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AmberWave Partners with IQE plc for World's First High-Volume Production of 200 mm Strained Silicon Epiwafers.

Business/Technology Editors

SALEM, N.H.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 13, 2002

Strategic Partnership Enables Cost Effective Advancements in Digital, Wireless and Photonic Applications Based on Strained Silicon Epiwafers

AmberWave Systems Corporation, the global leader in advanced semiconductor intellectual property (IP), today announced it has partnered with IQE Silicon Compounds Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of IQE plc (LSE: IQE.L),the world's largest outsource manufacturer of epitaxial wafers and services, for the high-volume production of epiwafers based on AmberWave's proprietary (epsilon)MOS(TM) strained silicon technology. Under the terms of the agreement, AmberWave has licensed its Generation 1 strained silicon technology to IQE's Silicon Compounds division for the production of 200 mm wafers. AmberWave's worldwide licensee base will have immediate access to these wafers for use in next-generation digital, wireless and optoelectronic applications.

This partnership addresses the semiconductor industry's key challenge of minimizing capital expenditure while simultaneously increasing speed and reducing power in commercial integrated circuits (ICs). Historically, as foundries, IDMs and fabless organizations become limited by the constraints of silicon technology, the industry is forced to build new fabs at the next-generation process node (gate length). According to Pathfinder Research, this endeavor cost in excess of $62 billion in 2000. AmberWave's strained silicon technology uses the cost-effective silicon infrastructure already in place throughout the industry, so no additional capital investment is necessary. Working together, AmberWave and IQE plc offer the semiconductor industry immediate and cost-effective access to epiwafers that will increase speed and reduce power in conventional CMOS, enabling tremendous advancements in digital, wireless and optoelectronic applications.

Dr. Drew Nelson, President and CEO of IQE plc, commented, "We are excited to be working with AmberWave to roll out commercial product based on AmberWave's strained silicon platform. As the strained silicon pioneer, AmberWave has developed and patented a new roadmap for the industry that enhances CMOS performance without changing the existing silicon infrastructure. This is the solution the industry has been searching for, and we're thrilled to work with AmberWave to deliver it."

IQE plc will utilize AmberWave's technology to produce high volumes of strained silicon wafers that are suitable for high volume, highly integrated applications, such as today's microprocessors and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Growing the kinds of silicon germanium (SiGe) graded layers required to produce strained silicon typically poses a crosshatching problem that results in surface defects on the wafer. AmberWave has overcome this problem by incorporating a chemical mechanical polishing step (CMP) in the middle of the epitaxial growth process. The patented technique makes possible grading of the epitaxial layer from 100 percent silicon to 100 percent germanium, a process exclusive to AmberWave that will ultimately enable speed and power improvements previously thought impossible based on the silicon infrastructure.

"IQE's Silicon Compounds division is Europe's first fully flexible, dedicated outsource service for silicon based epitaxial structures, and is an ideal partner for us because it takes our intellectual property position and moves it into global high-volume production," said Mark Wolf, President and CEO of AmberWave Systems. "Working together, we are committed to providing the global semiconductor industry with a new silicon roadmap that will speed past the constraints of current silicon technology."

AmberWave (epsilon)MOS(TM)

AmberWave's (epsilon)MOS(TM) strained silicon technology leverages many years of advanced materials development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as the process, device and circuit experience of AmberWave's brilliant technical team. With five issued patents and roughly 100 patent applications pending, AmberWave's (epsilon)MOS(TM) technology eliminates the surface quality and defect problems that plague other strained silicon technologies. A silicon layer is grown on top of a graded silicon germanium layer, which is itself grown on top of a normal silicon substrate. This thin, top layer of silicon will modify its lattice structure to conform to the top-most silicon germanium layer, becoming stretched--or strained--and increasing the mobility of electrons and holes in the material. (epsilon)MOS(TM) devices have already exhibited electron and hole mobility enhancement factors of between 1.5 and 2.2 over conventional silicon.

About IQE

IQE Silicon Compounds Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of IQE plc (LSE: IQE.L, NASDAQ EUROPE: IQEP), the leading global outsource supplier of advanced epiwafers to the Semiconductor Industry with manufacturing operations in the UK and USA. The Silicon Compounds division was established in November 2000 at a brownfield site in Cardiff, UK to offer Europe's first fully flexible, dedicated outsource services for silicon based epitaxial structures. In addition to the range of state of the art ASM CVD epitaxial structure deposition reactors, the facility in Cardiff includes a class 1 cleanroom equipped with the very latest in wafer preparation and characterization tools. The Silicon Compounds business unit focuses on providing provide a high quality, sub-contract epitaxial deposition service, specializing in high technology inter-layer epitaxial films, principally for Silicon Germanium (SiGe) and high-end Bi-CMOS semiconductor processes

About AmberWave Systems Corporation

Based in Salem, NH, AmberWave Systems Corporation is a privately held, venture-financed company that is redefining the silicon roadmap. Launching from its strained silicon (epsilon)MOS(TM) platform, AmberWave propels its partners beyond the constraints of current silicon technology to leverage its innovative roadmap for both today and tomorrow. Led by a team of engineers and executives combining more than 95 man years of expertise developing silicon germanium (SiGe) technology with strategic business know-how, AmberWave is well-positioned to redefine the silicon roadmap and open the door for future generations of wireless, electronic and optical applications. With strong financial support from Adams Capital, Arch Venture Partners, TeleSoft Partners, Dow Chemical and The Hillman Company, AmberWave has received almost $50 million in funding. More information on the company and its technology can be found at
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 13, 2002
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