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In Brief: Asahi Glass, Aixtron, IQE, Lamina Ceramics

Asahi Glass touts a new fluorine-based insulating material for GaAs and GaN RF chips; Aixtron ships its one-thousandth epitaxy machine; IQE's RF division receives Northrop Grumman's highest supplier rating; Lamina Ceramics closes a $7 million funding round.

Asahi touts fluorinated insulator
Japanese materials firm Asahi Glass says that its new fluorine-based insulator will improve the production yield of GaAs- and GaN-based RF devices.

According to the firm, which is now producing the fluoropolymer in volume at its factory in Chiba, the higher operating frequencies of the latest RF chips leads to higher electricity consumption and also increases wiring capacitance.

To resolve this problem, the interlayer dielectric used in chip fabrication should have a lower permittivity than the polyimide insulators that are used currently. Asahi s fluoropolymers have a relative permittivity of 2.4-2.5, compared with 3.2-3.5 for polyimide.

The material is said to be easy to apply, as it can be spin-coated. Asahi says that it is stable at up to 350 deg C. "The new material can enable multi-layer wiring structures for devices, which will help improve yield," claims the company.

1000 epi systems and counting for Aixtron
Taiwanese LED manufacturer Formosa Epitaxy s latest purchase from Aixtron represented the 1000th epitaxy reactor to be delivered by the German equipment vendor.

Forepi has bought a new close-coupled showerhead (CCS) MOCVD tool with which it will be able to make high-power blue-green LED epiwafers based on InGaN. It will function in a 30x2 inch configuration.

Aixtron s Bernd Schulte says that the company's total installed base of all semiconductor equipment now stands at more than 1600 systems.

Northrop honors IQE-RF
US defense contractor Northrop Grumman s Space Technology Group (NGST) has honored IQE s RF division in New Jersey with its highest supplier accolade - "gold subcontractor status".

IQE-RF, previously the electronic materials division (EMD) of Emcore, specializes in contract manufacturing of RF components, and has pioneered the development of GaAs-based BiFET structures and GaN epitaxy for RFIC applications.

NGST is one of a number of US companies working under DARPA's multi-million dollar "wide-bandgap semiconductors for RF applications" project, which kicked off two years ago (see related story).

Lamina racks up series D finance
Very-high-brightness LED packaging specialist Lamina Ceramics has attracted $7 million in series D financing from a number of venture capitalist partners.

The Westampton, New Jersey, company says that it will use the cash to expand marketing and sales of its products.

Lamina has also launched two new white light "engines", including warm-white LED lamps that produce an output equivalent to a 75 W halogen light or a 100 W R-20 floodlight.

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