IMEC and Siltronic partner for GaN-on-Si LEDs

IMEC (Leuven, Belgium), a global research institute, and Siltronic AG (Munich, Germany), a silicon wafer manufacturer, have concluded an agreement to collaborate on the development of gallium-nitride-on-silicon wafers (GaN-on-Si) as part of an effort to enable production of LEDs and power semiconductors.

GaN-based materials exhibit excellent light emission properties in a very broad range of the visible and ultraviolet (UV) spectrum. However, solid-state lighting (SSL) using GaN-on-Si LEDs can only become competitive if high-volume manufacturing processes are developed that enable 150lm/W efficacy at acceptable cost.

For LEDs, inexpensive and efficient production methods for epitaxial deposition of GaN structures on silicon wafers are under development. With this agreement, Siltronic joins IMEC’s GaN-on-Si industrial affiliation program (IIAP), a multi-partner R&D program to develop process and equipment technologies for manufacturing LEDs. Siltronic gains access to IMEC’s research facility in Leuven, its technical resources and fellow partners including Micron Technology, Ultratech and Applied Materials.

In this program, Siltronic AG can draw on its experience in epitaxial deposition of materials on silicon substrates, while IMEC nanoelectronics research institute contributes experience in GaN deposition on silicon substrates of diameters ranging from 2 to 6 in.

The long-term (5 year) goal of IMEC is to manufacture high-efficiency nitride LEDs on 6- and 8-in. silicon substrates. The integration of IMEC’s proprietary concept of surface roughening in combination with mirrors will allow a higher external quantum efficiency of thin-film textured LEDs.


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