The new brand name for what is said to be the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster is being introduced in an event on 5 July at Cardiff University, Wales, UK (organized by its Innovation Network, which promotes business-university interaction). Bringing together the core elements of the compound semiconductor cluster, the new banner ‘CS Connected’ unites international businesses, policymakers and academics who are building next-generation technology.
Silicon technology has been the driving force behind today’s information society but, increasingly, demands for higher performance are reliant on advanced technologies in the form of compound semiconductors, offering speeds more than 100 times faster, along with a wide range of photonic capabilities.
Cardiff-based epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc is working in partnership with its supply chain, the Cardiff University, and Welsh and UK Government to bridge the so-called ‘Valley of Death’ between R&D and commercial reality.
Significant economic investments are backing a number of initiatives that can translate compound semiconductor research quickly and effectively into commercial products and services. Together, these groups are making Wales home of the first compound semiconductor cluster, which could generate up to 5000 high-value jobs, it is reckoned.
As a collection of established businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs and academic institutions working together in a particular sector and/or region, the aim of such a cluster is to encourage innovation through versatile and effective collaboration. Cardiff University is hence hosting representatives of the region’s compound semiconductor expertise to show business and academics what CS Connected has to offer, and how the cluster’s different parts can support innovation from fundamental research through to mass production.
- Dr Drew Nelson (CEO of IQE);
- professor Diana Huffaker (director, Institute for Compound Semiconductors);
- Dr Wyn Meredith (director, Compound Semiconductor Centre Ltd);
- professor Peter Smowton (director, EPSRC Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub); and
- Dr Andy Sellars (Innovate UK High Value Manufacturing lead, Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult).
“Everything we do at the Institute [for Compound Semiconductors] has commercial realization in mind. Our compound semiconductor research is designed to be introduced at pace into the production environment, and we seek more direct industrial collaborations through product development and prototyping,” notes Huffaker. “The regional cluster of excellence ensures our work has a number of avenues for translation… You can’t make an impact on your own – you need partners. Events like this help encourage that,” she adds.
“Compound semiconductors are front and centre of this century’s enabling technology. By solving the scientific challenges in developing new compound semiconductor structures, and combining compound semiconductors with silicon, we will build on silicon’s decades of investment and open up still more exciting applications,” says Smowton. “The international interest in this event shows the appetite that exists for accelerating the translation of compound semiconductor research,” he adds.
“Catapults promote business-led collaboration, helping to translate new ideas into commercial reality,” states Sellars. “As an integral member of CS Connected, the Catapult complements the other facilities within the South Wales cluster. Our activity will stand to ensure that the ground-breaking technology designed and developed within the cluster, and across the UK, reaches new markets and applications.”
The event ‘Compound Semiconductor Cluster – open for business’ starts at 18:00 at Cardiff University’s Optometry Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4LU. Registration is from 17:30.