CSC announces successful conclusion of Innovate UK funded ‘High Efficiency VCSELs Manufacturing” project

08 January 2019

Cardiff, UK, January 08 2019: CSC, IQE’s joint venture with Cardiff University, and its partners (SPTS Technologies Ltd, an Orbotech company, Cardiff University and Swansea University) are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of an Innovate UK funded project – ‘High Efficiency Manufacturing of Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs)’. 

The project has delivered key process modules required to transition small diameter manufacturing processes currently used for VCSELs to a high uniformity 150mm epitaxial platform. The need for scale-up is driven by significant benefits in terms of productivity (4x more die sites in transitioning from 75mm to 150mm ) and yield (driven by smaller ratio of edge sites to total area for larger wafer diameters) to facilitate a step change in cost reduction for VCSELs, and thus accelerate adoption in mass market applications such as 3D imaging, proximity sensing, range-finding and LIDAR.

The work included the commissioning of a custom 150mm oxidation tool at Cardiff University’s Institute for Compound Semiconductors which is used for a particularly challenging stage of preferential oxidation of Aluminium rich layers in the VCSEL layer structure, to produce a high efficiency optical waveguide in the device. High quality mesa dry etch processes to >5µm were developed by SPTS on GaAs/AlGaAs epitaxial structures supplied by CSC, with Swansea supporting PECVD and photo process steps, to complement the oxidation process module; essential for a high uniformity, high reliability 150mm VCSEL fabrication platform. A robust process solution was developed, including in-situ depth targeting end-point detection capability. A benchmark of <±5% mesa depth uniformity across a full 150mm VCSEL epitaxial wafer structure was demonstrated.  

The capability will form the core of a future 150mm VCSEL prototyping capability which will be leveraged by the consortium to work on custom VCSEL development, device-scale optimisation and validation of VCSEL epitaxial materials development as a core research and manufacturing competence in the emerging CSconnected Compound Semiconductor Cluster in South Wales.

NOTE TO EDITORS

About The Compound Semiconductor Centre. Founded in 2015 as a Joint Venture between Cardiff University and IQE Plc, with the mission of accelerating commercialisation of Compound Semiconductor Materials and Device Research, and realising a tangible economic return on the UK investment in this key area of enabling technology. Based in Cardiff, the Centre is a vital milestone towards developing a World-class Compound Semiconductor cluster in South Wales.

Contact: Rob Harper; Email: csc@compoundsemicentre.com; Tel: (44) 2920 021921; Website: http://www.compoundsemiconductorcentre.com/

About The Institute for Compound Semiconductors. Established by Cardiff University in 2016 to provide a much needed link between the research laboratory and the commercial world for one of the world’s key enabling technologies – compound semiconductors. The ICS pay to use fabrication facility currently operates from an existing 225m2 cleanroom in the University’s Queen’s buildings, and will re-locate to a new purpose built 1500m2 cleanroom in late 2020.

Contact: Steve Sutton; ics@cardiff.ac.uk; Tel: (44) 29 225 10548; Website: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/institute-compound-semiconductors

About Swansea University. The Centre for Nanohealth at Swansea University combines nanotechnology with medical science to provide opportunities for the healthcare industry, as well as supporting process and device development across a range other sectors. Novel devices, processes and sensors can be designed, manufactured, functionalised, tested and evaluated in a fully equipped nano-fabrication and characterisation class 100/1000 cleanroom, alongside a class 10000 bio-clean room, and a range of characterisation facilities, including: SEM, AFM, Raman, NMR, rheological, nanoprobe, auger, and optical techniques.

Contact: Matt Elwin; nanohealth@swansea.ac.uk; Tel: (44) 1792 602985; Website: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/nanohealth