Rubicon Technology Inc., a LED sapphire substrate provider, claimed to have successfully grown what it believes to be the world’s largest sapphire crystal (or boule) which weighs 200 kg.
The Illinois-based company will be able to offer large-size optical windows and next-generation wafer products with dimensions over 12 inches in the future. And its proprietary ES2 crystal growth technology and sapphire processing capabilities can continue to be scaled to produce even larger-size sapphire products in the future, says the company.
At present, Rubicon mainly grows bulk sapphire crystals up to 85kg in production volumes, and supplies large-diameter sapphire wafers up to 8 inch diameters and optical windows up to 10 inch dimensions. Currently, most of the LED manufacturers use 2- and 3-inch diameter sapphire, with a few using 4-inch wafers. While some are already looking at 6-inch wafers.
“The availability of cost effective large diameter sapphire wafers and also LED processing equipment capable of manufacturing large diameter wafers is enabling LED producers to improve their process yields and chip throughput which reduces their overall chip costs,” said Rubicon CEO Parvez at a recent conference in Hong Kong, explaining why LED industry is moving to larger diameter wafers.
“We expect adoption of 4-inch wafers to continue to rapidly increase in 2009 and 2010. While Rubicon is currently already providing high-quality 6-inch wafers to our customers, we expect 6-inch wafers to move to volume production starting in 2010 with more widespread adoption in 2011.”
The 8-inch and larger sapphire wafers are already available and will provide the roadmap for the future of LED production, added Parvez. “The availability of these larger diameter wafers combined with increased throughput and process yields and the economics of competitive pricing will help the LED market become more successful,” he concluded.