LED is an important application using Obducat’s Nano Imprint Lithography (NIL) technology. NIL prints the patterns on the coated surface of the sapphire which is the base substrate on which the LED chip is built up. LED technology is continuing to grow at a fast pace but there is a pressing need to further pull down production costs. In a series of NIL and LED based articles, we look at the short, medium and long term tech advances which will play key factors in bringing down costs in LED manufacturing, while simultaneously enhancing Obducat’s market position.
The first article is a look at the immediate short term advancement with changing substrate sizes…
Short term: Increasing substrate size
More surface, higher yield
With the current squeeze on the industry and LED manufacturers, bringing costs down plays a critical role in their financial health. Cost savings is being sought in both materials and manufacturing processes. Sapphire substrates which act as the base to emit and reflect light in LED are expensive and so is their processing. As such, it offers a prime area to seek solutions to leverage cost efficiency.
One way is by addressing substrate size to maximize efficiency. Currently, substrates are about 4 inches (just over 10 cm). Major LED manufacturers are now migrating away from 4 in. to a larger substrate surface of 6 inches (just over 15 cm.) Higher revenues can thus be generated from a single wafer.
The Obducat edge
Obducat’s technology capabilities are primed and perfect for the substrate size increase, being one of the few NIL technologies that prints Full Field, meaning that the imprinting occurs over the entire substrate field at once. Full Field imprinting differs from the mainstream manufacturing technology presently being used in LED manufacturing. The difference is that current manufacturing technology is based on patterning a smaller part of the substrate in sequential steps. Therefore, the larger the substrate, the more time consumption required for the patterning to be performed. Obducat’s products can easily handle this larger substrate size therefore offering increased production efficiency.