24 November 2010

AZZURRO closes €14.5m funding round

AZZURRO Semiconductors AG of Magdeburg, Germany has closed a €14.5m round of financing from existing investors Cedrus Private Equity and IBG Innovationsfonds (managed by GoodVent) as well as new investors Wellington Partners, Good Energies and Emerald Technology Ventures (whose Christian Reitberger, Frank Siebke and Markus Moor, respectively, will join the firm’s supervisory board).

AZZURRO uses metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) to manufacture gallium nitride (GaN) epiwafers on large-diameter (150mm) silicon substrates for low-cost high-brightness LEDs and high-power electronics applications. The new funding will finance its first production site, to be built up in Dresden within the next two years, boosting capacity significantly.

The firm says that high-power electronics applications such as power supplies, solar inverters or power converters for hybrid and electric vehicles have typically been manufactured with conventional silicon semiconductors or very expensive silicon carbide (SiC) devices. In contrast, GaN-on-silicon is a material system that has unique advantages in terms of high efficiency and low cost at high voltages and currents, the firm adds.

Previously, the material has not been available on large-sized silicon wafers and hence has not been widely adopted. However, AZZURRO says that it has closed this gap by being able to provide very thick high-quality GaN epilayers on standard silicon wafers with a diameter of 150mm (and soon 200mm), enabling a new category of more efficient electronic devices.

The LED industry has adopted GaN but relies on small sapphire-based substrates that have supply and cost constraints, says AZZURRO. The firm says that it offers a platform technology for LED makers to process wafers in standard silicon production facilities with high productivity. Compared with conventional technology, substantial cost savings can be achieved while maintaining the same performance, it is claimed.

“The AZZURRO team has worked hard for the last seven years to bring the core technology platform to commercialization readiness,” says CEO Erwin Wolf. The basic technology AZZURRO is using was invented essentially by professor Alois Krost and Dr Armin Dadgar at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg between 1999 and 2006, and was exclusively transferred to the firm. “We have received highly encouraging feedback from our customers and are now building up more capacity to fully support our customers’ ramp-up plans,” says Wolf.

“We share AZZURRO’s belief that the time has come to build a high-volume GaN epiwafer foundry to enable industry-wide adoption,” says Wellington general partner Reitberger. “With this growth step, AZZURRO will bring the industry the long-anticipated arrival of GaN-on-Si and the benefits of economies of scale,” he adds. “We look forward to supporting AZZURRO in further building a world-class execution team to deliver on this promise.”

Tags: AZZURRO GaN epiwafers

Visit: www.azzurro-semiconductors.com

See Latest IssueRSS Feed