UV-LED increase with MOCVD
AIXTRON AG has announced that a further AIX 200/4 RF-S MOCVD system has been installed and successfully started operation at Tokuyama R&D center in Tsukuba, Japan. The reactor has already been shipped in the fourth quarter of 2008 and is being used by Tokuyama for the development of AlGaN-based ultra-violet light emitting diodes (UV-LEDs).
Today the UV-LED market is worth approximately $100 million per year with a potential for more than double this value in the next few years. According to a recent report and motivated by the need for a replacement of existing UV light sources, the total market could reach $250M in 2015. In addition, the availability of compact solid-state UV sources with well-defined wavelength ranges will enable many new applications, including solutions for the medical sector.
Higher power devices will also create application opportunities in industry for the hardening or curing of resins. The most prominent opportunity however is the strong desire to replace costly traditional mercury lamps which are not only fragile and short-lived but also present an environmental hazard.
The realization of this market potential will be conditional on specific technical advances especially in the cost-effective growth of AlN-based substrates and epitaxial layers, hence the need for precision MOCVD equipment such as the AIX 200/4 RF-S. AlN is an ideal material for the development of UV devices because it has the widest direct energy bandgap of all semiconductors (approx. 6.2 eV). Moreover, using MOCVD, designers can use bandgap engineering to create the optimum alloys and heterostructures to suit the UV-LED application.
Japan-based Tokuyama Corporation is already a world leader in the development and manufacturing of a complete portfolio of chemical products such as the popular ultrapure polysilicon for the electronics industry. The company also has the world s largest aluminium nitride (AlN) plant, a material that has been proven to be effective for high temperature components such as power LEDs and laser diodes for DVD recorders and fiber optics.