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II-VI wins $5.2m defense funding for SiC

Substrate orders remain robust as the crystal grower's manufacturing facility upgrade promises higher output and lower prices.

II-VI Incorporated s Wide Bandgap Materials group has gained a US Department of Defense grant to drive its SiC substrate production further towards to industry-leading efficiency.

$5.2 million was awarded in the first quarter of 2009, to help the crystal growth specialist manufacture state-of-the-art 100 mm wafers economically.

The grant targets production of 6H crystal polytype semi-insulating and 4H polytype n-type substrates at the division s Pine Brook, New Jersey, SiC manufacturing facility.

“We expect demand for 100 mm products to continue to grow as our customers complete their line qualifications with our products,” said Francis Kramer, president and chief executive officer of II-VI.

In preparation, the Saxonburg, Philadelphia headquartered company has upgraded 90 percent of its SiC crystal growth equipment to a higher-output, larger diameter design.

“Work is also being funded to accelerate the development of next-generation substrates of up to 125 mm and 150 mm diameter,” Kramer said in his company's financial results conference call.

The company s SiC substrate orders from US defense customers held steady in the quarter to March, even as its overall revenues fell by $16.8 million year-over-year.

Demand for evaluation units of II-VI s 6H semi-insulating 100 mm substrates from the US and Japan for radio-frequency electronics continued at a steady rate. Orders from commercial customers in the US and Japan were “significantly lower than planned” by comparison.

4H 100 mm wafers for power electronics are now available in sample volumes and the company expects to move to evaluation volumes in the current quarter.

In total II-VI s compound semiconductor unit "“ which includes thermoelectric cooler business Marlow Industries and CdZnTe detector division eV Products "“ recorded $12.7 million revenues for the first three months of 2009. This compares to $14.5 million in the previous period and $13.2 million in the 2008 March quarter.

II-VI is continuing its efforts to sell eV products (see CdZnTe fab faces uncertain future), even though it has recently gained a $1 million contract to develop explosive detection technology.

Overall, II-VI s March quarter revenues were $64.1 million, down 21 percent year-over-year and 13.7 percent sequentially.

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