Azzurro Semiconductors announced that it has received a EUR 2.6 million grant to develop next-generation, 200-mm gallium-nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) wafers for LED and other power semiconductor manufacturing. The funding was made by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Saxony, Germany.
The LED industry continue to pursue the use of silicon substrates as opposed to the more commonly used sapphire, because a transition to silicon could enable manufacturers to use existing semiconductor processing tools in the back end of the LED production process. Such a transition would presumably lower LED component prices and increase production volumes.
"We are very happy to welcome Azzurro as another partner in Silicon Saxony and to support the 200 mm GaN-on-Si-wafer-technology development of Azzurro," said Sabine von Schorlemer, Saxony minister for science and technology. "The company’s move is another recognition of this great semiconductor location."
Azzurro asserts that it is in a leadership position with its 150-nm GaN-on-Si wafers and has been expanding its manufacturing operations at its Dresden site in Saxony. The grant will allow the company to extend its technology to 200-mm wafers. Stephan Lutgen, Azzurro vice president of technology, said, "Based on the technology grant Azzurro can execute its strategic development of the 200-mm technology platform for power semiconductors and LEDs and quickly attend to the strong customer demand.
Indeed, larger wafers also have the potential of increasing production volumes and lowering component costs. Together larger wafers and silicon substrates could be a big advantage for LED manufacturers assuming that companies can solve yield problems and get equivalent brightness out of silicon-based LEDs.