SBIR Phase I: Low Cost Scalable Manufacturing of Patterned Sapphire Substrates (PSS) for High Efficiency LEDs

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sinmat, Inc.
1912 NW 67th Place Array
Gainesville, FL 32653
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project deals with development of a low-cost manufacturing process for high-efficiency patterned sapphire substrates for cheaper and more energy-efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs). Patterned sapphire substrates have been found to improve the quality of gallium nitride epi-layers and enhance the light extraction efficiency of LED devices. The project will focus on the development of a novel high-efficiency patterned sapphire substrate by employing a unique planarization technology. Such a substrate is expected to lead to improved film growth and enhanced light extraction efficiency, while at the same time reducing manufacturing costs. The feasibility of this technology will be demonstrated in Phase I, with Phase II focused on scale-up and manufacturability issues for rapid commercialization of this technology. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project lie in its ability to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of solid state lighting products. LED-based solid state lighting devices, because of their potentially very high efficiency, are expected to begin to supplant the inefficient incandescent and fluorescent lamps which are dominant today. Lighting consumes over 20% of the total electricity generated in the US and nearly 30% of electricity used in commercial and residential buildings. The technology to be developed in this project would increase the efficiency and reduce the price of high-brightness LEDs, making them more competitive with fluorescent and incandescent lamps. Finally, domestic manufacturing of low-cost patterned sapphire substrates will result in the creation of high-paying manufacturing jobs in the US.