Rubicon Technology demonstrates 12-inch sapphire wafers

Jan. 27, 2011
Sapphire substrates are now available at various diameters up to 12 inches, should any LED makers wish to investigate the possibility of manufacturing on such giant wafers.
Sapphire wafer supplier Rubicon Technology has demonstrated 12-inch polished wafers, which it describes as “the largest high-quality sapphire wafer ready for production of LEDs.” The company now offers a complete range of sapphire substrates including two-, three- and four- inch core material (from which wafers are cut), and six-, eight- and 12-inch wafers.

Although Rubicon’s press release says that the new 12-inch wafers “support demand for high-quality, large-diameter sapphire for lighting and consumer electronics industries,” the level of demand from LED makers is zero…for now. But as a technology demonstrator, this is very impressive.

“Rubicon has built a world-renowned R&D and engineering team that is making great strides in the development of high-quality, large-diameter sapphire including the first 12-inch wafer,” said Raja Parvez, Rubicon president and CEO.

“It is very important to ensure that our customers can depend on us for uniform, particulate-free sapphire wafers as well as flat, stress-free wafers,” continued Parvez. “High-quality sapphire wafers help our customers produce high-quality LED wafers at volumes supporting the LED supply chain.”

While the industry won’t see production on 12-inch sapphire any time soon (if ever), the transition to larger-diameter wafers in LED production has started. In 2010, Rubicon announced a $71-million agreement to supply six-inch polished substrates to LED chip manufacturer LG Innotek.

A number of other companies, including Philips Lumileds and Lextar Electronics, have announced that they are transitioning to six-inch production of LED wafers built on sapphire.