IQE awarded contract with TriQuint Semiconductor to develop radically enhanced GaN products for US government NeXT defence and aerospace programme

30 October 2009

IQE plc (AIM: IQE, “the Group”) the leading manufacturer of advanced semiconductor wafers to the global semiconductor industry, announces that it has been contracted by a leading US RF products and foundry service provider TriQuint Semiconductor (Nasdaq: TQNT) to provide its Gallium Nitride (GaN) wafer products for the creation of complex, high dynamic range circuits for future defence and aerospace applications.

IQE's New Jersey operation sub-contract Gallium Nitride (GaN) wafer products to TriQuint as part of an $16.2 million Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) multi-year Gallium Nitride (GaN) R&D contract. The programme aims to advance GaN research and develop new generations of compound semiconductor circuits through the Nitride Electronic NeXt-Generation Technology (NEXT) program.

"GaN is already recognized for its ability to handle more power per square millimeter than other semiconductor technologies like gallium arsenide, and much more so than silicon. Yet even with the advances TriQuint has pioneered, today’s analogue GaN technology has frequency and power limits.

“NEXT circuits will be `game-changing` technology that could radically improve performance in defence and aerospace applications like phased array radar and communications. NEXT calls for complex digital GaN circuits that also have very high breakdown voltages-something that silicon can’t do, and that is also beyond the scope of today’s other semiconductor processes," said TriQuint's Principal Investigator, Senior Fellow Dr. Paul Saunier.

Alex Ceruzzi, VP and General Manager of IQE’s New Jersey facility commented:

“IQE and TriQuint have enjoyed a close relationship over many years and our role in this programme clearly demonstrates IQE’s ability to provide world class materials across a broad RF product portfolio.

“The four and half  year NEXT programme lead by TriQuint will utilise IQE’s GaN wafer product expertise with the ultimate aim of developing and producing advanced semiconductor chips with operating frequencies up to 500GHz.”

IQE’s New Jersey facility is the leading GaN HEMT epi foundry, and provides a complete portfolio of RF products, ranging from high volume HEMTs, HBTs and BiFETs to advanced GaN based products. The Group’s Gallium Nitride production capability was recently increased through the acquisition of UK-based NanoGan Limited announced earlier in October 2009.

(see also http://www.triquint.com/contacts/press/dspPressRelease.cfm?pressid=422).

 

Contacts:

Sales/Technical: IQE RF (+1 732 271 5990) Ivan Eliashevich

Shiping Guo

Press: IQE plc (+44 29 2083 9400) Chris Meadows

 

Notes to Editors

FACTS ABOUT IQE

IQE is the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafers with products that cover a diverse range of applications, supported by an innovative outsourced foundry services portfolio that allows the Group to provide a 'one stop shop' for the wafer needs of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers.

IQE uses advanced crystal growth technology (epitaxy) to manufacture and supply bespoke semiconductor wafers ('epi-wafers') to the major chip manufacturing companies, who then use these wafers to make the chips which form the key components of virtually all high technology systems. IQE is unique in being able to supply wafers using all of the leading crystal growth technology platforms.

IQE's products are found in many leading-edge consumer, communication, computing and industrial applications, including a complete range of wafer products for the wireless industry, such as mobile handsets and wireless infrastructure, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, base stations, GPS, and satellite communications; optical communications, optical storage (CD, DVD), laser optical mouse, laser printers & photocopiers, thermal imagers, leading-edge medical products, barcode, ultra high brightness LEDs, a variety of advanced silicon based systems and high efficiency concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar cells.

The manufacturers of these chips are increasingly seeking to outsource wafer production to specialist foundries such as IQE in order to reduce overall wafer costs and accelerate time to market.

IQE also provides bespoke R&D services to deliver customised materials for specific applications and offers specialist technical staff to manufacture to specification either at its own facilities or on the customer's own sites. The Group is also able to leverage its global purchasing volumes to reduce the cost of raw materials. In this way IQE's outsourced services, provide compelling benefits in terms of flexibility and predictability of cost, thereby significantly reducing operating risk.

IQE operates seven facilities located in Cardiff (two), Milton Keynes and Bath in the UK; in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Somerset, New Jersey in the USA; and Singapore. The Group also has 11 sales offices located in major economic centres worldwide.

 

FACTS ABOUT TRIQUINT

Founded in 1985, we “Connect the Digital World to the Global Network”® by supplying high-performance RF modules, components and foundry services to the world's leading communications companies. Specifically, TriQuint is a supplier in the top five mobile phone manufacturers’ products, and is a leading gallium arsenide (GaAs) supplier to major defense and space contractors. TriQuint creates standard and custom products using advanced processes that include gallium arsenide, gallium nitride (GaN), surface acoustic wave (SAW) and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) technologies to serve diverse markets including wireless handsets, laptops, GPS/PND, base stations, broadband communications and military. TriQuint is also the lead researcher in a multi-year DARPA program to develop advanced GaN amplifiers. TriQuint, as named by Strategy Analytics1, is the number-three worldwide leader in GaAs devices and the world’s largest commercial GaAs foundry. TriQuint has ISO9001 certified manufacturing facilities in Oregon, Texas, and Florida and a production plant in Costa Rica; design centers are located in North America and Germany. Visit TriQuint at www.triquint.com/rf to receive new product information and to register for our newsletters.

1 Announced February 2009 and May 2009, respectively.