7 April 2011

BluGlass and SPTS JV establishing RPCVD research and demonstration site in UK

BluGlass Ltd of Silverwater, Australia and SPP Process Technology Systems Ltd (SPTS) of Newport, Wales, UK, the plasma etch, deposition and thermal processing equipment subsidiary of Sumitomo Precision Products Co Ltd (SPP), say that their joint venture (formed last August, when SPTS invested AUS$5.2m in BluGlass) has begun the establishment of a remote-plasma chemical vapor deposition (RPCVD) research and demonstration site in the UK. The facility will include the retrofit of a field-proven SPTS CVD production platform to incorporate BluGlass’ RPCVD technology.

Spun off from the III-nitride department of Macquarie University of Sydney, Australia in 2005, BluGlass has developed a low-temperature process using RPCVD to grow materials including gallium nitride (GaN) and indium gallium nitride (InGaN) on glass substrates, potentially offering cost, throughput and efficiency advantages for the production of LEDs.

Focused on commercializing the RPCVD technology, the JV began operation last October and has seen the establishment of a JV team in Silverwater and now in the UK.

BluGlass says that progress is being made on all fronts, with some milestones progressing faster than others. The technology has seen some significant improvements but, due to repair and maintenance issues with the fifth-generation RPCVD tool (leading to machine downtime), there has been some delay in achieving single-crystal material to the standard set by the firm. Despite this, progress has been made on this and other improvements, such as greater growth rates compared to previous generations. The JV is still working towards the achievement of high-quality single-crystal material.

“SPTS believes in the RPCVD technology, firmly supporting the commercial potential of our joint venture with BluGlass,” says SPTS president William Johnson. “Having engaged with our LED customers, we are encouraged by their validation of the RPCVD value proposition and level of interest in the outcomes of the joint venture,” he adds. “Accordingly, SPTS has further strengthened our commitment to the JV with the allocation of additional resources, budget and the advanced commencement of activity and research here in the UK,” Johnson continues. SPTS has started on the design of its RPCVD research and demonstration site and machine in the UK.

“We have been extremely fortunate to find such an expert and well connected partner to bring our technology to the market,” comments BluGlass CEO Giles Bourne about SPTS. “The progression of our technology since the commencement of the JV has been very encouraging,” he adds.

The JV is geared towards the delivery of single-crystal material, a demonstration facility in the UK with access to global customers, and surpassing the benchmark in material quality set by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) in order to deliver RPCVD to the mainstream LED manufacturing market.

BluGlass says that feedback from customers indicates that the theoretical performance advantages of RPCVD are now recognized as a core value proposition for LED manufacturing. The RPCVD process is increasingly anticipated to be used in conjunction with existing technology, broadening its potential market opportunity.

See related items:

SPTS invests AUS$5.2m for 19.9% stake in BluGlass

Tags: BluGlass SPTS RPCVD GaN InGaN

Visit: www.spp-pts.com

Visit: www.bluglass.com.au

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