Ultraviolet Light Emitting Diode (UV LED) Applications

Poor water quality continues to pose a major threat to human health, and the challenge to supply affordable, point of use water sterilization capability is an enormous global problem.

UV-C LEDs are optimally designed to target this growing global market for germicidal disinfection applications. For over 40 years, UV light between 200 nm and 280 nm has been used for the disinfection of water, as well as air and surfaces. When microorganisms are exposed to wavelengths between 200 nm and 280 nm, the UV-C energy destroys the DNA within the pathogen, rendering it unable to replicate. Germicidal disinfection peaks at between 260 nm and 265 nm, and UV-C LEDs are designed to be most effective at this peak of the disinfection curve.

By building LED structures on AlN substrates, in deference to sapphire-based designs, it is possible to target this peak wavelength range of 260 nm to 265 nm, while at the same time reducing the defect density by more than 10,000 times. The result is a unique and revolutionary LED design that can operate at maximum application efficiency, higher operating current densities, meaning a smaller part, and longer device lifetimes.

Ultraviolet Laser Diode Applications

Coherent, short-wavelength UV light is useful for a range of applications such as decontamination, precision manufacturing, real-time medical diagnostics, and chemical and biological identification using Raman spectroscopy. However, typical UV lasers needed to generate these coherent photons are prohibitively large, complicated and expensive.

AlN-based devices are being developed to address this critical need for a compact, high-power and efficient deep UV wavelength laser. This technology is expected to be widely useful, but early attention is being focused on deep UV Raman spectroscopy, which is an important technique that enables development of smaller, more efficient lasers, for low-cost, mobile chemical and biological threat detection.

Power Conversion Applications

Power conversion devices convert electricity from one voltage to another or from alternating to direct current. Applications for these devices are all around us; from your personal computer’s power adapter to hybrid vehicles.

The global demand for energy savings through improved power conversion efficiency is creating a tremendous opportunity for high-performance power devices and innovative new power semiconductor technologies. In these applications, every bit of power efficiency is important. High voltage AlN-based devices enable higher efficiency across all voltage ranges when compared with any other known semiconductor material, including Silicon (Si), Silicon Carbide (SiC), or Gallium Nitride (GaN). For a given blocking voltage, it is estimated that AlN-based devices can have 40X lower specific on-resistance, not only fundamentally enabling new device technologies, but radically improving device and system efficiencies.

Power conversion graphic

Radio Frequency (RF) Applications

Tremendous growth in the wireless infrastructure market in recent years, due to the expansion and demand for high bandwidth 4G and LTE systems, has driven rapid adoption of GaN on SiC RF HEMT technology. These same designs are also proving of value in higher frequency applications such as satellite communications and military radar, although are limited in performance due to inherent material limitations.

AlN-based devices can enable systems with higher power densities by a factor of 2X to 3X, and simultaneously higher operating frequencies, including Ka-band and above, when compared with state-of-the-art GaN/SiC HEMTs. Higher power density capability yields smaller die size and more easily realized input and output matched circuits, as well as smaller, higher performance RF systems. Industry-recognized Figures of Merit suggest AlN-based devices to be >12X that of GaN-based components.

Applications include smaller, more efficient, and higher power satellite communication systems, and military radar systems with significantly improved range and efficiency.