Friday, February 24, 2012

No. 446: Scheduled mass production of gallium nitride crystals (February 24, 2012)

With the stagnant sales of general-purpose chemical products, chemical companies are eager to introduce high value-added products to increase their profitability. Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings plans to mass produce high-definition compound substrates used for power semiconductors and the light-emitting part of an LED starting this October. Because Mitsubishi’s product has higher conversion efficiency from electricity to light, it can reduce power consumption by 50-70% as compared with the existing LED besides offering a longer operating life. Mitsubishi is now building a plant with an investment of 500 million yen.

The company developed the technology to produce gallium nitride crystal, which is the raw material of a substrate, effectively and succeeded in reducing the deficit of small holes inside the crystal considerably, enabling LED makers to improve the yield ratio. The light-emitting part of the existing LED lighting is mostly a sapphire substrate. The gallium nitride substrate is superior to the sapphire substrate because the former has lower electrical power loss and withstands higher output than the latter, but a highly advanced technology is needed to produce gallium nitride substrates at a reasonable cost. With the newly developed technology, Mitsubishi is confident that the gallium nitride substrate can compete with sapphire substrate successfully. It plans to ship 500 gallium nitride substrates, which is equivalent to 100,000 LED bulbs, per month starting this October. The company plans to increase the monthly production capacity to 6,000 pieces in 2013 and to 30,000 pieces in 2015 to take the initiative in the market. 

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