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In Brief: AXT, Low-cost GaN, RFMD, Goodrich

InGaAs camera maker Goodrich SUI works on a new sensor for unmanned military aircraft; AXT issues 4.15 million shares; materials start-up Aonex reveals a new approach to nitride substrates; and RF Micro Devices nets $39 million by selling off some Bluetooth assets to Qualcomm.

AXT files to issue shares
III-V and germanium substrate vendor AXT is looking to raise cash in a new offering of its common stock.

The Fremont, CA, firm has filed a proposed sale of 4.15 million shares, which would have a total value of approximately $20.5 million at the company's current share price of just over $5, up from just $2 at the start of 2006. The actual issue price is expected to be set by mid-December.

Needham and Co., which is acting as sole underwriter for the offering, has an option to buy 622,500 additional shares to cover any excess demand.

Start-up claims sapphire breakthrough
Pasadena-based Aonex Technologies says that its novel sapphire-on-AlN substrates could lead to high-yield growth of GaN-based optoelectronics on large-diameter wafers.

The proprietary approach used by Aonex involves depositing a thin layer of single-crystal sapphire on a polycrystalline AlN support substrate.

According to Aonex, some preliminary studies at Sandia National Laboratories have shown that the close match between the coefficient of thermal expansion of the supported substrate and the GaN epilayers of the device structure reduces substrate bowing during the growth process.

Reducing wafer bow is seen as one the critical problems involved in scaling high-yield GaN device production to much larger wafer diameters and therefore reducing the cost of high-brightness LEDs and blue-violet lasers.

RF Micro nets $39 million from Bluetooth
Leading GaAs chip manufacturer RF Micro Devices (RFMD) has increased its focus on what it sees as high-growth wireless applications by selling off most of its Bluetooth operations to the chipset giant Qualcomm.

The Greensboro, NC, company will receive $39 million in cash from Qualcomm, while the two companies are planning to collaborate on certain cellular applications.

USAF and Goodrich to develop InGaAs imager
The US Air Force has awarded Goodrich SUI, formerly Sensors Unlimited, a contract to develop a new InGaAs camera system for unmanned military aircraft.

Goodrich SUI has been asked to demonstrate the potential of InGaAs to provide an off-board camera based on sensing short-wave infrared radiation.

The company will develop a camera payload assembly including a 640 x 512 pixel InGaAs camera, custom dual field-of-view lens, and a laser pointer.

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