1 October 2020
Axus and CP to co-develop CMP for bonding micro-LED wafers to CMOS backplanes
Axus Technology of Chandler, AZ, USA – a provider of chemical-mechanical polishing/planarization (CMP), wafer thinning and wafer cleaning surface-processing equipment and process solutions) – has announced a partnership with Compound Photonics US Corp (CP Display) of Vancouver, WA, USA – a provider of compact high-resolution micro-display technologies for augmented- and mixed-reality (AR/MR) applications – to accelerate sub-5µm-pixel micro-LED development to the mass market.
Axus and CP are partnering to integrate critical wafer-scale processes needed for mass-production scale up of CP’s 2µm-pixel, 1080p micro-LED displays for next-generation AR glasses. Specifically, Axus will deploy its Capstone CMP system with integrated post-CMP clean to enable wafer planarization and surface preparation process solutions for wafer-scale bonding of micro-LED wafers to high-performance CMOS backplanes.
To accelerate development, Axus and CP will set up in CP’s MicroLED Innovation Center for Augmented Reality Acceleration (MiARA) in Chandler. The approximately 15,000ft2, Class 100 cleanroom facility provides the infrastructure for Axus, CP and other capital equipment suppliers to conduct advanced process development in Silicon Desert within proximity to global semiconductor manufacturers.
Axus’ CMP processing capability is key to enabling CP’s proprietary small-pixel, epi-substrate-agnostic micro-LED integration process scheme. The Capstone CMP system provides the repeatability over multiple wafers and planarity performance within die/wafer to reliably enable bonding of multiple-million micron-scale electrical contacts between micro-LED and CMOS backplane wafers. This addresses a critical mass-production process requirement for consistently yielding micro-display modules with the required visual uniformity, which is needed for compact, low-power, high-brightness AR/MR near-eye applications.
Axus and CP have collaborated since early 2020 to develop wafer-scale bonding process integration between micro-LED array and CMOS backplane wafers. The firms says that their latest partnership demonstrates their commitment from to advance micro-LED display fab processes and integration.
“Given the tremendous growth potential and exciting technological advances associated with micro-LED development and commercialization, I’m very pleased that Axus Technology has the opportunity to support many, if not most, of the technology companies working in this area,” says Axus’ president Dan Trojan. “With the introduction of our new, state-of-the-art Capstone CMP system, we also now offer the equipment best suited for implementing such processes in R&D, pilot-production and high-volume manufacturing application,” he adds.
“The synergies between Axus and CP will yield display devices of unprecedented speed and performance,” believes Axus’ process technology director Peter Wrschka. “Axus offers years of experience in the surface preparation for wafer bonding and subsequent substrate removal, which is needed to successfully build the next-gen miniature displays. The partnership will significantly shorten the time-to-market for monolithically integrated micro-LED displays,” he reckons.
“By working together in MiARA, process improvement cycles are naturally accelerated,” says CP Display’s product development director Julie Chao. “This is imperative in meeting the market schedule from developers to end customers.”
Micro-LED technology is continuing to emerge as the display solution with the most potential to meet the critical requirements of AR/MR applications, states Axus. Innovations in manufacturing process are critical in enabling cost reductions and volume production for AR/MR headset commercialization, the firm adds.