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Technical Insights


Thursday 12th July 2007
Cree founder and former CEO Neal Hunter left the chip company two years ago and headed up the supply chain with the launch of LED Lighting Fixtures. Richard Stevenson hears his vision for a market dominated by LED-based lighting.
Thursday 12th July 2007
The battery has been a great servant for powering devices in situations where mains electricity is inappropriate, but it has its downsides, which include a relatively short life and a toxic composition. ZnO nanowire power generators are free from these weaknesses, and have the potential to drive small devices such as implanted biosensors, says Zhong Lin Wang from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Thursday 12th July 2007
With the GaAs industry finally back in some kind of healthy balance, the mood at CS Mantech was as warm as the Texan sunshine. Michael Hatcher and Andy Extance soaked up the atmosphere.
Thursday 12th July 2007
If we stick to using copper interconnects in silicon ICs, then it's only a matter of time before we arrive at a performance-limiting data-transfer bottleneck. The solution: additional optical interconnects built from silicon waveguides and InP lasers and detectors, says Dries Van Thourhout.
Thursday 12th July 2007
LEDs, lasers and multi-junction solar cells can all employ tunnel junctions to improve performance. Calculating the effects of this junction is tricky, but there are ways to accurately simulate chip characteristics and cost-effectively optimize the structure's design, say Z Q (Leo) Li and Simon Li.
Thursday 7th June 2007
In a bad year for compound semiconductor chip stocks in general, more than half of our portfolio of prominent companies have shed an alarming third of their value. But, reports Michael Hatcher, it wasn't all doom and gloom &ndash and, for a change, the star performer this year was an epitaxial equipment vendor, Germany's Aixtron.
Thursday 7th June 2007
LED manufacturers are running massive marketing campaigns to woo the illumination market with brighter, lower-cost chips. But this will be in vain if their customers continue to design inefficient fixtures, reports Richard Stevenson.
Thursday 7th June 2007
Semprius is refining and scaling a versatile printing process for uniting III-Vs with silicon. The technique will cut the cost of photovoltaics and RF and broadband sources, say Kyle Benkendorfer, Etienne Menard and Joseph Carr.
Thursday 7th June 2007
Non-polar light-emitting devices based on GaN have huge potential, but chip performance has been limited. However, this is starting to change, say Steve DenBaars, Shuji Nakamura and Jim Speck, who have made non-polar LEDs with an efficiency of up to 45% and some of the first non-polar lasers.
Thursday 7th June 2007
With no immediate bulk GaN on the commercial horizon, engineers have started to look beyond silicon and SiC to composite materials and metals as a platform for nitride growth. Richard Stevenson investigates.
Thursday 7th June 2007
Innovations emerging from the super-high-efficiency diode sources program haven't just boosted the efficiency of hero devices, says Alfalight's Rob Williamson, they have also had the knock-on effect of driving up the performance of commercial products across the board.
Thursday 3rd May 2007
CIR's latest analysis of the future market for optical components predicts that sales of tunable lasers will grow rapidly to reach almost $1 billion by 2012. Michael Hatcher reports.
Thursday 3rd May 2007
Under pressure to get WiMAX products to market, it may be tempting to overlook the power amplifier, but designers who do so risk degrading system links and reducing battery life, say Glenn Eswein and Ray Waugh from Anadigics.
Thursday 3rd May 2007
Despite the recent application of high-k dielectrics and metal gates in volume CMOS processes, and the scattergun approach to logic devices based on III–V materials, the compound and silicon industries have much in common. Bob Metzger looks at post-CMOS convergence.
Thursday 3rd May 2007
For decades, infrared detector development has drawn on many different types of compound semiconductor material. Philippe Tribolet explains why Sofradir has selected HgCdTe for its future plans. These include building a new $12 million fab to cut chip manufacturing costs, which should ultimately lower detector prices and drive up sales of these high-specification imagers.
Thursday 3rd May 2007
LayTec is targeting GaN chip developers with an in situ pyrometer that can measure wafer temperatures with a precision of ±0.1 °C. Richard Stevenson investigates.
Thursday 3rd May 2007
The popular theory for reconciling the excellent emission efficiency of GaN LEDs with their very high defect density is based on evidence of clustering in the InGaN quantum wells. But recent atom probe measurements have disproved this idea by showing that InGaN actually forms a random alloy, according to Mark Galtrey, Rachel Oliver, and Colin Humphreys from Cambridge University.
Thursday 5th April 2007
Installed as vice-president of TriQuint's handset business unit in July 2006, Tim Dunn has already overseen a rapid upturn in the maker's wafer volumes and product sales. Dunn was understandably in a chirpy mood when he met Michael Hatcher at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Thursday 5th April 2007
Germanium substrates are an unlikely candidate for nitride growth. However, a unique meshing ratio actually enables the fabrication of high-quality GaN directly on this platform, says IMEC's Ruben Lieten. The development could ultimately lead to more efficient and powerful HBTs.
Thursday 5th April 2007
Helmut Jung looks back at the influential career of Klaus Ploog, whose achievements include the invention of the superlattice and the delta-doping technique that are used in today's HEMTs.
Thursday 5th April 2007
Switching from a buried ridge-waveguide structure to an inner stripe design can increase the output power of single mode lasers to a record-breaking 1000 mW, says NEC. Richard Stevenson investigates the novel approach.
Thursday 5th April 2007
A partnership between Ukraine, Russia, Greece and the US has developed a series of SiC PIN diodes for microwave applications. The devices already deliver a better performance than incumbent silicon and GaAs equivalents, says team member Nicolas Camara, and more improvements are expected.
Monday 12th March 2007
Although epiwafer foundry IQE is returning to financial health, the UK's two biggest compound semiconductor chip facilities are still struggling to make ends meet. Michael Hatcher evaluates their performance.
Monday 12th March 2007
Representing only a small niche in the market for large LCD displays, sales of LED-based backlight units will nevertheless grow rapidly between now and 2009. But the likely value of this emerging sector for LED manufacturers is a tough one to call. Michael Hatcher reviews the forecasts.

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