FAMETEC sets new standards.
EBNER.blog | Stephan Puxkandl, FAMETEC
FAMETEC sets new standards.
The next generation of energy-efficient, high-tech solutions for sapphire single crystals.
Based on the research goals of EBNER Industrieofenbau GmbH, a unique furnace to grow sapphire single crystals was successfully developed early in 2012.
Today, FAMETEC is a member of the ADVANCED MATERIALS business unit of the EBNER GROUP. It is the sole European manufacturer of high quality monolithic sapphire products with diameters of 6 or 8″, as well as a focus on 12″ products.
FAMETEC’s McSAP sapphire supplies the state-ofthe- art technology required for optoelectronic products (LEDs, mini-LEDs, micro-LEDs), semiconductors and equipment used in the medical and optical industries.
The framework of the European Chips Act, which aims to increase the EU’s share of global chip production from 10 % to 20 %, has only strengthened our vision of McSAP technology as the new standard for producing even larger and 100 % sustainably-grown sapphire substrate.
When used in applications such as micro-LEDs, power electronics and optical equipment, “green” McSAP sapphire is significantly more energy-efficient, of higher quality, and priced more competitively. FAMETEC‘s advanced sapphire products enable manufacturers to increase yield and lower manufacturing costs, even they reduce their carbon footprints at the same time.
The crystal growth process employed by FAMETEC is based on newly-developed McSAP technology, which employs a simultaneous multi-crystal growing process. In this process, the sapphire crystal boules are grown along either the a-axis or c-axis.
Thanks to the over 75 years of experience we have in the design and manufacture of furnaces, a sturdy furnace design could be developed that maximizes the synergy between process development and furnace performance. Furthermore, the digitalization measures we have implemented along our entire supply chain allows our company to provide continuous transparency and traceability. Our use of top-notch QM systems ensures the success of products.
In conventional methods used to produce monolithic silicon or sapphire crystals such as the Czochralski or Kyropoulos processes, a cylinder must be drilled out of a boule (raw crystal) at an angle of 90° to the direction of growth (i.e. along the a-axis). Wafers are then cut from this cylinder (the ingot) to create the substrate (surface that is used for the subsequent manufacture of chips).
In either one of these processes, roughly 60 % of the material is scrapped during downstream processing. This amount of production waste, combined with the high energy consumption of the melting process and the amount of manual handling that is required, not only decreases effectiveness and efficiency but also leads to an increase in emissions (e.g. carbon dioxide).
In contrast, the Multi-C-axis Sapphire (McSAP) process, a patented crystal growth technology developed by FAMETEC, greatly improves yields and performance. Furthermore, FAMETEC collects detailed data from each and every stage of the process, from raw material to finished product, to ensure and confirm the quality of the final product.
Boules and ingots produced using FAMETEC‘s McSAP process are used in downstream production processes to produce high-quality sapphire substrates. These substrates are then used to manufacture high-performance micro-LEDs and power devices.
FAMETEC markets and applications
Micro-LED technology is considered a game-changer for the display industry, due to its outstanding characteristics when compared to OLED and LED technologies. Using micro-LEDs, low power consumption plays a key role in energy savings even as superior pixel density, excellent contrast ratio and outstanding brightness allow crystal-clear images to be displayed. The number of potential applications defies imagination, ranging from high-definition TVs, image sensors, lamps and lights used in automobiles and aircraft, and commercial/entertainment displays to industrial textile applications.
Paired with FAMETEC‘s energy-efficient McSAP production process, this leads to a drastic reduction in carbon emissions.
High power electronics
Sapphire is one of the most suitable substrates for high-bandgap semiconducting materials like GaN, SiC, and AlN. This due to two of the most prominent characteristics of sapphire substrate, its adaptability and accessibility.
Sapphire is not only stable when exposed to physical changes, but is also stable when subjected to a wide variety of chemical treatments. Although extensive R&D effort is being expended on the study of Si substrates as an alternative, in terms of thermal expansion sapphire is still the best choice that can be made.
Sapphire has always been used in optical applications, as it is not only highly durable but has excellent optical properties across a spectrum ranging from UV (ultraviolet) to IR (infrared).
Optical applications range from smartphone cameras and smartwatches, which use sapphire as a cover glass, to large-scale uses in the aerospace and defense industries.
Thanks to the flexibility of its patented technology, FAMETEC is in a position to supply a wide range of materials. The versatility of FAMETEC‘s McSAP furnaces and state-of-the-art inspection systems allow us to continuously optimize our sapphire growth process in response to market demands.