As published in Semiconductor Today:

OEM Group Receives Repeat Order For AGHeatpulse RTP System From Leading LED Manufacturer
Single wafer tool will be used for Rapid Thermal Processing of GaN-on-sapphire LED manufacturing in rapidly growing 150mm substrate LED market

PHOENIX, 09 July 2015 — Global semiconductor capital equipment manufacturer OEM Group announced today that a leading maker of LED products has placed a repeat order for an AGHeatpulse® RTP system. The system will be used for annealing GaN films deposited on 150mm sapphire substrates, one of the critical  process steps needed in advanced LED fabrication. This repeat order validates again the AGHeatpulse® RTP system’s demonstrated capabilities meeting the exacting thermal requirements of new LED manufacturing technologies, and supports the LED industry’s move from batch processing of smaller diameter sapphire substrates to single wafer processing of 150mm sapphire substrates.

Over 75% of all LED’s today are manufactured using gallium-nitride (GaN) on sapphire technology, which utilizes an epitaxial GaN film deposited on a sapphire substrate as the foundation for the LED device. The deposited GaN layer benefits from a thermal anneal process to improve the crystalline structure of the GaN layer; traditionally this thermal anneal has been performed in small furnaces or manual load rapid thermal process (RTP) systems.

According to Rubicon Technologies, a leading manufacturer of sapphire substrates for the LED industry, “Like the semiconductor industry, LED manufacturers have begun to leverage the cost efficiencies of large diameter substrates. LED manufacturers have been making progress in migrating to 6- inch wafers. During the production process, the use of, say, 2-inch wafers, means more wasted space between wafers and more edge loss. So 6-inch enables a more efficient production process resulting in a lower LED cost.”

However, lingering technology challenges have created some limitations for the mass adoption of large- diameter LED substrates.

With its emphasis on developing enabling technologies for new markets, OEM Group optimized the AGHeatpulse® RTP system to meet LED fabrication device performance, reliability, and product yield requirements, and to meet LED manufacturing cost targets. For the GaN anneal process, OEM Group’s development team successfully ported the proven capabilities of automated RTP systems from silicon device applications to high volume manufacturing of LEDs on 150mm sapphire substrates; this repeat order from a leading LED customer demonstrates the worth to the customer of OEM Group’s emphasis on development and continuous innovation.

About the AGHeatpulse RTP
The AGHeatpulse RTP system, originally manufactured by AG Associates and now owned and manufactured by OEM Group, has demonstrated the proven ability to meet the technology requirements for the latest LED devices. The specific benefits of the Heatpulse system important for the manufacture of LEDs are:

  • Excellent control and repeatability of the thermal ramp-up and steady state temperature
  • Uniform temperature across the substrate with high run-to-run repeatability
  • Fully automated substrate handling using a unique susceptor auto-loader
  • Advanced data-log reporting and Host control capability

For additional information about the AGHeatpulse RTP systems from OEM Group please visit AG Heatpulse.