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26 December 2006


Asahi Kasei starts up fab for Hall-effect devices 

Tokyo-based Asahi Kasei Electronics Co Ltd (AKE, which makes Hall elements, Hall ICs, and other magnetic sensors) has begun full commercial operation of a new wafer fabrication plant/laboratory in Fuji City, Shizuoka for producing MBE-grown gallium arsenide Hall-effect elements for use in cell phones, consumer electronics and automotive application.

Founded in 1980 as a subsidiary of Asahi Kasei Corp and now a subsidiary of its Electronic Materials and Devices business Asahi Kasei EMD Corp, AKE makes gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium arsenide (InAs), deep quantum well InAs, and indium antimonide (InSb) Hall elements. It claims a 70% share of the market for Hall elements, which are most commonly used to sense the rotation of electric motors, enabling precise monitoring and control of motor operation. In particular, AKE produces Hall ICs (which combine a Hall sensor with a signal processing IC in a single package), specialty Hall elements for precise sensing of position and angle, and other magnetic sensors.

The products will better enable AKE to meet emerging demand for precision parts in consumer electronics and in electronic components for automotive use, which require reliable tolerance to extreme temperature conditions. AKE claims that the performance of the plant’s Hall elements is far superior to that previously available, particularly in terms of temperature dependency and sensing precision.

As announced previously, the marketing, sales, research, and development functions of AKE will transfer to Asahi Kasei EMD in April. The new plant will form a base for developing and strengthening its compound semiconductor device business at Asahi Kasei EMD, the firm says.