Plessey UK Acquires GaN-on-Si LED Technology

High brightness LED university spinoff moving to production world

Plessey Semiconductor Ltd. (UK) has acquired CamGaN Limited, a University of Cambridge spin-out with novel gallium nitride (GaN) technology for high-brightness light-emitting diodes (HB-LEDs) fabricated on large-area silicon substrates. Plessey will move the technology to its 6" wafer processing facility in Plymouth, UK to produce GaN-on-Si HB-LEDs.

The newly acquired Plessey HB LED solution enables the growth of thin HB LED structures on standard, readily available silicon substrates. Current technologies use silicon carbide (SiC) or sapphire substrates, which are expensive and difficult to scale-up. Plessey’s GaN-on-silicon solution offers cost reductions of the order of 80% compared to LEDs grown on SiC or sapphire by reducing reject rates, minimizing batch time, and utilizing automated semiconductor processing equipment. These cost reductions will be achieved while enabling outputs in excess of 150 lumens per watt – a combination that will allow Plessey to offer the most cost effective solutions in the HB LED industry.

Michael LeGoff, Plessey’s Managing Director stated, “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.”

"To date, the biggest technological challenge preventing the commercialization 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," added Dr. John Ellis, Plessey’s Chief Engineer.

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 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 more pleasing for the eye. The LEDs will target 150 lumens per watt output, which Plessey expects to achieve next year with white LEDs.

The CamGaN technology enables growth of thin HB-LED structures on standard silicon substrates instead of silicon carbide (SiC) or sapphire substrates, which can cost 80% more than Si. It reduces reject rates, minimizes batch time, and enables use of automated semiconductor processing equipment.

Plessey Semiconductors semiconductor products - used in sensing, measurement and control applications worldwide - are distributed in North America by Saelig Co. Inc. Pittsford NY. For detailed specifications, free technical assistance, or additional information, please contact Saelig 1-888-7SAELIG, via email: info@saelig.com, or visit www.saelig.com