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Electrochemical Solution Growth: Gallium Nitride Crystal Growth

Sandia National Laboratories

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PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet (886 KB)

Technology Marketing SummarySandia National Laboratories has developed a disruptive new crystal growth technology, called Electrochemical Solution Growth (ESG).  This technology has a high potential for producing the high-quality, large-area, and economical bulk gallium nirtide (GaN) substrates needed to meet the performance requirements of high-efficiency LED and high-power transistors.  Substrates are the bulk wafer material on which opto/electronic think film devices are fabricated; they dictate the crystalline quality and thus the performance of these devices.  GaN substrates, which currently do not exist, are necessary for these devices to reach their full market potential.DescriptionESG represents a revolution in crystal growth technology that borrows well-developed concepts from Rotating Disk Reactor metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) technology.  The ions are delivered to a rotating seed crystal surface by way of the fluid dynamics imposed by the rotating seed and/or susceptor.  The ions then diffuse across a fluid boundary layer near the surface of the seed, where they react and deposit to form single crystal GaN.  The nitride and gallium ionic precursors can be controlled reliably and precisely using common electrochemical techniques programmed through the potentiostat.  Because the growth conditions remain steady-state throughout the process, a single crystal boule may be pulled from the purchase.  The reactor design is fully laterally scalable, and the vertical direction can be grown as long as the supply of gallium and nitrogen gas allow.  The growth rate is high for high throughput, and the technology is low cost.  Wafers may be sliced out of the boule from any direction to produce substrates of any desired orientation. Benefits
  • High potential for producing superior-quality, economical bulk GaN substrates
  • Helps fully realize GaN's true potential
  • Less expensive than alternate approaches
Applications and Industries
  • LEDs-general illumination, backlighting, displays, and automotive
  • Lasers (ultraviolet through green wavelengths)-homeland security and military, illumination, and data storage
  • Vehicle electrification
  • Down-hole drilling diagnostics-future market
  • Utility grid modernization (incorporation of renewable energy using energy storage)
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,435,297
Molten-salt-based growth of group III nitrides
A method for growing Group III nitride materials using a molten halide salt as a solvent to solubilize the Group-III ions and nitride ions that react to form the Group III nitride material. The concentration of at least one of the nitride ion or Group III cation is determined by electrochemical generation of the ions.
Sandia National Laboratories 10/14/2008
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
US Patent 7,435,297Prototype - Sandia estimates this technology at approximately TRL 5. Key elements have been demonstrated in relevant environments. Available09/27/201103/19/2013

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