University of Manchester and INEX Implement Production Solution for InP High Speed Devices

Thu, 11th September 2008

University of Manchester and INEX Implement Production Solution for InP High Speed Devices

Monday 1st September 2008

 

Today signals the commencement of a collaboration between the Microelectronics and Nanostructures Group at The University of Manchester and the Compound Semiconductors Division at INEX. Together with Integrated Compound Semiconductors Ltd, a spin off from the University of Manchester, the collaborators will provide a UK development and production solution for InP high speed devices.

InP devices provide important discriminators in civilian applications such as point-to-point microwave links and communications, vehicular radar, in defence applications such as electronic warfare, missile seekers and radar, and specialist research applications such as radio astronomy.

The market for such devices is estimated by industry analysts to reach $30M by 2012. The market is driven by the steadily increasing demand for electronic devices exhibiting higher power, higher frequency of operation, better linearity and improved efficiency at acceptable price, commensurate with the huge demand for wireless communications.

The UK Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has in recent years provided substantial research funding to The University of Manchester for the development of InP low noise amplifiers and high speed analogue to digital converters for possible application in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) international radio telescope. With this funding, Manchester has demonstrated novel transistor devices in InP with applications beyond the SKA, namely in mobile communications and other civilian markets.

The objective of the collaboration between Manchester University and INEX is to develop a route for the commercial exploitation of this research. The work is supported by STFC Mini-PIPSS funding, a scheme supporting the transfer to exploitation of STFC developed technologies. 

Nigel Rix, Technology Business Manager at the Electronics Knowledge Transfer Network said: “This collaboration represents an excellent example of the commercial spin-off for UK plc which can arise from big-science projects funded by the UK’‘s Research Councils. This and other technologies which are being developed for the SKA have wide application in areas of industry in which the UK can establish or maintain a competitive international position.”

Mo Missous, Professor of Semiconductor Materials and Devices at The University of Manchester said: “This collaboration is a natural progression for our research group following establishment of ICS Ltd in 1998. We now have the supply chain components in place from design, research and development, and substrate supply through to production capability in volumes matched to the high-value markets for such specialist devices.”    

Ken Snowdon, Managing Director of INEX said: “INEX is delighted to be collaborating with The University of Manchester and ICS Ltd in the formation of a supply chain for InP high speed devices. This represents a further important milestone in the delivery of our mission as a national facility to support the growth of micro- and nano-technology enabled high technology industry in the UK.”

 Background:

The University of Manchester was formed in 2004 following the merger of the Victoria University of Manchester (established 1880) and the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (established 1824). It is now the largest single campus University in the UK. It was named University of the Year in 2006 in the Sunday Times University Guide.

The Microelectronics and Nanostructures Group at The University of Manchester led by Professor Mo Missous consists of 65 researchers engaged in advanced semiconductor research spanning electronics, photonics and magnetic materials.

Integrated Compound Semiconductors Ltd is an ISO9001:2000 certified spin-off company from the Microelectronics and Nanostructures Group and was established in 1998. It provides epitaxial GaAs and InP wafers to both industry and academic customers.

INEX at Newcastle University is an ISO9001:2000 certified contract manufacturer performing microsystems and specialist electronic device development and production for industry. It was established in 2002 and was the first of the UK Technology Strategy Board supported micro- and nano-technology facilities, charged with development of a strong micro- and nano-technology industry in the UK.

The Square Kilometre Array(SKA) is an international project to design and build the next generation of radio telescopes. It was originally conceived by a British Astronomer and is managed by an International Project Management Team based at The University of Manchester. With an equivalent collector area of a million square metres and generating the same amount of data as the whole of today’‘s internet this project will signpost the future direction for the phased arrays, digital communications and parallel processing solutions of tomorrow.

Knowledge Transfer Networks are independent not for profit organisations supported by the Technology Strategy Board, designed to promote specific market sectors or technologies. The Electronics KTN unites UK’‘s capabilities across the electronics value chain, from research through to design and product development, and including sales and operations.