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Soitec and Silian to optimise GaN template wafers for more efficient LEDs

The firms are together using a novel epitaxy approach to increase productivity of gallium nitride LED wafers to accelerate the adoption of solid-state lighting

Soitec and Chongqing Silian Optoelectronics Science & Technology Co., Ltd. (Silian), a supplier of materials, devices and systems for the lighting industry, have partnered to jointly develop GaN template wafers using hydride vapour phase epitaxy (HVPE). The resulting GaN template wafers present breakthrough cost savings in manufacturing LEDs.

The companies' joint development agreement aims at validating the manufacturability and enabling the commercialisation of GaN template wafers using Silian's sapphire substrates and Soitec's unique HVPE technology. The partner companies plan to begin sampling GaN template wafers this year.

Chantal Arena, vice president and general manager of Soitec Phoenix Labs, where the HVPE technology was developed, comments, "Our strategy was to use production-proven silicon epitaxy equipment features and add our innovative gallium source and delivery system to create a high productivity HVPE equipment. We then successfully developed high growth rate processes that combined with our low cost precursor leads to a more cost effective GaN template than the ones produced by MOVPE."

"Silian is excited to work with Soitec and adopt its HVPE technology," says David Reid, COO of Silian. "With our extensive sapphire substrate manufacturing expansion activities in China, we are very well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and offer these high quality templates in a cost effective manner to our sapphire substrate customers."

"This development of HVPE technology introduces a revolutionary business model and allows LED makers to free up as much as 60 percent of their MOVPE capacity. LED makers can now focus on improving the more custom-designed layers that make up the light-emitting part of an LED," adds André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, president and CEO of Soitec. "In addition to this business opportunity, we are exploring the possibility of expanding our cooperation with Silian into the field of LED lighting, leveraging Soitec's expertise in epitaxial growth developed by our Soitec Phoenix Labs subsidiary in Arizona."

Chairman Xiaobo Xiang of China Silian Instruments Group, Silian's holding company, concludes, "Soitec and Silian have very attractive complementary technologies. Therefore, we look forward to exploring with Soitec the mutual beneficial business opportunities offered by the vast markets of materials, LEDs and lighting."
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