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Grant to help UK firm increase red microLED efficiency for AR/VR

Kubos funding

MicroLED firm Kubos Semiconductors, based in Cambridge, UK, has been awarded a £700,000 Future Economy Investor Partnerships (FEIP) grant from Innovate UK.

The grant will fund a two-year project aiming to achieve 5% efficiency for red microLEDs via the firm’s proprietary cubic Gallium Nitride (GaN) process: KubosLED.

In doing this the firm seeks to make microLEDs viable in AR/VR applications by approximately doubling the efficiency currently achievable with other process technologies, with poor red microLED efficiency currently being one of the main factors constraining the AR/VR market.

“Kubos has demonstrated it has the right focus on deep tech, the right profile and momentum to secure the funding. Their exciting new technology has a clear purpose, and the market opportunity is vast,” said Carl Griffiths,Technology Seed Fund Manager at the Development Bank of Wales (DBW) – the grant funding is subject to completing aligned investment led by the bank.

For years Kubos, a fabless semiconductor firm, has collaborated with the South Wales Compound Semiconductor cluster, specifically the Compound Semiconductor Centre (a partnership between Cardiff University and international compound semiconductor fabrication firm, IQE) and the Institute of Compound Semiconductors at Cardiff University, where the Kubos LEDs are processed and tested. To better continue this collaboration, the firm is now looking to open a development office in Wales. 

The grant announcement aligns with Kubos’ core cubic GaN process and product technology patent now being granted in China, Japan, Singapore, and the US. Its patent portfolio has also been extended to include granted patents for silicon carbide epitaxy, which is used by the firm as a growth substrate. 

The company has also won its first customer for its KubosLED material in red microLEDs. CEO Caroline O’Brien, commented, “We see huge demand for our technology every time we engage with potential customers and are delighted to have won our first major customer and secured further funding to ensure we reach our technology goals. These achievements underline the fact that KubosLED material technology is the leading contender to clear a major bottleneck that’s been holding back AR/VR adoption.”


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