May 9, 2013
Panasonic Factory Solutions Co., Ltd.

Achievement of max. speed 0.12s/component* in the industry

Panasonic Introduces New Dry-etcher for LED Element Processing

Single-head, single-beam solution for any-mix manufacturing

*As of July 31,2013. For axial component insertion machine. Our investigation.

Osaka, Japan - Panasonic Factory Solutions Co., Ltd. (PFSC), a company part of the Panasonic Group renowned for its advanced semiconductor manufacturing machinery, has developed and introduces a new dry-etching equipment, APX300 (Model No. NM-EFE3AA) which realizes the cost-reduction of light emitting diodes (LED) while yielding a higher luminescence for the LED element. Using an n-type contact GaN MESA process1 as well as a PSS2 process, the new dry-etching machine is able to enhance the luminescence of the GaN-based LED element. The new APX300 equipment will be available for ordering in May 2012.

The wafer suction technology unique to the company allows APX300 to process GaN film at the industry's top-level etching rate, and allows it to be capable to perform the PSS process in a variety of shapes to realize high luminance. Achieving 1.5 times* increased etching rate than the previous model, the rate is maximized at 750 nm/minute* for the GaN MESA process and 150 nm/minute* for the PSS process.
* Etching speed may differ depending on the device configuration

PFSC will continue to expand its line-up of equipment not only in etching processes, but also in the major LED manufacturing such as die-bonding3, phosphor-dispense, joint and encapsulation. By doing so, the company aims to provide a total solution to its customers in the LED manufacturing industry as well as support and solve the problems of its target customers.

Description of terms

1.GaN MESA process

LED is usually formed by a film of n-type GaN on sapphire substrate with a p-type GaN film molded on top. In order to form electrodes on the film of the n-type GaN, the GaN MESA process is required to etch a part of the surface of the p-type GaN film.

2. Flexible wide-range of production from mobile phones to industrial equipment

Technology to increase the luminous efficiency of LED by etching the surface of sapphire substrate to create an uneven surface to form a thin film of GaN.

3. Functionality innovations for placement quality, model changeover and operation ratio

Process to mount on substrate such as lead frame and bond elements with substrate after dicing LED elements into chips

About Panasonic Factory Solutions Co., Ltd.

Panasonic Factory Solutions Co., Ltd. a part of the Panasonic Group is based in Osaka, Japan. With a corporate mission of contributing continuously to customer growth by further evolving its technology through circuit fabrication expertise, the company aims to offer its leading edge total manufacturing solutions throughout the world. For more information on Panasonic Factory Solutions Co., Ltd, visit the company profile at
http://www.panasonic.net/corporate/segments/pfsc/ .

Media Contact

Corporate Planning Group
Panasonic Factory Solutions Co., Ltd.
TEL : 055-275-6786 FAX : 055-275-6071
Homepage URL http://www.panasonic.com/jp/company/pfsc.html

Background of Development

The production of white (blue) high-luminance LEDs is recently increasing for the use of LCD backlight, general lighting, as well as automobile lighting.

The following figure shows the components of a high-luminance LED which includes an LED element that serves as the illuminant, a lens, wiring etc. The LED element is formed by a film of GaN as a luminescence layer on the sapphire substrate. The dry-etching process which results in the formation of the LED elements is divided into the PSS process to improve luminescence and the GaN process to form the electrode. In order to enhance the fetch efficiency of lighting, various shapes such as trapezoidal, conical, or round shapes are used in the PSS process and etching equipment that can perform etching in various shapes is required.

In the dry-etching process, several substrates are simultaneously processed at one time on a tray in order for it to form small sapphire substrates ranging from 2 to 6 inches in diameter. Therefore, even if one enlarges the tray area in order to increase the number of substrates for simultaneous processing, the challenge to process the substrates at high speed while achieving uniformity over a large area was an issue.

To overcome this issue, PFSC realized a faster speed and uniform processing of LED element by deploying our own technology of high density plasma source. In addition, the unique wafer suction technology with high cooling efficiency enables stable processing and capability to form various shapes.

The demand of high-luminance LED to realize energy saving is expected to rise with the increase in global environment consciousness and therefore PFSC will continue to contribute to customers' manufacturing processes in the aspect of not only improving the processing speed but also enhancing the various etching shapes required in the design of a device by the new dry-etcher, APX300.

Cross section of LED and processing of LED element