Bavarian project to develop AlN wafers for AIGaN UV LEDs

May 11, 2017 // By Julien Happich
Coordinated by Osram Opto Semiconductors and involving five Bavarian companies and research institutions, the UNIQUE project funded by the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Media, Energy and Technology aims to develop high-power UV LEDs for industrial use, at a price point making them attractive for mass market disinfection applications.

UV light is already being used to kill water-borne germs but the light sources used for this purpose are still predominantly mercury vapor lamps and so far, UV LEDs have proved quite expansive.

Extending from July 2016 to June 2019, the three-year UNIQUE project will focus on the development of mercury-free LED-based UVC high-power light sources with wavelengths in the 260 to 280nm range. The scope for applications is broad, ranging from domestic water purification to industrial disinfection of food packaging.

Aluminum gallium nitride light emitting diodes (AIGaN LEDs), a further development of the white, blue or green indium gallium nitride LEDs currently in use, provide the basis. Meeting this objective requires fundamental material, technology and system developments along the entire value added chain. aprotec GmbH is responsible for the design of a special installation for producing aluminum nitride (AIN) volume crystals by evaporating AlN powder at over 2000 °C.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology (IISB) is in charge of developing and optimizing a process chain for producing AlN substrates, which includes everything from the synthesis of high-purity AlN powder and the production of AlN crystals to the manufacture of AlN substrates from the AlN crystals.

Osram Opto Semiconductors is developing the UVC LED chip with the associated component epitaxy and processing on the basis of the AlN substrate.