Novalux Sells Silicon Valley Wafer Fab

Company Outsources “Necsel” Wafer Processing to Ramp-Up for High-Volume Consumer Display Applications.

Novalux, Inc., developer of Necsel™ laser technology, has sold its Sunnyvale wafer fabrication facility to an undisclosed Silicon Valley company in a transaction that closed November 21, 2007. Novalux is now outsourcing Necsel wafer processing to large-capacity contract manufacturers in Taiwan. This is a key step in the company’s transition from low-volume prototype manufacturing to mass-producing lasers for high-volume consumer electronics applications.

“We’ve qualified and frozen our chip design and processes,” said William Mackenzie, Novalux chief operating officer. “This has enabled us to move our Necsel wafer processing from our prototype quick-turn fab, with its very limited capacity, to much larger contract manufacturing facilities in Taiwan. We’re preparing to ramp up laser production very quickly and efficiently.”

Novalux grows its epitaxial wafers at its main Sunnyvale facility. The wafers are then shipped to two contract manufacturers in Taiwan; one that processes the wafer through dicing and another that attaches the die to sub-mounts and performs the final testing. Novalux provides the resulting laser array to partner companies, including Oerlikon, Young Optics and Seiko-Epson. These partners finish and package the visible RGB lasers for delivery to consumer electronics companies.

“As per our business roadmap, Novalux is evolving into a fab-less, high-volume, low-cost Necsel laser producer for consumer electronics applications,” said Mackenzie. “The contract manufacturers we’ve chosen for wafer processing are sophisticated operations that can mass-produce higher quality, more consistent lasers at a lower cost than we could do locally. This is a critical step toward meeting customer demands for Necsel production parts in early 2008.”

Necsel lasers are slated for use in host of lighting and display devices. These range from laser high-definition projection TV (HDTV) to embedded projectors in cell phones and PDAs. The company also recently demonstrated the first laser LCD-TV Back Light Unit (BLU) and prototype laser architectural tube lighting.