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7 June 2007


UK government grants £3m to develop GaN LEDs on 6” silicon for low-cost solid-state lighting

The technology programme of the UK government’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has awarded a UK-based consortium a three-year contract worth just under £3m ($5.94m) to demonstrate high-quality gallium nitride-based LEDs on 150mm (6”) silicon substrates. The ultimate goal of the project is to enable large-scale production of low-cost LED lamps for solid-state white lighting.

Currently, a major barrier to using LEDs is the relatively high cost and low yield. So, the project aims to reduce costs and improve consistency by applying mature large-scale semiconductor processing methods (proven in volume production) to grow GaN-based light-emitting structures on large-diameter silicon substrates. 

The project partners therefore combine expertise in commodity III-V semiconductor manufacturing with capabilities for GaN growth, fundamental science, and expertise in packaging and LED marketing :

  • Filtronic, which makes GaAs-based RFICs for the wireless telecoms and defence industries at its 6” fab in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham (formerly a Fujitsu silicon DRAM fab and now the largest compound semiconductor plant in Europe);
  • QinetiQ, a defence and security technology company formed in July 2001 from the UK government's Defence Evaluation & Research Agency (DERA), and whose Optronics Centre in Malvern, Worcestershire grows GaN-based structures for microwave transmitters;
  • MOCVD reactor maker Thomas Swan Scientific Equipment Ltd, based in Cambridge (and a subsidiary of Aixtron AG of Aachen, Germany);
  • Cambridge University, whose professor Colin Humphreys leads a research team there developing GaN-based devices;
  • Forge Europa, which designs and develops solid-state LED displays, assemblies and light sources, and is the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor of Cree’s XLamp series of power LED devices.

The partners add that the project should provide not only a dramatic step forward on the solid-state lighting roadmap but also a route for the UK to enter what it deswcribes as a major future market.

See related items:

BluGlass produces first blue light emission from GaN on 6” glass wafer

LED market drives Rubicon to expand sapphire substrate capacity

UCSB achieves high-efficiency non-polar GaN LEDs at improved output power

Panasonic launching first white LED using GaN substrate

Aonex and Kyma collaborate to cut blue laser and LED substrate costs

Cermet licenses phosphor-free GaN-on-ZnO white LED technology from Georgia Tech

Shimei to produce GaN-on-silicon LEDs for blue, then green and red emission; developing blue lasers

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