Just last week, Rubicon also announced that it began on-site production of aluminum oxide, the starting material used to manufacture sapphire. On-site processing of aluminum oxide will allow better process control and the growth of larger crystals.
The company initially developed its large-diameter sapphire-crystal growth technology to serve manufacturers of radio frequency integrated circuits (RFIC), and further refined the process to serve LED manufacturers and other semiconductor suppliers.
“LED manufacturers understand that migration to a large-diameter sapphire-wafer platform offers an opportunity to achieve production and cost efficiencies. This is increasingly important as LED manufacturers seek to reduce costs throughout the LED manufacturing process to help the industry lower prices of LED-based lighting and encourage adoption worldwide," said Raja Parvez, Rubicon President and CEO.
The transition to 8-inch diameter wafers in LED production has already begun. Several key LED chip manufacturers have announced plans to migrate to and/or test large diameter wafers in 2011 and 2012. "There is significant large diameter wafer activity among LED manufacturers with nearly a half dozen working with six-inch in some way," said Philippe Roussel, LED Senior Project Manager, Yole Developpement, a market research firm. "By 2016, our research projects that large-diameter wafers measuring six inches and greater will capture more than 50 percent of the market."