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Commentary: Compound Semi Roadmap Upgraded
 
... Updates have just come in from Mike Tinston who manages the website for the National Compound Semiconductor Roadmap (the NCSR website is quite international, actually... but who's noticing)that should be of interest to all compound semi developers, especially those working on truly leading edge materials and device research. First...
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Conexant and Alpha Get SEC Nod to Merge

May 14, 2002...The USA Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which has the say in mergers of that country's publicly held companies, has declared what's called an "Effective Registration Statement" relating to the proposed merger of Alpha Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq: AHAA) and Connexant Systems (Nasdaq: CNXT) Wireless Communications Business. The declaration was effective as of May 10th. For those counting how long it takes for such mergers to go through, the original merger was proposed by the two companies on December 17, 2001. As a result of the SEC declaration, Alpha stockholders of record at the close of business on April 22, 2002 are entitled to receive notice of and to vote at the special meeting, in person or by proxy. In addition, Alpha and Conexant announced that they are mailing to their respective stockholders a proxy statement/prospectus-information statement with respect to the merger and the immediately preceding spin-off of Conexant's wireless communications business. Alpha and Conexant currently anticipate that the merger will be completed in the current quarter ending June 30, 2002. One more key step is required, however. In addition to approval by Alpha stockholders, the merger is subject to receipt of a ruling by the IRS that "the spin-off of Conexant's wireless communications business immediately prior to the merger will be tax-free to Conexant stockholders and satisfaction of all other closing conditions." Press release. In addition to the merger nod, Conexant separately announced that it has begun production shipments of their InGaP-based 4mm x 4mm CDMA power amps for use in two new handsets manufactured by Samsung Electronics. One of these new handsets is targeted at the advanced Korean CDMA market and will feature a color display and CDMA2000 capabilities (which means the ability to download high quality music and streaming A/V). The other model will operate on China United Communications Corporation's (China Unicom) recently launched nationwide CDMA cellular network, which is expected to support approximately 50 million subscribers by 2005.

China's CES Plans High Tech Beefup in Beijing

May 14, 2002...According to Xinhua News Agency, the Tongzhou District in Beijing is being earmarked as China's version of the USA's "Silicon Valley" in California, "Gallium Gardens" in New Jersey or Scotland's "Silicon Glen." The undertaking is spearheaded by the Beijing Municipal People's Government and China Electronic Science (Group) Company (CES), which will l jointly build the Beijing Information Industry High-Tech Park. The effort is part of the Olympic and Digital Beijing Project, geared to promote the burgeoning information industry development in Beijing. CES is a core enterprise in China's information industry, which is comprised of 50 electronic science research institutes. The Xinhua report also notes that the city of Beijing is undertaking the venture in cooperation with various central government ministries, scientific institutes, research institutes and major Chinese universities including the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qinghua University and Beijing University. It noted also that Beijing reported over RMB119.3 billion (US$14.37 billion) of high-tech production in 2001, which represented 52% of Beijing's total industrial production value for the same year. Xinhua story

Agility Establishes Next Gen Tunable Laser Facility in San Jose

May 14, 2002...On the other side of the Pacific Rim, Agility Communications, which is headquartered in South/Central California USA, is expanding Northward into Silicon Valley. Agility Communications, considered specialists in compound semi based tunable lasers, has established a new R&D facility in San Jose. As part of its expansion, Agility has acquired additional talent with notable experience in RF and digital electronics, firmware and optical system design in the form of Rang-Chen Yu, former director of optical engineering with Cinta Networks, who will run the new Northern California facility. Dr. Yu also served with Bandwidth9 and SDL, both considered major players in compound semi-based solid state lasers, and personally holds five US patents for high-speed laser and tunable laser inventions. The expansion by Agility appears especially timely as so many high tech workers necessarily look for new employ due to massive layoffs in the silicon industry. This new facility and team, in conjunction with the existing Agility team is tasked with developing the next generation of tunable subsystem solutions. According to Ron Nelson, Agility's President and CEO, “Many of our customers are based in this region, and it’s important to work closely with them on new product development. We’re thrilled to have acquired such a strong technical team, led by Rang-Chen, who is well respected in the industry. With our corporate headquarters in Santa Barbara; manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania; sales and support facilities in Manchester, England; distribution partners in Japan; and now our San Jose facility, we further solidify our position in the market." The new San Jose lab will be housed at 2033 Gateway Place. Agility, which is backed by investors which include Alliance, Amerindo Investment Advisors, CIENA Corp., Comdisco Ventures, Dell Ventures, General Bank, GM Investment Management Corp., Global Strategic, Granite Global Ventures, Meritech Capital Partners, Mitsubishi International Corp., Morgenthaler Ventures, Mustang Ventures, Nissho Electronics Corp., Nissho Iwai American Corp., Tellabs, U.S. Venture Partners, and Worldview Technology Partners, can be contacted by email or via tel at 805-690-1700. Press release

Another Victory for GaN Blue Lasers

May 14, 2002...Yet another group has achieved the milestone of producing electrically pumped blue laser activity from GaN. This one was scored by the University of Bremen in Europe. The team at the heart of the effort was that of Professor Detlef Hommel at Bremen's Institut fuer Festkoerperphysik (Institute for Solid State Physics) and the achievement, according to an equipment supplier to the effort, Thomas Swan Scientific Equipment Ltd. (TSSEL) which provided the MOCVD platform, the achievement is one of the first university research groups to successfully lase their GaN. Professor Hommel was quoted as saying, "we are very proud to have succeeded in accomplishing an electrically pumped GaN based laser. This represents a major milestone in European research into blue emitting Laser diodes taking strong international competition into account." The University of Bremen has a strong history of working the blue spectrum challenges in a variety of compound semi materials types. They began their blue spectrum work initially with ZnSe and in the summer of 2001 they succeeded in obtaining the first CdSe quantum dot green laser. Their recent success in producing a GaN blue laser was done in collaboration with Professor Marc Illegem's group of the 'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)', in Switzerland. Press release

Blue Sky Helps Get the Blue Laser Light Out

May 14, 2002...Producing blue light from blue spectrum LEDs and lasers is evidently only part of the challenge. What the technical community refers to as "getting the light out" is a significant part of feat. Blue Sky Research (BSR), which is based in Milpitas, California USA, is helping blue spectrum players optimize their components by adapting their patented "µLens" technology to improving the performance and reducing the complexity of blue laser systems. BSR explains that, to date, it has been difficult to capture all the light power of blue lasers using standard optics because the elliptical blue laser beam must be circularized and focused into collimated beams or spots, as well as for efficient fiber optic coupling. The company today announced that, through special arrangements with its customers, that they will integrate its µLens with blue laser diodes in the following manner: Mounted directly in front of the diode's emitting edge, the µLens captures nearly 100% of the diode's power, circularizing the beam and correcting any aberrations, all in a single step. Blue Sky Research will be demonstrating their µLens-coupled blue lasers at Booth 562 at the 22nd annual Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO 2002), slated to be held next week, May 19-24, at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California. Press release

LG Electronics Selects Anadigics as InGaP HBT Supplier

May 14, 2002...Anadigics of Warren, New Jersey USA has gotten the nod from LG Electronics of Korea to supply LG with high volumes of InGaP HBT power amplifiers for use in their forthcoming 2.5G CDMA handsets. The new LG sets combine high call quality with two-way real time multimedia service, and support high-speed data communication. According to Jong Eun (James) Kim, President and CEO of LG Electronics who underscored, "LG was among the first to implement the CDMA2000 1X services and to commercialize the world's first digital handsets. We continue to grow our share of the CDMA market through the introduction of innovative and convenient digital handsets that offer extended talk time, expanded memory and wider LCD screens." Anadigics' InGaP HBT CDMA power amp modules are housed in a 6mm x 6mm x 1.6mm package and are designed to support PCS CDMA, CDMA-1X, and cellular applications. Press release

Maskless Smarts Bolster Photolithography

May 14, 2002...A St. Petersberg, Florida company called Intelligent Micro Patterning LLC has announced the sale of its flagship product, the SF-100, to the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). In so doing, Micro Patterning underscores the adoption of a unique maskless photolithography system that utilizes what they call Smart Filter technology, which they license from the University of South Florida in the USA. According to Micro Patterning, Smart Filter technology incorporates advanced micro-optical techniques to project master images directly onto substrate materials, without the use of photomasks. Smart Filter technology has been used for fabricating devices in areas such as advanced packaging, optoelectronics, fiber optic communications and DWDM systems, multichip modules, and other MEMS areas. According to Dr. Nick Goddard, of UMIST’s Department of Instrumentation and Analytical Science (DIAS), “The maskless photolithography techniques available with Smart Filter technology will allow us to reduce our development costs and reduce our development time. It is an ideal system for our Lab on a Chip and optical waveguide research programs." Press release

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Commentary & Perspective...

Compound Semi Roadmap Upgraded

May 14, 2002...Updates have just come in from Mike Tinston who manages the website for the National Compound Semiconductor Roadmap (the NCSR website is quite international, actually... but who's noticing)that should be of interest to all compound semi developers, especially those working on truly leading edge materials and device research. First and foremost, the site was under major upgrade but all appears back online and fine. If users spot any potholes, they've but to contact Mike direct. He also reports that 53 samples have been now entered into the Sample Exchange, and to keep them coming in. If anyone needs help posting, he can now accomplish that in batch format (undoubtedly because of the site upgrade). The workings of The interactive Roadmap section are now complete and Mike's working with several people to enter additional Roadmap Areas, including Questions and Opinions. The general idea of the Q&O is for the site users to determine what technical areas need to be mapped, specific questions for that area, and all users to enter their thoughts on when it will be achieved. The Challenge Database onramp is still growing, and is admittedly not yet a complete list of all the challenges faced in the field. He asks that site users please take a moment to capture the challenge in which their research is focused and enter it into the challenge database... or reply to others who are working in your area. In so doing, the hope is that new relationships will be fostered which will be followed by fresh collaborations. And the driving gets even more fun as CS roadmap warriors can now subscribe to a particular challenge to receive updates as people post information to that challenge.

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