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25 February 2013

GT enters development and licensing agreements with Soitec to commercialize high-productivity HVPE system for GaN template substrates

Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator wafers and III-V epiwafers) has announced development and licensing agreements allowing GT Advanced Technologies Inc of Nashua, NH, USA (a provider of polysilicon production technology as well as sapphire and silicon crystal growth systems and materials) to develop, manufacture and commercialize a high-volume, multi-wafer hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) system. The systems will be targeted at producing high-quality gallium nitride (GaN) epitaxial layers on substrates used in the LED and other growth industries such as power electronics.

The higher growth rates and improved material properties made possible by HVPE are expected to significantly reduce process costs while boosting device performance compared with the traditional metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) process. Initial pre-payment of the licensing fees as outlined in the agreement is already underway, but further specific terms were not disclosed.

GT will develop, manufacture and commercialize the HVPE system incorporating proprietary HVPE technology of Soitec’s subsidiary Soitec Phoenix Labs, including its novel source delivery system that is expected to lower the costs of precursors delivered to the HVPE reactor. The HVPE system should enable the production of GaN template sapphire substrates at scale. The expected target date for commercial availability of the system is second-half 2014.

“We have been working for more than 6 years on GaN epi processes and have created this breakthrough HVPE technology critical in producing high-quality and low-cost GaN layers on sapphire substrates,” says Chantal Arena, VP & general manager of Soitec Phoenix Labs.

The development and license agreements build on the agreement announced last year with Silian to integrate HVPE-based technology on their sapphire. “This allows Soitec to structure its LED lighting offer around differentiated technologies and industrial partners that includes materials and equipment,” says Arena. Soitec Phoenix Labs expertise in epitaxy technologies and GaN materials will be a key factor in enabling GT to bring an HVPE system to market, it is reckoned.

“GT has a successful track record of delivering innovative equipment that has changed industries such as solar PV and LED,” claims GT's president & CEO Tom Gutierrez. “Our decision to enter into the agreements with Soitec is the result of our extensive search for the right partner with the right technology to complement our equipment business as we diversify into new, high-value technologies that broaden our reach,” he adds. “Soitec Phoenix Labs brings a high level of expertise and technical experience in GaN process know-how. When commercially available, we believe the new HVPE system will be a key element to further reduce LED device costs.”

See related items:

Soitec and Silian enter joint development agreement on GaN template wafers

Tags: Soitec GT HVPE GaN template wafers



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