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Adjust your Bookmarks - CompoundSemi News has a new format!
Tom Griffiths - Publisher

November 14, 2013...The original CompoundSemi News was introduced in 2000, innovating "content management" long before any types of standard frameworks came into being. As of our November 11, 2013 edition, we have launched an all new framework that moves to a headline-summary style, and which will allow us an even more real-time flow to the news you count on. All of 2013's CS News articles are available and fully searchable on the new site. The entire 13 year library of our leading compound semiconductor industry news coverage remains available through the search function of this site, and you'll find a handy link to that at on the top menu at the new CompoundSemi.com.

Change your bookmarks/favorites to mark CompoundSemi.com as a replacement for any and all of your current CS Online bookmarks. You'll also want to update your RSS feed to compoundsemi.com/feed/ to keep up with all the latest updates. Your CompoundSemi Email News dispatch has also enjoyed a format change, and will continue to arrive at your inbox automatically. If you aren't receiving the email news each Monday, sign up today.

We look forward to hearing from you with any feedback, or if you encounter what we're sure will be a glitch or two during the continuing changeover tweaks (this still involves computers, after all). You can reach Tom directly by tel or email that you'll find on the contact page.

GT Advanced Technologies to Supply Sapphire Materials to Apple, But not for LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

November 6, 2013...GT Advanced Technologies announced that it has entered into a multi-year supply agreement with Apple Inc. to provide sapphire material. The sapphire material will specifically not go into LEDs. It will go into screens and lenses of Apple products. GT will own and operate ASF® furnaces and related equipment to produce the material at an Apple facility in Arizona in which GT expects to employ over 700 people. Apple will provide GT with a prepayment of approximately $578 million. GT will reimburse Apple for the prepayment over five years, starting in 2015. Although the agreement does not guarantee purchase volumes, it does require GT to maintain a minimum production capacity. GT will be subject to certain exclusivity terms during the agreement. GT expects this agreement to add to revenues starting in 2014.

GT has accelerated the development of its next generation, large capacity ASF furnaces to deliver low cost, high volume manufacturing of sapphire material for its non-LED initiative with Apple. Despite this new agreement being specifically not for LEDs, it is expected to enable the expansion of GT's LED, industrial and specialty sapphire businesses by positioning GT and its equipment customers as the industry's lowest cost sapphire producers.

Tom Gutierrez, GT's president and CEO commented, "By leveraging the new materials operation and our enhanced R&D efforts, we will be well positioned to drive the growth of other sapphire opportunities, including the expansion of our LED and industrial sapphire businesses in partnership with our ASF customers."

Honda to Discontinue Operations of Honda Soltec, a Photovoltaic Subsidiary
CompoundSemi News Staff

November 4, 2013...Honda Motor Co., Ltd. of Tokyo announced plans to discontinue the operations of Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., Honda's wholly-owned photovoltaic subsidiary, in spring 2014. Honda reportedly plans to withdraw from the production and sales of photovoltaic products. Honda said that despite its efforts to improve performance and reduce the cost of producing CIGS solar cells, the company does not have good prospects to reach its original business goals.

Honda Soltec plans to discontinue operations and dissolve the company in spring 2014. In the Japan market, Honda Soltec will take new orders until mid-February 2014, and after sales service for Honda photovoltaic systems sold by that date will be continued through Honda Kaihatsu Co., Ltd., an affiliated company of Honda.

Honda said it would continue its electricity generation and sales business and continue the research and development of the Honda Smart Home System to foster recycling-oriented energy management based on home energy generation and consumption.

TriQuint Investor Starboard Says TriQuint’s PA Business Needs to Improve or be Sold
CompoundSemi News Staff

November 4, 2013...Investment company, Starboard Value LP and its affiliates, an owner of 8% of TriQuint Semiconductor and one of the its largest shareholders wrote a letter to shareholders. In the letter, Starboard outlined how the price of TriQuint Stock is being dragged down by the company's underperforming mobile power amplifier business. Starboard suggested that the performance of the Power Amplifier business needs to improve or the business should be sold.

Starboard asserted that that significant utilization problems have plagued the Mobile PA business, and missed design cycles contributed to large losses and reduced consolidated gross margins. Starboard noted, "In fact, over the last five years the Company underperformed its closest peers by more than 93%."

Starboard was however very positive about TriQuint's growing Networks & Defense and Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) Filter businesses that combined produce about half of the Company’s revenue. Starboard said, "We believe that these two businesses alone are worth far more than where the Company currently trades."

According to the letter, TriQuint’s Network & Defense business, which produces GaAs products for optical networks, cellular base stations and military airborne radar, is underutilized by the market. However, Starboard praised the growth of TriQuint’s BAW Filter business based in Richardson, Texas, and outlined its growth potential with their increasing use in the LTE market and in higher frequency bands in which SAW filter performance will not suffice.

TriQuint welcomed the input saying that the company regularly reviews business strategy including the sale of underutilized equipment, share buybacks, as well as the withdrawal from unattractive businesses over time.

First Solar Sells 250MW Silver State South Project to NextEra Subsidiary
CompoundSemi News Staff

November 4, 2013...First Solar, Inc. announced an agreement to sell the 250-megawatt (MW)AC Silver State South Solar Project to a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. The deal is expected to close early in 2014, subject to certain conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Silver State South is located on approximately 3,000 acres of public land in Clark County, Nevada, adjacent to the 50MWAC Silver State North project, which was developed and built by First Solar and commissioned in 2012.

First Solar says it will continue to develop and permit Silver State South, and provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services for the project. Construction on the project is expected to begin in early 2014 after final regulatory and permitting approvals are received. Completion of the project is expected in late 2016. Silver State South will utilize First Solar's thin film solar modules installed on the company's single-axis tracker mounting system. All the power from Silver State South will be sold to Southern California Edison under a long-term power purchase agreement.

First Solar says that at its peak, the project will create up to 300 full-time construction jobs. "Together, NextEra and First Solar are playing a key role in creating more jobs in Nevada and delivering clean, affordable solar energy," Tim Rebhorn, First Solar's senior vice president of business development for the Americas stated.

In October, NextEra Energy Resources named First Solar the EPC contractor for its 250MWAC McCoy Solar Energy Project in Riverside County, California.

Cree SiC MOSFETs in Shinry Hybrid-Electric and Electric-Vehicle Power Converters, Achieve 96-Percent Efficiency
CompoundSemi News Staff

November 4, 2013...Cree of Durham, North Carolina USA, announced that Shinry Technologies employed Cree’s 1200-V C2M family of SiC MOSFETs in its new, high-efficiency, hybrid-electric and electric-vehicle (HEV/EV) power converters to achieve 96-percent efficiency. According to Shinry Technologies, Cree’s C2M SiC MOSFETS also enabled a 25-percent reduction in product size and reduced peak-power losses by over 60 percent compared to traditional silicon versions.

“Dr. Wu Ren Hua, CEO of Shinry Technologies stated, “The new C2M family of SiC MOSFETs from Cree allows our new HEV/EV power converters for passenger cars and buses to deliver industry-leading efficiency of 96 percent in a compact size that is 25 percent smaller than current platforms not using Cree C2M SiC MOSFETs.”

Based in Shenzhen, China, Shinry Technologies Co., Ltd. specializes in creating HEV/EV DC-DC converter, on-board-charger and rapid-charger solutions. The company leverages Cree’s second-generation SiC MOSFETs in its latest 3 to 10-kW DC-DC converters for electric buses, Shinry achieved considerable efficiency improvement and significantly reduced size and weight. Cree says that its C2M family of SiC MOSFETs, which was launched in March, have achieved more than three times the power density of typical silicon technology in standard power supply designs. The MOSFETs have reportedly been employed in solar inverters, industrial power supplies, battery chargers, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and several other applications.

CIGS Cell Beats Multi Crystaline Silicon Record, According to ZSW
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 28, 2013...The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg, ZSW of Stuttgart, Germany has has achieved 20.8 percent efficient CIGS thin-film solar cells. The researchers note that for the first time, CIGS efficiency records have exceeded the efficiency of market-dominating multi-crystalline silicon solar cells. The 0.5 square centimeter record solar cell was made from copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) with a laboratory coating system using a simultaneous evaporation process.

"Our new record shows that CIGS thin-film technology still has untapped technological and economic potential," said a delighted Prof. Dr. Michael Powalla, board member and head of the photovoltaics division at ZSW. He added, "It may take a little time for the higher efficiency to be reflected in production, but 16 to 18% in commercial modules is possible over the next few years."

The new record CIGS cell surpasses ZSW's own previous CIGS record of 20.3% on glass. More importantly, the researcher point out that this beats the record of 20.4% for multi-crystalline silicon cells. The results were officially confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Freiburg, Germany). ZSW's success is the result of intensive research activities that have been supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry and the state of Baden-Württemberg for many years.

First Solar Announces Completion of Dubai’s 13MW Solar Power Plant
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 28, 2013...First Solar reports that it has successfully completed and handed over a 13 megawatt (MWDC) CdTe thin-film photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The facility, the company’s first Middle East utility-scale project is the largest operating solar PV plant in the region. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) selected First Solar to provide engineering, procurement and construction services, as well as its advanced thin-film modules.

First Solar successfully connected the plant to the emirate’s electricity grid just 195 days after breaking ground in March 2013. The plant is powered by 152,880 First Solar FS Series 3 Black PV modules that cover 59 acres or 59 acres or 238,764 square meters. It will generate approximately 24 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. The plant is designed to operate for over 25 years.

“This plant represents an important step in the implementation of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify Dubai’s energy mix, as envisioned by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, ” said His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.

The plant is the first phase of the landmark Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, named after His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Park is expected to eventually cover 40 square kilometers and produce 1,000MW of clean energy for the national grid using both PV and solar thermal technology.

Honda to Discontinue Operations of Honda Soltec, a Photovoltaic Subsidiary
CompoundSemi News Staff

November 4, 2013...Honda Motor Co., Ltd. of Tokyo announced plans to discontinue the operations of Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., Honda's wholly-owned photovoltaic subsidiary, in spring 2014. Honda reportedly plans to withdraw from the production and sales of photovoltaic products. Honda said that despite its efforts to improve performance and reduce the cost of producing CIGS solar cells, the company does not have good prospects to reach its original business goals.

Honda Soltec plans to discontinue operations and dissolve the company in spring 2014. In the Japan market, Honda Soltec will take new orders until mid-February 2014, and after sales service for Honda photovoltaic systems sold by that date will be continued through Honda Kaihatsu Co., Ltd., an affiliated company of Honda.

Honda said it would continue its electricity generation and sales business and continue the research and development of the Honda Smart Home System to foster recycling-oriented energy management based on home energy generation and consumption.

IQE to Supply Epi-wafers to Philips for VCSEL Production
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 28, 2013...IQE plc of Cardiff, UK, has signed an initial three-year supply contract with Philips Technologie GmbH (“Philips”) for epi-wafers used for the manufacturing of vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) devices. VCSELs are semiconductor laser chips which can be produced in mass scale for a wide variety of applications, including: optical data communication, industrial sensing, illumination, gesture recognition, and heating applications. Philips reportedly plans to scale up its activities to meet the increasing demand for solid state lasers. The contract, which supplies the majority of IQE's epi-wafers to Philips, is renewable after the initial three year term, and also includes a joint development agreement.

Dr Joseph Pankert, General Manager of Philips Photonics, said, “VCSELs are expected to show rapid growth in the coming years. This growth is driven by a variety of applications and Philips is committed to address the growing demand. Teaming up with IQE is an essential element of our growth strategy and enables us to meet the required volume and quality levels.”

Dr Drew Nelson, CEO of IQE plc, commented, “Many of the applications that are enabled by IQE’s VCSEL wafers are at an inflection point where growth is expected to significantly ramp up over the coming months and years. IQE is able to offer many attractive USP’s, including a comprehensive product range, scale of operation, multiple manufacturing locations, and long experience in LD epi-wafer manufacturing”

Riber Announces 3" MBE Research System, Compact 21 DZ
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 28, 2013...Riber of Bezons, France, announced the launch of its new 3" molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) research system, the Compact 21DZ. The new system was announced at the 2013 North American Molecular Beam Epitaxy Conference (NAMBE). Riber says that the Compact 21 DZ is first system of this size to integrate 12 geometrically equivalent cell-source ports. The company says it is designed to meet the needs of users looking to minimize their fixed costs. The new system is especially designed for fundamental research on new compound semiconductors for the microelectronics or optoelectronics industry, particularly for structures based on III-V, II-VI, GaN materials, graphene, oxides, etc. Riber says that it is particularly recommended for the development of emerging technologies, such as UV LEDs or high-performance solar cells.

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