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Cree cuts ribbon on electronic device fab

The wide-bandgap chipmaker formally opens its new production facility, while rival SemiSouth will shortly cut the ribbon on its own SiC fab.

Power semiconductors based on wide-bandgap materials are set for a ramp-up in production by Cree.

The Durham, NC, company, which is mainly focused on LED chip fabrication but also has expertise in wide-bandgap materials for power electronic and RF applications, has formally opened its new 230,000ft2 production facility in nearby Research Triangle Park.

"The new Cree site houses one of the first commercial SiC and GaN production facilities in the world devoted to serving the power and wireless infrastructure markets," said Cree VP of advanced devices John Palmour.

GaN and SiC electronic devices are expected to find use as higher-efficiency replacements for conventional silicon technology in applications such as high-end power supplies, motor drives and wireless communications.

Both Cree and RF Micro Devices have recently revealed details of new product portfolios based on these materials. The companies are targeting the high-speed wireless connectivity protocol WiMAX, which has now been endorsed by US telecommunications giant Sprint Nextel.

Cree is not the only company looking to exploit SiC technology for commercial uses. Both SemiSouth Laboratories and Microsemi's advanced power division (formerly Advanced Power Technology) are also finishing off their new fabrication facilities, with SemiSouth set to formally open its fab before the end of August.

• Cree, RFMD, SemiSouth and Microsemi are all participating at November's Key Conference, organized by the publishers of compoundsemiconductor.net and Compound Semiconductor magazine, in San Antonio, TX. The conference agenda and full registration details are available to view now.

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