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CSC, CST Global and Swansea University collaborate on semiconductor product development

03rd June 2019

The Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) is pleased to announce the award of European Funding support through the Avenues of Commercialisation for Nano and Micro Technologies (ACNM) Operation. This funding will support collaborative development activity at Swansea University to scale-up novel Compound Semiconductor device fabrication processes to deliver multiple new products.

The first project builds on a collaboration between CSC, Cardiff University, CST Global (Glasgow) and Swansea University to develop a low cost, high specification semiconductor laser chip manufacturing platform utilising Substrate Conformal Imprint Lithography (SCIL), developed at The Centre for NanoHealth (CNH). Previous work, funded by InnovateUK, demonstrated a proof of concept of a Distributed Feedback (DFB) diode laser manufacturing platform which delivered a 30% cost reduction in wafer scale manufacturing costs, without any trade-off in the laser performance. ACNM funding will now progress commercialisation of new foundry products by increasing the on-wafer yield of the SCIL-based process and scale-up from a 3” to a 4” epitaxial wafer platform. Applications for lasers include Fibre to the Premises, high capacity optical communications links in datacentres, and coherent sources for trace gas sensing.

The second project aims to develop a high volume, chip-scale packaging concept for integration of compound semiconductor devices on flexible substrates. Printed conductive track processes developed at The Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) will be used to deliver wire-bond free, conformal interconnects to Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) devices. Applications for new products range from the integration of GaAs sensors into SMART Gaskets capable of monitoring high pressure (50MPa) environments in critical pipework joints, through to the low-cost assembly of LEDs into flexible wearable products for the cosmetic and healthcare markets, and flexible, large area, LED displays.

About the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC)

The Compound Semiconductor Centre was founded in 2015 as a Joint Venture between Cardiff University and IQE Plc, with the mission of accelerating commercialisation of Compound Semiconductor Materials and Device Research and realising a tangible economic return on the UK investment in this key area of enabling technology. Based in Cardiff, the Centre is a vital milestone towards developing a World-class Compound Semiconductor cluster in South Wales.

About CST Global Ltd

CST Global is an independent, volume-producer of III-V compound semiconductors for the fabrication of photonics products. CST Global provides both a custom foundry service and a range of high-volume, standard laser products for the optical communications markets. CST Global is an active partner in the UK and European, Technology Consortium Programme. CST Global works with leading companies around the world in the Telecommunications, PON, Industrial, Defence and Healthcare markets.

About ACNM

The Avenues of Commercialisation for Nano and Micro technologies (ACNM) Operation is a 3-year, £3.3 million project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Welsh Government. The ACNM Operation is delivering against ERDF Priority Axis 1, Specific Objective 1.2. The aim of this objective is: “to increase the successful translation of research and innovation processes into commercial products, processes and services, in particular through improved technology transfer from HEIs.”  The specific aim for ACNM is to provide targeted expertise, for the East Wales region, in nano and micro technologies applied to high value industries such as life science, healthcare, biomedical, printed functional materials, packaging, semiconductors, advanced manufacturing, high value manufacturing and associated industries, and is being delivered by collaboration between the Centre for NanoHealth (CNH) and the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) at Swansea University and the Institute of Compound Semiconductors (ICS) at Cardiff University.

About the CNH

The Centre for NanoHealth (CNH) is a multidisciplinary RTD centre driving innovations in healthcare and other nano/micro technology enabled applications. The £10M centre opened in 2012 and encompasses researchers from Engineering, Medicine & Science working together in a multidisciplinary facility with clean rooms, characterisation, bio imaging & wet lab facilities integrated within a cat 2 environment. Integrated into the Institute of Life Science 2 building, on NHS land adjoining Swansea Universities Park Campus, with clinical research unit, patient imaging, and company incubation, the CNH provides open access for collaboration with Industry and has delivered over a hundred collaborative projects with Industry. The CNH operation is run as University Major Research Facility backed by core funding, along with funds from industry and research grants. The nano and micro fabrication facility within CNH is fully equipped for semiconductor device & MEMS fabrication. Areas of expertise include design & fabrication of nano & micro sensors; micro-needle design & development; application specific dielectric film process development; integration of nano & micro structures; graphene sensors; design, fabrication & characterisation of silicon & metal oxide nano structures; and application specific nano-imprint lithography process development.

About the WCPC

The Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) is located within Swansea University, in Swansea, South Wales and based on the magnificent 65-acre Swansea University Bay Campus. The WCPC is one of the world’s leading centres for research and development of printing and coating processes with expertise in screen flexographic, lithographic, rotogravure, digital, pad printing and 3D printing processes.  It is also a world leader in the modelling of the print process, using techniques such as finite element, finite difference and statistical and neural networks. In the field of printed electronics, the WCPC has been recognised as one of only five centres of excellence for plastic electronics in the whole of the UK, a centre with unique knowledge and facilities for additive processing through printing. The Centre actively engages with companies, other academic institutions, commercial research organisations and Not-For-Profit organisations and has undertaken hundreds of collaborative projects. The majority of our collaborative projects have been with Small–Medium Enterprises (SME), supported through public and private funding. Many of these organisations have developed long-term working relationships with the WCPC and partnered with us on multiple projects.

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