NASHUA, NH and BERNIN, France -- GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ: GTAT) and Soitec (NYSE Euronext: SOI), announced a development agreement and a licensing agreement allowing GT to develop, manufacture and commercialize a high-volume, multi-wafer HVPE system to produce high-quality GaN epi layers on substrates used in the LED and other growth industries such as power electronics. The higher growth rates and improved material properties made possible by the HVPE system are expected to significantly reduce process costs while boosting device performance compared with the traditional MOCVD process. Initial pre-payment of the licensing fees as outlined in the agreement is already underway, but further specific terms were not disclosed.
GT will develop, manufacture and commercialize the HVPE system incorporating Soitec Phoenix Labs' (a subsidiary of Soitec) unique and proprietary HVPE technology including its novel and advanced source delivery system that is expected to lower the costs of precursors delivered to the HVPE reactor. The HVPE system will enable the production of GaN template sapphire substrates at scale. The expected target date for the commercial availability of the HVPE system is the second half of 2014.
"We have been working for more than 6 years on GaN epi processes and have created this breakthrough HVPE technology critical in producing high-quality and low cost GaN layers on sapphire substrates," said Chantal Arena, VP and general manager of Soitec Phoenix Labs. "The development and license agreements we are announcing today with GT is the ultimate validation of this work and builds on the agreement we announced last year with Silian to integrate a HVPE-based technology on their sapphire. This allows Soitec to structure its LED lighting offer around differentiated technologies and industrial partners that includes materials and equipment. Soitec Phoenix Labs deep know-how in epitaxy technologies and GaN materials will be a key factor to enable GT to bring a revolutionary HVPE system to the market."
"GT has a successful track record of delivering innovative equipment that has changed industries such as solar PV and LED," said Tom Gutierrez, GT's president and CEO. "Our decision to enter into the agreements with Soitec is the result of our extensive search for the right partner with the right technology to complement our equipment business as we diversify into new, high-value technologies that broaden our reach and bring winning solutions to the market. Soitec Phoenix Labs brings a high level of expertise and technical experience in GaN process know-how. When commercially available, we believe the new HVPE system will be a key element to further reduce LED device costs and help propel the industry to greater levels of competitiveness and growth."
Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec's products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic systems (CPV). The company's core technologies are Smart Cut, Smart Stacking and Concentrix, as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large-scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States.
About GT Advanced Technologies
GT Advanced Technologies Inc. is a diversified technology company with innovative crystal growth equipment and solutions for the global solar, LED and electronics industries. Our products accelerate the adoption of new advanced materials that improve performance and lower the cost of manufacturing.