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Veeco Appoints ON Semiconductor CEO to Board
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 27, 2012...Veeco Instruments Inc. reports that Keith Jackson has been appointed to its board of directors. Mr. Jackson, who is age 56, currently serves as president, chief executive officer (CEO), and director of ON Semiconductor, a supplier of silicon solutions for energy-efficient electronics. ON Semiconductor has about 20,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of about $3.4 billion

Mr. Jackson joined ON Semiconductor in 2002. ON Semiconductor completed nine corporate acquisitions and increased revenue by more than $2 billion annually during his tenure. Before joining ON Semiconductor, Mr. Jackson served as executive vice president and general manager, Analog, Mixed Signal and Configurable Products Groups at Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, a provider of energy-efficient solutions for power and mobile designs.

John R. Peeler, Veeco's CEO, commented, "Keith brings a strong technology background to Veeco’s Board that includes more than 30 years in the semiconductor industry. His leadership experience and dedication to the markets he serves make Keith an ideal board member. We welcome Keith and believe he will quickly become a valued advisor and partner in Veeco's future growth."

IIT Pisa Leverages Aixtron Systems for Graphene Production
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 27, 2012...Aixtron of Aachen, Germany, announced that the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Pisa, Italy, has ordered two Aixtron BM Pro (Black Magic Pro) systems in a 4-inch wafer configuration. IIT Pisa researchers plan to use these systems for the development and production of graphene for the implementation of novel hydrogen storage systems.

One system will be used to deposit graphene using both chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). The second BM Pro system is configured for high temperature (1800°C) processing with graphene to be formed using sublimation. The local Aixtron support team has installed and commissioned both systems at the Power Nanosystems Laboratory at IIT Pisa’s Center for Nanotechnology Innovation, located at Laboratorio NEST of Scuola Normale Superiore (IIT@NEST). IIT@NEST is an interdisciplinary research and development centre established in 2009 to investigating fundamental nanoscale and nanomaterial.

Dr Camilla Coletti from IIT@NEST commented, “Our new BM Pro systems form the foundation of our research into the synthesis of graphene films for applications like nanoelectronics and energy storage. These systems will give us enormous flexibility in terms of deposition processes, covering CVD, PECVD and high temperature sublimation."

RFMD Unveils 2nd Generation High Efficiency PAs
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 27, 2012...RF Micro Devices, Inc. announced the addition of 6 high efficiency 4G LTE power amplifiers (PAs) to its product portfolio. RFMD says that the new PAs deliver superior peak efficiency and current consumption in LTE mode. The company says that they complement RFMD's first-generation family of ultra-high efficiency PAs for WCDMA applications. RFMD points out that with the addition of the six new LTE PAs, its product family now covers WCDMA bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8, and LTE bands 4, 7, 11, 13, 17, 18, 20, and 21.

The company boasts that its products have superior data throughput, battery life, and thermal performance. According to RFMD, the new PAs offer peak efficiency of 42%-44% in LTE mode, significantly above competitive product portfolios. RFMD's LTE PAs also offer unprecedented linearity at the highest power conditions, enabling bandwidths up to 20MHz and resulting in higher data transfers.

RFMD says that in both 3G and 4G LTE, RFMD's ultra-high efficiency PAs deliver best-in-class current consumption across all power levels and in all modes and bands. RFMD asserts that as power management schemes such as average power tracking (APT) and envelope tracking (ET) are increasingly adopted in 2012, the company will strengthen its leadership.

Eric Creviston, president of RFMD's Cellular Products Group (CPG), said, "We expect strong growth and market share gains in 3G and 4G LTE as our ultra-high efficiency product portfolio continues to expand."

Strategy Analytics: Cellular PA Market to Reach $4 Billion in 2016; Opportunities for Gallium Arsenide and CMOS
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 20, 2012...Research firm, Strategy Analytics reports that the cellular power amplifier (PA) market grew 19 percent, to more than $3.3 billion in 2011. The company asserts that the increase in cellular terminal shipments to an estimated 2.3 billion units drove the growth.

According to Christopher Taylor, Director, Strategy Analytics RF & Wireless Components, "Grey market (illegal, or shanzhai) handsets grew, as did smartphones, cellular-enabled notebooks, netbooks, tablets, USB dongles and M2M devices. The average number of bands and modes supported by cellular devices also grew. This growth slightly increased the average number of PAs per cellular device in 2011, SA indicated. Strategy Analytics expects the non-handset segments of this market to contribute more than 40 percent of the demand in 2016.”

Eric Higham, Director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor market research service, added, “GaAs-based PAs make up about 95 percent of the market, however W-CDMA PAs fabricated in monolithic CMOS will capture a small but growing share in low-cost 3G devices over the next five years. Even so, the market for GaAs-based PAs will continue to grow in more demanding applications and in the form of complex modules for multiband smartphones.”

Orbital Sciences Corp. Gets NASA's Thermal Infrared Sensor for Next Landsat Satellite
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 20, 2012...Orbital Sciences Corporation in Gilbert, Arizona has received a gallium arsenide based thermal infrared sensor (TIRS), which will be integrated into NASA's next Landsat satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). The TIRS will take the Earth's temperature with a new technology.. The engineering team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, reportedly completed the TIRS quickly, going from plans on paper to building the instrument in merely 43 months.

TIRS uses GaAs Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors (QWIPs) to detect long wavelengths of light emitted by the Earth with an intensity depending on surface temperature. These wavelengths, called thermal infrared, are well beyond the range of human vision. NASA notes QWIPs offered a new lower-cost alternative to conventional infrared "night vision" technology. Unlike night vision technology QWIPs arrays are designed for sensitivity to specific wavelengths.

GaAs semiconductor chips trap electrons in an energy state 'well' until the electrons are energized to a higher state by thermal infrared light of a certain wavelength. The high state electrons create an electrical signal that can be read out and recorded to create a digital image. The QWIPs the TIRS uses are sensitive to two thermal infrared wavelength bands, which helps separate the temperature of the Earth's surface from the atmosphere's temperature.

LDCM is scheduled to launch in January 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. TIRS and a visible and near infrared imaging sensor called the Operational Land Imager (OLI) from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp will be aboard LDCM.

TriQuint Introduces TRITIUM Duo, Dual-Band Power Amplifier Solution for 3G and 4G Smartphones
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 20, 2012...TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. unveiled what it says is the smallest dual-band PA duplexer (PAD) for global 3G and 4G smartphones. The new TRITIUM Duo(TM) family combines two band-specific power amplifiers (PAs) and duplexers in a single compact module. TriQuint asserts that it effectively replaces up to twelve discrete components. The TRITIUM Duo family shares a common 6 x 4.5mm footprint. TriQuint says this reduced size allows mobile device manufacturers to include more features or larger batteries in thinner, lighter form factors with the performance needed for CDMA, 3G, and 4G networks.

The dual-band TRITIUM Duo implements TriQuint's proprietary CuFlip technology to replace wire bonds with copper bumps. This reportedly saves board real estate and eliminates noise-radiating wires. TriQuint says the copper bumps also dissipate heat better than traditional interconnect techniques. The integrated Flip Chip BiHEMT power amplifier die achieves low current consumption for maximum talk-time and thermal efficiency critical for smartphone applications. The new TRITIUM Duo also employs a wafer level packaging (WLP) technique to provide hermetic filter encapsulation for improved performance and a reduced size. In addition, the modules integrate high-performance BAW and SAW duplexer capabilities.

Ralph Quinsey, president and chief executive officer of TriQuint stated, "Our broad technology portfolio has enabled us to integrate two commonly used bands in one small footprint. Not only have we simplified the RF front-end for phone designers, we have also increased performance and flexibility."

Rubicon Gets $20 Million Contract to Supply Sapphire Wafers
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 13, 2012...Rubicon Technology, Inc. a provider of sapphire substrates and products announced that it has entered into a new contract with its unnamed largest customer for large-diameter sapphire wafers. The $20 million contract reportedly represents a baseline level of shipments that will be made from June through December 2012. Rubicon's previous contract with the company expired at the end of December.

“We are pleased that we will continue as a key supplier to our valued six-inch wafer customer in 2012,” said Raja Parvez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rubicon. “...However, with LED chip capacity presently not fully utilized, the inflection point in demand for large-diameter sapphire wafers for LEDs is still some months in the future.”

Rubicon granted adjustments to fourth-quarter 2011 price and volume requirements under the expiring six-inch contract. Consequently, Rubicon’s revenue for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011, was between $19 and $20 million, slightly below its previous guidance of $20 to $23 million.

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