Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Non-destructive Wafer Recycling for Thin-Film Transistor Fabrication

Technology #6022

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Stephen R. Forrest
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-8202
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
Non-destructive wafer recycling for low-cost thin-film flexible optoelectronics
Advanced Functional Materials - Volume 24, Issue 27, pages 4284–4291, July 16, 2014, 2014

A non-destructive substrate reuse method that entails no performance degradation and provides the potential for drastic production cost reductions and increased applications of high performance group III-V based transistors has been developed at the University of Michigan. Whereas compound semiconductor devices offer high performance, their adoption is limited by high substrate costs.

Technology Details

The non-destructive substrate reuse method developed at the University of Michigan overcomes the above cost challenge and replaces bulky, two-dimensional substrate-based platforms with conformal, flexible and light-weight thin film devices. The technology can potentially allow group III-V devices to overcome the cost barriers impeding their widespread acceptance in mainstream commercial applications. The proposed technology allows for fabricating multiple batches of thin film III-V transistors from a single wafer via substrate bonding, wafer protection and cleaning, and non-destructive epitaxial lift-off (ND-ELO) to avoid the wafer-consuming re-polishing step for substrate reuse. Wafer recycling without re-polishing allows for an indefinite number of growth iterations on a single substrate without damage or loss in the original wafer thickness, providing a path towards cost-effective, high performance, flexible and lightweight thin-film compound semiconductor devices. Furthermore, devices are directly fabricated on flexible thin-film plastic substrates instead of rigid and bulky platforms, such as glass or Si, thereby eliminating the need to transfer the fragile epitaxial active regions twice as required in conventional ELO processing. This approach allows for simplified attachment of flexible devices on conformal or pre-deformed substrate surfaces.


  • Group III-V transistor manufacturing
  • LED manufacturing
  • Photovoltaic manufacturing
  • Flexible device manufacturing


  • Lower manufacturing costs
  • No performance penalties
  • Increased applications for group III-V devices