Veeco eyes high-volume HB-LED gains with new GaN MOCVD tool

by Debra Vogler, senior technical editor, Solid State Technology

January 29, 2010 – Veeco Instruments Inc. launched its TurboDisc K465i gallium nitride (GaN) metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) system for the production of high-brightness light-emitting diodes (HB-LEDs). Multiple customers at beta sites have already qualified the system for volume production, according to Jim Jenson, VP of Veeco’s MOCVD business unit. The company has also received orders for the system from multiple LED manufacturers throughout the Asia Pacific region. Though not able to discuss details of end-user production timetables, the company anticipates that most will be transitioning to mainstream production with the new tool in 2H10.

Based on Veeco’s K-Series platform, the new system is able to achieve LED yields approaching 90% in a 5nm bin. Key to the tool’s productivity is that maintenance is needed only after about every 200 wafer runs (one platen can hold multiple wafers, with the number dependent on the wafer size). Jenson noted that competitors’ tools typically require maintenance after 1-5 wafer runs. The reason for the difference in maintenance requirements is that the system generates very few particles; the flow flange stays clean because all the chemical reactions occur down near the wafer, not near the injector surface, he explained.

The company also reports a 25% improved wavelength uniformity and a 25% improved run-to-run wavelength uniformity, both of which are critical to high-volume LED manufacturers looking for high capital efficiency — referring to the number of good wafers per day for each capital dollar.

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Figure 1. K465i Uniform FlowFlange gas flow cross-section. (Source: Veeco Instruments)

The system’s uniformity and repeatability is due in large part to the design of the Uniform FlowFlange, which creates a uniform alkyl and hydride flow pattern across all wafers. Additionally, the simplified flange design enables quick tuning for process optimization on wafer sizes up to 8 inches.

The company is looking to increase its market share in the LED manufacturing equipment sector, taking advantage of an expected increase in demand for HB-LEDs in the coming years. It cites an August 2009 report, "High-Brightness LED Market Review and Forecast 2009," by research firm Strategies Unlimited, which forecasts the HB-LED market to grow from $5.1 billion in 2008 to $14.9 billion in 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate of 24%.

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Figure 2. Uniformity across the wafer carrier in the K465i with TurboDisc laminar flow. (Source: Veeco Instruments)



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