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Commentary: Describing Nitride Devices to the Outside World
... Earlier this summer, Keith Evans, CEO of Kyma Technologies, gave an especially important talk at our Compound Semi Vision 2007 executive business forum on the current status of nitride substrate development, which included an excellent snapshot of just how this dynamic material class is being employed. It'll take about...
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TriQuint to Acquire Peak Devices
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 22, 2007...TriQuint Semiconductor of Hillsboro, Oregon USA, a wireless component manufacturer, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Peak Devices, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado. The agreement to acquire Peak Devices, a privately held, fabless semiconductor company, is a cash transaction expected to close within the quarter. According to TriQuint, Peak Devices has an experienced RF team that focuses on RF discrete transistor technology. TriQuint noted that Peak Devices’ market segments include: 2-way communications, FM and television broadcast, telecommunications, avionics, radar, and military.

TriQuint Chief Executive Officer Ralph Quinsey stated, “Peak has developed proprietary semiconductor technology that has broad application across multiple markets. With this technology, a single wide bandwidth amplifier may replace complex high power multiplexer-combined-amplifiers. This is a technology that has exciting potential.”

TriQuint indicated that the goal of Peak’s technology is to introduce a device that can cover multiple octaves of bandwidth, such as 700MHz to 2800 MHz. This wide band technology can be incorporated into compound semiconductor materials including Gallium Arsenide (GaAs), and Gallium Nitride (GaN).

Bill McCalpin, Peak Devices CEO, will retain his responsibilities and report to TriQuint senior management. “The combination of Peak devices and TriQuint Semiconductor brings together extremely complementary capabilities. I see numerous opportunities for Peak’s technologies to enhance TriQuint’s existing product lines, as well as build new high power RF product segments.” TriQuint News Release

BAE Systems to Develop PA Technology to Protect Against Radar-Guided Missile Threats
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 22, 2007...BAE Systems was awarded an $8 million contract to develop a 160-watt solid-state, gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifier for communications, electronic warfare, and radar applications. Funding for the project comes from the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command with backing of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. BAE systems was chosen from 40 bidders under DARPA’s Disruptive Manufacturing Technology program. Rohm and Haas of Blacksburg, Virginia, and University of Colorado are partnering with BAE Systems on the program. The DARPA agent for the project will be the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

BAE says the new technology will enable soldiers to more effectively disrupting enemy communications and radar signals, while protecting friendly communications. “DARPA has identified BAE Systems’ GaN technology as an important material for future military applications in electronic warfare, radar, and air-to-ground, air-to-satellite, and ground-to-ground communications systems,” said Dr. John Evans, DARPA Disruptive Manufacturing Technology program manager. BAE Systems News Release

IQE wins multi-year contract as preferred Epi wafer supplier to Anadigics Inc.
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 22, 2007...IQE plc has announced that Anadigics has selected IQE’s RF Business Unit to be its preferred supplier of advanced GaAs epi wafers. In the multi year contract valued at approximately US $50 million over the first two years, IQE will provide a range of wafer products which will be used to manufacture wireless chips for 3G, WiFi, WiMAX, broadband, and set top box applications.

Dr Drew Nelson, IQE Chief Executive said, “This major contract award recognizes the unique advantages that IQE can offer as a pure play wafer supplier, including multi site, multi platform manufacturing, a complete product range for the wireless communications industry, significant additional wafer capacity to support the rapidly growing demands of this and other customers, and the advanced engineering support for current and future product development that we can provide.“

In IQE financial news, the company published its Interim Results for the half year ended 30 June 2007. The results show revenues up 80% at constant exchange rates to £26.2m and an EBITDA profit of £1.3m (H1/2006: EBITDA loss £0.8m). IQE News Release

Veeco Releases New Optical Metrology System for Semiconductor Packaging Inspection
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 22, 2007...Veeco Instruments Inc. of Woodbury, New York USA announced the release of its latest generation of surface profiling products for backend semiconductor metrology. According to Veeco, the Wyko SP9900 Surface Profiling System performs critical measurements that support high yield and help ensure device reliability for advanced high-density interconnect (HDI) packages. Veeco says that two units are already in production at industry-leading semiconductor contract assembly and test services (SATS) vendors in Japan and Taiwan.

"Flip chip packaging continues to be the process of choice for rapidly growing flash memory devices, such as digital cameras and MP3 players, as well as for small-factor, high-density applications like mobile phones, computers and PDAs," says John Wissinger, VP/Business Unit Manager, Veeco Optical Industrial Metrology. "Many devices that previously used wire bonding or other connection methods are transitioning to ball grid arrays (BGA) for improved reliability and cost. Advances in packaging parallel the semiconductor roadmap, and package quality is increasingly critical to producing defect-free devices as tolerances increase. Veeco sees a significant long term growth opportunity in partnering with chipset designers and SATS vendors to address their most challenging metrology requirements - which are well addressed by our technology."

According to Veeco, the SP9900 monitors critical parameters in multilayer organic panels manufactured for flip chip pin grid array (FC-PGA) and flip chip ball grid array (FC-BGA)-type packages. The new tool also provides faster measurements, increased sample access, and the ability to measure the newer generation panel sizes. Company News Release

Aixtron Reports on EpiValley GaN LED Capacity Increase
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 21, 2007...Aixtron AG of Aachen, Germany, reported that it received another repeat order from EpiValley Co., Ltd., headquartered in Kwangju City, South Korea in the second quarter of 2007. EpiValley, a long-term Aixtron customer, reportedly purchased three new Thomas Swan Close Coupled Showerhead (CCS) Crius production epitaxy reactors. The three Crius systems have a capacity of 30x2”. According to Aixtron the systems will be dedicated to the manufacture of gallium nitride (GaN) based epitaxial wafers for the production of high-brightness side-view LEDs. Aixtron pointed out that EpiValley, a manufacturer of epiwafers for blue, green, and UV LED and LED chips, was the first to commission the CCS Crius system and was among the first companies in the world to produce high brightness blue LED epi-wafers on the Crius tool.

Dr. D.J. Park, president and CEO of EpiValley Co., Ltd., said, "We have been very happy with our first Thomas Swan CCS Crius MOCVD tool which was commissioned and providing us with wafers in a very short time. Now that our customers are ramping up their production of side-view LEDs we must quickly increase wafer throughput. Therefore we decided to place this triple order. With all four Crius systems in place we will be able to satisfy the twin requirements of performance and price for the vast LED back-light unit (BLU) and solid-state lighting market." Aixtron News Release

TDI Makes InGaN Substrates Available
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 20, 2007...Technologies and Devices International, Inc. (TDI), a developer and supplier of nitride semiconductor materials headquartered in Silverspring, Maryland USA, announced the availability of what the company says are the world's first InGaN substrates. InGaN is used in the production of GaN-based blue, green, white, and UV LEDs in addition to laser diodes. The structural mismatch between InGaN epitaxial structures and the conventional substrates they are on is known to greatly reduce performance. “Crystal lattice and thermal match between the substrate and the overgrown InGaN device has been predicted for a long time to reduce defects in the light emitting regions, increase light emitting efficiency and device lifetime. With these substrates, this is now possible," Alexander Syrkin, a senior crystal growth specialist at the company said.

The substrates consist of an InGaN layer deposited on 2-inch GaN/sapphire template. The InN content in the InGaN layers ranges from 5 to 20 mol. percent. Volume production is expected to begin in early 2008. Vladimir Dmitriev, President and CEO of TDI stated, "Since the first demonstration of high quality InGaN materials grown by hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) in 2006, we have been receiving continuous requests from our customers regarding these new products. Today we are pleased to announce the expansion of our substrate materials offering to include InGaN substrates. Support provided by the US Department of Energy and Department of Defense for this product development is greatly appreciated. We view this effort as one of the key components to enable advanced light emitting devices, particularly for solid state lighting applications." Company News Release

Goodrich's SUI Team to Continue InGaAs Night Vision Technology Development for DARPA
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 20, 2007...Goodrich Corporation of Charlotte, North Carolina USA, was again selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) to continue development of indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs), night vision technology. Specifically the company will continue to develop visible and shortwave infrared focal plane arrays for use in passive, night vision systems. The company was first awarded the multiphase DARPA contract in September 2005. (Ref: Coverage). Goodrich’s SUI team (previously a company called Sensors Unlimited Inc.), based in Princeton, New Jersey USA, developed the design and production methods of shortwave infrared cameras and systems utilizing InGaAs imaging technology for industrial, commercial, military, agricultural and scientific markets.

Edward Hart, Vice President and General Manager of Goodrich's SUI team, "Our team has successfully completed the first phase of this contract and we now look forward to taking the technology to the next level. We welcome the opportunity to carry on this important initiative with DARPA and their innovative MTO group. The focus of this next phase of development will be to raise the resolution of the camera we developed in the first phase and make the imager more sensitive, allowing for better night vision capabilities." Company News Release

GSM Power Amplifier Technology Declining Slower than Anticipated, ABI Research Says
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 20, 2007...ABI Research (ABI) has revealed that the demand for GSM and other 2G RF power amplifiers has been shrinking. However, the use of higher efficiency power amplifier designs has been increasing. “Though basic GSM is slowly declining, EDGE has satisfied the data needs of many users to a greater extent than anticipated. At the same time, many operators are becoming more wary of big 3G-related spending. The result is that such GSM-based systems have enjoyed a longer life-cycle, which in turn stretches out the growth period for 3G. That has a direct impact on what happens in the power amplifier and devices market,” said research director Lance Wilson.

The company said that Chinese vendors, led by Huawei Technologies and ZTE, have become more active in the RF power amplifier market. In this way ABI says, Chinese vendors are beginning to have an effect on the device market. ABI notes that high-efficiency RF amplifiers for wireless infrastructure are beginning to enter the mainstream. ABI predicts that these will be seen in increasing quantities over the next five years. ABI points out that greater amplifier efficiency translates to lower base station costs, in both initial price, and in lower power consumption and operating cost. ABI Research News Release

Kyma Adds New Sizes to Native Semi-Insulating GaN Substrate Product Line
CompoiundSemi News Staff

August 15, 2007...Kyma Technologies Inc., a supplier of nitride materials, products, and services located in Raleigh, North Carolina USA, reported the availability of its new 25mm x 25mm native semi-insulating GaN (SI GaN) substrates. The new substrates add to the company’s portfolio of SI GaN substrates which also includes: 10mm x 10mm and 18mm x 18mm substrates.

Kyma’s expanded SI GaN product line has received strong financial support from the US Air Force and US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and from military collaborations in SI GaN related materials and devices including working with EOC, US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and US Naval Surface Weapons Center (NSWC).

Dr. Edward Preble, Kyma’s Chief Operating Officer, commented, “Our 25mm x 25mm native SI GaN product has excellent resistivity properties just like our smaller SI GaN substrates, as corroborated by recent electrical resistivity mapping measurements carried out by Tim Bogart, one of our collaboration partners at the Electro-Optics Center (EOC) of Penn State University. The larger size and availability are the results of yield improvements in our native SI GaN boule growth and wafering processes. We have also produced limited quantities of 30mm x 30mm high quality native SI GaN substrates and plan to announce their availability in the coming months.” Company News Release

JDSU Makes Diode Laser Available with Twice the Power and Highest Brightness
CompoundSemi News Staff

August 15, 2007...JDSU announced the general availability of its 2495-L3 Series 808 nanometer (nm) fiber-coupled diode laser. According to JDSU, the diode laser incorporates new chip technology that translates to a more reliable and less expensive laser solution for many industrial, dental and medical applications. JDSU also pointed out that the laser generates twice the power of previous offerings and provides the highest level of 808 nm brightness among commercially available single-emitter fiber coupled diode lasers.

"As the diode laser industry has matured, JDSU has leveraged its expertise in the telecom space and applied it to the industrial sector, bringing higher performance and lower cost diode laser solutions to the market," said Alex Schoenfelder, vice president and general manager of JDSU's Integrated Photonics business unit. "The 2495-L3 Series not only provides a more elegant offering for high-precision laser applications, it also opens the door for JDSU to participate in new markets."

JDSU indicated that the dental and medical fields have had growing demand for the use of 808 nm diode lasers. For example, Japan has certified this wavelength as the approved frequency for specific procedures. For soft tissue dental processes, the 2495-L3 diode laser allows a dentist to more accurately treat diseased gum tissue without disturbing surrounding healthy tissue. Company News Release

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Commentary & Perspective...

Describing Nitride Devices to the Outside World
Jo Ann McDonald, founding editor

August 22, 2007...Earlier this summer, Keith Evans, CEO of Kyma Technologies, gave an especially important talk at our Compound Semi Vision 2007 executive business forum on the current status of nitride substrate development, which included an excellent snapshot of just how this dynamic material class is being employed. It'll take about three McDonald Report editorials to cover the entire content of Keith's talk, so consider this part one where, thanks to Keith's due diligence, we provide a handy guide for anyone to better describe the wonders of GaN to the outside world.

Describing our highly advanced technological niches to outsiders has always been a challenge for compound semi professionals. People's eyes tend to easily glaze over. They get a bit fidgety and start looking ill at ease. After 15 minutes of explanation, they tend to excuse themselves to go to the restroom or take a cellphone call... and never come back.

Keith Evans, who served as co-chair for CS Vision '07 and gave a talk on his favorite subject, the nitrides, provided valuable ammo for keeping one's audience on track. To follow are some handy lists I pulled out of Keith's talk that may help you the next time you have a potentially valuable "outsider" hog-tied and primed for brainwashing.

First of all, call the material category what it is. Group III-Nitrides. Also known as III-N. OK... still too technical. Try "Gallium Nitride" ... as in "beyond silicon or gallium arsenide." GaN's a material type that lots of people have heard of by now, even though some of what gets lumped in isn't actually the gallium (Ga) + nitride (N) combo. And tell them it's pronounced "gan" like in the word "can". And if the roman numerals "III" get questioned, quickly remind them that they were likely taught the "periodic table" in their early schooling and if you put any two or more elements together, they're called "compounds". But don't get bogged down there. Quickly get right into all the new and wonderful applications by showing them what kind of semiconductor devices are made from III-Nitride semiconductor materials. (And don't get conned into defining "semiconductor devices" or you'll get stuck in the age-old dilemma of semi-insulating vs. semi-conducting).

III-N (GaN) device types: Ultraviolet (UV) and visible LEDs
UV and visible laser diodes
UV and visible detectors
Infrared (IR) photonic devices
Acoustic wave devices
High power electronics
High power radio frequency (RF) electronics
Terahertz electronics

And before that glazed look sets in, get right to the benefits list:

If you're appealing to social progressives try this list:
More efficient lighting; safer water everywhere; better medical sensors; more reliable electric grids; reduced energy costs; lower green house gas emissions; smaller more efficient power supplies; better hygiene everywhere; reduced use of fossil fuels; better scientific instrumentation; higher speed video; ultra efficient solar cells.

If your audience has a more military bent, add these:
More secure homeland; more efficient hybrid vehicles; better wireless communications, including secure satellite communications; better chemical and bioagent sensors; improved battle theater communications; and improved missile defense

While we'll get into the nitty gritty of Keith Evans' talk in subsequent reports, which will definitely be tailored to industry insiders, I leave you with a tease of his four categories of GaN substrates and which CS industry companies are currently in the lead in each category:
1) Template GaN (leading developers/suppliers are Kyma and TDI)
2) Liftoff GaN (leading developers/suppliers are SEI and Lumilog)
3) Native GaN (leading developers/suppliers are Kyma and Mitsubishi Chemical)
4) Composite GaN (leading developers/suppliers are Aonex and Group4 Labs and sp3 Diamond Technologies).

If you have news or views to share about the compound semiconductor, LED or solid state lighting industries
contact our Publisher, Tom Griffiths
His direct tel in Austin is +1-512-257-9888

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