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IQE Completes Singapore Expansion

The epiwafer foundry completes a move across the island to a much bigger production facility housing six MBE reactors and with plenty of room for further expansion.

IQE, the global epiwafer foundry company headquartered in the UK, has formally opened the new production site for its Singapore-based subsidiary MBE Technology.

The 8500 m2 facility, which incorporates 2000 m2 of cleanroom space, houses six MBE reactors. Four of these are dedicated production machines, with two used for developmental work.

All of those reactors were relocated from the previous MBE Technology site in Singapore, or transferred from IQE s other major MBE facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

"The carefully orchestrated relocation of manufacturing tools has...caused minimal disruption to existing production capacity," said IQE.

Although dedicated to MBE currently, the new site in the Tampines area of the island will likely support a range of deposition techniques, including CVD and MOCVD, in the future, compoundsemiconductor.net has learned.

IQE spokesman Chris Meadows said that the company saw multi-junction solar cell production, which would be based on MOCVD, as a key application in the longer term, alongside advanced silicon and wireless applications demanding GaAs.

Speaking about the potential impact of the global financial crisis on IQE s business, Meadows said that it was too early to tell what the fall-out may entail.

"Everybody is very cautious, but the long-term fundamentals remain the same "“ it will be a wireless world," he said.

Meadows also acknowledged that there had been very volatile changes in market share among manufacturers of GaAs-based wireless components recently "“ as has been witnessed by events at Anadigics in particular (see related story).

On the MOCVD front, IQE has witnessed a lot more interest in photovoltaic applications in recent months, and is set to recognize initial revenues relating to the technology in the near future.

Speaking at the official opening of the new site, IQE s CEO Drew Nelson added that the latest expansion in Singapore coincided with the 20th anniversary of the company, which he co-founded back in 1988.

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