Soitec and Silian partner on HVPE LED template-wafer manufacturing

Soitec and Silian will jointly develop GaN LED template-wafer manufacturing technology using an HVPE process that the companies say can lower component costs and spur SSL deployment.

Soitec (Bernin, France) and Silian (Chongqing Silian Optoelectronics Science & Technology Co based in Chongqing, China) are partnering to use a hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) process to build gallium nitride (GaN) template wafers that the companies say will result in lower-cost LEDs, and help accelerate the adoption of solid-state lighting (SSL). Making the template wafers using a faster, lower-cost HVPE process will presumably free LED makers to focus their metal organic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) tools on the LED layers that are optimized for light extraction.

The partnership aims to validate the template wafer capability using Silian's sapphire substrates and Soitec's HVPE technology, and deliver template wafers to customers later this year. The template wafers are partially processed and must be finished using traditional MOVPE tools.

"Our strategy was to use production-proven silicon epitaxy equipment features and add our innovative gallium source and delivery system to create a high-productivity HVPE equipment," said Chantal Arena, vice president and general manager of Soitec Phoenix Labs. "We then successfully developed high growth rate processes that, combined with our low cost precursor, leads to a more cost effective GaN template than the ones produced by metal organic vapor phase epitaxy."

Soitec president and CEO André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé beieves that delivering template wafers can free up 60% of MOVPE capacity for some LED makers. He added, "LED makers can now focus on improving the more custom-designed layers that make up the light-emitting part of an LED" using that free MOVPE capacity.

"Silian is excited to work with Soitec and adopt its HVPE technology," said David Reid, COO of Silian. "With our extensive sapphire substrate manufacturing expansion activities in China, we are very well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and offer these high quality templates in a cost effective manner to our sapphire substrate customers."

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