Innovative Silicon Laser Technology Advances Disk Drive Storage Solutions

A paper published in the August 2012 edition of Nature Photonics states that Tyndall National Institute – University College Cork, Semprius Inc., and Seagate Technology have developed an innovative semiconductor fabrication technology. The development allows manufacturers to integrate a high power compound semiconductor laser structure with a silicon substrate, according to Compound Conductor.

The new technology holds significant promise for meeting growing storage demands because it can provide high-capacity, high-performance, and low-cost storage solutions.

Micro-Transfer Print Technology

One of the keys to the breakthrough involved the use of proprietary micro-transfer print technology owned by North Carolina-based Semprius. The company manufactures high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) panels for the solar industry.

Semprius uses its micro-transfer print technology to manufacture modules that contain the “world smallest solar cells.”  It prints solar cells size equivalent to the dimensions of a pencil point.

IQE, a semiconductor company out of Wales, uses Semprius technology to produce epitaxial wafers. The epitaxial wafers have the optical properties of compound semiconductors combined with the characteristics of silicon.

This advancement has enabled IQE to create high power lasers to create higher storage density. The laser makes it possible for manufacturers to store more than one terabyte of data per square inch for the next-generation of disk drives.

More about Epitaxial Wafers

Polished silicon wafers and epitaxial silicon wafers provide the starting materials employed in integrated circuit fabrication. Manufacturers use expensive epitaxial silicon wafers to make components for a wide variety of products, including mobile handsets, LEDs, and solar cells.

The epitaxial process entails the atomic growth of materials used in semiconductor manufacturing, such as arsenic, indium, gallium, aluminum, and phosphorus. The technology involves the engineering of layers of materials in a manner that allows it to form a perfect crystal lattice. The perfect structure improves efficiency.

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