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22 April 2024

US DOD awards 5N Plus $14.4m to enhance space-qualified germanium substrate supply

The US Department of Defense has awarded $14.4m via the Defense Production Act Investment (DPAI) Program to specialty semiconductor and performance materials producer 5N Plus Inc of Montreal, Qu├ębec, Canada to sustain and expand the capability to produce space-qualified germanium substrates used in solar cells for both commercial and national security defense satellites. The effort supports the 2024 National Defense Industrial Strategy to continue and expand support for domestic production within the resilient supply chains strategic priority area.

“This effort will feed supply chains that support the space power ecosystem while also helping ensure the long-term business viability of the US defense industrial base for space-qualified germanium wafers,” says Dr Laura Taylor-Kale, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy (ASD(IBP)).

Based on meeting certain conditions, over the next four years, the award will enable 5N+ to upgrade and expand manufacturing capabilities at its facility in St. George, Utah, while minimizing production variability. Additionally, the initiative will address process integration with solar cell producers’ evolving germanium substrate requirements. The effort also includes improvements in germanium sourcing, recovery, and refining. Finally, it supports product diversification to ensure long-term merchant supplier business viability.

This is the latest of 13 awards made by the DPAI program across multiple areas totaling $322m since the beginning of fiscal year 2024. DPAI is overseen by the ASD(IBP)’s Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP) Program, in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Resilience.

Tags: 5N Plus

Visit: www.5nplus.com

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