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Commentary: IEDM Celebrates 50th Anniversary This Week
 
... IEDM (International Electron Device Meeting) gets underway in San Francisco, California USA, celebrating this incredible IEEE meeting's 50th year. Topics high on the program this year are nanoelectronics, quantum electronics and compound semi optical devices, HBTs and HEMTs. Of special note is the Tuesday luncheon speaker, Dr. Richard E....
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II-VI Acquires Marlow Industries for $31 Million
CompoundSemi News Staff

December 13, 2004...II-VI of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania USA noted for its optical and optoelectronic components, devices and materials for infrared, near-infrared, visible light, x-ray and gamma-ray instrumentation and noted especially in our community as the company that ended up with the famed Northrop Grumman SiC process, has added to its diversified portfolio by acquiring all the equity interests of Marlow Industries, Inc. for cash in a transaction valued at approximately $31 million.

Marlow is an established Dallas, Texas based company that was founded in 1973 and designs and manufactures thermoelectric solutions for both cooling and power generation based on compound semi materials. Marlow's products are sold in a variety of markets, including defense, space, photonics, telecommunications, medical, consumer and industrial markets. It was one of the first American companies to adopt Total Quality Management and was a 1991 winner of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award. Marlow racked up revenues for the last twelve months of approximately $26 million.

II-VI is expecting an immediate positive contribution to revenues and earnings with this acquisition and intends to make Marlow an operating unit within II-VI's Compound Semiconductor Group (CSG) segment, reporting to Vincent D. (Chuck) Mattera, Jr., VP and GM of CSG. "Because of synergies in technology and markets, II-VI acquires a new capability and Marlow Industries gains access to a broader set of resources and customers around the world," said Raymond Marlow, Founder and Chairman of Marlow Industries, Inc. "Our combined company will offer one of the broadest product arrays to space, defense, medical, industrial and telecommunication markets," said Francis J Kramer, II-VI Incorporated's President and CEO. Company news release

Disney Joins the Blu-ray Disc Camp

December 13, 2004...As a follow-up to our Nov. 29th coverage on major Hollywood studios jumping on the blue laser DVD format bandwagon, Disney Studios has jumped on the Blu-ray Disc bandwagon, joining Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. which was the first to align with the Sony/Matsushita Blu-ray camp. In late November the news was that the HD-DVD camp, led by Toshiba and NEC scored support from two Time Warner groups: Warner Brothers which includes New Line Cinema and HBO, plus Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures. According to an MSNBC report, Disney studios also said Monday it will become a member of the board of the Blu-ray Disc Association.

All the Hollywood studios involved appear to be heading for release of films in the new format in time for the 2005 winter holiday season next year. One other major studio, 20th Century Fox, has yet to declare which side they're on. Disney President, Robert Iger, expressed hop that one of the two competing formats would emerge as a leader, eliminating the need to offer movies in two formats and potentially confusing consumers. According to the MSNBC report, he followed that statement by saying that "It doesn’t seem likely,” however. No matter which side "wins" our industry's blue laser diodes are at the heart of both formats, so the compound semi people making blue LDs remain in their win-win situation.

Bookham Cuts Deeper

December 13, 2004...Evidently the optical communications sector of the compounds isn't quite through trimming back. Bookham, Inc., with its official news now coming out of its San Jose, California USA facility, has announced a new restructure plan aimed at cutting an additional $6 million to $8 million per quarter in overhead. This is in addition to the ongoing cost reductions of $10 million to $12 million per quarter announced in May 2004. Bookham anticipates the combined plans to be completed before the end of 2005 and those plans include more workforce reductions, the "closure of certain facilities" including Bookham's former headquarters in Abingdon, England, and "the consolidation of certain development and manufacturing programs" although which "certain" facilities weren't detailed. At last count, Bookham employed 2000 people worldwide and their businesses included the acquired the optical components businesses from Nortel Networks and Marconi, as well as Ignis Optics, Inc., the business of Cierra Photonics Inc., New Focus, Inc., and Onetta, Inc. Bookham still has manufacturing facilities in the UK, US, Canada, China and Switzerland; and offices in the US, UK, France, Italy, and China; and employs approximately 2000 people worldwide. Company news release

MII Appoints David Gino as CFO
Jo Ann McDonald, Editor

December 13, 2004...Molecular Imprints, Inc. (MII) of Austin, Texas USA which is making rather astonishing inroads in Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL) technology, has brought on board Mr. David Gino as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Gino was Senior VP and CFO of DuPont Photomasks taking the company public on the Nasdaq (DPMI)... which just might be a clue as to where MII is headed in the near future. After DuPont, Mr. Gino served as COO and CFO of Active Power taking that company public as well (Nasdaq: ACPW ). David Gino will begin his duties at MII at the end of January 2005. Norm Schumaker, MII’s President and CEO (and the original founder of Emcore) remarked, “We are very happy to have attracted a person of David’s caliber to join our management team. David’s experience in managing finance in public companies will help us as we grow larger; in addition, his experience as CFO at DuPont Photomasks is important to us as we are part of the lithography community.” David Gino added, “I’m extremely excited about joining the Molecular Imprints team, and helping the company to capitalize on its enormous potential” to which we add... that the "enormous potential" might just turn out to be yet another IPO for what looks to be a new Schumaker/Gino dynamic duo. Company news release

IQE's Strained Silicon Breakthrough is UltraSmooth

December 13, 2004...IQE plc in the UK has announced a breakthrough in strained silicon technology that promises more rapid deployment within the Silicon Industry. IQE is calling the resulting line "UltraSmooth Strained Silicon" and Initial device results using the process have demonstrated a significant enhancement in speed for both nMOS and pMOS devices at sub 100nm technology nodes. According to IQE, the results indicate that the smoother surfaces provided by their UltraSmooth process lead directly to better pMOS performance. IQE’s pending patented approach concentrates on a simple, cost effective, single-stage epitaxial process to produce very low dislocation levels with and the UltraSmooth relates to the resulting silicon surface finish, with both p-type and n-type devices being achieved for strained silicon with buffer layers of germanium concentrations as low as 17%. According to Drew Nelson, IQE’s CEO, “We are very encouraged by these excellent initial device results from one of our key development partners, who is a well recognized leading global IC manufacturer. The results are beyond our initial expectations in terms of significant improvements in performance for both nMOS and pMOS mobility, a key development in this exciting new technology. We will continue to work closely with our key partners worldwide to bring this technology to market at the earliest possible opportunity, and the results obtained here represent a key milestone in achieving that goal.” Company news release

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Commentary & Perspective...

IEDM Celebrates 50th Anniversary This Week

December 13, 2004...IEDM (International Electron Device Meeting) gets underway in San Francisco, California USA, celebrating this incredible IEEE meeting's 50th year. Topics high on the program this year are nanoelectronics, quantum electronics and compound semi optical devices, HBTs and HEMTs. Of special note is the Tuesday luncheon speaker, Dr. Richard E. Smalley, Rice University professor and Nobel laureate.

Smalley made the initial breakthoughs in nanotech with his outstanding work on Buckministerfullerines (buckyballs) and will be speaking on "Our Energy Challenge", discussing the formidable task of supplying sufficient, sustainable, clean power to all of the world's people in the 21st century. An online video version of Smalley's talk is available on his Texas-based Rice University website.

Those of you into nanotech... which vied for top "hot topic" honors with Solid State Lighting (SSL) at this year's Outlook conference in Dallas last week, may want to bone up on what this true guru of nanotech has to say about energy efficiency and the role advanced technologies have to play in bringing about more and better ways of achieving such efficiencies.

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