Indium Blog

High-Purity Indium for Compound Semiconductor Assembly

Phil Zarrow: This video’s for engineers that work in the compound semiconductor industry. You'll discuss high-purity indium and cover common applications, as well as discuss Indium Corporation’s experience and processes. 
Bill, what is high-purity indium, and what are some of the applications?
Bill Jackson: High-purity indium is indium that has been refined to a purity of six-nines or higher, and, what does that mean? Basically, means 99.9999 percent pure, or one part per million in metallic contamination, and what that ultimately means is… This is some standard indium material, and if we take and touch this, it is no longer considered high-purity. Just naturally what is in the environment and on our fingers would take this material and put it to a level that would not be considered high-purity any longer.
High-purity is a material that can also go to levels of six-nines-five or higher, and, what I mean by that is, it can go to seven-nines, or point one-part per million, and a good analogy of looking at it, because it gets hard to understand what these high-purity levels really mean, but an analogy is: A twenty-four foot above ground swimming pool, if you basically take and put a drop of water into that, it's close to not being high-purity anymore. You put a couple of drops of water in, it's no longer high-purity.
Phil Zarrow: Right, right.
Bill Jackson: It is moved off the high-purity, and that is how little contamination is required for this material. Now, common uses are that this was used in the CIGS World, which means CIGS-Solar World, which means copper, indium, gallium, selenium, and material is combined to make a compound semiconductor, and what that does it takes sunlight and turns it to electricity. Materials like this indium would be mixed with gallium and copper and selenium at different ratios that transforms into electricity.
Another material that's interesting is this one that's got an interesting color to it – it's kind of a burnt orange. This is actually also used in a solar cell, and it's used in a layer – it's indium sulfide. It's used in a layer within the solar cell to allow sunlight to come into the cell, but it's also conductive in a very fine layer, and allows a way to get the electricity out of the solar cell.
The other major usage is in fiber-optic lasers. And, the way to think about it in fiber-optic lasers is, it's mixed with indium phosphide and that is a material that, when it's all put together, it's a compound semiconductor, it increases the speed of the data flow, basically in the Internet. And, as we think about looking at videos and YouTube or just getting information through the Internet, we are demanding, consumers are demanding, higher speeds.
High-purity indium, mixed with a phosphide for indium phosphide, is allowing that to happen, or enabling that to happen, as it goes forward, and what's interesting about it, also, is it increases today the speed by almost twenty times, and in the future, we're hearing reports from R and D Labs that it could actually take it up to approximately fifty times the speed that we know of that is available today.
As more people use the Internet, and more videos become available, speed is king,; it needs to go faster. The other thing about these particular lasers is they are produced in a size that's about one-third of the standard laser, so when we think about the data centers that are very, very large, they have a lot of data to move through them, these lasers take up less space. That's very, very important for those manufactures and people that put those facilities together.
Phil Zarrow: Bill, why would I source high-purity indium from Indium Corporation?
Bill Jackson: Indium Corporation has been building high-purity indium for decades, so we have the experience, we have the processes in place, we have the people in place, to be able to build the product. These are mature production lines, and they were designed and continue to be updated with Six Sigma Principles. Ultimately, what we tell our customers is, gram one or gram 1 million – 
it doesn't matter, it's going to be the same, it's going to be consistent, and when you place the order months later, it's going to be the same. And, we put that forward with our consistency of the process and with the experience with our people.
Phil Zarrow: Where can we find more information?
Bill Jackson: Simply at, and go to the compound section, or the metal section, and there's much more information to look at there.
Phil Zarrow: Bill, thank you very much.
Bill Jackson: You're very welcome.


Keywords: indium, Indium Corporation, Bill Jackson, Phil Zarrow,,  high-purity indium, low contamination, semiconductor, indium, CIGS-solar, indium sulfide, fiber optics, indium phosphide