Take the lead in commercializing porous gallium nitride GaN MicroLED chips, “Porotech” received 3 million pounds in seed round financing

This round of financing is mainly used for: new product development, industry customers and business development, and team expansion. Porotech also plans to expand the Chinese market in the next step.

a British porous gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor material technology developer, completed a seed round of financing last month. This round of financing amounted to 3 million pounds. It was led by Speedinvest, which focuses on early investment in the technology sector. Past investments Fang IQ Capital, Cambridge Enterprise, Martlet Capital and Cambridge Angels participated in the investment. Porotech was established in April 2018 and completed the first round of £1.5 million financing at the end of 2019. According to Dr. Zhu Tongtong, CEO and co-founder of Porotech, this round of financing will be mainly used for further development of new products, industry customers and business development, and team expansion.

In recent years, as one of the third-generation semiconductor materials, gallium nitride GaN is the material system with the highest photoelectric conversion efficiency in theory so far. Due to its excellent performance at high power and high frequency, and its prospects for landing in the consumer market, it has been The industry is generally optimistic, and many international semiconductor giants have also deployed. At this stage, the application fields of GaN GaN cover: microwave radio frequency devices (communication base stations, etc.), power electronic devices (smart grids, charging power supplies, etc.), optoelectronic devices (LED lighting, lasers, etc.). According to statistics from Grand View Research, In 2020, the global gallium nitride GaN semiconductor device market is worth 1.65 billion U.S. dollars. It is estimated that the GaN market will grow to 7.42 billion U.S. dollars in 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 21.5%.

Among them, in the field of optoelectronic devices, MicroLED is a new generation of display technology that has emerged. This technology can compress the design size of the traditional LED structure to 1 to 100 μm, and the accuracy is increased by nearly 10,000 times. Compared with the hot OLED technology, MicroLED has the advantages of higher brightness, higher luminous efficiency, longer luminous life, good color rendering, and low power. It is used in small electronic devices (such as smart phones, smart watches, VR /AR headsets, etc.) have unique advantages. Domestic and foreign technology companies, LED manufacturers, panel manufacturers, etc. have continued to increase the accelerated layout of the entire MicroLED industry chain. According to market research agency Yole, the Micro LED market is expected to reach $18.8 billion. With the improvement of light source technology, the MicroLED market will usher in explosive growth in the next few years.

Porotech was originally founded in the Gallium Nitride Center of the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge. Based on the research accumulation in the field of gallium nitride, the team took the lead in developing a new type of porous gallium nitride semiconductor material that can be industrialized and mass-produced. It is currently mainly used in MicroLED In the future, combined with Porotech’s porous gallium nitride technology platform and solutions, it will also further expand the fields of energy products, lasers, quantum light sources, sensors and other fields.

Take the lead in commercializing porous gallium nitride GaN MicroLED chips, "Porotech" received 3 million pounds in seed round financing

Porotech GaN native InGaN red light, green light MicroLED chip

Dr. Zhu Tongtong, CEO and co-founder of Porotech, told 36 krypton that taking red light as an example, traditional red LEDs are mainly based on aluminum indium gallium phosphide (AlInGaP) materials, and the efficiency will be greatly reduced as the size decreases. This is achieved in MicroLED chips. Above, the technical characteristics of GaN are the preferred direction. However, common gallium nitride materials have certain defects in the application process, such as low efficiency and high requirements for processing equipment, processes and post-customization. Porotech has developed a porous gallium nitride material with a new and mass-produced unique technology. Small holes with a diameter of tens of nanometers are distributed inside the material, which can be used to customize the development of optics and various material properties. MicroLED chips using porous gallium nitride have solved the technical bottlenecks in high resolution, efficiency, and monochromatic and color integration. In addition, as the world’s first company to adopt this porous structure process technology, Porotech can also provide standardized and mass-produced epitaxial products without damaging the surface structure, eliminating the need for subsequent additional industrial process adaptation and customization.

In November 2020, Porotech released the world’s first native red light epitaxial wafer that can be mass-produced using porous gallium nitride technology. With the help of the team’s accumulation of epitaxial design, LED product industry understanding and patent layout, as well as the accumulation of porous GaN process standards and mass production parameters, at this stage Porotech can achieve two mainstream linings based on sapphire substrates and silicon-based substrates. Industrialized substrate products of bottom technology, and small-scale mass production of red, green, and blue monochromatic epitaxial wafers. Product specifications range from 2 to 8 inches, and 12-inch silicon-based products are also under planning, and repurchase with many large-scale industry customers in Europe, North America, and Asia has been realized.

In the next step, with the help of the material characteristics of porous gallium nitride, Porotech will explore the integration of blue, green and red light on a single epitaxial wafer. In addition, it will also promote the implementation of Porotech’s porous gallium nitride technology in the product line of industry customers, and build a platform technology ecosystem.

Take the lead in commercializing porous gallium nitride GaN MicroLED chips, "Porotech" received 3 million pounds in seed round financing

Porotech’s products and solutions

In terms of business model, Dr. Zhu Tongtong said that Porotech is positioned as a virtual vertically integrated device manufacturer, with Porotech engineered porous gallium nitride technology platform as the core. On the one hand, it provides engineered material substrates to output standardized MicroLED chip products; on the other hand, On the one hand, it provides customized material design and process technology solutions for industry customers, and integrates the industry customer terminal industry chain.

At this stage, the Porotech team has 13 people, and the team has 15 core patents in related fields.

Co-founder and CEO Dr. Zhu Tongtong, PhD in Materials Science from Cambridge University, is a representative of the Royal Engineering Science Enterprise and a leader of small and medium-sized enterprises. He has more than 12 years of production, research and research experience in gallium nitride material epitaxial devices, and published in the field of gallium nitride. 100+ papers and patents.

Co-founder and CSO Professor Rachel Oliver is the director of the Gallium Nitride Center of the University of Cambridge. He has published more than 400 papers and patents related to gallium nitride. He has led a number of British Engineering and Natural Sciences Research Council EPSRC and European Research Council ERC including large International cooperation and corporate funding projects.

Co-founder and CTO Dr. Yingjun Liu, PhD in materials science. He has more than 15 years of experience in advanced materials development projects for world-leading materials companies, startups and top research institutions, and has extensive experience in the industrialization of technological achievements.

Take the lead in commercializing porous gallium nitride GaN MicroLED chips, "Porotech" received 3 million pounds in seed round financing

Porotech founder team, left-Dr. Zhu Tongtong (CEO), middle-Professor Rachel Oliver (CSO), right-Dr. Liu Yingjun (CTO)

Speaking of investment logic, Speedinvest Investment Director Rick Hao said: “As the market’s demand for a new generation of displays is moving towards smaller, lighter, more high-definition, more accurate, and more environmentally friendly, Porotech has developed an innovative new type of porous display. Gallium nitride technology is expected to change the electronics industry in the future. This new type of porous gallium nitride semiconductor material is suitable for existing industrial processes, has stable performance, and can be flexibly customized for different applications. I am very optimistic about the commercialization of Porotech prospect.”

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