EV Group (EVG), a supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology and semiconductor markets, has announced that it has signed a joint-development and licensing agreement with Eulitha AG, a pioneer in the production of high-quality nanostructures using advanced lithography techniques. EVG will integrate Eulitha's PHABLE mask-based ultraviolet (UV) photolithography technology with EVG's automated mask aligner product platform with the goal of developing a low-cost-of-ownership (CoO) nanopatterning solution to enable the production of high-brightness light emitting diodes (HB-LEDs). With demo capabilities in place already, the first products are expected to ship later this year.
According to market research firm Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, Calif.), the market for high-brightness LEDs is expected to grow from $11.2 billion in 2010 to $16.2 billion in 2014, driven by applications such as TV backlighting, mobile devices and increasingly by lighting. To meet this increased demand, LED manufacturers need new manufacturing solutions that can increase the lighting efficiency of their products while keeping manufacturing costs down. Through their joint-development agreement, EV Group and Eulitha will explore new manufacturing technologies that support LED manufacturers' cost and technology requirements.
Combining Eulitha's full-field exposure technology with EVG's well-established mask alignment platform provides low-cost, automated fabrication of photonic nanostructures over large areas, and supports the production of energy efficient LEDs, solar cells and liquid crystal displays. It combines the low cost, ease-of-use and non-contact capabilities of proximity lithography with sub-micron resolution—making it ideally suited for use in patterning sapphire substrates in order to enhance the light extraction (and thus the efficiency) of LED devices. EVG plans to offer a PHABLE-enabled EVG620 system as an extension to its well-established mask alignment system platform—giving customers an even wider choice of configuration options.
"We look forward to working with EV Group to greatly accelerate commercialization of PHABLE through the integration of this novel technology with EVG's industry-leading mask aligner platform," stated Harun Solak, CEO of Eulitha. "We believe the synergies of our respective technologies have great potential to provide the resolution and volume-production capabilities of lithography steppers at a fraction of the cost—enabling LED, optics and photonics manufacturers with extremely tight cost constraints the opportunity to extend their technology roadmaps to higher levels of performance."
Noted Hermann Waltl, executive sales and customer support director, EV Group, "Eulitha's expertise in nanofabrication makes them an ideal partner to collaborate with on new patterning solutions for the LED industry. We are excited to embark on this relationship with Eulitha and advance our proven mask aligner platform for our LED customers."