22 February 2021
Kubos demos first commercially compatible cubic GaN LEDs
Spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2017 – with an exclusive license to its proprietary cubic gallium nitride (GaN) intellectual property to deliver efficient green and amber LEDs – Kubos Semiconductors Ltd of Cambridge, UK says that it has demonstrated the first commercially compatible LEDs based on the cubic crystal phase of GaN, representing a step towards more efficient solid-state lighting.
“This is a culmination of several years of research and development by Kubos and the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride,” notes technical director professor David Wallis. “Using the cubic crystal phase of GaN overcomes the limitations of conventional GaN LEDs [through the removal of internal electric fields and a narrower bandgap], allowing us to ultimately deliver significantly higher-efficiency green and amber devices. These devices underline the material’s potential and demonstrate another big step towards achieving full commercialization.”
Picture: Kubos has demonstrated its cubic GaN technology can emit in the green-gap region (from turquoise to amber) and that it can be produced on 150mm-diameter substrates by using commercially available manufacturing equipment.
Having efficient green and amber LEDs should enable the next stage in the development of solid-state lighting (SSL) solutions, allowing greater control of the lit environment, further energy savings and carbon impact reduction, says the firm. Additionally, by translating the performance benefits of cubic GaN in the lighting sector to smaller devices, the technology could also be a game-changer for micro-LEDs for full-color displays, it adds.
“Previously, cubic GaN has been developed as part of small-reach activities,” says CEO Caroline O’Brien. “The process that Kubos is developing is fully compatible with large-scale, volume manufacturing, and Kubos holds the unique IP that makes this ground-breaking technological development possible,” she adds.
“As Kubos opens its next round of funding and broadens customer engagements, these devices further strengthen the arguments for cubic GaN to be used in devices across the visible spectrum and its potential to address both the green gap in LEDs and the current limitations in red micro-LEDs.”
Kubos claims that its technology can enable production of commercial high-end, low-cost, highly efficient LEDs by fundamentally solving the long-standing green-gap problem in solid-state lighting. The technology is applicable to a wide range of applications including general lighting, micro-LED displays, automotive, street lighting and digital signage.
Kubos plans to license the technology to major LED makers. The 2020 Cambridge Independent Science and Technology awards has shortlisted Kubos as a finalist in the start-up of the year category.
Low Carbon Innovation Funds (LCIF) 1 & 2, both managed by specialist low-carbon investor Turquoise International, have backed Kubos. LCIF2 invests in early- and late-stage ventures that make measurable reductions to greenhouse-gas emissions, with the creation of financial return and sustainability as the fund’s primary objectives.