Aledia progresses on microwire-based silicon LEDs, announces funding

Startup makes LEDs on 8-in silicon substrates using microwire technology and has received a EUR 10 million investment to commercialize the technology.

Aledia has announced that it has successfully transferred its microwire gallium-nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) LED technology to 8-in (200-mm) silicon wafers and is now pushing forward to commercialize the technology. The company also said it received EUR 10 million ($13 million) in first-round financing during 2012, and is using those funds to pursue the microwire technology that it believes will be a disruptive force in the solid-state lighting (SSL) world.

Grenoble, France-based Aledia is using technology originally developed during a six-year period at the LETI-CEA research laboratory in Grenoble. Subsequently, Aledia secured the exclusive IP rights to the CEA research as it applies to the use of microwires in lighting.

Aledia believes it can ultimately reduce the cost of LED manufacturing by a factor of four. The microwire technology is used to build 3D structures that will allow a greater density of LED chips per wafer. And the use of 8-in silicon substrates means that the back end of the manufacturing process can utilize fully-depreciated CMOS IC foundries.

"Since our financing last year, we have scaled up our microwire manufacturing process and transferred it to 8-inch (200mm) silicon wafers,' said Giorgio Anania, Aledia co-founder, president and CEO. "We can now push forward to optimize the performance of these products and bring them to market."

The first round investment in Aledia came from an impressive list of venture captilaist that operate on a global scale including Sofinnova Partners, a leading European venture capital fund and an active investor in energy; New-York based Braemar Energy Ventures, a leading US energy technology investor with various investments in the LED and illumination area; Demeter Partners, the largest France-based cleantech investor; and CEA Investissement, the venture capital arm of CEA.

"This is an innovative technology that can have a disruptive effect on the LED market," said Jiong Ma, partner at Braemar Energy Ventures. "Braemar is committed to investing in companies like Aledia that have developed a breakthrough approach to LED lighting to accommodate a rapidly changing market. We are excited about the future opportunities this investment will bring and the expansion of Aledia’s market presence and product offerings."

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