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In search of a perfect crystal

Lumilog, specialized in the production of gallium nitride (GaN) substrates, a semiconductor that has a unique set of optical, electrical and chemical properties, celebrated its third anniversary in December 2005. It is a young start-up company, rapidly expanding with the launch of its second range of products: self-supported GaN. In the very near future, this semiconductor will permit the manufacture of laser diodes for the next generation DVD, which will have a data density up to six times greater than that of today.

 “To obtain an efficient diode laser, or any other electronic component, the substrate (material used as a support) must first of all be a very high quality crystal,” explains Jean-Pierre Faurie, Chairman of the Lumilog Board. Pierre Gibart, Bernard Beaumont and Faurie, the founders of Lumilog, know how to manufacture GaN with the smallest possible number of defects. For over ten years, they have been working on the heteroepitaxy of GaN at the Heteroepitaxy Applied Research Center (CRHEA).1 This refers to the  controlled growth at the atomic scale of crystalline films of this precious semiconductor on sapphire. They have succeeded in perfecting a method to reduce the number of defects in the crystal. “We very quickly realized that the potential market for substrates based on GaN was considerable,” says Faurie, “but also that it could expand only if we could manufacture very high quality products. At the laboratory we had just created a procedure to do this.” The researchers created Lumilog with the support of CNRS, Anvar (a French agency for innovation),2 the Paca Region and the D2RT.3 With a staff of just nine, the company markets today a range of substrates —“templates,” made up of GaN deposited on sapphire, and has recently developed a completely new product: self-supported GaN, made uniquely from GaN. “It is more efficient, and will eventually replace the substrates currently used for the manufacture of most opto- and micro-electronic components based on GaN. It may even be used for the white LEDS that we will all be using for lighting in twenty years or so,” says Faurie.

 On the basis of this performance, Lumilog raised e2.15 million in 2004 in its second round of discussions with its investors, bringing its total capital to e5.15 million. “It looks like all the objectives for 2005 will have been reached,” says Faurie.

Stéphanie Belaud

Notes :

1. Centre de recherche sur l'hétéroépitaxie et ses applications. View web site
2. ANVAR: View web site
3. Délégation régionale à la recherche et à la technologie (Regional Office for Research and Technology).

Contacts :

Jean-Pierre Faurie
Lumilog, Vallauris
View web site


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