It seems like LEDs are in everything these days – backlighting everything from your mobile phone, tablet and flat screen HDTV to traffic lights and light bulbs. Making LEDs is a complex process that begins with the creation of sapphire. Not the pretty blue gemstone, but large commercial crystals or boules that can weigh as much as 400 lbs. These large sapphire crystals are cut into cores, cut further into flat circular wafers, polished and then used to grow LED chips. More than 95 percent of HB-LEDs (high brightness) are grown on sapphire.
New applications for sapphire are emerging in consumer electronics—devices such as smart phones and wearables–because of sapphire’s outstanding physical characteristics. It’s highly transparent, extremely hard and virtually scratch-proof, and has excellent touch capacitance. Sapphire has long been used in optical applications requiring extreme durability. Now, because high-quality commercial sapphire is widely available at attractive prices, new uses for sapphire may transform the industry. In the months ahead, we’ll tackle some topics that will help you understand a little more about sapphire and its various applications, including the LED industry. Here’s a sample of what we’ll cover in the coming months:
- Growing sapphire
- For a wafer, size matters
- Quality – When sapphire wafers go bad
- LED light bulbs
- Market & myths
- Interviews with industry shining stars
- Reports from industry events
- Current events in perspective
Please join us each week to learn more about sapphire and the LED market. We look forward to seeing you. This blog is sponsored by Rubicon Technology, Inc., a leading provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, RFIC, semiconductor, and optical industries. Follow us on Twitter at @RubiconSapph.