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Technical Insights

Monday 19th January 2009
GaN FETs grown on large silicon wafers should make a big impact in the multi-billion dollar power electronics market. They can operate at breakdown voltages of up to 800 V, offer superior switching efficiencies to silicon incumbents and give little away in cost, says IMEC's Marianne Germain.
Monday 12th January 2009
Researchers can choose between non-polar, semi-polar and polar substrates for nitride growth. But what are the benefits of one of these faces over another? Richard Stevenson reports.
Monday 5th January 2009
In early November, QPC Lasers filed for bankruptcy and became the first direct compound semiconductor casualty of the 2008 global financial crisis. Is this a sign of things to come, or an isolated incident, wonders Michael Hatcher.
Monday 5th January 2009
Twenty-five years ago, two scientists at Aachen University in Germany joined forces with a local businessman to launch an equipment company. The result: the world's leading MOCVD tool supplier. Richard Stevenson talks to Aixtron co-founder Holger Juergensen about the early days.
Monday 22nd December 2008
Oscillators, mixers and RF switches add to the cost and complexity of 10 Gbit/s transmitters for last-mile networks. However, all of these components can be discarded by switching to a radical design that features a pulse generator and an amplifier, says a team of researchers at Fujitsu.
Monday 15th December 2008
RF Micro Devices' BiFET technology offers a cost-effective route to extending HBT capabilities. JFETs can be created through the growth of two extra layers, an additional mask and just one more etch, say Brian Moser, William Clausen, David Vines and Walt Wohlmuth from the company.
Monday 8th December 2008
It isn't just Wall Street that's down in the dumps - spending on semiconductor equipment has slumped over the past six months. Fortunately, compound semiconductor markets are bucking the trend, writes Aviza's Kevin Crofton.
Monday 1st December 2008
Andy Extance saw graphene emerge as a great new hope at ECSCRM 2008, while Japanese car makers help to fuel steady progress towards more-reliable SiC electronics.
Monday 24th November 2008
Droop stops GaN-based LEDs performing in the critical regime for emerging applications – high-current densities. However, this weakness can be overcome with polarization-matched epitaxial structures, say RPI's Martin Schubert, Min Ho Kim, Jong Kyu Kim and E Fred Schubert.
Friday 21st November 2008
Developing SiC devices via tests on a range of prototypes is an expensive business. Simulations can slash the costs, but success demands carefully accounting for the material's anisotropy and very low intrinsic carrier concentrations, say Synopsys' Sudarshan Krishnamoorthy and Vidas Mickevicius.
Thursday 20th November 2008
Surface mount processes that populate printed circuit boards with passives can now add active die too, thanks to Avago's WaferCap technology. This ultimately opens up a path to low-cost amplification for cable TV, base stations and instrumentation, says the company's Jim Roland.
Monday 17th November 2008
At the intersection between the key logic, flat-panel display and LED industries, the former Epichem is proving to be a fantastic investment for Sigma-Aldrich. Andy Extance visited the unit's Bromborough, UK, factory to quiz Epichem founder Barry Leese on SAFC Hitech's progress.
Monday 10th November 2008
University of Tübingen
Monday 3rd November 2008
A host of powerful companies, among them flat-panel display makers, silicon foundries and consumer electronics giants, look set to enter the LED chip-making industry and have already invested in MOCVD systems. Could they break the long-held grip of the so-called "big six"? Michael Hatcher searches for answers with two leading industry analysts.
Monday 27th October 2008
Veeco's GEN10 features automation and the capability to grow incompatible materials, such as nitrides and oxides. Richard Stevenson quizzes the company's MBE product manager, Andy Harkison, about the merits of the new tool.
Monday 20th October 2008
Security services could get a massive boost from cadmium-based detectors that can identify plastic explosives in a suitcase's contents. Although it's tricky to make these II-VIs, a novel deposition tool and growth on GaAs offer a promising route to making high-quality CdTe and CdZnTe boules, say Max Robinson and Arnab Basu from Kromek.
Monday 13th October 2008
The internet is creaking under the strain of rocketing traffic, but help is now on its way in the form of faster transceiver chips that can operate within existing optical networks, reports Roy Rubenstein.
Monday 6th October 2008
From its unique position linking Japan's power companies, the Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry is on a mission to exploit SiC devices' efficiency. Andy Extance reports.
Monday 29th September 2008
If you want to put down robust and highly conformal films for LED and radio-frequency electronic device manufacture, then you ought to consider a novel nanolayer deposition tool that features a plasma film treatment step in each deposition cycle, say Steve Selbrede, Michael Studendorff and Paul Werbaneth from Tegal Corporation.
Monday 22nd September 2008
You would think that US government agencies would be working closely to ensure a successful transition to energy-efficient lighting based on LEDs. You'd be wrong, writes Michael Hatcher.
Monday 22nd September 2008
LCD-based TVs give great pictures if you're willing to invest in a pricey LED backlighting unit. But the cost of this light source could plummet if manufacturers deploy photonic crystal LEDs made with high-volume stamp-based lithography techniques, say Glasgow University's Faiz Rahman and Ali Khokhar.
Monday 15th September 2008
US military interests seem to be setting the GaN market in motion, but will this provide sufficient rewards for companies getting into the sector? Andy Extance speaks to some of the key figures and tries to extract some sense from the facts that are slipping out from between the official secrets.
Monday 8th September 2008
Low-resistivity 150mm germanium substrates with uniform thicknesses offer a great platform for lowering the cost of triple-junction solar cells for deployment in terrestrial applications, according to a team of researchers from Umicore.

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