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This British green gallium nitride microLED developer successfully raised over $600,000
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Kubos Semiconductors, a UK-based company, recently closed a $605,000 financing round. The funding will help the company take its cubic gallium nitride LED technology to new markets such as AR and VR microLED displays.
The funding round came from its existing investors, including British merchant bank Turquoise and its LCIF2 "green technology" fund, as well as from individual new investors. This is reportedly the company's second round of funding, following an initial round in 2020 ($920,000) led by LCIF2, which also participated in this latest round of funding.
Proprietary cubic gallium nitride technology to dramatically improve light output and efficiency
Founded in 2018, Kubos Semiconductors' unique cubic gallium nitride ("cubic GaN") technology improves the light output and efficiency of green LEDs. Specifically, they have discovered the potential of their proprietary material to convert LEDs at a faster rate than that developed for hexagonal crystal phases and to significantly improve the efficiency of green LEDs.
The figure above shows a 25 μm (radius) cubic GaN LED with a quantum well peak in the "green gap". The carrier lifetime in the cubic GaN quantum well is measured at less than 0.5ns and is shown to be more than 20 times faster than a typical C-sided hexagonal GaN LED (≈10ns). (Image source: Kubos Semiconductors website)
Kubos Semiconductors is using a fabless semiconductor model with technology that is fully compatible with standard LED development processes on large wafers and enables lower volume production costs. Previously, Kubos Semiconductors has demonstrated the first commercially compatible LEDs based on GaN cubic crystal phases, promising more efficient solid-state lighting applications and groundbreaking visible light communication (VLC) applications. The company also plans to use this technology to produce red GaN LEDs in the future.
Commenting on the financing, Kubos CEO Caroline O 'Brien said, "We are pleased to have received continued support from LCIF2 and other shareholders, and to welcome a number of new investors that will help us achieve our technical and commercial goals. We are also excited about the prospect of developing our own technology capabilities in new markets, such as improving the efficiency of native red micro-LEDs for AR/VR and displays, as well as providing high switching speed LEDs for visible light communication applications."
For his part, Turquoise principal Desmond Astley-Cooper commented, "We are excited to be involved in the many uses of this exciting new material technology, including the future of small form factor LED devices."
Today, gallium nitride (GaN) is appearing more and more frequently in next-generation power electronics, and Kubos Semiconductors' cubic GaN LED technology not only can be produced on large-scale wafers above 150 mm, but is expected to scale to higher wafer sizes and to plug seamlessly into existing production lines.
In the application market, as designs get smaller and more efficient, I see GaN enabling applications that have not previously been recognized or widely used, such as small base stations," said Kubos Semiconductor's O'Brien. For small system designs, this is a real opportunity."
Kubos is still developing its cubic gallium nitride technology and is deeply involved in a range of lighting and display applications to produce more efficient green and amber LEDs and red microLEDs, whose potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions from solid-state lighting is widely recognized. Kubos calculates that this will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 120 million tons per year, equivalent to the annual emissions of 32 coal-fired power plants.
Innovative technology for next-generation high-performance displays
According to a recent report released by market research firm ResearchAndMarkets, the global display industry is now worth more than $165 billion and will continue to grow as the industry expands into next-generation technologies and TV monitor performance increases.
The advanced display market includes digital displays for next-generation electronic devices such as high-definition smart TVs, laptops, tablets, large-screen displays and signage, in-car displays, wearable devices and near-eye displays such as AR/VR. The demand for high-performance displays has increased over the past 18 months and has also recently seen the emergence of QD-OLED and MiniLED backlights for LCD TVs.
To improve the visual experience and reduce power consumption, the display industry is continuously introducing new, performance-optimized technologies. Manufacturers in this industry are discovering the next generation of displays that will deliver optimal performance and meet the challenging demands of burgeoning applications such as VR/AR.
ResearchAndMarkets notes that mini-LED and microLED displays are on the rise and have the potential to be disruptive technologies. The display market has witnessed a great deal of innovation over the past 2 years, and players are looking to increase the size and added value of this market by developing innovative new display technologies.