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CEA-Leti Joins Venture To Develop III-V On Silicon Technologies

The French firm will use its IP and expertise in silicon, microelectronics and microsystems to expand the Alcatel-Lucent and Thales partnership in III-V Lab. The joint venture will target applications in telecoms, industrial control, environmental testing, defence, security and space.

Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, Thales and French firm CEA-Leti have announced that CEA-Leti has joined the III-V Lab in a move to strengthen the industrial research capabilities of the R&D centre.

Claiming to be Europe’s most advanced in the field of III-V semiconductors, the new public-private partnership will combine III-V semiconductor and silicon technologies, opening up new research perspectives and dynamics. The enlarged III-V Lab will include more than 130 researchers, technicians, and doctoral candidates.

The new partnership leverages the respective expertise of the three players in silicon, microelectronics and heterogeneous integration, to bring specific benefits in the integration of the incomparable speed, power and optical capabilities of III-V components on silicon CMOS integrated circuits.

The partners also aim to develop smarter, smaller components with innovative features by heterogeneously integrating active III-V components (optical, microwave, high-power components) with silicon circuits and microsystems. The production of III-V components on silicon substrates and in silicon microelectronic manufacturing should also reduce costs.

CEA-Leti, a global research centre in micro- and nanotechnologies should reinforce the capabilities of the III-V Lab. Established in 2004 by Alcatel and Thales, the III-V Lab has already enabled the rapid development of a common platform for dual-use optoelectronic and microelectronic technology for markets addressed by the two groups such as telecom, space, defence and security.

CEA-Leti will significantly broaden the scope of the lab’s targeted applications by combining its IP and expertise in silicon, microelectronics and microsystems and in heterogeneous integration.

Focusing on practical applications for the combined potential of semiconductors and silicon, the III-V Lab will focus on four primary areas of research and markets. Firstly, in ntegrated photonic circuits that combine the active and passive functions of III-V and silicon for high-speed telecommunications and data transfer.

The JV will also focus on high-power and microwave GaN-based microelectronics to increase the power density, robustness, energy efficiency and compactness of telecommunication, avionics, satellite, defence, energy and transport systems.

A new generation of cost-effective, compact, ultra-sensitive, highly-selective gas sensors for use in security, industrial process control, and environmental monitoring will also be developed.

Finally, the collaboration will also study thermal and near-infrared imagery for security and defence applications. The lab will develop new types of detectors with increased resolution while reducing overall cost and speeding their adoption in the industrial-quality control, transportation and environmental markets.

“We really look forward to the new partnership with CEA-Leti as their excellence in silicon will bring some exciting collaboration opportunities for the III-V Lab," said Gee Rittenhouse, head of Research at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs. “III-V semiconductors have already made a strong impact in optical telecommunications, providing several innovative breakthroughs, and the integration in a silicon microelectronic platform is on our roadmap to further improve performance, cost and energy consumption."

“As the third partner in the III-V lab, Leti adds deep expertise and essential silicon capabilities to our existing strengths in III-V semiconductors, opening broader opportunities for innovation. Thales will be provided stronger competitive advantages through the III-V Lab, thanks to the early availability for system developments of new components with breakthrough performances." said Marko Erman, SVP Research & Technology at Thales. “Combining these complementary technologies is unique and working together with Leti, we will create a world leading centre for developing these advanced devices."

“This innovative joint venture is a unique model of partnership for joining competences, technologies and ambitions, and it will enable the partners to accomplish things they couldn’t do alone," said Leti CEO Laurent Malier. “Each of us brings very specific and complementary expertise to our pursuit of common goals. Moreover, each partner can capitalise on the developments and transfer new technologies to our customers. The new III-V Lab will be a strong source of value creation".

III-V Lab is located south of Paris in what will become the heart of the Paris Sud Saclay project, a major science and technology park that will combine research organisations, universities, Grandes Ecoles and corporate facilities.

 
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