Acquisition of Crystal IS, Inc.
Entry into business of UV LEDs using aluminum nitride

January 11, 2012
Asahi Kasei Corp.

Asahi Kasei signed a share purchase agreement with Crystal IS, Inc. (CIS), a US-based venture focused on the development of ultraviolet light emitting diodes (UV LEDs) using high-quality aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates, on December 28, 2011. Under this agreement, Asahi Kasei has acquired all shares of CIS, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.

This acquisition facilitates the full combination of the superior technologies of Asahi Kasei and CIS, marking Asahi Kasei’s entry into the highly promising UV LED market and providing a foundation for further development in the field of energy-conserving devices.

The Asahi Kasei Group is currently advancing “For Tomorrow” projects in the fields of the environment & energy, residential living, and health care, for the creation of new businesses under its “For Tomorrow 2015” mid-term management initiative. One key focus of the Environment & Energy for Tomorrow project is the development of new technology for the creation of new business with compound semiconductor devices that complement our established Hall elements, infrared sensors, and magnetic resistance elements.

As one element of the Environment and Energy for Tomorrow project, in July 2010 Asahi Kasei purchased a portion of the shares of CIS—which has world-leading technology to grow single-crystal AlN substrates and technology for UV LEDs using these substrates—and the two companies began the joint development of process technology to manufacture AlN substrates.

CIS, on the other hand, had been exploring its options for commercialization of the UV LEDs it successfully developed, which feature exceptionally short wavelength as well as world-leading efficiency and service life using its outstanding technology for single-crystal AlN substrates.

As CIS’s technology was judged to be an excellent fit with Asahi Kasei’s thin-film device technology, which would provide a base for the further expansion of compound semiconductor operations, and as both companies shared a common vision for the development of the UV LED business, accord was reached for the acquisition of CIS by Asahi Kasei.

Having CIS as a subsidiary will enable not only the early commercialization of technology to grow single-crystal AlN substrates, but also, through a combination of the superior technologies of the two companies, the early commercialization of UV LED devices which are expected to meet growing demand. In addition, further developments will be explored for the application of AlN technology to other energy-conserving devices.

About aluminum nitride (AlN)

AlN is a semiconductor compound which absorbs and emits UV light, featuring high thermal conductivity and excellent tolerance to high voltage. With these properties, AlN has been the subject of much interest as a next-generation functional material, but difficulty in growing it in pure crystal form has thus far precluded its high-volume commercial production.

About UV LEDs

Ultraviolet (UV) light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy than visible light. As it serves to stimulate chemical reactions, its use has been studied in a variety of applications . Among UV light, that with shorter wavelength has a bactericidal effect. Mercury-vapor lamps are currently used as a source of short-wavelength UV light for disinfection of water, air, and solid surfaces. Short-wavelength UV light-emitting diodes (LEDs) featuring smaller size, lighter weight, longer service life, and energy conservation will facilitate the development of portable disinfection equipment and other new applications.

Corporate profile of Crystal IS, Inc.

Establishment: 1997 (spin-off from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Location: Green Island, NY, USA
President & CEO: Steven Berger, Ph.D.
Business field: Development of AlN substrates, UV LEDs, and their applications
Employees: 25


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