30 years of future-oriented technology: What started as a spin-off at RWTH Aachen University is now a publicly listed provider of deposition systems that has played a key role in shaping microelectronic and optoelectronic production technologies. Some of the world’s largest manufacturers purchase the products offered by the German high-tech player AIXTRON for the production of LEDs, lasers, transistors and solar cells.
"Optoelectronics is the way ahead” – that is how Dr. Holger Jürgensen, physicist and now Honorary Chairman of AIXTRON’s Supervisory Board, described his vision. He put this into practice by founding AIXTRON together with Dr. Meino Heyen and Heinrich Schumann in December 1983. “One major event was the delivery of the first commercial Planetary Reactor system in 1990 – a milestone in the development of reliable, scalable deposition systems for semiconductors”, comments Dr. Jürgensen looking back.
Since the first research system supplied by AIXTRON to AEG in Ulm in 1984, the company has sold around 3,000 deposition systems worldwide, benefiting in the process from demand for ever smaller, faster and more cost-effective components.
Revolution in light technology: light-emitting diodes replace light bulbs
The idea of developing gas-phase deposition materials coating technologies for use in semiconductor chip manufacturing made a great difference. AIXTRON’s production technologies have promoted the global roll-up of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), facilitating efficient and environmentally-friendly lighting for consumers. Moreover, they have contributed significantly to the fields of data communication, entertainment electronics and cellphone technology.
“None of this would have been possible without greatly committed employees, colleagues and outstanding partners in research and industry, with whom AIXTRON has established longstanding close relationships”, comments AIXTRON CEO Martin Goetzeler. “Innovative materials technologies will always be the key to new applications. Our equipment helps our customers to secure leading positions in rapidly growing markets. We are therefore investing extensively in research and development to create promising new processes and materials. Relevant examples include silicon applications, high-performance electronics and OLED technology, in which organic materials emit light.”
Today, around 800 employees worldwide – of which 250 scientists and engineers – are working on tomorrow’s technology trends at AIXTRON. Openness, technological far-sightedness and the perseverance needed to bring visions to market maturity – are all crucial aspects of the company’s corporate culture and fundamental requirements for the successful development of innovative technologies.