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Yole Development Predicts Market for Key RF Components Will Reach $4.7 Billion in 2016
CompoundSemi News Staff

April 9, 2012...Yole says that while radio-front end market is very fragmented in terms of architectures, a few types of components are key with filters or duplexers, power amplifiers, and antenna switches at the heart of every cell phone radio.

“Those components represent a $3.6B market in 2011 already, growing at a 5.6% rate annually until 2016,” says Laurent Robin, activity leader, Yole Développement.

Yole asserts that filters and duplexers are the most dynamic market segment of this market. Sale of duplexers is growing at a 10.5% rate annually. Yole Development says this market will reach $1.7B in 2016. The company says that smartphones' wide use of WCDMA bands and LTE is a new strong driver. Depending on each band, SAW or BAW developments are candidates for further growth. The company says that while Epcos and Murata dominate the SAW area, Avago and TriQuint are in fierce competition in the BAW segment.

Yole notes that despite maturing, many new technologies are impacting the PA market. Also converged PAs and more broadband PAs are increasingly accepted. GaAs still dominates the PA market, but CMOS PAs are gaining at the low end side of the market, Yole indicated.

Yole predicts that Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology could be used for PAs soon. According to Yole, the antenna switches segment, which includes Peregrine Semiconductor, is evolving towards more performance for the new LTE bands and increasing number of throws. Yole says it also observed massive adoption of SOI technology in the segment since 2010.

First Solar Powers One of India's Largest Solar Power Plants
CompoundSemi News Staff

April 9, 2012...First Solar, Inc. of Tempe, Arizona USA, announced the commissioning by Reliance Power Ltd., a Reliance ADA Group company, of a 40 megawatt (MW) (AC)  ground-mounted solar photovoltaic power plant in the state of Rajasthan, India. The plant, which is comprised of 500,000 of First Solar's CdTe-based thin-film modules, will provide clean energy to Mumbai.The project was reportedly completed in just five months.

According to First Solar, the power plant near the village of Dhursar in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan in northwestern India is expected to generate more than 60 million kilowatt hours (kwh) of clean solar energy a year, making it one of the country's highest power output potential photovoltaic power plant. The plant covers 350 acres and is said to be 23 times the size of Calcutta's famous Eden Gardens cricket grounds. First Solar says the plant is expected to satisfy the annual electricity needs of more than 70,000 average Indian households.

"This power plant demonstrates the huge potential of solar energy to help India meet itsgrowing energy needs in the most environmentally friendly manner. It is also a testimony of the quick timeframe in which solar power plants can be built and commissioned," said Anil D Ambani, chairman of Reliance Power.

The Dhursar project is the first of several that Reliance plans to build with First Solar modules as part of a 100MW module order placed last year.

Advanced Photonix Introduces New Terahertz Energy-based Industrial Evaluation Product
CompoundSemi News Staff

April 9, 2012...Advanced Photonix, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Michigan announced the introduction of a new terahertz non-destructive evaluation system product at the National Plastics Exposition (NPE) in Orlando, Florida. The new system, called T-Gauge®, was developed for factory floor evaluations of quality and process control for products including web processing and conversion.

The ability of radiation in the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum to penetrate non-conducting materials combined with the system's high speed data processing, enables non-destructive inspection of web based products with feedback for continuous process adjustments. According to API, the T-Gauge is non-nuclear and provides sensitivity to physical and chemical composition changes in products. T-Guage can reportedly monitor proces and product quality through measuring single and multi-layer thickness, density, basis weight, and detect subsurface defect and delamination.

API says it is the first company to commercialize terahertz technology and deploy it to the factory floor using its patented fiber-coupled sensors. The company asserts that these sensors can be mounted on a scanning frame without contacting or impeding the product, and they collect more information than previously possible to enable tighter tolerances for manufacturing processes, resulting in cost savings, and improved quality.

"This technology is aimed at replacing nuclear gauges while improving quality control and saving material at our customers. Web processing and converting is one of many markets we are working with globally to take the terahertz technology to the factory floor," said Richard Kurtz, CEO of API.

Keithley Introduces System to Measure both Very High and Very Low Voltage
CompoundSemi News Staff

April 2, 2012...Keithley Instruments, Inc., an electrical test systems company in Cleveland, Ohio, introduced the Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter® instrument, which adds high voltage to the company's Series 2600A System SourceMeter family. The company boasts that a built-in 3,000V, 180W source allows the Model 2657A to source up to five times as much power to a tested device as the nearest competitor, and it can quickly and accurately measure very low leakage current down to a resolution of 1fA (femtoamp). The company says that no other measurement system on the market has this flexibility.

The Model 2657A is optimized for high voltage applications such as testing power semiconductor devices, including diodes, FETs, and IGBTs, as well as characterizing materials such as gallium nitride (GaN), silicon carbide (SiC), and other compound semiconductor materials and devices. The system can also characterizing high speed transients and perform breakdown and leakage tests.

Keithley says that the Model 2657A combines the functionality of multiple instruments in a single full-rack enclosure: semiconductor characterization instrument, precision power supply, true current source, 6½-digit DMM, arbitrary waveform generator, voltage or current pulse generator, electronic load, and trigger controller.

Lee Stauffer, Keithley's chief technology officer says that "Between 50 and 75 percent of published papers have measurement errors that the publishers or authors didn't even know they made." He asserts that the 2657A system can reveal measurement errors that designers and researchers could easily miss with other systems.

DARPA Hopes to Develop Methods of Combining Compound Semiconductors with Silicon
CompoundSemi News Staff

April 2, 2012...DARPA's Diverse Accessible Heterogeneous Integration (DAHI) program is launching the DAHI Foundry Technology effort to advance novel methods for combining a variety of devices and materials including compound semiconductors onto a single silicon chip. The research will be used in areas such as communications, sensing and electronic warfare. Current fabrication technology forces circuit designers to make compromises when selecting devices for an integrated microsystem. This effort also seeks to enable complex signal-processing and self-correction architectures to be brought to bear. The DAHI Foundry Technology effort hopes to establish a foundry capability for the production of chips using a wide range of heterogeneously integrated devices.  

DAHI builds on the DARPA Compound Semiconductor Materials on Silicon (COSMOS) program, which focused on Indium Phosphide (InP) heterojunction bipolar transistor integration with silicon. COSMOS is now one of the DAHI program thrusts, along with Electronic-Photonic Heterogeneous Integration (E-PHI, which kicked off in November, 2011) and this new DAHI Foundry Technology effort.

According to Thomas Lee, office director, DARPA Microsystems Technology Office, “This integration would provide DoD systems with the benefits of a variety of devices and materials integrated in close proximity on a single chip, minimizing the performance limitations caused by physical separation among devices.”

Sanjay Raman, DARPA program manager commented, “Such convergence would enable foundry-style production of high-performance microsystems, leveraging today’s silicon IC manufacturing base.”

RFMD Components Leveraged in LG's Optimus 4X HD Android 4.0 Smartphone and Optimus 3D Max
CompoundSemi News Staff

April 2, 2012...RF Micro Devices, Inc. of Greensboro, North Carolina USA will supply multiple components for LG's Optimus 4X HD and the Optimus 3D Max smartphones. LG's Optimus 4X HD and Optimus 3D Max are expected to be available globally in 2012. The LG Optimus 4X HD features a 4.7-inch HD display (1280 x 720), Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich," a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 21 Mbps HSPA+ performance, front (1.3MP) and rear (8MP) cameras, and dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity. All of these features are housed within a sleek exterior that is only 8.9mm thick. The LG Optimus 3D Max features a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 8GB of storage, a 5MP dual-lens camera, Android 2.3 "Gingerbread," and LG's "exclusive brightened" WVGA 4.3-inch display, all housed in a compact 9.8mm shell.

The RFMD notes that the components enabling LG's flagship smartphones include RFMD's PowerSmart® power platform, and RFMD's RF5501 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi front end module. RFMD's PowerSmart features an RF Configurable Power Core™ that delivers multiband, multi-mode coverage of all cellular communications modulation schemes, including 4G, up to LTE 64QAM.

RFMD says that the RF5501 Wi-Fi enables significant size reductions in 802.11b/g/n front end solutions, while delivering high linear output power and reduced component count. Bob Bruggeworth, president and CEO of RFMD, said, "RFMD's PowerSmart power platforms continue to lead a product category that is reshaping the future of multimode, multi-band cellular RF architectures, and we anticipate sequential growth in PowerSmart shipments throughout the calendar year."

Strategy Analytics: LED Market Appears to Be Slowing in 2012
LIGHTimes News Staff

March 29, 2012...After two years of explosive revenue growth, the LED market appears to be slowing down in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. The Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service (GaAs) viewpoint, highlights news that equipment spending and epitaxial substrate demand in the LED sector will decline in 2012. Strategy Analytics points to recent announcements from equipment manufacturers, such as Aixtron, that indicated that substantial funding from Asian governments has been masking inherent softness in LED demand.

“The LED industry has grown in cycles,” observed Eric Higham, Director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service. “The first phase involved backlighting for small consumer devices, like mobile handsets. These solutions have evolved to meet the needs of laptop, television, electronic sign and automotive applications and the next wave for LED adoption appears to be commercial and residential lighting.”

Asif Anwar, Director, Strategy Analytics Strategic Technologies Practice added, “Despite a slowdown in demand, companies are hard at work developing products that improve the performance and cost of devices in preparation for the next wave of LED adoption.”

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