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End of the line for Tempe GaAs fab

After Skyworks bought Freescale's business producing power amplifiers for cellphones, the former Motorola fab's remaining work is moved to foundries.

The doors are set to close on the historic Tempe, Arizona, GaAs fab after Freescale failed to find any buyers for the operation.

The decision was made after the sale of Freescale s high-volume handset power amplifier (PA) business to Skyworks Solutions in October last year.

“Following that Skyworks announcement we engaged in efforts to sell the facility,” a Freescale spokesperson told compoundsemiconductor.net. “None of these discussions led to a sale agreement.”

Approximately 100 staff working at the 6-inch wafer fab known as CS1 were told on May 12 that their site will be closing. The company said that these employees will be offered severance packages and invited to apply for jobs elsewhere at Freescale, making the point that it employs thousands of people across Arizona.

Subsequent to the Skyworks deal these employees had been working on comparatively low-volume GaAs product lines that Freescale will now outsource to foundry partners.

The 38,000 square foot Tempe fab was set up in 1991 by Motorola and was one of the first GaAs fabs to move to 6-inch wafers. Motorola then span out its semiconductor products sector under the Freescale name in 2004.

Freescale retained the GaAs fab in part to manufacture PAs for inclusion in the chipsets that it manufactures for use in mobile phone handsets. “We were one of the last companies to still do that,” the spokesperson said.

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