16 July 2012

InfiniLED announces access agreement with Ireland’s Tyndall National Institute

InfiniLED, a portfolio company of ScienceWorks Ventures plc (a London-based IP commercialization company with an operations centre in Cork, Ireland), has announced an access agreement with Tyndall National Institute, UCC (University College Cork), from which InfiniLED was spun off in April 2011. The access agreement allows InfiniLED’s engineers to work within the institute’s ISO 9001-certified compound semiconductor cleanrooms to fabricate the firm’s μLED (MicroLED) technology.

The μLED technology was invented by a team led by Brian Corbett in Tyndall’s III-V Materials and Devices group, supported and funded by Enterprise Ireland (EI). Based on free-standing gallium nitride (GaN), the μLEDs have been developed as a next-generation source for miniature lighting applications. Advantages are said to include: a 10-fold reduction in the active light-emitting layer; minimal power consumption; optimum extraction efficiency (up to eight time more efficient than conventional LEDs when coupled to an application); a quasi-collimated beam; the formation of addressable arrays; a color range spanning UV–blue–green–yellow–orange; and good coupling efficiency with both glass and plastic optical fiber (POF).

“The μLED technology brings huge technological advances to customers by controlling the light directly at the point where it is created,” says InfiniLED’s chief commercial officer & co-founder Dr Bill Henry (who worked on the development of the technology and the commercial opportunities while at Tyndall). “The μLED technology solves important problems, such as the extraction efficiency of light from the chip and the beam angle of the emission," he adds. "Not only does this provide performance advantages to the customer but it also simplifies the surrounding components of the system, resulting in cost savings.”

In early June, InfiniLED closed a first-round investment of up to €1.6m, led by IL Investment Group of Quebec, Canada and including support from Enterprise Ireland. It will result in the formation of eight new high-tech positions, with up to 16 targeted by the end of 2013. The investment should allow InfiniLED to continue development of its μLED technology - marking the next step in moving the research from the lab into the market place - and enable it to grow the existing commercial interest, the firm reckons. It should also allow InfiniLED to build its team, to ramp-up development of the technology and to target new opportunities. Post-investment, ScienceWorks remains InfiniLED’s largest shareholder, along with senior management.

Under Enterprise Ireland’s Business Partner Programme, ScienceWorks chief operating officer Joe O’Keeffe, who had already spun out a series of companies and became InfiniLED’s CEO, evaluated the commercial potential of the μLED. “The skills, infrastructure, ISO certification and capabilities at the Tyndall National Institute are unique with Ireland and the UK,” says Joe O’Keeffe. “For InfiniLED to be able to access these capabilities will enable us to deliver products to customers in an efficient and timely manner. It will also allow InfiniLED to build on our technology base and to further enhance the performance,” he adds. “The availability of wafer growth, chip fabrication and advanced photonic packaging & test facilities at the Tyndall National Institute allows InfiniLED to develop devices from raw materials to full systems without incurring the cost of acquiring such equipment and facilities itself. It means that InfiniLED can provide a range of solutions to customers based on μLED technology in a form that is most suited to their requirements,” he continues.

“This access agreement further strengthens the two-way relationship between Tyndall National Institute and InfiniLED,” says Kieran Flynn, head of business development at Tyndall. “It demonstrates Tyndall’s flexibility in working with Irish indigenous spin-out companies and assisting them in their growth trajectory. Tyndall will continue to work with Infiniled’s technology and team to incorporate the μLED into future Tyndall client companies system solutions while InfiniLED brings their own extensive market and customer knowledge in their identified target growth areas. This is another example of the important of the Government’s investment in ICT (Photonics) convergence into new markets at Tyndall,” he adds.

“As well as our core devices, InfiniLED also delivers unique solutions for customer needs,” says Henry. InfiniLED is developing a range of LED light source modules based on its patented μLED technology, licensed from Tyndall. “Technology developments currently under way will further boost the performance of the μLED, including improved light collimation directly from the chip and further components integrated with the LED,” notes Henry. “This engagement with Tyndall allows InfiniLED to develop solutions that are tailored at the chip level and to include all the required optical and control supports,” he adds. “This enables InfiniLED to deliver plug-and-play solutions to customers across a range of markets including diagnostic devices, LED printing, microscopy and others.”

“μLED technology can reduce power consumption in displays, which results in increased battery life for devices such as mobile phones, laptops or other consumer products. It enables new medical devices that are smaller, more efficient and more accurate,” says Joe O’Keeffe. “The technology can also be used in individually switchable arrays. This allows their use for faster LED printing, microscopy and lithography applications,” he adds. “Any product that requires controlled or the efficient use of light may benefit from this unique technology.”

InfiniLED says that it has on-going development contracts with international customers, and expects to grow its customer base further in the coming months, aiming to bring the first μLED-based products to market by the end of 2012. “The addressable market for InfiniLED’s products and technologies are over €1bn,” reckons Henry.

See related items:

Ireland’s Tyndall National Institute spins out InfiniLED

Tags: LEDs GaN Free-standing GaN

Visit: www.infiniled.com

Visit: www.tyndall.ie

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