A Comprehensive AIN Source Material, Single Crystal and Substrate Development Program

Period of Performance: 10/01/1998 - 09/30/2000


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

American Xtal Technology
4311 Solar Way
Fremont, CA 94538
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Kansas State University
2 Fairchild Hall
Manhattan, KS 66505
Institution POC

Research Topics


A1N is an attractive substrate material for electronic applications of III-nitriides since it is a good insulator and has very high thermal conductivity. A1N can be grown by sublimation and condensation as was demonstrated by Slack. Scaling the A1N growth to commercially viable substrates requires improvements in furnace, crucible, seeding, slicing and polishing. AXT with its technology transfer partner, KSU, proposed a comprehensive development for A1N substrates which included source material, crystal growth and wafer preparation. In Phase I, we successfully demonstrated the feasibility of all aspects of the program. Sources of high purity A1N were identified and samples.. The sublimation rate of A1N powder as a function of temperatures was measured and was shown to be sufficiently high for large crystal growth at high temperature. PBN was demonstrated as a suitable crucible and reactor furniture material for A1N growth. A high density of small, unseeded crystals was spontaneously nucleated in the crucible. Small samples of epitaxially grown GaN, as a proxy for A1N, were mechanically and chem-mechanically polished to a high quality surface finish. In summary, all key elements required to grow large A1N crystals and prepare wafers were demonstrated in Phase I. In Phase II, we propose to implement seeded crystal growth by using seed crystals prepared by epitaxial growth of A1N on SiC or sapphire and by controlled spontaneous nucleation, to modify the reactor to give more controlled temperature zones for sublimation and crystallization, to scal up the furnace to allow growth of crystals up to 50 mN diameter by 100mN length and to slice and polish A1N wafers. We will also demonstrate epitaxy growth on the substrates and distribute substrates to users.