20 October 2017
Comptek raises €450,000 for Kontrox technology to passivate oxidized III-V surfaces
Comptek Solutions Oy (which was spun off from Finland’s University of Turku by Johnny Dahl, Jouko Lång and CEO Vicente Calvo Alonso) recently raised €450,000 in a pre-seed funding round, led by Nordic venture capital fund Inventure and joined by Timo Toikkanen and several other business angels and industry experts. Previously, in February, Comptek was awarded a €140,000 funding grant from Microsoft.
Despite having superior electrical characteristics to silicon, compound semiconductor materials tend to oxidize very quickly during the manufacturing process, leading to a much lower performance level than what could be achieved, says Comptek. The firm targets tackling this problem by using a quantum (atomic-level) surface engineering process (discovered and patented by the founders) that is claimed to yield a crystalline surface with up to 98% fewer defects, providing a new tool for boosting the efficiency and increasing manufacturing yield of III-V-based compound semiconductor devices.
Direct benefits are said to be higher gate voltages, better quantum efficiency and lower leak currents. The crystalline structures formed on Kontrox-treated surfaces are inert to ambient air, so additional passivation processes are no longer needed, the firm adds. Also, the implementation of Kontrox into existing manufacturing steps - such as, for example, growth in molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) reactors - is claimed to be simple and does not require extensive equipment modification.
“With our technology, branded as Kontrox, we are giving compound semiconductor producers the means to push the boundaries of power efficiency much further,” claims CEO Vicente Calvo Alonso. “This is of extreme importance in booming markets, such as electric cars, self-driving cars, or VR/AR [virtual reality/augmented reality], where the demands for functionality optimization and power savings are critical. We have already achieved unprecedented levels of performance for some materials and raised the interest of some of the biggest companies in the space worldwide,” he adds.
“The proprietary technology developed by Comptek shows a tremendous increase in performance and quality in the compound semiconductor process,” comments Inventure partner Timo Tirkkonen. “The technology will be a crucial part of the next-generation semiconductor products,” he believes.
With the new capital, Comptek is opening a laboratory with a new cleanroom and equipment to further develop the technology and to produce customer samples.
Comptek aims to expand its activities and offerings globally and to see its technology implemented in manufacturing worldwide, in markets such as China and the USA.