IQE announces new 6” wafer capability for CPV solar applications
11 May 2010
Cardiff, UK. 12 May 2010: IQE plc (AIM: IQE, “IQE” or the “Group”), the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor epitaxial wafer products and wafer services to the semiconductor industry, has developed epitaxial processes for producing high efficiency, triple junction concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar cells with comparable results on both 6 inch diameter germanium (Ge) and gallium arsenide (GaAs) substrates.
IQE has been supplying the global chip industry as a pure-play contract manufacturer for more than two decades and is established as a leading player in GaAs based epiwafer products for wireless applications including RF components for mobile phone handsets. The Group, which has manufacturing sites across Europe, Asia, and the USA has been working with a number of key partners during the last two years to develop advanced, multi-junction solar technologies for the provision of large scale renewable energy.
Increased wafer sizes are an essential step in ensuring the provision of high quality and highly efficient solar power generation at lowest possible cost. Current CPV technology is based on 4” diameter wafers but IQE’s new capability has demonstrated unsurpassed performance and excellent uniformity across 6” (150mm) diameter wafers. Peak multi-sun device performance is the same for both types of substrate and approaches the best previously achieved on 4” substrates using the same process.
Dr. Drew Nelson, Group CEO and President said:
“Delivering 6” diameter wafers for CPV applications is an important milestone for IQE and our experience as the world leading outsource manufacturer of GaAs based wafers has enabled us to develop the capability to produce multi-junction solar cells on both GaAs and Ge substrates with comparable results, fully scalable from our well-established 4” process in terms of performance, uniformity, and yield.
“Our 6” CPV wafer products have generated a great deal of interest at both the cell supplier and systems-supplier level, and have demonstrated excellent performance and uniformities on which we will continue to build”
IQE plc (+44 29 2083 9400) Press/Investors: Chris Meadows (+44 29 2083 9400) Technical (UK): Andrew Johnson (+44 29 2083 9400) Technical (USA): Walter Wohlmuth (+1 484 695 9466
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 comprises seven operating 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.