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Picogiga bags European GaN LED substrate funds

France and the EU get behind a substrate R&D program that will develop new GaN substrates for white LEDs.

Compound semiconductor epiwafer maker Picogiga and its silicon-on-insulator-focused owner Soitec have gained €62 million ($88.6 million) to develop advanced substrates.

The funds come as part of the European Union s ”Nanosmart” strategic R&D program, under which Picogiga will develop GaN substrates for high brightness white LEDs.

”Advanced substrates for III-V applications will involve GaN, to either improve the quality of active layers of devices, or to simplify device integration,” Picogiga said.

The second major theme of Nanosmart focuses on high mobility substrates, which will enhance carrier mobility by integrating germanium into CMOS and optimizing crystal orientation.

In its third theme the program will develop SOI substrates for specific applications, specifically for CMOS and power devices.

All three themes will take advantage of Soitec s Smart Cut technology, in which ultra-thin single crystal layers of wafer substrate material are transferred onto another surface.

The Nanosmart program is worth €200 million in total, which Bernin-based Soitec will split with the French CEA/Léti government electronic research institute, in nearby Grenoble.

The program will proceed over five years, and the funds are made up of €80 million from the European Union and €120 million from the French government.

Soitec and Picogiga s €62 million is made up of a €34 million direct subsidy and a €28 million advance which may need to be paid back, depending upon the success of the project.

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