5 December 2013
Aixtron celebrates 30th anniversary
Deposition equipment maker Aixtron SE of Aachen, Germany has celebrated its 30th anniversary, after being co-founded by physicist Dr Holger Jürgensen (now honorary chairman of Aixtron’s Supervisory Board), Dr Meino Heyen and Heinrich Schumann in December 1983.
What started as a spin-off of RWTH Aachen University is now a publicly listed provider of deposition systems that has played a key role in shaping manufacturing technologies for microelectronic and optoelectronic products including LEDs, lasers, transistors and solar cells.
“One major event was the delivery of the first commercial Planetary Reactor system in 1990 – a milestone in the development of reliable, scalable deposition systems for semiconductors”, comments Jürgensen.
Since the first research system supplied by Aixtron to AEG in Ulm in 1984, the firm has sold about 3000 deposition systems worldwide, driven by demand for ever smaller, faster and more cost-effective components.
The development of gas-phase deposition materials coating technologies for use in chip manufacturing has made a great impact, states Aixtron. The firm’s production technologies have advanced the global take-up of light-emitting diodes (facilitating efficient and environmentally friendly lighting for consumers) as well as contributing to the fields of data communication, entertainment electronics and cellphone technology.
“None of this would have been possible without greatly committed employees, colleagues and outstanding partners in research and industry, with whom Aixtron has established longstanding close relationships,” comments CEO Martin Goetzeler. “Innovative materials technologies will always be the key to new applications,” he adds. “We are therefore investing extensively in research and development to create promising new processes and materials. Relevant examples include silicon applications, high-performance electronics and OLED [organic light-emitting diode] technology.”
The firm notes that, like the entire semiconductor industry, it witnessed a substantial dip in demand in the 2012/13 financial year. It is therefore implementing a 5-Point Program (presented by Goetzeler at the end of May) that aims to cut costs and enhance efficiency.
Nevertheless, currently about 800 staff worldwide (of which 250 scientists and engineers) are working on future technology trends at Aixtron. In particular, the firm has four R&D laboratories in Herzogenrath in Germany, Cambridge in the UK, Sunnyvale, CA in the USA, and Suzhou in China (with Aixtron generating most of its sales in Asia).