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Precious Metals in LED Manufacture

Precious metals are essential in the manufacture of LEDS and are critical to extend the lifetimes of high power and high reliability devices.  In particular, gold is widely used in LED die interconnects due to its low electrical resistance and long term stability against environmental degradation.  Gold is also utilized in the manufacture of bonding pads.  For die attachment of mid-to-high power LEDS, Gold (Au) and gold-tin (AuSn) metallizations are commonly used, although Platinum (Pt) is employed on occasion.

PVD  Manufacture

The gold and gold alloys used to manufacture LEDS are often deposited by physical vapor deposition (PVD).  Materion has developed pure precious metals and custom alloys ideal for the PVD manufacture of these devices.  We offer precious metal sputtering targets with purities up to 5N, ultrafine grain sizes and consistent microstructures to ensure deposited film consistency and uniformity. 

Specialty Target Designs and High Grade Materials

In addition, Materion has developed precious metal sputter target designs to extend the life of the and to maximize target utilization per troy ounce of gold in the target.  For evaporation materials, we have developed our EVAPro® grade materials that represent industry-leading performance with low defects in films.  Materion also has considerable expertise in formulating AuSn sputter targets with customized compositions and structures to allow the deposition of eutectic AuSn alloys onto dies and substrates.  For manufacturers who prefer Pt-based metallizations, we are a leading supplier of Platinum sputtering targets and evaporation sources with efficiencies and performance comparable to our gold PVD materials.

Closed Loop Reduces Total Cost of Ownership

In addition to our industry-leading PVD materials, Materion is a full service, closed loop supplier of products and services. We provide our customers with an integrated strategy to reclaim, recycle and return the value for their scrap precious material in order to reduce and better manage their total cost of ownership.  In the case of the manufacture of LEDs, we not only offers reclaim for spent precious metal sources and targets, but also for cleaning of shield kits and reclaim of the metal deposited on them.  Furthermore, Materion has over 100 years experience in the refining of gold, offering complete service and management of your pool account.

Conflict Free Gold Refiner

Materion  has been certified Conflict-Free Gold Refiner and is in compliance with the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Program protocol of the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative.  We have achieved this certification in part by our long established practice of using 80% of the gold from our own reclaim and recycled facilities and the remaining 20% sourced from suppliers who have been validated as conflict-free under the requirements of the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI).  This requirement for conflict-free gold is of great importance to our LED manufacturing customers as it has become legally required to report sources of these materials.

Lowering LED Costs for the Future

With the relentless goal to reduce the cost of LEDS, there is a heightened drive to minimize the amount of precious metals in LEDS (so-called “thrifting”).  It is expected that Gold and precious metals are likely to remain critical to the manufacture of high power, high reliability LEDs devices. However, gold is likely to be largely eliminated for mid-to-low power devices used for commercial and residential lighting (the largest growth area).  Materion is working with our manufacturing partners on the next generation of LED interconnect technology that will produce high quality and lower costs.

For more information about Materion’s precious metals products, please contact David Van Heerden, Applications Engineer,