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5 December 2016

EPSRC awards £10m to create UK compound semiconductor manufacturing hub

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded £10m in funding that aims to will bring together UK academics and industry expertise in a compound semiconductor (CS) hub.

The EPSRC Manufacturing Hub in Future Compound Semiconductors will work closely with the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) a joint venture formed in August 2015 between epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK and Cardiff University.

The Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub (EP/P006973/1) will be led by Cardiff University, together with three other key academic partners: UCL (University College London), the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield. A further 26 initial companies and organizations allied to the Hub will help Cardiff and Wales capitalize on the £50m CS Applications Catapult announced by Innovate UK in January.

The Hub's industrial partners are: IQE, CSC, CST, Microsemi, Renishaw, Silverwing, TWI, Land Instruments, Amethyst, Selex, Macom, Diamond Microwave Devices, Linwave, Seren Photonics Ltd, Zeta Specialist Lighting, Lux-TSI, NPL, Lockheed Martin, Toshiba Research Cambridge, Teratech, Huawei Technologies Dusseldorf GmbH, CIP, Oclaro, Bristol University, Philips, and Umicore. Total contribution from all project partners: is £11.23m.

"The Hub will provide Europe-leading facilities that will translate research into large-scale compound semiconductor growth and device fabrication," says professor Peter Smowton, the Hub's director. The central focus of the new venture will be the application of compound semiconductor expertise to silicon manufacturing techniques, yielding integrated compound semiconductors on silicon. "Many advances in our daily lives depend upon compound semiconductor technology," continues Smowton. "The new Hub will allow Cardiff and its partner Universities and companies to continue to develop technology that enables emerging trends, such as self-drive vehicles and 5G communications," he adds.

"We are committed to making strategic interventions to support industrial sectors where Wales already has internationally recognized academic and industrial expertise, where we have businesses capable of exploiting this knowledge and where there is a significant global market potential," says the Welsh Government's Minister for Skills and Science Julie James. "The Hub will shine a global spotlight on Wales and is an exemplar of how the Welsh Government's Smart approach to innovation will benefit the people and businesses of Wales," she adds.

"IQE produced compound semiconductor materials for 10 billion wireless chips last year, underpinning the worldwide mobile communications industry," notes IQE's CEO Drew Nelson. "The Hub will allow us to exploit the highly advantageous electronic, magnetic, optical and power-handling properties of compound semiconductors while utilizing the cost and scaling advantage of silicon technology where it fits best, and generate novel integrated functionality such as sensing, data processing and communications."

Another Hub project partner, the US-based optical components manufacturer Oclaro, saw 50% quarter-on-quarter growth in 100Gb/s transceiver products (developed and manufactured in the UK), supporting Internet communications.

The Hub's goal is to grow long-term future partnerships with UK and international companies and academics. "We are open to interactions with new partner companies and universities, and we can provide opportunities through feasibility project funding calls to kick-start future partnerships," says Smowton.

See related items:

Compound Semiconductor Centre appoints RF/Power program manager

Professor Colin Whitehouse appointed chair of Compound Semiconductor Centre

IQE and Cardiff University to help spearhead £50m UK Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult

CSC formally launched as first compound semiconductor cluster

CST's commercial director Wyn Meredith appointed director of IQE/Cardiff joint venture Compound Semiconductor Centre

IQE and Cardiff University establish JV to develop and commercialize compound semiconductor technologies in Europe

Tags: IQE

Visit: http://compoundsemiconductorcentre.com

Visit: www.iqep.com

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