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Technical Insights


Monday 13th March 2006
The plastic optical fiber networks that feature in many of today's cars have data transmission rates that are limited by LED switching speeds. This barrier can be overcome, though, says Firecomms' John Lambkin, if these light sources are replaced with resonant-cavity LEDs.
Monday 13th March 2006
Power inverters look like becoming a big application area for SiC chips, and ought to help the global movement to cut greenhouse gas emissions, writes Michael Hatcher.
Monday 13th March 2006
Today's III-V MEMS community is producing a wide variety of devices for applications as diverse as gas sensing, monitoring sugar levels in water, detecting explosives and reducing pollution from diesel engines. Richard Stevenson reports.
Monday 13th March 2006
Princeton Lightwave has commercialized a single-photon avalanche photodiode that is targeting quantum cryptography applications. Mark Itzler describes some of the benefits offered by the device's design, and explains how it could provide uncrackable communications.
Tuesday 7th February 2006
In the first of a two-part series, Toby Strite explains why leading makers of semiconductor laser diodes are switching development dollars away from telecom.
Tuesday 7th February 2006
The 10 Gigabit Ethernet fiber-optic datacom standard will give makers of optoelectronic chips access to a mass market, reports Michael Hatcher.
Tuesday 7th February 2006
There is increased competition among the suppliers of SiC substrates, but does that mean lower prices for customers? Not necessarily, discovers Yvonne Carts-Powell.
Tuesday 7th February 2006
The vacuum tubes used in today's millimeter-wave transmitters face an increasing threat from GaN HEMTs. Cree's Yifeng Wu and Primit Parikh are leading the GaN charge with designs that incorporate field plates, iron-doped buffer layers and a thin AlN interlayer to deliver a record power at 30 GHz.
Tuesday 7th February 2006
III-V device highlights at the 2005 International Electron Devices Meeting held in Washington, DC, included high-power GaN HEMTs with both single and dual field plates, and metal-insulator-semiconductor structures producing very low leakage currents. Richard Stevenson rounds up.
Tuesday 7th February 2006
Alight Technologies is tackling the need for powerful long-wavelength, single-mode VCSELs by marrying its photonic-bandgap technology with Infineon's dilute-nitride platform. Dan Birkedal and Dirk Jessen detail the hybrid design and reveal why it will benefit datacom and telecom networks.
Tuesday 7th February 2006
A new reflectance sensor from LayTec aids LED development and manufacturing by providing in situ strain measurements of the epilayers. Richard Stevenson learns how German start-up Azzurro Semiconductors is using the sensor for GaN-on-silicon growth.
Thursday 12th January 2006
Working at the esteemed department of materials science and metallurgy at the University of Cambridge, UK, Colin Humphreys is arguably the GaN community's most candid researcher. Jon Cartwright visited his laboratory – the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride.
Thursday 12th January 2006
European researchers are developing high-frequency transistors based on a variety of radical technologies to power security-camera systems, probe distant galaxies and boost computer performance. Richard Stevenson investigates.
Thursday 12th January 2006
Already the darling of venture capitalists, the solar energy market has now attracted the attentions of the semiconductor community's biggest equipment supplier. Michael Hatcher finds out exactly where the opportunity for compound semiconductors lies in a sector that is virtually monopolized by silicon.
Wednesday 21st December 2005
The cost of deploying fiber to the premise limits the data rates available to most US businesses. The solution, say Doug Lockie and Don Peck of GigaBeam, is to connect fiber networks to enterprises by millimeter-wave radio transmissions, delivering gigabit-per-second data rates.
Wednesday 21st December 2005
HB-LED manufacturers should concentrate on building relationships with their customers in order to break down the incumbent culture based around the Edison light bulb, say analysts.
Wednesday 21st December 2005
New broadband wireless access protocols could provide a market for GaN transistors before any significant activity from the third-generation cellular business appears, writes Michael Hatcher.
Wednesday 21st December 2005
Designers are exploiting increasingly sophisticated strategies, such as surface roughening and incorporating photonic crystals, to boost efficiency and enhance light output. Susan Curtis reports.
Tuesday 22nd November 2005
The 6 inch GaAs production facility at Filtronic has moved from making monthly losses of $2 million to becoming a near-profitable operation, thanks to huge orders for PHEMT switches from RF Micro Devices. Richard Stevenson visits the Filtronic fab at Newton Aycliffe, UK.
Tuesday 22nd November 2005
Whether it was 40G, tunable lasers or storage-area networking, optical-component vendors were in resurgent mood at the recent European Conference on Optical Communications. Tami Freeman and Joe McEntee conclude that the next year holds many opportunities for innovative suppliers.
Tuesday 22nd November 2005
The Canadian government has invested C$43 million in building a compound semiconductor fabrication facility that it hopes will drive the growth of start-ups and small businesses. Richard Stevenson talks to the facility's director, Sylvain Charbonneau.
Tuesday 22nd November 2005
At September's ICSCRM conference Cree launched 4 inch SiC material, demonstrated how to grow high-quality epitaxial layers in larger multiwafer planetary reactors, and revealed improvements in yield that are produced by reducing basal plane dislocations. Richard Stevenson reports.
Tuesday 22nd November 2005
The high cost of SiC substrates is hampering the commercialization of GaN-based RF devices, while silicon's low-cost platform suffers from inferior thermal conductivity. Silicon-on-polycrystalline-SiC substrates are one alternative, say Picogiga's Jean-Luc Ledys and Soitec's Fabrice Letertre.
Tuesday 22nd November 2005
As the Chinese market for cell phones goes from strength to strength, Michael Hatcher finds out which RF chip suppliers are making inroads into the local Chinese brands and asks whether a recent design win by CMOS power amplifier maker Silicon Laboratories is a sign of things to come.

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