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1 October 2007


Crystal IS wins $2m ATP award for deep UV LEDs

As part of the final set of Advanced Technology Program (ATP) awards of the US National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), Crystal IS Inc of Green Island, NY, USA has received $2m for a three-year contract to develop high-performance deep ultraviolet (UV) LEDs based on its low-defect aluminum nitride substrates.

Crystal IS will investigate the use of its AlN substrates in various crystallographic orientations to develop LEDs emitting at high power at a wavelength of 280nm, with high efficiency and long lifetime.

The award follows the firm’s completion of a previous ATP award in 2004 which enabled the development of large-diameter, high-quality AlN boules, leading in 2006 to the launch of the world’s first 2-inch bulk AlN substrates. Crystal IS has been supplying substrates for the development of products including blue and green laser diodes, UV LEDs and lasers and RF components on AlN, and is now building up its manufacturing capability for its 2-inch product.

In July, the firm announced the expansion of its device development facility in Green Island (led by Dr Joseph Smart), with the installation of two MOCVD reactors, enabling it to expand from substrate to device manufacturing. The award will allow the firm to explore new paths in the development of UV emitters, says Smart.

UV processing and analytics has opened up many applications over the past several years in areas as wide-ranging as homeland security, water and air purification and UV curing of inks and polymers. However, market growth remains technology-limited in many applications where a small, durable, mercury-free light source would be better suited, says Crystal IS. Although LEDs are commonplace in the visible spectrum, there remain significant challenges to developing cost-effective LEDs operating at deep UV wavelengths less than 320nm . Crystal IS says that the ATP grant will allow it to address these challenges through the use of novel materials, processing techniques and designs to produce high-efficient LEDs operating in the deep UV.

CEO Dr Ding Day adds that the market for UV LEDs and laser diodes is forecast to exceed $1bn within 15 years.

See related items:

Crystal IS appoints Mueller

Crystal IS buys MOCVD reactors to develop UV LEDs

Market for GaN and AlN substrates forecast to exceed $440m by 2010

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