IQE acquires fully fitted cleanroom in the US
IQE, a supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and services, is to acquire the in-house MBE epi-wafer manufacturing unit of RF Micro Devices, Inc (RFMD) headquartered in the US. The deal provides Cardiff-based IQE with a fully furnished epi manufacturing plant, including 16 operational MBE tools.
The assets being transferred to IQE include a fully-fitted cleanroom of over 90,000 ft2, 16 MBE manufacturing systems and equipment, all housed in a 135,000 ft2 stand-alone building in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The value of the transferred assets is approximately US$27 m. The local management and employees for the unit (consisting of 70 people) will also transfer directly to IQE.
There will be no upfront cash outlay for the transfer of the assets. In exchange for the assets, the parties have agreed to a long term wafer supply agreement with a minimum purchase commitment of $55m over the first two years, whereby IQE will supply all MBE wafer requirements and a majority of RFMD’s MOCVD wafer requirements under a discounted pricing arrangement.
IQE intends to use unallocated capacity from this facility to rapidly accelerate its wafer supply to meet the growing demand for CPV Solar products.
In the UK, meanwhile, the company has enhanced wafer inspection capabilities at its Cardiff facility with the acquisition of a new automated wafer inspection tool supplied by Ohio based Nanotronics Imaging.
The nSPEC tool enhances existing manual microscopy inspection by allowing automated loading and scanning of III-V semiconductor wafer products. The tool has built in intelligence to enable repeatable and quantifiable object recognition to identify, categorize and record wafer features in real-time.
Eliot Parkinson, general manager of IQE’s III-V manufacturing facility in Cardiff said: “The new automated inspection system offers a compelling alternative to manual microscope inspection, with greater repeatability and significantly reduced chance of human error.”
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