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TRUenergy Invests in Efficient Solar Technology
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 27, 2008...Solar Systems of Melbourne, Australia signed a $290 million development agreement with the integrated energy company, TRUenergy (TRU). Under the agreement, construction of a large and efficient solar photovoltaic power stations will begin in 2009 in Victoria, Australia. TRUenergy has given $40 million to Solar Systems in for 20 percent ownership. TRU says that the investment will help ensure growth and continued success in the development of concentrated photovoltaics.

TRU points out that its investment in Solar Systems will also help fund the development of one of what the company says is among the largest solar manufacturing facilities . The facility will supply concentrated solar photovoltaic modules for use in the Northern Victorian power plant and other locations around the world. Also, TRU will provide seven million dollars for the development of a two megawatt (MW) heliostat concentrated photovoltaic pilot plant, then it will invest up to $285 million to build the remainder of the project. TRU’s funding will add to the $129.5 million of Federal and Victorian Government funds already earmarked for the project. The photovoltaic plant will produce 154 MW of solar cells originally developed for satellites. TRU says that this is enough to power 45,000 homes. The project will also create 950 new jobs during construction.

TRUenergy reports that its parent company, CLP, has also entered into a ten year joint Development Agreement with Solar Systems, to support the deployment of up to one gigawatt (GW) of concentrated photovoltaic technology across Asia Pacific Partnership countries. TRUenergy News Release

Fairchild Introduces Power SPM to Meet Energy Star Requirements for Power Supplies
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 27, 2008...Fairchild has introduced its Smart Power Module to meet Energy Star requirements for power supplies. Fairchild says its Smart Power Module (SPM) in its line of Power products, the Power SPM, increases efficiency in power supplies to meet stringent United States Department of Energy’s Energy Star requirements.

According to the company, the Power-SPM FPP06R001 is a highly integrated synchronous rectification module that boosts power efficiency while allowing more rugged and space efficient power supply designs. The device incorporates two PowerTrench MOSFETs and a high current gate driver in a compact transfer-molded package. Fairchild boasts that the design of the Power-SPM eliminates up to 10 discrete components and reduces board space by 20 percent. Addtionally the company contends that it provides 10 percent lower on-resistance and 16 percent lower stray inductance compared to discrete solutions, which results in lower thermal dissipation and reduced voltage stress. Fairchild notes that the high efficiency of the device helping power supply designs meet next generation Energy Star requirements that specify that power supplies must achieve 85 percent or greater efficiency at normal output load conditions. Company News Release

Emcore Introduces Un-cooled DFB Laser Family
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 27, 2008...Emcore Corporation, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA, has introduced a new line of un-cooled coaxial distributed feedback (DFB) lasers. According to the company, its 1933 DFB laser family offers a low cost solution for 1310nm linear fiber optic links. Emcore points out that the innovative design of the 1933 series requires no additional cooling because it can maintain performance even with case temperatures ranging from -40 degrees C to +80 degrees C. Emcore also touts the 1933’s exceptionally high slope efficiency and linearity even with optical output powers up to 12dBm.

The laser diode devices are packaged in a compact hermetic assembly together with a monitor photodiode and isolator, for flexible integration into various transmitter configurations. The 1933 provides a lower cost of a coaxial package with the company’s best linear optical devices. The company says it minimized the amount of stability control circuitry required to maintain performance over wide temperature ranges "The 1933 family of DFB lasers expands Emcore's discrete laser product offering. By leveraging our vertical integration and technical heritage in linear fiber optics, we can now offer a low-cost solution to meet today's market demands," said Gyo Shinozaki, Director of Marketing for Emcore Broadband. Company News Release

JDSU to Create All-in-One Optical Network Solution
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 27, 2008...JDSU of Milpitas, California USA, reports that it is creating the Agile Optical Network (AON) Superblade which will integrate all major optical functions into a single device. The company contends that the new Superblade platform will dramatically reduce size, cost, and power requirements for network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) and service providers. The company estimates it could be up to 50 percent lower in cost than all the optical components it replaces. The AON Superblade will include very small blocks of wavelength selective switch (WSS) technology that JDSU has invented called the Nano WSS, erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) technology, and an optical channel monitor technology.

A special operating system designed by JDSU, called the AON Embedded Operating System, will support the architecture of the AON Superblade and ensure that its seamlessly integrated into network equipment manufacturer's (NEMS) and service provider's unique network environments. JDSU points out that its high level of vertical integration will allow for flexibility during the individual design and manufacturing of each optical element. Unlike other solutions, it will require only a single-slot blade, compared to four required with other solutions within NEMs’ systems.

"JDSU's AON Superblade is leading an emerging trend in the Optical Communications market for smaller and more efficient subsystems that provide a high level of flexibility to the customer," said Daryl Inniss, vice president and practice leader of Communications Components at Ovum RHK. "JDSU's AON Superblade could help NEMs decrease their time to market, lower costs and reduce operational complexity." Company News Release

IMEC Achieves 24.7 Percent Conversion Efficiency for GaAs Solar Cell on Ge Substrate
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 25, 2008...IMEC, an independent research center of nanoelectronics located in Leuven, Belgium, reports that it has achieved a record efficiency of 24.7 percent for a single-junction gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar cell on a germanium (Ge) substrate. IMEC says that the efficiency was measured and confirmed by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US). IMEC points out that GaAs solar cells are used in satellite solar panels and earth-based solar concentrators.

IMEC researchers explained that the record was achieved on a single-junction GaAs cell, grown epitaxially on a Ge substrate. The researchers said that they were able to decrease the micro-defect density of the GaAs. The cell was made under the ESA-IMAGER project, and Umicore, a materials technology group, produced the high quality, low defect Ge substrate through its optimized manufacturing technology.

IMEC said that improving the efficiency of the single-junction GaAs cell is a further step in developing a hybrid monolithic/mechanically stacked triple-junction solar cell in which stacks of solar cells made of different semiconductors are carefully chosen to absorb the solar spectrum as efficiently as possible. Among the many possible combinations, IMEC is focusing on stacked cells where the top cells are made with III-V materials and the bottom cells are made from Ge. IMEC says it hopes to achieve a conversion efficiency of 35 percent or more with this combination. The resulting triple-junction solar cells could be used in satellites and earth-based concentrators, where high-efficiency is paramount. Company News Release

Emcore Completes Acquisition of Intel’s Optical Platform Division
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 25, 2008...Emcore Corporation of Albuquerque, New Mexico USA announced the completed acquisition of the telecom-related portion of Intel's Optical Platform Division. Through the acquisition Emcore obtained intellectual property, technology, and and assets such as tunable lasers, tunable transponders, 300-pin transponders, and integrated tunable laser assemblies (ITLA). The acquisition agreement was signed and announced on December 18, 2007. Emcore agreed to purchase the Intel division for $85 million in cash and common stock.

The acquired assets will be integrated into Emcore's Digital Products Division (EDP). "We are excited about the addition of the product portfolio, customer base, and the business and technical personnel from this acquisition. Emcore is now one of a very few companies able to offer customers products for long-haul telecom, DWDM, enterprise and storage applications,” said Stephen Krasulick VP & GM of Emcore’s digital products division. “Emcore will leverage its infrastructure of contract manufacturing and the vertical integration on both the long- and short-wavelength products to continue its cost reduction effort. "

According to the agreement, Emcore will issue and sell, in a private placement $100 million of securities to come from approximately 8 million shares of its common stock priced at $12.50 per share, the 20 day volume-weighted average price. Emcore will also issue warrants for up to 1.4 million additional shares with an exercise price of $15.06 per share. Emcore News Release

Skyworks PAs and Front-end Modules Power Latest Handsets from LG Electronics
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 25, 2008...Skyworks reports that its products will go into LG Electronics’ Latest Multimedia handsets after several key design wins and strong demand for its front-end modules. Skyworks said its technology is at the heart of several of LG’s recently introduced models including the LG-KF700, LG-KF600, LG-KF610 and LG-KF510. The LG-KF700 is supported by the Skyworks’ SKY77329 power amplifier (PA). The award-winning slider mobile phone, the LG-KF600, is powered by the SKY77340 PA. Additionally, the LG-KT610 candy bar mobile phone is equipped with Skyworks’ SKY77519 front-end module.

“Skyworks is delighted to be supporting LG Electronics with our family of front-end solutions as they increasingly launch ultra-slim, feature-rich and easy-to-use mobile handsets,” said Liam K. Griffin, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Skyworks. “...We expect LG to be a catalyst for accelerating growth for Skyworks throughout 2008. Further, we believe our highly integrated GSM and EDGE front-end modules complemented by our WCDMA solutions are well aligned to meet LG’s increasing 3G needs.” Griffin added, “As the market transitions to multi-mode and multi-band 3G implementations, Skyworks is well positioned to lead in both performance and integration.” Company News Release

Former Professor's Patent Infringement Complaint Seeks Ban on Blu-ray and Blue LED Product Importation
Scott McMahan

February 21, 2008...A former Columbia University professor with a 50-year engineering career, Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, has accused 34 companies including Sony, Motorola, and Samsung of infringing her patents for LEDs and laser diodes. On February 20, 2008 she filed the complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington.

In filing the complaint, Rothschild is hoping to block U.S. imports of widely available products that she says infringe the patent, including video players using Sony's Blu-ray format, Motorola's Razr mobile phones and Hitachi camcorders.

Albert Jacobs of Dreier LLP in New York told Bloomberg in a recent article that Rothschild made a “seminal breakthrough” that goes into blue and ultraviolet (short wavelength) LEDs, which use less electricity than red LEDs. They are used for handset backlighting, computers, traffic lights and instrument panels. He also alleges that the fundamental technology of her patent goes into short wavelength laser diodes such as those in Blu-ray disc readers and recorders.

"We are bringing this action for her to gain scientific recognition for her achievements and for her to gain commercial recognition for her invention," Jacobs said in a telephone interview.

He indicated that in previous patent complaints filed elsewhere, some big LED makers including Toyoda Gossei, Osram Opto Semiconductors, and Nichia have already settled with Rothschild over alleged infringement of the same patents. (Ref: Coverage) Lawsuits against Cree, and Philips Lumileds are still pending, Jacobs said. Content continues for LIGHTimes SecondPage members...

Toshiba Discontinues HD DVD; Concedes Blu-ray Victory in Format War
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 20, 2008...The DVD format war appears to be over. Toshiba has decided to discontinue HD DVD players and discs. The format from Sony, Blu-ray, will be the next generation of optical storage. Toshiba says it will no longer develop, manufacture, and market HD DVD players and recorders. Toshiba says it made this decision following recent major changes in the market. It notes that despite no longer offering HD DVD players and recorders, the company will continue to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products. Toshiba insists that it is still committed to standard DVD format, and the company will continue to market conventional DVD players and recorders. Toshiba says it also intends to continue to contribute to the development of the DVD industry, as a member of the DVD Forum, an international organization with some 200 member companies, committed to the discussion and defining of optimum optical disc formats for the consumer and the related industries.

Toshiba says it will maintain collaborative relations with the companies who joined with Toshiba in working to build up the HD DVD market, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation and major Japanese and European content providers on the entertainment side, as well as leaders in the IT industry, including Microsoft, Intel, and HP. Toshiba concluded its new release saying that it will study possible collaboration with these companies for future business opportunities, utilizing the many assets generated through the development of HD DVD. Company News Release

Aixtron to Supply MOCVD System for Development of III-V Solar Cells in Korea
CompoundSemi News Staff

February 20, 2008...Aixtron AG, announced that the Korea Advanced Nano Fab Center (KANC), a non-profit organization supported by Korea’s Ministry of Science, ordered an Aixtron Planetary Reactor system for solar cells. KANC ordered the AIX 2600G3 in the 12x4-inch configuration with the ‘Integrated Concept’ (IC) design. Aixtron says it will be delivered in the first half of 2008. KANC says it will use the system to develop III-V solar cells for terrestrial applications, (specifically concentrator cells). The system will be installed at KANC’s 3,500 sq m ‘FAB Building’ facility located in the Gwanggyo Techno Valley near Seoul.

Aixtron indicated that its AIX 2600G3 IC is a well established and proven system for mass producing single, dual, and triple junction Solar Cells, grown on both GaAs and Ge substrates. Aixtron notes that it is establishing a cooperative program with KANC to support of the young III-V photovoltaic industry in Korea. Aixtron says it not only is the first to deliver a GaAs MOCVD system for solar cells to Taiwan’s Win Semiconductor, it is now also the first supplier of an MOCVD tool to Korea dedicated to the development of III-V based solar cells. Company News Release

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