Crystal Announces Substrate for Enhanced Optoelectronic and RF Devices

GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. /PRNewswire/ -- Crystal IS, a supplier of ultra-low defect density bulk aluminum nitride (AlN), announced the release of "the world's first 2-inch AlN substrates for use in high power RF electronics, blue, and UV optoelectronics."

Crystal IS has developed a manufacturing technique to grow a novel crystal that, when sliced and polished, can be used as a semiconductor substrate for the next generation in optoelectronic and high power RF devices. With a high thermal conductivity and a low lattice mismatch to the device layers, this material offers significant advantages in terms of reliability and operating powers, and can reach wavelengths in the deep UV spectrum unavailable to conventional materials. According to Ding Day, Crystal IS CEO, "This development is significant as it opens up a number of market opportunities, including bio-agent sensors, phototherapy, and water and air purification."

Sean Brownlee, director with venture capital firm 3i and board member of Crystal IS notes, "Crystal IS is poised for dramatic growth with the introduction of its 2 in. substrates. Crystal IS is leveraging nanotechnology to grow novel crystals that can be used for UV optoelectronics used in water and air purification."

Today, substrates represent 10%-15% of the compound semiconductor market. The percentage of nitride devices requiring high-performance substrates is expected to increase to 25% in 2007.

Crystal IS uses a patented technique for bulk AlN crystal growth, making it possible to manufacture 2 in. native substrates (sliced from the bulk crystal) with ultra-low defect densities. Two inch AlN substrates are now commercially available from Crystal IS with up to 50% single-crystal usable area. Further development is underway through 2007 to increase the usable area on the 2 in. substrate toward 100%.

According to Ding Day, "Until recently, low-defect native AlN substrates have been available only in small pieces (1 in. or less) and typically of irregular shapes, making them unsuitable for high-volume wafer fabrication. Alternative techniques do exist to produce 'quasi-bulk' AlN substrates, but these all involve growing on non-native substrates and result in a high level of defect densities—more than 100,000 times that of the native substrate. The release of low-defect 2 in. AlN substrates will make this technology compatible with most optoelectronic process lines and will enable the commercialization of deep UV optoelectronic products."

The company is currently expanding its manufacturing facility and has recently expanded its executive team with the addition of Dr. Ding Day as CEO and Tim Bettles as VP of Business Development, Sales and Marketing.

About Crystal IS
Founded in 1997, Crystal IS produces crystals from a new type of semiconductor material that is then sliced into wafers and used for new generation semiconductor devices. Crystal IS is privately held and backed by 3i; ARCH Venture Partners; JVP; Harris & Harris Group, Inc.; and Counter Point Ventures. To learn more about Crystal IS, visit the company's Web site.

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