Bridgelux Inc., a developer and manufacturer of LED lighting, announced that it has achieved a breakthrough with silicon-based LEDs that could one day replace more expensive materials currently in use.
The company said it demonstrated a 135 Lumens per Watt GaN-on-Silicon based technology that represents the industry’s first commercial grade performance for a silicon-based LED.
When grown at scale, most LED epitaxial wafers use sapphire or silicon carbide substrates as the starting material. But large diameter sapphire and silicon carbide substrates are costly, difficult to process, and not widely available. As a result, production costs have inhibited the widespread adoption of LED lighting in homes and commercial buildings.
But growing GaN on larger, low-cost silicon wafers that are compatible with modern semiconductor manufacturing could deliver a 75% improvement in cost over current approaches, Bridgelux estimates.
Optimization of the epitaxy process on 8-inch Si wafers will make LED manufacturing compatible with existing automated semiconductor lines, the company said.
Bridgelux anticipates the delivery of its first commercially available
GaN-on-Silicon products over the course of the next two to three years.
The company said it will leverage its Intellectual Property position in LED epitaxy to jointly manufacture silicon based LEDs. The company is currently in discussions with a number of semiconductor companies.
“The significantly reduced cost-structures enabled by Silicon-based LED technology will continue to deliver dramatic reductions in the up-front capital investment required for solid state lighting. In as little as two to three years, even the most price-sensitive markets, such as commercial and office lighting, residential applications, and retrofit lamps will seamlessly and rapidly convert to solid state lighting," said Bill Watkins, Bridgelux CEO.