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Microsphere Templated Gallium Nitride Growth and Liftoff


The LED market is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide, driven by demand for clean solid state lighting, LED displays and mobile devices. GaN-based materials are essential components of these technologies. Due to the very high cost and lack of availability of bulk GaN substrates, current GaN production methods rely on silicon, sapphire or silicon carbide substrates. These low-cost substrates suffer from a large number of defects, which limit efficiency and lead to early device failure.


Sandia National Laboratories has developed an elegant and inexpensive method for the growth and removal of low-defect density GaN using microsphere layers. In contrast to current methods for GaN dislocation reduction involving lithographically patterned masks, this new method does not require lithography and produces uniform material over the entire wafer. This method also can lift-off GaN-on-GaN substrate devices.


  • Low Cost
  • Reduces crystal defects by over 90%
  • Allows for easy substrate removal
  • Does not require lithography
  • Produces material over the entire wafer
  • Can lift-off GaN-on-GaN substrate devices

Applications and Industries

  • LED Displays
  • Laser Diodes
  • Solid-State Lighting
  • High Power Transistors
  • Mobile Devices

Intellectual Property

ID Number
Patent Number
Low-dislocation-density epitatial layers grown by defect filtering by self-assembled layers of spheres 10594.0 8,425,681 04/23/2013
Method of fabricating low-dislocation-density epitaxially-grown films with textured surfaces 8,932,403 01/13/2015
Technology IDSD#10594Development StagePrototype - Sandia estimates this technology at a Technology Readiness Level 5. Key elements of the technology have been demonstrated in relevant environments.AvailabilityAvailable - Various licensing and partnering opportunities are available. Contact the licensing department for more information. Published11/27/2012Last Updated10/31/2016