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CSC collaboration to develop novel fabrication processes


Compound Semiconductor Centre, CST Global and Swansea University to work on scaling up new processes for laser chips and flexible substrates

The Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) has announced the award of European Funding support through the Avenues of Commercialisation for Nano and Micro Technologies (ACNM) Operation. This funding will support collaborative development activity at Swansea University to scale-up novel compound semiconductor device fabrication processes to deliver multiple new products.

The ACNM Operation is a three-year, £3.3 million project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Welsh Government, with the aim of increasing the successful translation of research and innovation processes into commercial products, processes and services.

The first project builds on a collaboration between CSC, Cardiff University, CST Global (Glasgow) and Swansea University to develop a low cost, high specification semiconductor laser chip manufacturing platform utilising Substrate Conformal Imprint Lithography (SCIL), developed at The Centre for NanoHealth (CNH) in Swansea.

Previous work, funded by InnovateUK, demonstrated a proof of concept of a Distributed Feedback (DFB) diode laser manufacturing platform which delivered a 30 percent cost reduction in wafer scale manufacturing costs, without any trade-off in the laser performance. ACNM funding will now progress commercialisation of new foundry products by increasing the on-wafer yield of the SCIL-based process and scale-up from a 3 inch to a 4inch epitaxial wafer platform. Applications for lasers include Fibre to the Premises, high capacity optical communications links in datacentres, and coherent sources for trace gas sensing.

The second project aims to develop a high volume, chip-scale packaging concept for integration of compound semiconductor devices on flexible substrates. Printed conductive track processes developed at the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) at Swansea University will be used to deliver wire-bond free, conformal interconnects to GaAs devices. Applications for new products range from the integration of GaAs sensors into SMART Gaskets capable of monitoring high pressure (50MPa) environments in critical pipework joints, through to the low-cost assembly of LEDs into flexible wearable products for the cosmetic and healthcare markets, and flexible, large area, LED displays.

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