Kyma and Duke University Collaborate on Nanosensor Technology

Kyma Technologies, Inc., a leading supplier of crystalline aluminum nitride (AlN) and gallium nitride (GaN) materials and related products and services, today announced their collaboration with Professor April Brown’s group at Duke University in the area of advanced nanoscale sensor technology.

Professor Brown is Duke’s John Cocke Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Her research involves the synthesis and characterization of a variety of advanced semiconductors and nanomaterials for next generation electronic and optoelectronic device and sensor applications.

One of Professor Brown’s research directions focuses on sensor development based on surface functionalization of a particular class of compound semiconductors that possess a surface two-dimensional electron gas and are therefore especially sensitive to chemical interactions at their surface. The approach is quite general and allows for choosing a specific surface functional group to tailor the sensitivity of a sensor to a particular molecule. By placing different surface functional groups onto separate elements of a sensor array, the ability to simultaneously detect a targeted set of chemical species is enabled.

Kyma’s primary role in the collaboration is as Duke’s commercialization partner. Kyma’s lead collaborator on the sensor technology, Dr. Robert Metzger, is currently working with the Duke team to test some of their most recent sensor designs. Those tests utilize Duke’s laboratory scale sensor test facility, an excellent vehicle for rapid feedback on sensor response. Kyma is also building a high fidelity test capability that will enable transitioning the sensors and sensor arrays to the next Technology Readiness Level, which is a measure used by some United States government agencies to assess the maturity of evolving technologies (materials, components, devices, etc.) prior to incorporating that technology into a system or subsystem.

Nanosensor technology has the potential to improve our lives in countless ways, including detection of pollutants, adulterants, pathogens, and other threat agents, as well as early detection of chronic diseases. These and other applications and aspects of nanosensor technology are being studied by the US National Nanotechnology Initiative.

Keith Evans, Kyma’s president & CEO stated, “This is an exciting new direction for Kyma and represents one of several areas of our growing collaboration with Professor Brown’s research group. Duke’s nanosensor technology has broad impact potential in the defense, homeland security, and commercial sectors and is already being tested in the field for select applications.”

Professor Brown added, “The opportunity to work with Kyma to advance our sensor technology and move closer to commercialization is an exciting new step for us.”

The Kyma/Duke team was recently selected by the Army Research Office for a Phase I STTR project in nanosensor technology.  Dr. Metzger is the Principal Investigator for that project, and Dr. Jennifer Becker of Army Research Office is the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR).

About Nanosensor Technology and the US National Nanotechnology Initiative

According to a report entitled “Nanotechnology for Sensors and Sensors for Nanotechnology: Improving and Protecting Health, Safety, and the Environment” published on July 12, 2012 by the National Science Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology: “Nanotechnology-enabled sensors (nanosensors) are providing new solutions in physical, chemical, and biological sensing that enable increased detection sensitivity, specificity, and multiplexing capability in portable devices for a wide variety of health, safety, and environmental assessments.”

That report is the result of collaboration amongst several US Federal agencies, including CPSC, DOD/DTRA, EPA, FDA, NASA, NIH, NIOSH, NIST, NSF, and USDA/NIFA, can be downloaded at:

For more information on the US National Nanotechnology Initiative, visit

About Duke Professor April Brown’s Research at Duke University

For more information about Professor Brown’s research visit and

About Kyma Technologies, Inc.

Kyma is a leading provider of crystalline nitride semiconductor materials, device, and equipment solutions for energy efficient lighting and electric power management.

The market for nitride semiconductor devices was ~$9B in 2011 and is expected to surpass $60B over the long term, including $30B in visible lighting applications and $30B in power electronics applications.

For more information about Kyma Technologies, visit, e-mail, or call the company directly at 919.789.8880.

Kyma is a registered trademark of Kyma Technologies, Inc.