Ammonothermal Growth of GaN Substrates for LEDs



Program:
OPEN 2009
Award:
$6,319,259
Location:
Fremont,
California
Status:
ALUMNI
Project Term:
06/06/2012 - 01/31/2016

Critical Need:

Gallium nitride (GaN)-based light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have demonstrated much higher efficiencies than traditional lighting technologies. However, adoption into large-scale applications has been inhibited by high costs, which are due in part to the absence of inexpensive native substrates. If highly efficient, low-cost LEDs fabricated on native substrates are deployed widely in both commercial and residential applications, the new substrate and native-substrate-based LED technologies could lead to savings of up to 300 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, roughly equivalent to the output of fifty 1000-megawatt power plants.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Soraa's new GaN crystal growth method is adapted from that used to grow quartz crystals, which are very inexpensive and represent the second-largest market for single crystals for electronic applications (after silicon). More extreme conditions are required to grow GaN crystals and therefore a new type of chemical growth chamber was invented that is suitable for large-scale manufacturing. A new process was developed that grows GaN crystals at a rate that is more than double that of current processes. The new technology will enable GaN substrates with best-in-world quality at lowest-in-world prices, which in turn will enable new generations of white LEDs, lasers for full-color displays, and high-performance power electronics.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Soraa's advanced LEDs would improve the energy efficiency of buildings, substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions and positioning the U.S. as a leader in the new substrate manufacturing industry.

Security:

Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings reduces pressure on the electrical grid, improving its stability.

Environment:

Energy savings of up to 300 terawatt-hours per year corresponds to about 210 million metric tons of carbon greenhouse gases. In addition, replacing fluorescent lamps with LEDs will reduce environmental mercury exposures.

Economy:

These applications represent markets of more than $50 billion per year and have the potential to reduce electricity consumption in the United States by 10% or more.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Timothy Heidel
Project Contact:
Mark D'Evelyn
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
mdevelyn@soraa.com

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Release Date:
10/26/2009