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Combining Logic And Light On GaN-on-Si Chips

A new project using Aixtron systems to promote energy efficiency has been launched in Singapore. It combines the expertise in III-V semiconductors with silicon technology, to advance the commercialisation of LEDs, lasers and power semiconductors on large silicon wafers
The research project Low Energy Electronics Systems (LEES) has started its work with a kick-off meeting.

The program’s initiator is the Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre based in Singapore.

The LEES team consists of eminent research and science specialists and is targeting the development of cutting-edge technology to increase energy efficiency and advance high-tech industries that complement microelectronics.

Two Aixtron CRIUS 1 x 200 mm systems, which the project managers ordered early this year, will form the technological foundation basis for the LEES project work. They will be available for use in the project from the fourth quarter of 2012.

SMART is a collaborative project between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF). Its objective is to develop ways to integrate optical and electronic components on a chip, cost-effectively, using the highly promising III-V-on-silicon technology.

By 2016, the researchers aim to have developed novel material compounds, process technologies, and integrated circuits on 200 mm CMOS-compatible silicon wafers.

Eugene A. Fitzgerald from MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) is the Lead-Principal Investigator for the project with Soon F. Yoon from the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department (EEE) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), as Co-Lead.

“Given the increasing scarcity of energy resources, we are being challenged to provide integrated circuits that have more functionality and higher performance, and use less power," says Fitzgerald. Therefore, research is also focusing on the search for solutions that improve energy efficiency by using the latest most efficient storage devices, such as ultra-capacitors and nanobatteries.

Michael Heuken, Vice President of Research and Development at Aixtron, was appointed as a member to the LEES scientific advisory board. “LEES combines the advantages of expertise in III-V semiconductors with the already established silicon technology," he comments. “Our particular interest lies in the production of LEDs, lasers, and power semiconductors on large silicon wafers on an industrial scale."

Researchers have high expectations, especially in regard to the integration of AlInGaN and AlInGaAsP based III-V semiconductors in silicon-based CMOS circuits and the progress that will be made in conjunction with this to save energy. In the future, the new circuit designs will be used in multifunctional LED colour displays of mobile phones, televisions, and computers, as well as in the printing, power electronics, and LED lighting industries.

Singapore has an extensive silicon industry. The Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) is considered to be a leading center of expertise in Southeast Asia and actively promotes collaboration among international research universities. LEES is the fifth interdisciplinary research platform initiated through SMART. The findings are ultimately to be made available to local industries to strengthen their competitive edge and create new economic sectors that could have a powerful impact on the semiconductor industry.



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