Alpha Sapphire produces first synthetic sapphire

Friday, 17 May, 2024

Alpha Sapphire produces first synthetic sapphire

Alpha HPA has achieved the completion of its first run of synthetic sapphire growth in what is believed to be an Australian first.

The milestone, achieved by the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Alpha Sapphire, comprises the successful growth run of 300 kg of C-axis sapphire crystal boules, with potential end uses in the consumer electronics, medical, defence and LED markets.

Based in Gladstone, Queensland, Alpha Sapphire was established to commercialise the first and only synthetic sapphire growth capability in Australia utilising the Austrian Ebner-Fametec sapphire growth technology and Alpha’s high-purity alumina feedstock.

The sapphires will be sent to the Ebner-Fametec facility in Austria for further quality assurance testing. Alpha Sapphire will also send two boules for sapphire processing into ingots for further testing ahead of the start of customer qualification.

“This is a very exciting milestone for the company and also represents what we believe is the first production of synthetic sapphire in Australia,” said Rimas Kairaitis, Alpha HPA’s Managing Director. “The Alpha HPA process and the Ebner-Fametec growth technology each represent innovative and disruptive technologies and are perfectly matched in the production of low-carbon synthetic sapphire.”

Alpha Sapphire has secured up to $30 million in project funding from Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund (QCMBTF), along with matching equity funding from a strategic placement in November 2023.

“Alpha has undertaken a detailed assessment of the business opportunity presented by synthetic sapphire growth,” Kairaitis said. “This includes direct engagement with end users in both the LED and sapphire optics markets, encompassing detailed price discovery with respect to expected pricing and processing costs.”

Image: Supplied

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