Lux Semiconductors can significantly improve the performance of large area, thin-film semiconductors through a patent pending recrystallization process. By leveraging a century of innovations in bulk crystal growth and applying them to low cost thin-films for the first time, Lux will deliver an entirely new class of flexible semiconductors to serve as a next generation material platform for integrated electronics. The platform will be suitable to host a range of electronic components and fully integrated system-on-chip designs including sensors, RF, displays, lighting, processors, memory, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), energy harvesting, and similar ‘internet of things’ devices. The company was founded in April 2017 by Dr. Shane McMahon, CEO, and Dr. Graeme Housser, CTO. The company is co-located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, TN and at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, NY. Lux is developing and commercializing technology spawned from Ph.D. research conducted on behalf of the founders during their tenure at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Since 2017, Lux has raised a total of $1,000,000 in non-dilutive grant funding including, most notably, a National Science Foundation SBIR Phase 1 award, a Department of Energy sponsored Innovation Crossroads award, and a Department of Defense Air Force Research Laboratory SBIR Phase 1 award. Lux has also received funding from NEXUS-NY, FuzeHub and RIT Venture Creations.
Ninety percent of all electronic devices are built on a semiconductor substrate. There has been no material more commonly used to serve this purpose than the silicon wafer. The silicon wafer, in its current form, is essentially unchanged since its inception over 60 years ago. These wafers, although larger today, remain thick, rigid, fragile, and are limited to circular forms no larger than 300 millimeters (12 inches) in diameter. These features are acceptable to electronic device manufacturers building rigid, or non-flexible, devices. However, within the flexible electronics arena, a flexible semiconductor substrate is required. Due to a lack of techniques capable of producing high quality, low cost silicon or other semiconductor films, the industry has yet to see a flexible semiconductor substrate emerge to fulfill this new role. Therefore, the ability to produce large-area, high-throughput quantities of thin film semiconductor material, in a flexible, more durable format would help to usher in the next generation of affordable, flexible, and highly integrated electronic devices.
As a semiconductor material supplier to the flexible electronics industry, Lux competes against a variety of emerging and existing technologies. The most direct form of competition is with material suppliers offering alternate classes of thin film semiconductors, including amorphous silicon, laser-based polysilicon, metal oxides, and organics. Lux also competes with established silicon wafer manufacturers and suppliers in markets that do not require flexibility but instead require a lower cost or larger area alternative to the silicon wafer.
Lux Semiconductors will become a flexible substrate material supplier that operates upstream in the flexible electronics value chain. Flexible, large area, highly crystalline silicon and germanium substrates of significantly higher electronic quality than current state of the art technologies will be sold to device manufacturers and product creators. Customers include manufacturers of a wide range of electronic devices and fully integrated system-on-chip designs, including sensors, displays, lighting, processors, memory, microelectronics, photovoltaics, and similar ‘internet of things’ devices. These flexible electronics serve a breadth of end user markets including consumer electronics, robotics, automotive, biomedical, healthcare, and industrial. These markets combined to approximately $29 billion in 2017 and are expected to be worth $87 billion by 2024. Of this market size, roughly 25% is attributed to substrate material.
Lux's process technology enables the fabrication of semiconductor substrates with up to 6x higher electrical mobility and 3x higher temperature compatibility over existing thin film options.
Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3
Graeme Housser –Chief Technology Officer
Shane McMahon –Chief Executive Officer
Mark Sperry – NYSERDA EIR and President and Chief Executive Officer of Sperry Energy
Jim Stover – NYSERDA EIR and VP of Business Development at VRB Energy