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13 December 2007


Bandwidth renamed Spire Semiconductor

Bandwidth Semiconductor LLC of Hudson, NH, USA is to be renamed Spire Semiconductor from 1 January to better align it with the overall focus of its parent company Spire Corp of Bedford, MA, USA on providing photovoltaic module manufacturing equipment and turnkey solar factories. Bandwidth currently provides Spire with crystalline silicon solar-cell process technology and has recently re-entered the fast-growing, gallium arsenide concentrator solar cell market.

“GaAs solar cell activities are growing at Spire Semiconductor and are supplementing revenue growth from its portfolio of defense, biomedical and consumer products,” says Spire’s chairman and CEO Roger G. Little. "This operation has held a pioneering position in the field, and in the future we intend to place even more emphasis on the [terrestrial] solar concentrator cell market. As Spire Semiconductor, this operation will be better integrated with Spire Corp,” he adds.

Bandwidth Semiconductor’s general manager Edward D. Gagnon adds that the subsidiary should be able to capitalize on the growing market opportunity for custom GaAs-based solar cells and thermophotovoltaic power cells, while continuing to support its growing number of foundry customers with compound semiconductor epitaxial wafers and device processing services.

Bandwidth Semiconductor was formed in 1999 when Spire sold its optoelectronics division to Methode Electronics. Methode Electronics then included Bandwidth in its Stratos Lightwave spin off in 2000. Proceeds from the offering were used in part to relocate the operation, build extensive cleanrooms and add new fabrication equipment. In 2003, Spire reacquired Bandwidth from Stratos Lightwave when the firm’s focus shifted from telecoms.

Spire’s original optoelectronics division was an early pioneer in using GaAs for both concentrator solar arrays and space system solar cells. The firm developed and fabricated GaAs solar cells with record levels of efficiency as early as 1985.

During its transitional periods, Bandwidth Semiconductor retained its solar cell intellectual property portfolio. It has recently been awarded research contracts from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy and the Air Force to develop GaAs cells for both terrestrial and outer-space applications. Due to its expanded manufacturing facilities and the growing market interest in terrestrial concentrator systems, Bandwidth is now offering its custom solar-cell solutions to solar system integrators worldwide.

See related items:

Spire receives Army STTR contract to develop room-temperature terahertz light source

Spire receives $1m SBIR contract for high-power red diode lasers

Search: Spire GaAs Solar cells