Phoenix-based Crystal Sonic recently announced it was awarded a Phase II SBIR grant from NASA to advance its materials processing technology, which reduces waste and costs in the semiconductor industry.
Crystal Sonic is one of 12 companies nationwide and two in Arizona who received an $850,000 grant as part of SBIR’s Ignite program, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. Tempe-based Solestial Inc. also received a grant from the program.
“We’re basically working to upscale our technique to larger diameter wafers,” Crystal Sonic CEO Arno Merkle told AZ Inno. “The plan currently is for this to run for 15 months, and it will allow us to also build an updated next-generation prototype tool to refine some of the process engineering that we need to improve the technique, and we’ll work with different manufacturers of solar cells to really refine the technique to their requirements.”
Crystal Sonic recently moved into Connect Labs by Wexford at 850 PBC, bringing the total to 12 companies in the space. At full occupancy, the 34,500-square-foot Connect Labs will be able to accommodate roughly 20 to 25 companies depending on their space requirements.
Crystal Sonic currently has five full-time employees, with plans to bring more on in the near future. The company focuses on wide bandage semiconductors used in electric vehicles, solar panels and other devices. It uses acoustic sounds to cut and lift off small wafers used in semiconductors, which leaves behind other material for reuse.
“We really see ourselves as an enabling technology for the semiconductor industry for advanced manufacturing of next generation chips and we want partner with the right companies in that space and increase our footprint,” Merkle told AZ Inno.