News Article

Mitsubishi Set To Grow GaN Wafer Capacity

A $46 million capital investment will boost Mitsubishi Chemical's production of 2-inch GaN wafers and phosphors.

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation is seeking to establish itself as a commercial-volume supplier of GaN substrates, with a 10-fold production capacity expansion.

The new equipment at the company s Tsukuba plant will produce one thousand 2-inch wafers per month when complete and commissioned.

Alongside the wafer expansion, the chemical arm of the Japanese conglomerate is also seeking to double the production of its red and green phosphors. In total the expansion will cost ¥5 billion ($46 million) and should generate ¥10-15 billion in sales per year from 2008 onwards.

Speaking to compoundsemiconductor.net Masahiro Kobashi, general manager of Mitsubishi Chemical s optoelectronics division, said the money would be spent on specially-built equipment for the company's GaN production processes. The new facilities will build on knowledge gained from the company s existing growth tools, from which it began shipping samples in 2005.

Kobashi said that although there is currently great interest in the company s m-plane GaN substrates, he could not confirm whether any of the new capacity is devoted to their production.

The non-polar nature of m-plane GaN offers potentially improved internal quantum efficiency (IQE) for LEDs that are grown on them (see related story).

Until recently high defect densities in these substrates had kept IQEs down, but Mitsubishi Chemical has been able to provide material that appears free of dislocations by transmission electron microscopy. Consequently, groups from fellow Japanese company Rohm and the University of California, Santa Barbara have been able to improve light emission in LEDs and produce the first blue lasers on non-polar GaN.

Although Kobashi confirmed the expansion plans originally reported at Nikkei.net, he did not comment further on who the company will be providing substrates for.

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