively high performance can also be obtained in the UV-A (long wave, 400–315nm) spectrum. However, manufacturing appropriate material for UV-B (medium wave, 315–280nm) and UV-C LEDs (short wave, or germicidal, 280–100nm) has proven difficult to optimize, resulting in low-quality LEDs with efficiencies of 1% or less and lifetimes of 1000 hours or less. Such poor device characteristics have inhibited the expansion of LEDs into the short-wavelength UV market, where many large-scale market opportunities exist, says the firm.

Nitride Solutions is therefore dedicated to commercializing a process developed in UCSB’s engineering labs for the manufacture of high-quality aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates, enabling the fabrication of low-cost, high-efficiency and long-life ultraviolet LEDs (used for sterilizing medical devices or biological detection) and electronic devices that are currently not commercially available.

Nitride Solutions’ chief technology officer Troy Baker obtained a PhD in materials engineering on ‘Hydride Vapor Phase Epitaxy of Semipolar Gallium Nitride’ under advisors Shuji Nakamura, Steven DenBaars and James Speck in UCSB’s Nitride Crystal Growth Laboratory. He has also co-authored several patents on GaN and AlN HVPE growth and characterization and related topics. Business affairs director David Pricco is finishing a degree at UCSB in business and economics (with emphasis on technology entrepreneurship).

Chief technical advisor Dr David Bour is an Agilent Fellow in Photonics and an Elected IEEE Fellow (with over 200 published papers and 60 patents in the areas of nitride and LED development as well as semiconductor materials growth). Previously, he was chief scientist at LED maker Bridgelux of Sunnyvale, CA. Executive advisor Bruce Allen has 26 years experience as a chief executive, project manager and research scientist on spacecraft technology R&D programs, including as founder and CEO of Intersol Corp (which developed micro-gravity metal alloy furnace designs under the NASA Materials Processing in Space Program). Board member and management and financial advisor Muriel Taylor founded her first company in 1988 and has held executive positions in four enterprises with 150-500 employees and revenues of $30-90m.

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