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Technical Insights


Tuesday 9th November 2010
Diversification: that’s the central pillar of RF Micro Devices’ growth strategy. To continue to execute on that front it is opening up its MBE facility and starting to offer various services that include shipments of arsenic- and phosphorous-based epiwafers. Richard Stevenson investigates.
Tuesday 9th November 2010
High costs and long development times are impairing the chances of success for small companies pioneering novel devices based on photonic integrated circuits. To cater for these needs, Europe is funding the creation of an InP foundry that will use generic processes to create devices for multiple applications. Richard Stevenson discusses this venture with the project's two coordinators, David Robbins from Willow Photonics and Meint Smit from the Technical University of Eindhoven.
Tuesday 26th October 2010
Gate scaling is the key to penetrating the depths of the sub-millimeter-wave frequency range. It improves RF performance, empowering active electronics at these ultra-high frequencies, say Axel Tessmann, Ingmar Kallfass and Arnulf Leuther from Fraunhofer IAF.
Thursday 21st October 2010
The emergence of 4G smartphones is placing a tremendous strain on mobile carriers. But this can be relieved by adding femtocells to the network that are built around customized high performance power amplifiers, such as the portfolio of products being unveiled by Anadigics, argues the company’s Joe Cozzarelli.
Tuesday 28th September 2010
Researchers at the University of Sheffield, UK, have developed a technique for making GaAs-based lasers that circumvents regrowth on exposed AlGaAs surfaces. Avoiding re-growth on this ternary is highly desirable, because it is difficult to adequately planarize AlGaAs without degrading the corrugated GaAs grating needed to form single-wavelength, distributed feedback lasers.
Tuesday 28th September 2010
Engineers at Chang Gung University, Taiwan, have almost doubled the external quantum efficiency (EQE) of LEDs featuring relatively wide wells. This gain resulted from switching the electronblocking layer from a superlattice structure to a 20 nm thick AlGaN layer.
Thursday 23rd September 2010
The 2.2 kW static induction transistor developed by Microsemi is destined for success. It delivers unprecedented powers and a long lifetime, and it allows UHF radar manufacturers to build systems with far fewer components, say the company’s Mike Mallinger, Bruce Odekirk, Mar Caballero and Francis Chai.
Thursday 23rd September 2010
Engineers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB) have shown that AlGaN barriers hold the key to the growth of a high-quality active region for a green semipolar laser.
Thursday 23rd September 2010
The battles in the solar industry at present are typical of an emerging industry as companies compete for market share as well as touting their technology as the answer to the industry challenges. But what is the true state of solar technology and how does it stand up to some objective observation. St.J. Dixon-Warren and Tim White of Chipworks discuss their findings when they looked under the hood of CIGS Solar Panels.
Tuesday 21st September 2010
GaN power devices are smaller and more efficient than equivalents made from silicon. But significant commercial success will only follow when their manufacturing costs fall, a goal that can be realized by turning to production on 150 mm silicon CMOS processing lines, writes Michael Briere on behalf of International Rectifier.
Tuesday 14th September 2010
Since the late 1990s Integra has been manufacturing pulsed, S-band silicon transistors for radar. It has recently expanded its portfolio with GaN versions that are smaller, more efficient, and deliver gain over a far broader bandwidth. Richard Stevenson tracks this new venture.
Tuesday 14th September 2010
TriQuint claims that it has broken the power added efficiency (PAE) record for GaN onsilicon HEMTs operating at 10 GHz.
Monday 13th September 2010
Tried-and-true strategies for speeding-up InP HEMTs are clarifying the path to extending the bandwidth of their GaN cousins to millimeter-wave frequencies. Significant progress was realized by switching from the familiar pairing of AlGaN and GaN to an AlInN and GaN heterostructure, which combines weaker surface depletion and better vertical scaling with apparently higher carrier velocities, according to Colombo Bolognesi from ETH-Zurich and Nicolas Grandjean from EPFL.
Thursday 2nd September 2010
Researchers from Fraunhofer, Germany and the Institute of Photonics, Scotland have developed high-performance semiconductor disk lasers for the wavelength range 1.9 - 2.8µm. This has opened up new opportunities in gas sensing, communications, and materials processing.
Monday 16th August 2010
A US collaboration led by Sensors Electronic Technology (SET) claims to have raised the bar for power output from a single ultraviolet LED chip. The team, which includes researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the US Army Research Laboratory, has produced a 273 nm chip emitting 30 mW, and a 247 nm version delivering 6 mW.
Monday 2nd August 2010
UCSB computational scientists who investigated the light absorption by carriers in nitride lasers found that the low ionization density of the magnesium dopant atoms was a major contributor to absorption losses.
Monday 26th July 2010
Scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have found that gallium-rich CIGS cells are less homogeneous than indium-rich cells and hence have lower efficiencies.
Tuesday 20th July 2010
Applying a holistic approach to concentrator photovoltaic system design, teaming up with academics to develop flexible, highly efficient, low-cost multi-junction cells and targeting different markets should spur the growth of Circadian Solar. Richard Stevenson reports.
Tuesday 20th July 2010
Engineers at Osram Opto-Semiconductors have broken the CW output power record for a true green laser with a polar device delivering 50 mW. Their 524 nm green emitter meets the specs for laser pico projectors, which need a 50 mW source emitting between 515 nm and 535 nm to deliver 10 lm of light on a screen.
Thursday 15th July 2010
Increasing GaAs fab throughout, streamlining carrier mobility measurements on pHEMT production wafers and suggesting new ways to improve the performance of this class of transistor featured in this year’s CS-Mantech. Richard Stevenson reports.
Wednesday 14th July 2010
Unleashing the high electron and hole mobilities of InGaAs and germanium in an evolutionary CMOS architecture is possible by introducing a common gate stack. This can be formed by a combination of a sulfur-based treatment and deposition of aluminum oxide, and results suggest that this process does not hamper the performance of these novel devices, says IMEC’s Thomas Hoffmann.
Wednesday 14th July 2010
Theorists are proposing that density activated defect recombination (DADR) can account for droop, the decline in a nitride LED’s external quantum efficiency at high drive currents.
Thursday 8th July 2010
Scaling silicon ICs involves packing transistors closer and closer together, and this is pushing the power density on the chip towards its limit. Switching to III-V CMOS offers a promising way forward, but can this alternative technology be scaled to a few nanometers, manufactured in really high-volume and made in such a way that it has the look and feel of the silicon incumbent? Jesús del Alamo from MIT discusses the issues.
Tuesday 6th July 2010
Manufacturers of compound semiconductors look for every opportunity to improve process or yield. HÜTTINGER discusses the energy supply needs for manufacturers and decide that efficiency and robustness are the main requirements for power supplies in semiconductor production.

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