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News  Review IQE experience year on year growth


IQE, a global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and services to the semiconductor industry, provides a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2011.


Full year revenues should rise by £2 million from 2010 to £75 million in 2011. EBITDA is also expected to increase and not be less than £13.7 million. Net debt is expected to be less than £4 million.


Sales grew rapidly in the first half, driven by strong double-digit growth in the Group’s wireless and optoelectronics divisions.


Growth in wireless sales reflected the increasing adoption and sophistication of portable devices such as smartphones and tablets using GaAs technology. Also, increasing adoption of advanced GaN technology in high power wireless applications such as radar and infrastructure made an impact.


Growth in optoelectronic sales was driven by a wide variety of applications including


customers across the entire supply chain went some way toward offsetting the impact of the market share shifts. As further qualifications complete the future impact of market share shifts will continue to diminish.


consumer, industrial and advanced high efficiency solar power applications.


As announced in October, second half sales were adversely affected by inventory corrections in the supply chain related to market share swings amongst a couple of IQE’s key customers. These inventory corrections have unwound as expected, and should be fully resolved by the end of the first quarter of 2012.


The Group’s long standing strategy to qualify multiple products with multiple


The firm says new product qualifications have progressed well, with significant milestones now achieved. IQE has successfully qualified its leading edge BiHEMT product with one of the top three Japanese mobile chip manufacturers, which has recently announced a major expansion programme in the smartphone market. Sales under this qualification have started to ramp, and this customer is expected to move into IQE’s “top 10” during the second half.


IQE is also in the final stages of qualification of BiHEMT products with two of the leading wireless chip manufacturers globally and expects to ramp into production during the second quarter. In addition, the Group is qualifying a number of next-generation wireless products with a significant number of customers.


TriQuint advances into next generation GaN products


TRIQUINT SEMICONDUCTOR has begun work on Phase II of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) multi- year Nitride Electronic NeXt-Generation Technology (NEXT) program as a prime contractor. To date, TriQuint has received $12.67m in support of the NEXT contract.


NEXT was created by DARPA to research and develop devices suitable for complex, high dynamic range mixed-signal circuits for future defence and aerospace applications. Phase II of the NEXT program is contracted to last 18 months.


TriQuint is already exploring and bringing to market derivative devices made possible by breakthroughs demonstrated in NEXT Phase I. “NEXT devices provide game-changing technology for substantially improving performance in applications like phased array radar and communications,” said TriQuint Vice President and General Manager for Defence Products and Foundry Services, James L. Klein. “The devices developed under ‘NEXT’ open-up applications for


lower voltage GaN-based products, which achieve power densities at least four times higher than GaAs devices. The opportunities are exciting.”


TriQuint Senior Fellow Paul Saunier leads the NEXT program as principal investigator. Saunier and his team reported state-of-the-art results at the 2011 GOMACTech conference in Orlando, Florida. The team achieved an Ft > 240 GHz in a GaN circuit.


DARPA’s NEXT Phase I concentrated on fabricating very high frequency devices and meeting defined yield metrics. Phase II will concentrate on process development in the pursuit of increased yields while pushing the operating frequency to 400 GHz. Phase III will seek to extend the operating frequency to 500 GHz with still higher yields and reduced circuit size. NEXT research also focuses on highly- scaled enhancement-depletion (E/D) mode GaN mixed-signal devices, similar to those used in GaAs E/D MMICs. TriQuint creates the latter, with integrated digital control


functionality and power handling for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Beyond the NEXT activity, TriQuint is working on innovative enhancement mode power switching devices needed for ultra- high efficiency DC-DC converters integrated with RF amplifiers for radar, communications and EW systems. The technology is enabling greater sensitivity, while reducing prime power and cost.


TriQuint has been engaged in GaN research and development for the defence and commercial markets since 1999 and has concentrated on performance and reliability. University partnersinclude Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Notre Dame.


The firm was awarded the 2011 ‘Compound Semiconductor’ CS Industry Award for the DARPA ‘NEXT’ program. The firm is also working on the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) & DARPA E- mode GaN program to develop integrated variable drain voltage supplies for power amplifiers.


January/February 2012 www.compoundsemiconductor.net 13


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