Aledia Develops LED 3D Chips on 8 inch Silicon

CEA-Leti spin off Aledia, has made its first GaN LEDs on 8 inch (200mm) silicon wafers.

The cost of Aledia’s LED 3D chips based on microwires is expected to be four times less than traditional planar (2D) LEDs.

What's more, Aledia has announced its first-round financing totalling €10 million (approximately $13 million) with US and European investors, which was closed in 2012.

Aledia solves the important cost issue in the very large and growing LED market. The continued integration of LEDs into new applications, such as general lighting, depends on LEDs becoming available at substantially lower prices than today.

The company claims its microwire technology enables the steep cost reduction that is vital for the further transition to LED. The Aledia LED technology, made on large silicon wafers and with very low materials cost, represents a cost-disruptive solution to this problem.

Also, the new LED technology is compatible with silicon CMOS technology and will be manufactured directly in existing high-volume silicon foundries.

“Since our financing last year, we have scaled up our microwire manufacturing process and transferred it to 8 inch (200mm) silicon wafers. We can now push forward to optimise the performance of these products and bring them to market,” points out Giorgio Anania, Aledia co-founder, President and CEO.

Investors in Aledia’s first-round financing included Sofinnova Partners, a European venture capital fund and an active investor in energy; New-York based Braemar Energy Ventures, a US energy technology investor with various investments in the LED and illumination area; Demeter Partners, a France-based cleantech investor; and CEA Investissement, the venture capital arm of CEA, France’s Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives.

“This is an innovative technology that can have a disruptive effect on the LED market,” adds Jiong Ma, partner at Braemar Energy Ventures. “Braemar is committed to investing in companies like Aledia that have developed a breakthrough approach to LED lighting to accommodate a rapidly changing market. We are excited about the future opportunities this investment will bring and the expansion of Aledia’s market presence and product offerings.”

“We are proud to participate in the new venture of Giorgio Anania, a successful entrepreneur already well known to Sofinnova, and of an outstanding technical team, that could revolutionise the large and growing LED market, both in cost and performance,” continues Alessio Beverina of Sofinnova Partners.

“We believe that the development of LED lighting is an important element of energy-efficiency in our economies – lighting representing approximately 20 percent of all electricity usage. A technology able to make a significant breakthrough in the cost-effectiveness of using LEDs and thereby accelerate their adoption will have a major environmental and financial impact,” concludes Sophie Paturle, partner at cleantech specialist Demeter Partners.

The 3D GaN-on-Silicon microwire technology was developed over a six year period at the LETI-CEA (CEA-Leti) in Grenoble, France. As part of its spin-out from CEA, Aledia received exclusive worldwide rights to all present and future CEA patents on microwire technology as applied to the area of lighting. Several additional patents have already been filed directly by Aledia.

Giorgio Anania, the company’s cofounder, Chairman and CEO, is well-known in the semiconductor and telecom world. He was previously CEO of Bookham (now Oclaro), the second-largest manufacturer of optical components for telecommunications networks, which he joined when it had 30 people and zero sales.

He left the company nine years later, having brought it to $250 million in sales, 2700 in staff, and public offerings on both the LSE and NASDAQ. At Aledia, he is joined by Xavier Hugon, COO, and Philippe Gilet, CTO, both cofounders of Aledia and previous CEA employees.

Braemar Energy Ventures is a venture capital fund making early- to mid-stage investments in the energy technology sector. The firm's principals have invested in more than 60 companies in the sector and have more than 100 years of combined technical, operational and financial experience in energy and energy-related industries. Braemar partners with exceptional companies and management teams, in both alternative and traditional energy markets, which can contribute to a more profitable and efficient energy landscape through innovation and marketplace expertise.

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