9 July 2012
Soitec and Silian enter joint development agreement on GaN template wafers
Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers (as well as III-V epiwafers through its Picogiga International division), and Chongqing Silian Optoelectronics Science & Technology Co Ltd, which supplies materials, devices and systems for the lighting industry, have partnered to jointly develop gallium nitride (GaN) template wafers using hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE). The resulting GaN template wafers are expected to present cost savings for LED manufacturing.
The joint development agreement aims to validate the manufacturability and enable the commercialization of GaN template wafers using Silian’s sapphire substrates and Soitec’s unique HVPE technology. The partners plan to begin sampling GaN template wafers this year.
“Our strategy was to use production-proven silicon epitaxy equipment features and add our innovative gallium source and delivery system to create high-productivity HVPE equipment,” says Chantal Arena, VP & general manager of Soitec Phoenix Labs Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, where the HVPE technology was developed. “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 (MOVPE),” she claims.
“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,” says Silian’s chief operating officer David Reid.
“This development of HVPE technology introduces a revolutionary business model and allows LED makers to free up as much as 60% of their MOVPE capacity,” reckons Soitec’s president & CEO André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé. “LED makers can now focus on improving the more custom-designed layers that make up the light-emitting part of an LED,” he adds. “In addition to this business opportunity, we are exploring the possibility of expanding our cooperation with Silian into the field of LED lighting, leveraging Soitec’s expertise in epitaxial growth developed by our Soitec Phoenix Labs subsidiary in Arizona.”
“Soitec and Silian have very attractive complementary technologies,” comments Xiaobo Xiang, chairman of Silian’s holding company China Silian Instruments Group (which entered the sapphire substrate sector in 2008 by acquiring Honeywell’s sapphire business). “We look forward to exploring with Soitec the mutual beneficial business opportunities offered by the vast markets of materials, LEDs and lighting.”