IQE plc : Key CPV Solar Technology Process Transfer milestones completed - commercial production on track for 2013
(Thomson Reuters ONE via COMTEX) --
Cardiff, UK. 6 December 2012. IQE plc (AIM: IQE, "IQE" or the "Group"), the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and services to the semiconductor industry, today announces the achievement of several key technology transfer milestones that represent highly significant progress in its commercial relationship with Solar Junction.
In February 2012, IQE announced an exclusive manufacturing and technology transfer agreement with Solar Junction and laid out a series of milestones. These milestones were designed to culminate in the delivery of full 3Junction (3J) structures to Solar Junction based on successful installation and commissioning of customized production scale MBE tools, and subsequent technology transfer from Solar Junction. Completion of this was planned for the fourth quarter of 2012.
IQE and Solar Junction are pleased to announce the successful completion of these milestones and the delivery of full 3J wafers using the transferred process to Solar Junction. Commercial production is expected to begin in the first half of 2013, initially with customer product qualification quantities, moving to volume production in the second half of the year.
Independently, Solar Junction has successfully qualified its cells to full IEC specifications with several customers, and is strongly engaged with all leading CPV systems houses.
Dr Drew Nelson, IQE Chief Executive, said:
"Our deal with Solar Junction earlier this year will significantly accelerate our well established CPV strategy and position us to become the key epiwafer supplier to the CPV market. The combination of Solar Junction's core materials IP and technology, with its recently improved world record efficiencies of 44%, together with our own IP and manufacturing capabilities, provides a compelling route to significantly higher cell efficiency and cost effective, high volume production for the CPV industry.
"That combination is now all but complete and we are on track to move to commercial volume production during 2013.
"As we approach the end of our financial year, we are also confident that we will meet our earnings expectations. The transformational deals completed with Solar Junction and RFMD earlier this year are highly complementary and position the Group for accelerating growth in rapidly expanding markets."
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Note to Editors
IQE is the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafers with products that cover a diverse range of applications, supported by an innovative outsourced foundry services portfolio that allows the Group to provide a 'one stop shop' for the wafer needs of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers.
IQE uses advanced crystal growth technology (epitaxy) to manufacture and supply bespoke semiconductor wafers ('epi-wafers') to the major chip manufacturing companies, who then use these wafers to make the chips which form the key components of virtually all high technology systems. IQE is unique in being able to supply wafers using all of the leading crystal growth technology platforms.
IQE's products are found in many leading-edge consumer, communication, computing and industrial applications, including a complete range of wafer products for the wireless industry, such as mobile handsets and wireless infrastructure, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, base stations, GPS, and satellite communications; optical communications. The Group also manufactures advanced optoelectronic and photonic components such as semiconductor lasers, vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) and optical sensors for a wide range of applications including optical storage (CD, DVD, BluRay), thermal imaging, leading-edge medical products, pico-projection, finger navigation ultra-high brightness LEDs, and high efficiency concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar cells.
The manufacturers of these chips are increasingly seeking to outsource wafer production to specialist foundries such as IQE in order to reduce overall wafer costs and accelerate time to market.
IQE also provides bespoke R&D services to deliver customised materials for specific applications and offers specialist technical staff to manufacture to specification either at its own facilities or on the customer's own sites. The Group is also able to leverage its global purchasing volumes to reduce the cost of raw materials. In this way, IQE's outsourced services, provide compelling benefits in terms of flexibility and predictability of cost, thereby significantly reducing operating risk.
IQE operates nine facilities located in Cardiff (two), Milton Keynes and Bath in the UK; in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Somerset, New Jersey, Greensboro, North Carolina and Spokane, Washington in the USA; and Singapore. The Group also has 11 sales offices located in major economic centres worldwide.
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Source: IQE plc via Thomson Reuters ONE
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