23 August 2011

Rubicon completes upgrade to large-diameter sapphire furnaces

Rubicon Technology Inc of Bensenville, IL, USA, which makes monocrystalline sapphire substrates and products for the LED, RFIC, semiconductor and optical industries, has completed a company-wide installation of enhancements to its proprietary crystal growth furnaces, bringing all furnaces up to Rubicon Furnace Version ES2-XLG3.0. This is the latest version of the firm’s proprietary furnace design for the production of large-diameter sapphire material and provides greater automation and yield consistency. 

The firm says that, over time, its Design for High Volume Manufacturing (DHVM) approach has led to many furnace design improvements that have created an equipment platform for high-volume sapphire crystal growth.  Rubicon Furnace Version ES2-XLG3.0 provides greater automation, resulting in additional yield improvements. It encompasses is now operating in Rubicon’s US crystal growth facilities in Batavia and Bensenville, IL.

“Compared to the production of other substrate materials, sapphire crystal growth is extremely complex,” says president & CEO Raja Parvez. “Variables such as stable power, growth profiles, cooling profiles and feedback control mechanisms must be optimally managed to maximize the yield of quality sapphire crystal. This is even more vital when producing sapphire for the expanding large-diameter wafer market,” he adds. “With hundreds of years of combined experience and innovations such as those embedded in the Rubicon Furnace Version ES2-XLG3.0, Rubicon’s design and equipment engineers and material scientists have achieved industry leading yields and performance,” he claims.  

Rubicon says that, with the Batavia crystal growth facility qualified with more than a dozen customers and the Malaysia polishing facility now also qualified, it has shipped more than 100,000 six inch sapphire wafers.

Market research firm iSuppli expects the global LED market to double to nearly $14.3bn by 2013, driven by the penetration of LEDs into the general illumination market (including light bulbs). LEDs are a popular option for backlighting screens from HDTVs, traffic lights and large displays as well as in a broad range of consumer devices including tablets, notebooks, laptops, mobile phones, navigation devices, digital music players, digital photo frames, digital cameras and keypads. LED use in general lighting applications is also increasing significantly, particularly in applications like street lighting, industrial lighting and architectural lighting.

The transition to larger-diameter wafers in LED production has started, comments Rubicon. Several key LED chip makers have announced plans to migrate to and/or test large-diameter wafers in 2011/2012.

See related items:

Rubicon’s Q2 revenue driven by 62% growth for 6" sapphire

Tags: Rubicon Sapphire substrates Sapphire furnaces

Visit: www.rubicon-es2.com

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