12 April 2011

California awards Applied $500,000 to improve LED manufacturing

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded $500,000 to Applied Materials Inc of Santa Clara, CA (which provides equipment, services and software for semiconductor, flat-panel display and solar photovoltaic manufacturing) for a research project to develop an improved and more cost-effective way to manufacture light-emitting diodes.

Created by the California Legislature in 1974, the CEC is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. It has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50MW or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.

Funding comes from the CEC’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program (which supports public-interest R&D that helps to improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products to the marketplace).

The project’s total cost is $8,718,911, of which Applied Materials is providing $4,225,000. The firm also received a $3,993,911 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award in January 2010 from the US Department of Energy for the project ‘Advanced Epi Tools for Gallium Nitride LED Devices’ to develop a multi-chamber hybrid system for metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE).

The latest CEC-funded project is working to reduce the costs of LEDs through improvements in manufacturing equipment and processes, particularly the key manufacturing step of MOCVD.

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

The project is scheduled for completion by July 2012. The firm expects the project to create 1600 jobs in California by 2015.

See related items:

GaN LED market to grow 38% in 2011

Tags: Applied Materials LEDs MOCVD HVPE

Visit: www.energy.ca.gov/research

Visit: www.appliedmaterials.com

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