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IQE Wins Another RF Epiwafer Contract

The UK-based epiwafer foundry feels the benefit of an increasing move to outsourcing the epitaxy stage of the chip manufacturing process.

Epiwafer foundry IQE has won a deal to become the preferred external supplier of epitaxial material to an unspecified European radio-frequency wireless chip foundry.

IQE says that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the customer, to the effect that IQE material will be sourced if the customer's demand for epiwafers increases.

"It is anticipated that any increase in epiwafer requirements beyond the customer's internal capacity will flow directly to IQE," said the Cardiff firm.

IQE's US-based MBE operation already has a substantial contract in place with a US manufacturer of wireless chips based on GaAs, while the recent acquisition of Emcore's RF epiwafer division, which employs MOCVD reactors, has significantly expanded IQE's customer base (see related stories).

The latest deal is another sign that many III-V chip makers are taking a different approach to epiwafer production and sourcing strategies, believes IQE's Drew Nelson.

"This demonstrates the strength of the outsource model, which is now becoming a key part of customer's strategic considerations," said the CEO.

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