California funds project to develop LED fabrication processes

Applied Materials has received funding from the California Energy Commission and the US Department of Energy to develop improved LED manufacturing processes.

The California Energy Commission has awarded $500,000 to Applied Materials for a research project to develop a more cost-effective way to manufacture LEDs. Funding comes from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

The project's total cost is just under $8,719, 000, of which Applied Materials will provide $4,225,000. The company also received an award of just under $3,994,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award from the US Department of Energy.

Based in Santa Clara, California, Applied Materials provides equipment, services and software to manufacturers of semiconductors and other products. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2012. The company expects the project to create 1,600 jobs in California by 2015.

The project is working to reduce the costs of LEDs through improvements in manufacturing equipment and processes, in particular the key manufacturing step of metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD).

Improving the manufacturing process will decrease operating costs, increase LED efficiency, and reduce manufacturing waste since more LEDs will meet target specifications. Improving manufacturing efficiency means higher-quality LEDs would be fabricated at lower cost, helping to broaden the adoption of LEDs in the marketplace.

The Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program supports public interest research and development that helps improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products to the marketplace. For more information, visit www.energy.ca.gov/research.

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