Plymouth, England--In order to commercialize newtechnologies for the growth of gallium nitride (GaN) high-brightness light-emitting diodes (HB LEDs) on large-area silicon substrates, Plessey Semiconductors has acquired CamGaN Limited, a University of Cambridge (Cambridge, England) spinout that was originally formed to advance this technology. Plessey says the acquisition will enable it to exploit synergies with its 6-inch processing facility in Plymouth, England to produce HB LEDs based on CamGaN’s proprietary 6-inch GaN-on-silicon technology.
Current HB LED fabrication technologies use silicon carbide (SiC) or sapphire substrates [or GaN substrates] that are expensive and difficult to scale up. Plessey says its GaN-on-silicon solution offers cost reductions of the order of 80% compared to LEDs grown on SiC or sapphire by reducing scrap rates, minimizing batch time, and enabling the use of automated semiconductor processing equipment.
These cost reductions will be achieved while enabling outputs in excess of 150 lumens per watt later this year. Michael LeGoff, Plessey’s managing director, said, "HB LED lighting represents the future of domestic, architectural, medical, and automotive lighting. Achieving the goals of high efficiency and brightness is key to the rapid deployment of energy saving, solid state lighting. This new British technology provides cost and performance advantages that will constitute a game-changing step forward towards the replacement of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with HB LED lamps."
Commenting on the significance of Plessey's new technology, John Ellis, Plessey chief engineer, said, "To date, the biggest technological challenge preventing the commercialisation of HB LEDs grown on large-area silicon substrates has been the large lattice mismatch between GaN and silicon. Plessey's new GaN-on-silicon process has overcome this challenge and our expertise combined with the intrinsic cost savings of using automated 6 inch processing equipment will position Plessey's HB LED lighting products at the forefront of the industry."
Plessey also announced its plan to release a range of products for smart lighting concepts that incorporate existing Plessey sensing and control technologies including the award winning EPIC sensor. These smart lighting products will enable intelligent energy management, remote control, controlled dimming and automated response to ambient conditions.
Plessey's first samples of a blue LED are characterized by peak emission at 460nm. The GaN-on-silicon technology extends to other emission wavelengths such as cyan and green. Being able to achieve such high brightness at the blue end of the spectrum enables phosphors to be used to produce white light with a balanced spectrum of light emission that is better for the eye.