By Cameron Chai
Rubicon Technology, a manufacturer of sapphire products and substrates to the optical, semiconductor, RFIC and LED markets, has commenced on-site aluminum oxide processing for producing large-diameter sapphire wafers.
Rubicon uses its proprietary customized process designed by its crystal growth engineer team to transform unprocessed aluminum oxide powder into a usable shape in Rubicon ES2, a crystal growth process of the company. This method allows the company to achieve greater control over the raw material quality and decrease its production costs.
The innovative process converts the aluminum oxide powder into various forms, which enable space optimization in the crucibles of crystal growth furnaces, which in turn produces larger crystals. Rubicon’s recently upgraded in-house crystal growth furnaces called Rubicon Furnace Version ES2-XLG3.0 and advanced raw material handling equipment reduce production costs for large-diameter sapphire wafers.
Rubicon’s ES2-XLG3.0 furnaces automate crystal growth rates and vacuum monitoring to offer higher output consistently. The furnaces need minimum operator involvement at a rate of 5 employees for 100 furnaces at any specified time. They have been used in the company’s crystal growth plants located in Bensenville and Batavia, Illinois.
Several major LED manufacturers have started using or testing large-diameter wafers for the production of LEDs in 2011/2012. Rubicon’s advanced process technologies and its mass production capability are key performance parameters for the LED industry. The company has so far supplied over 150,000 six-inch sapphire wafers.
The President and Chief Executive Officer at Rubicon Technology, Raja Parvez stated that large-diameter wafers need more amount of aluminum oxide and are three folds thicker than 2" to 4" wafers. With this on-premise processing capability, the company can now get reliable raw material supply for the production of large-diameter sapphire wafers for LED production, he added.