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industry  sapphire substrates


In early 2011 we opened a facility at Penang, Malaysia, that is used to carry out most of our finishing processes. Operating from this location helps to reduce costs, and it is near to LED chip manufacturers in Asia.


We believe that this facility will enable us to reduce the costs associated with making a 6-inch wafer by 20 percent – so far,we have got halfway towards that goal,and we expect to hit this target by summer 2013


many aspects of the finishing processes, including a recently awarded patent for in-situ orientation technology. This allows us to fulfil the differing needs of our customers in the LED, SoS/RFIC and optical markets. These clients all have specific, distinct requirements for the crystal planar orientation of the sapphire products used in their applications.


Two of the key benefits of our new orientation process are enhanced precision associated with sapphire planar orientation, and the elimination of time-consuming steps, because orientation is performed at the fabrication tool. Recently, we have also been awarded a patent for our lapping technology. This is associated with platens that are continuously self-conditioned and self-optimized to maintain high performance. Efficiencies resulting from this technology will translate into savings for our customers.


In early 2011 we opened a facility at Penang, Malaysia, that is used to carry out most of our finishing processes. Operating from this location helps to reduce costs, and it is near to LED chip manufacturers in Asia. We believe that this facility will enable us to reduce the costs associated with making a 6-inch wafer by 20 percent – so far, we have got halfway towards that goal, and we expect to hit this target by summer 2013.


Patterns for the future


Engineers in our research and development team are now focusing on the fabrication of patterned sapphire substrates. Today, many LED chipmakers etch a pattern into the sapphire substrate, prior to MOCVD growth, to increase light extraction efficiency from this device.


This year we will give our customers the opportunity to eliminate this step by doing it for them. If they take up this opportunity, they can devote more time to their core technology. Patterns etched into the sapphire vary from LED maker to LED maker, so we will offer them their own bespoke design, a step that will bring us closer to them. Patterned substrates are already available from several suppliers, but


wafer sizes tend to be small. In contrast, we will focus on the production of large diameter substrates, which are more challenging to process. This means that our provision of them adds greater value.


Our move to providing patterned sapphire is in keeping with our general philosophy: As sapphire and LED chip manufacturing evolve, we will continue to invest in capabilities that provide ever- increasing value to this industry. We already employ industry-leading expertise at every stage of sapphire production, which begins with raw materials and goes right through to wafer finishing. This vertically integrated approach, working in tandem with a deep understanding of our customers’ manufacturing processes, delivers two major benefits to our business: It contributes to excellence in quality and reliability; and it draws us closer to our key customers.


© 2013 Angel Business Communications. Permission required.


Building on the Kyropoulos process


Rubicon employs a sapphire growth process based of the Kyropoulos method.This well-established technique involves placing pure alumina raw material in a crucible and heating it so that it melts.The sapphire crystal is formed on the seed,from the top down. The crystal solidifies as it is very slowly pulled up,with the thermal gradient tightly controlled,to form a free and natural shape as the crystal grows unconstrained.


The Kyropoulos technique is ideal for materials with low thermal conductivity and a high degree of thermal expansion,the combination of which can make crystal material vulnerable to various imperfections unless grown and cooled in a low-stress environment.


With this highly controlled thermal-gradient,the Kyropoulos method yields large-diameter boules of very high optical quality due to high purity


. The resulting boules can be cut to any crystallographic orientation or plane. March 2013 www.compoundsemiconductor.net 55


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