GaN-on-Silicon monolithic microLEDs display innovation

Optoelectronic technology solution developer, Plessey, has placed an order for its next reactor from AIXTRON SE. The AIX G5+ C metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) reactor will boost Plessey’s manufacturing capability of gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si) wafers targeting next-gen microLED applications.

With an automatic cassette-to-cassette (C2C) wafer transfer module, the new AIXTRON reactor will be installed and operational during Q1 of 2019 at Plessey’s 270,000ft2 fabrication facility located in Plymouth, UK. The AIX G5+ C MOCVD system has two separate chamber set-up options, which enables configurations of eight by six inch or five by eight inch GaN-on-Si wafers to be automatically loaded and removed from the system in an enclosed cassette environment.

The system will be an addition to the company’s existing metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) reactors, also supplied by AIXTRON, which provide configurations of seven by six or three by eight with manual loading.

Productivity is further enhanced by the new reactor’s automated self-cleaning technology, which helps to deliver a very low level of wafer defects by ensuring the reactor is clean on every run, significantly reducing downtime for maintenance. The new equipment also provides faster ramp and cool down along with a high susceptor unload temperature to reduce the recipe time.

The AIX G5+ C reactor will support Plessey’s extensive production roadmap to increase R&D capacity of its monolithic microLEDs based on its proprietary GaN-on-Si technology. Plessey’s microLEDs offer extremely low power, high brightness and very high pixel density to create the potential for disruption in many existing application areas that use conventional display technologies such as LCD and OLED.

Plessey’s mission is to become the world’s company developing innovative illuminators for display engines and full-field emissive microLED displays. The complex devices combine very high-density RGB pixel arrays with high-performance CMOS backplanes to produce very high-brightness, low-power, and high-frame-rate image sources for head-mounted displays, and wearable electronics devices for augmented reality and virtual reality systems.

Dr Frank Schulte, Vice President of AIXTRON Europe, said: “We are confident that the AIX G5+ C will support Plessey’s requirements in the best way possible to address the most stringent requirements for microLED production. While offering more productive configurations, the tool meets the toughest requirements from the silicon industry in terms of uniformity and particles.

Mike Snaith, Chief Operating Officer at Plessey, explained: “Our continued and valuable relationship with AIXTRON allows Plessey to rapidly bring to market its monolithic microLEDs. To help us achieve this, our latest acquisition of AIX G5+ C planetary system combines outstanding on-wafer uniformity and run-to-run performance at the lowest cost of ownership – aspects that are critical for efficient high-volume GaN-on-Silicon microLED displays.

Addressing all of the challenges involved in manufacturing microLEDs, including high-volume and cost-effective production capability, Plessey is actively engaging with potential customers to use its production-ready microLED technology platform.