30 July 2012
Plessey takes delivery of Aixtron reactor for new GaN-on-Si HB-LED production line
UK-based Plessey Semiconductors Ltd has taken delivery of a CRIUS II-XL metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) reactor (in 7x6-inch wafer configuration) from deposition equipment maker Aixtron SE of Herzogenrath, Germany (which announced the order in mid-June). The procurement is the first part of a multi-million pound investment by Plessey to create a production line for its new high-brightness LED (HB-LED) products. These will use Plessey’s MaGIC (MAnufactured on Gan ICs) technology of GaN on 6-inch silicon substrates. Manufacturing will be at the firm’s Plymouth facility (creating new jobs).
“We use a much thinner GaN layer, at only 2.5µm, compared to 6-8µm in other GaN-on-Si technologies,” says Plessey’s HBLED product line director Neil Harper. “This means less deposition time, so that we can do multiple production cycles in the reactor in 24 hours to achieve higher throughputs and lower costs,” he adds.
Plessey claims to be one of the first firms to make working GaN-on-Si LEDs, with the first samples producing the correct wavelength output from Plessey’s 6-inch IC production line.
Plessey is using standard, readily available 6-inch silicon substrate, which offers significant cost reductions of about 80% compared to existing technologies using silicon carbide (SiC) or sapphire, which are expensive and difficult to scale up, the firm notes. Plessey aims to move to 8-inch substrates in the future to yield greater cost savings. Efficiencies in the new technology should enable outputs in excess of 150 lumens per watt to be achieved (much brighter than anything commercially available), it is reckoned. Typical MaGIC HB LEDs are yielding at 95%, providing over 14,000 1mm2, 1 Watt MAGIC HB LEDs per 6-inch wafer.
“MaGIC and EPIC [Plessey’s sensor technology] are two unique, disruptive technologies that are instrumental in our plan to rapidly grow Plessey into a major electronics company producing smart lighting solutions,” says Plessey Semiconductors’ chief operating officer Barry Dennington.
Plessey develops and manufactures semiconductor products used in sensing, measurement and controls applications for markets including communications, medical, defense, aerospace and automotive. Earlier this year, the firm announced its plan to bring to market low-cost MaGI’ HB-LED products (initially for the replacement incandescent bulb market) within the next six months. It also plans to develop a range of smart-lighting products incorporating Plessey’s existing sensing and control technologies.