Challenging the 12-inch Wafer Barrier

Rubicon Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: RBCN) recently announced the production of 12 inch, c-plane sapphire wafers to round out the company’s portfolio of high quality sapphire substrates including 2-, 3- and 4-inch core, and 6-, 8- and 12-inch wafers. Why so big? Rubicon is already supplying samples of larger diameter wafers to chip companies and working with MOCVD reactor manufacturers.

Companies like Rubicon Technology are working to bring bigger, better wafers to market that yield greater numbers of chips to make LEDs. Rubicon perfected an end-to-end process to make high quality large diameter wafers of ranging in size from 2- to 12-inches.

Rubicon Technology scientist displays a 12" large diameter sapphire wafer

The larger diameter wafers have more real estate to cut chips and this cuts costs per chip making the manufacturing of the LED more affordable too. Already companies like Philips Lumiled and Lextar Electronics have announced the move to 6-inch for LED production.

Many question whether the market is ready for large diameter sapphire. Rubicon has found that they are ready and signed a US $71 million agreement for six-inch polished substrate wafers in 2010. The company found that many LED companies come from a heritage in optoelectronics or semiconductor industries and these companies have 8- and 12-inch equipment ready for larger diameter wafers.

For Further Reading:
Industry reference: Rubicon Technology Transcends LED Industry with Innovative 12-Inch Sapphire Wafers

Interview with Raja in Efficien’Si Magazine: Rubicon Strives to Fill the Capacity Gap

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