Technology | Mar 02, 2007

Arrowhead subsidiary collaborates with Kyma Technologies to reduce the cost of blue lasers and blue LEDs

PASADENA, Calif., Arrowhead Research Corporation (NASDAQ ARWR) announced today that its majority-owned subsidiary, Aonex Technologies, Inc. has entered into a collaborative agreement with Kyma Technologies, Inc., a producer and marketer of semiconductor products, to develop materials to reduce the cost of gallium nitride (GaN)-based devices such as blue laser diodes and blue light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Blue laser diodes are an enabling technology for HD-DVD™ and Blu-Ray™ DVD players. Manufacturing these devices in high volume has proven challenging and has led to delays in such highly anticipated products as the Sony PlayStation 3™. Blue LEDs are used as light sources for a wide variety of applications, including back lights for cell phones, and are expected to one day replace conventional incandescent and fluorescent light sources because of their higher efficiencies and longer lifetimes.

“We are very excited that Aonex will work with Kyma to reduce the costs of this promising class of materials” said R. Bruce Stewart, Arrowhead’s Chairman. “Blue LEDs, for instance, are a key enabling technology for solid state lighting, which has the potential to substantially reduce electricity consumption and lower carbon emissions.”

Dr. Keith Evans, Kyma’s president and CEO, added, “We are delighted to work with the Aonex team. The combined attributes of Aonex’s A-SapphTM substrate technology and Kyma’s proprietary high growth rate, low defect density GaN crystal growth technology have great potential to reduce the costs of a broad range of high performance nitride semiconductor devices.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Aonex will provide Kyma with access to its proprietary wafer technology, A-Sapph™. Kyma will work to leverage the superior properties of A-SapphTM to produce large-area wafers suitable for the manufacture of GaN devices. Such large-area wafers could dramatically reduce the cost of GaN devices by enabling an increase in the number of chips per wafer while also substantially improving yields.

This agreement is part of Aonex’s program to sample its substrates to select device and wafer manufacturers.

About Arrowhead Research Corporation
Arrowhead Research Corporation (www.arrowheadresearch.com) is a publicly-traded nanotechnology company commercializing new technologies in the areas of life sciences, electronics, and energy.  Arrowhead is building value for shareholders through the progress of majority owned subsidiaries founded on nanotechnologies originally developed at universities.  The company works closely with universities to source early stage deals and to generate rights to intellectual property covering promising new nanotechnologies.  Currently, Arrowhead has four subsidiaries commercializing nanotech products and applications, including anti-cancer drugs, RNAi therapeutics, carbon-based electronics and compound semiconductor materials.


About Aonex Technologies, Inc.
Aonex Technologies, Inc. is a developer of proprietary substrates that reduce the production cost of devices such as blue LEDs and high-efficiency solar cells. The Company is based in Pasadena, California.

A-Sapph™ substrates are comprised of an ultra-thin layer of single crystal sapphire (< 500 nm) that is bonded to a polycrystalline aluminum nitride support substrate. The resulting substrate has a coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) that is nearly identical to GaN yet offers an industry standard sapphire growth surface (both c- and r-plane) suitable for MOCVD and HVPE growth environments. A-Sapph™ substrates also offer substantially higher thermal conductivity than bulk sapphire, resulting in significantly improved growth uniformity. Taken together, these improved thermal characteristics could enable the scaling of GaN production to larger wafer diameters and corresponding lower costs. Aonex has also designed A-Sapph substrates to enable vertical LED fabrication without laser lift-off.

In addition to A-Sapph™, Aonex also offers A-GaN™ substrates which are comprised of ultra-thin layers of single crystal gallium nitride (GaN) that are bonded to a polycrystalline aluminum nitride support wafer. A-GaN™ substrates offer a lower cost alternative to bulk GaN wafers for devices such as laser diodes (LDs) and LEDs.

About Kyma Technologies, Inc.
Kyma Technologies, Inc. (Kyma) was spun out of North Carolina State University in 1998 to pursue the development of gallium nitride (GaN) substrate materials for a broad range of high-performance nitride semiconductor device applications. Most current nitride semiconductor devices are fabricated from foreign substrates such as sapphire and silicon carbide, and GaN substrates have the potential to enable important improvements in device performance, reliability, and cost.

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