WICHITA, Kan. — Nitride Solutions Inc. — a leading developer of next-generation nitride substrates for LEDs, lasers and power electronics — has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to commercialize its innovative manufacturing technology. The nearly $150,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award supports the company’s work to produce aluminum nitride substrates at a high volume and low cost.
According to Jeremy Jones, president and CEO of Nitride Solutions, their end product will be used to create more effective and more affordable water purification systems, consumer and industrial lighting, Blu-ray players, flat-screen TVs, and power systems for hybrid vehicles.
“Our process will bring nitride substrates — which will be critical in so many emerging applications — to commercial reality,” Jones said. “The NSF has recognized that this is potentially a breakthrough technology, and that our company has the capital, the team and the equipment to create it.”
Troy Baker, Ph.D., Nitride’s research and development director, is the project’s principal investigator. Baker has extensive experience in the growth of bulk aluminum and gallium nitride substrates. He performed his doctoral work at UC Santa Barbara under Professor Shuji Nakamura, who is credited with the invention of nitride-based LEDs and laser diodes.
The NSF selected just 10 percent of applicants for the 2012 Phase I award.
Beginning July 1, the six-month grant will support Nitride’s movement toward commercial production. Jones expects the company to be selling their product by the end of the year. If Nitride’s Phase I results are deemed successful, the company will be eligible for a Phase II SBIR grant of up to $500,000 to further support its growth.
The SBIR program encourages technological innovation and commercialization in small businesses while producing advancements that can improve people’s lives. According to the NSF, SBIR programs are the single largest source of patents in the country.
Founded in 2009, Nitride Solutions’ leadership has 30-plus years of experience in advanced materials businesses — both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies — and a total of 25 years in nitride crystal development. The company maintains strong ties to Kansas State University in Manhattan, with key employees and advisors hailing from the university, as well as UC Santa Barbara. To date, Nitride has raised $2.5 million in investor funding from groups including Midwest Venture Alliance, NetWork Kansas, Mid-America Angels, Nebraska Angels and Aurora UV.
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