IQE launches new silicon processes with support from Welsh Assembly Government

13 August 2008

IQE plc (AIM: IQE, “IQE” or the “Group”), the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and wafer services to the semiconductor industry, is pleased to announce that its Cardiff based silicon operation has successfully added two major new technologies to its portfolio of manufacturing processes.

The new processes were developed with funding assistance from the Welsh Assembly Government in line with their SMART development programmes.

The new process technologies are aimed at improving the speed and power consumption of silicon chips by using materials such as strained silicon for future generations of high speed applications including the RF wireless and broadband markets. The radiation-hard attributes of these advanced materials also lend themselves to a wide range of aerospace applications. Future developments could also see these products being used as advanced microcontrollers for a host of industrial, consumer and automotive devices.

Moz Fisher, Operations Manager of Cardiff based IQE Silicon said:

“One of these new processes has already been fully qualified with a key customer and will go into production immediately.

“The second process requires some significant product re-engineering by the customer which will extend the qualification period but is expected to be in volume production in the next two years.”

IQE’s silicon epitaxy operation was established in Cardiff, Wales in 2000 and provides its expertise and world leading technology to semiconductor chip manufacturers worldwide. The facility manufactures a wide range of silicon based products including buried layer epitaxy, strained silicon, silicon on SOI, multilayer and selective epitaxy as well as germanium and SiGe epitaxy.

The business supports the new era of “asset-lite” wafer-fabs by enabling customers to increase production capacity as required, allowing them to quickly respond to increased demand for their products by acting as an extension of their own in-house capabilities.


ITechnical: IQE Silicon (+44 29 2083 7500)
Moz Fisher
Ali Hoy

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


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, high efficiency LEDs and a variety of advanced silicon based systems.

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 six manufacturing facilities located in Cardiff (two) and Milton Keynes 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.