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News  Review


Crystal IS to merge with Asahi


THE JAPANESE global manufacturer of compound semiconductor devices, Asahi has acquired a germicidal LED technology development company As a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Kasei, the merger will enable Crystal IS to accelerate commercialisation of its UVC LEDs grown on AlN substrates. The effective date of the merger was December 28, 2011 but all financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed within the company press release that was issued.


“We are delighted to welcome Crystal IS into the Asahi Kasei family,” commented Masafumi Nakao, General Manager of Asahi Kasei’s Advanced Devices and Sensor Systems Development Centre and responsible for this agreement. “Asahi Kasei Group is committed to bringing to the global marketplace a family of products that contribute to life and living for people around the world.”


“The advances in solid state UVC technology accomplished so far by Crystal IS will allow for clean and safe disinfection to be introduced into water, air and surface applications in multiple markets”.


Crystal IS will focus on R&D fundamentals and entrepreneurial business development management, while Asahi Kasei will concentrate on the product engineering and manufacturing side.


“This is a major milestone for our company,” commented Steven Berger, CEO and President of Crystal IS. “Our record LED performance in development has brought interest from global customers and we are eager to create a high-quality product to meet their needs.


We recognise Asahi Kasei Group’s strength as a successful developer and manufacturer of compound semiconductor devices and are confident that their support will ensure a timely and quality launch of our UVC LED business in the global marketplace.”


Crystal IS has been working purely within a development mode for the last ten years,


with a history of early support from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, as well as continued support over the years from both regional and US government. Venture funding in 2004 and 2006 from ARCH Venture Partners, Lux Capital, the Credit Suisse/New York State Common Retirement Fund and Harris & Harris Group, helped the company to scale its research into development, and recent collaborative and strategic support from Asahi Kasei Group and San’an Optoelectronics has helped propel the company to its current operation.


“I am pleased that this ground-breaking technology platform is moving forward into the next phase of growth,” said Leo Schowalter, co-founder and CTO at Crystal IS. “I couldn’t be more proud of the scientists here in Green Island, New York for their commitment to success.”


“We are pleased to be part of a growing high-tech area focused on advanced materials, life science, cleantech and energy. We are confident that we will continue our tradition of innovation and excellence, while also accelerating global business growth with our new owner.”


January/February 2012 www.compoundsemiconductor.net 7


LED market for LCD back-lit TVs slumps


According to the recently released NPD “DisplaySearch Quarterly LED Backlight Report”, set makers are reducing the number of LEDs per TV set. This lowers brightness and moves away from the slim designs and higher picture quality that have been characteristic traits of LED-backlit LCD TVs.


“LED penetration in LCD TV was 7 points lower than our forecast a year ago, mainly due to high LED premiums. The premium for a LED backlight in a 32” LCD TV was 42% in Q4’11, although it had been expected to fall to 27%,” said Yoshio Tamura, Senior Vice President, NPD DisplaySearch.


“TV makers are changing their strategies on direct LED-backlit TV. Instead of high picture quality, set makers have chosen low-power consumption with a lower price as selling points for this new type of LED- backlit TV. This will increase its competitiveness with CCFL-backlit LCD TV and even CRT TV,” he continued.


The materials cost for direct LED backlights comes closer to that of CCFL backlights. NPD DisplaySearch estimates that for 32” LCD TVs, direct LED backlights cost 1.3-1.4 times CCFL backlights, as opposed to edge-lit LED backlights, which are estimated to cost more than twice as much as CCFL backlights. For 40” LCD TVs, the savings could be even greater, with low- cost direct backlights cutting nearly $40 in material costs, which could result in as much as $100 in savings at retail.


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