News Article

Kopin Invests In MOCVD Kit As HBT Demand Soars

Epiwafer supplier Kopin plans a 50 percent increase in its HBT production capacity over the next two years.

Kopin has signed a multi-year supply agreement with Aixtron under which it will increase its HBT manufacturing capacity by 50% over the next two years.

Booming sales of wireless handsets, in particular the latest phones that require more sophisticated power amplifier components, are behind the capacity ramp.

"Our customers have been rapidly increasing their forecasted demand for HBT transistor wafers," said Kopin CEO John Fan. "These new systems will enable us to increase both four-inch and six-inch wafer capacity, throughput and efficiency."

Fan added that Kopin needs to add the extra capacity quickly. Not only is demand for wireless handsets increasing faster than predicted, but the latest multimode phones require more HBTs per handset.

Leading handset maker Nokia recently increased its forecast for unit sales of handsets this year (see related story), and an increasing proportion of those sales are of advanced designs as consumers buy into 3G services in a big way.

As a result, power amplifier vendors such as Anadigics and RF Micro Devices are witnessing rising demand, with the latter increasing capacity at its six-inch wafer manufacturing facility by 40% later in the year.

The first two new MOCVD systems will be installed at Kopin's Taunton, MA, facility, and are scheduled for commercial epiwafer runs later this year. Kopin will also ramp up its utilization of existing systems at both its Taunton facility and at KTC in Taiwan, a licensed manufacturer of the transistors.

The new Aixtron equipment will be the German supplier's latest high-volume Integrated Concept Platform tool, which supports both 12x4-inch and 7x6-inch manufacturing.

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