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IBM Labs Develops Holey Opto Chip Which Can Transfer a Terabit of Data Per Second
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 12, 2012...IBM scientists have developed an optical transceiver chipset prototype with a GaAs VCSEL dubbed "Holey Optochip", that the company claims is the first parallel optical transceiver to transfer one terabit of information per second. This is equivalent of downloading 500 high definition movies. The company's report will be presented at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference in Los Angeles. As an example, the entire library of congress web archive could be transferred in about an hour.

The IBM scientists created 48 holes through a standard silicon CMOS chip. The holes allow optical access through the back of the chip to 24 receiver and 24 transmitter channels to produce an ultra-compact, high-performing and power-efficient optical module capable of record setting data transfer rates.The transceiver chip measures only 5.2 mm x 5.8 mm. Twenty-four channel, industry-standard 850-nm VCSEL and photodiode arrays are directly flip-chip soldered to the Optochip creating chip-scale optical engines. The Holey Optochips are designed for direct coupling to a standard 48-channel multimode fiber array through an efficient microlens optical system that can be assembled with conventional high-volume packaging tools.

IBM claims that the chipset can deliver data eight times faster than parallel optical components available. The company notes that it has a power efficiency (in watts consumed per bit of data transmited) that is among the best ever reported. The transceiver consumes just 5 Watts.

First Solar to Build 26 Megawatt Solar Project for NRG
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 12, 2012...NRG Energy, Inc. of Princeton, New Jersey and First Solar, Inc. of Tempe, Arizona USA, announced an agreement under which First Solar will construct NRG's 26 megawatt (AC) Avra Valley solar project near Tucson, Ariz. Electricity from the Avra Valley solar project will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

The project will utilize First Solar's cadmium telluride thin-film photovoltaic technology, mounted on the company's single-axis tracker system, which rotates to follow the sun throughout the day. The tracker system extends the peak energy production period, providing more electricity in the afternoon, when energy demand is greatest. Construction on the project, which is expected to begin this month, will create an estimated 200 jobs. First Solar expects to complete Avra Valley by the end of 2012.

"NRG and First Solar have built a very strong working relationship, starting with our first 21 megawatt project in Blythe, California, to our most recently completed 20 megawatt Roadrunner solar generating station in New Mexico," said James Kelly, Director of Development for NRG Solar. "We look forward to working with First Solar on the Avra Valley project that, when completed, will help Arizona meet its renewable energy goals."

TriQuint Semiconductor Opens International Headquarters in Singapore
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 12, 2012...TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. an RF solution provider based in Hillsboro, Oregon USA, officially opened TriQuint International Pte Ltd, its new International Headquarters in Singapore. The facility will be the focal point for most international customers, suppliers and manufacturing partners. The new TriQuint International Headquarters is located in the Changi Business Park, close to Singapore’s Changi International Airport. This new office will offer dedicated resources in a wide variety of areas ranging from customer service to supply chain management.

TriQuint just completed its sixth consecutive year of record revenue. The company notes that the revenue growth was largely driven by the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and the emergence of 3G/4G broadband wireless. Customers in Asia comprised a big part of this growth and manufacturing partners in Asia assembled and tested almost all of the high volume TriQuint-designed products sold into these applications.

“Our business outside of the United States now contributes about 70 percent of the company’s annual revenue,” said Ralph Quinsey, President and CEO, TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. “With Asia’s appetite for new technologies, particularly in mobile devices, and government support of the latest communications infrastructure, we believe Asia will continue to offer great opportunities for business growth. It is with that long term view that we further globalize our business, in order to strengthen our relationships with international customers and drive greater efficiencies across our supply chain.”

HRL Offers its GaN Transistor Technology to Commercial Customers
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 5, 2012...HRL Laboratories, LLC, of Malibu, California USA, announced that it is now offering products based on its gallium nitride (GaN) high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) technology to commercial customers in select markets. HRL is a corporate research and development laboratory owned by the Boeing company. HRL, which has been developing GaN transistor technology since the late 1990s, says that its GaN HEMT technology provides significant advantages for high-data-rate wireless links, radars and active sensors.

HRL claims that its GaN amplifiers offer more than five times improvement in E and W-band output power compared to current state-of-the-art commercial solid-state technologies. The company says that this high power output reduces the need for power combining multiple amplifiers and minimizes the power module assembly complexity. In addition, HRL says that the intrinsic higher linearity of GaN allows the transmission of modulation schemes with higher spectral efficiency, increasing the potential data throughput for wireless links.

HRL is offering wideband 70 to 100 GHz GaN power amplifiers as well as a family of application-specific E and W-band power amplifiers covering the 71 to 76 GHz, 81 to 86 GHz and 90 to 96 GHz bands. HRL points out that it reported the first Ka-band GaN power amplifier at the 2004 IEEE International Microwave Symposium and the first W-band GaN power amplifier at the 2006 International Electron Devices Meeting.

Southwest Solar and MaxQ to Collaborate on Multi-Junction CPV Commercialization
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 5, 2012...Southwest Solar Technologies Inc. (Southwest Solar) of Phoenix, Arizona USA, has signed a joint development agreement with MaxQ Power Conversion LLC, a division of MaxQ Technology of Tempe, Arizona, to drive the commercialization of its multi-junction concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar power technology.

Southwest Solar says its CPV product combines multi-junction solar cells with innovative approaches in concentrator optics, power electronics, and efficient manufacturing. The design incorporates a solar flux management capability that allows the use of non-uniform light intensity. According to the company, this makes it possible to use the CPV product with either dish or heliostat collectors designed for concentrated solar power (CSP).

Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate to develop and manufacture Southwest Solar’s patent pending dense array CPV module that packages numerous multi-junction photovoltaic cells into a compact, high concentration, solar power generation module. The module achieves a solar concentration ratio of 1200-times.  Not surprisingly, extremely high energy flows from this concentration can cause heating that can reduce solar cell performance. The system uses a closed loop liquid cooling system in the form of a cold plate from MaxQ to manage this thermal intensity.The cold plates are manufactured with minimal material using the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) process and a patent pending design, which allows Max Q to incorporate unique fin structures with high thermal performance, low pressure drops, and very high reliability. 

Emcore Enhances Features of its Tunable XFP Transceivers for Next-Generation Optical Networks
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 5, 2012...Emcore Corporation based in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA, has enhanced the feature set for the company's full-band Tunable 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second) Form-factor Pluggable (TXFP) Transceiver, including 40 nm full-band support, a transmitter variable optical attenuator and flexi-grid compliance. The The TXFP transceiver is reportedly based on Emcore's patented ClearLight fourth generation External Cavity Laser (ECL) platform. Emcore contends that it delivers the highest-quality optical signal, wavelength accuracy and transmission performance, along with best-in-class Side-Mode Suppression Ratio (SMSR).

Emcore asserts that the TXFP enables customers to dramatically reduce size, power consumption, and operating expenses by replacing both legacy 300-pin tunable transponders and fixed wavelength DWDM XFP transceivers. Emcore's TXFP supports a full-band of 40 nm (100 x 50 GHz channels), making it the most widely tunable transceiver on the market, according to the company. In addition, the TXFP addresses the new International Telecommunications Union (ITU) flexi-grid standard, which allows customers to tune onto any frequency grid and address any off-grid frequency. Emcore also plans to include an optional transmitter variable optical attenuator, thus allowing customers to remove external attenuators. Again this increases density while reducing overall system cost and complexity.

Jaime Reloj, Emcore's Vice President of Business Development commented, "Our customers are using the unique features of the Emcore TXFP such as flexi-grid tuning and highest available SMSR to enable more flexible and cost-effective optical network architectures."

Epistar Receives its First Aixtron CRIUS II-XL MOCVD System
LIGHTimes News Staff

March 1, 2012...Aixtron SE based in Aachen, Germany, reports that its existing customer Epistar, a manufacturer of optoelectronic materials and devices in Taiwan, has received its first CRIUS II-XL system in a 19x4-inch wafer configuration. Epistar will use the system to mass produce ultra-high brightness (UHB) blue and white LEDs. According to Aixtron, the CRIUS II-XL configuration offers an outstanding reactor capacity as high as 19x4 inch, which represents a capacity increase of 46% compared to the original CRIUS II

The CRIUS II-XL system has successfully passed the process demonstration and acceptance test. In line with their usual procedure, Epistar will now further qualify the system in mass production. Epistar plans to purchase more CRIUS II-XL systems, when they expand their production capacity.  

Dr. Ming-Jiunn Jou, president of Epistar, commented, “Looking at this first tool, I can see that the CRIUS II-XL will make a huge difference to our productivity. Epistar has always had great confidence in Aixtron technology and, thanks to its seamless process compatibility with our earlier generation reactors, the latest CRIUS technology is set to rapidly and efficiently drive forward future capacity expansion and technology advances.”

Dr. Bernd Schulte, COO of Aixtron, adds, “With the purchase of our latest system, the CRIUS II-XL, Epistar continues to pursue its cutting-edge production and engineering innovation in epitaxial growth. The CRIUS II-XL design concept offers the largest productivity with best-in-class uniformities, which massively increases yield and directly translates into enhanced competitiveness for Epistar’s products in an ever demanding marketplace."

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