|Sapphire wafer supplier Rubicon Technology has demonstrated 12-inch polished wafers, which it describes as “the largest high-quality sapphire wafer ready for production of LEDs.” The company now offers a complete range of sapphire substrates including two-, three- and four- inch core material (from which wafers are cut), and six-, eight- and 12-inch wafers.
Although Rubicon’s press release says that the new 12-inch wafers “support demand for high-quality, large-diameter sapphire for lighting and consumer electronics industries,” the level of demand from LED makers is zero…for now. But as a technology demonstrator, this is very impressive.
“Rubicon has built a world-renowned R&D and engineering team that is making great strides in the development of high-quality, large-diameter sapphire including the first 12-inch wafer,” said Raja Parvez, Rubicon president and CEO.
“It is very important to ensure that our customers can depend on us for uniform, particulate-free sapphire wafers as well as flat, stress-free wafers,” continued Parvez. “High-quality sapphire wafers help our customers produce high-quality LED wafers at volumes supporting the LED supply chain.”
While the industry won’t see production on 12-inch sapphire any time soon (if ever), the transition to larger-diameter wafers in LED production has started. In 2010, Rubicon announced a $71-million agreement to supply six-inch polished substrates to LED chip manufacturer LG Innotek.
A number of other companies, including Philips Lumileds and Lextar Electronics, have announced that they are transitioning to six-inch production of LED wafers built on sapphire.