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11 July 2016

III-V Lab spin-off Almae takes over Marcoussis facilities

With the re-grouping of teams from III-V Lab (the joint Alcatel-Lucent, Thales and CEA-Leti industrial research laboratory), Almae Technologies SAS is taking over III-V Lab's facilities at Marcoussis, which is sited on the Plateau de Saclay (a long-established and growing high-tech center for materials and optics research in the Paris region).

Almae was spun-off by III-V Lab of Palaiseau, France in October 2015 at the initiative of one of the directors of III-V Lab and two managers of InPACT of Pomblière, France, which manufactures indium phosphide (InP) single-crystal wafers. In February, the firm received a capital input from "a major player in the photonic components industry". Almae will use the epitaxial reactors and nanolithography equipment validated by III-V Lab to begin production of III-V semiconductor wafers for the telecoms market.

With over 2000m2 of cleanrooms, Almae will have an annual full production capacity of several thousand wafers including for new-generation laser components supporting very high-speed access over optical fiber.
Along with acquiring the equipment, Almae will benefit from a technology transfer from III-V Lab, including operational support from its R&D teams in laser design, fabrication and characterization. The technology transfer should enable the start-up to rapidly achieve industrial scale and to develop products that meet the growing demand globally for III-V-based laser materials.

The deal with Almae "brings to market more than 10 years of research work on access photonics, strengthens our position as a technology leader in the field of laser applications for telecoms, and demonstrates the value of our model of an innovative, open industrial laboratory," comments III-V Lab's  president François Luc.

Almae designs and produces InP epiwafers used to implement photonics circuits integrating semiconductor lasers, made possible by licensing a portfolio of patents from Nokia. This involves technology developed by III-V Lab for growing materials with atomic-scale control. This 'buried strip' laser technology consists of covering the semiconductor strip constituting the laser with an electrical insulator material with sub-micron precision, enabling good thermal exchange and optimum optical guidance of the beam. This technique enhances the implementation, stability and performance of integrated lasers. A range of products operating at data transmission rates up to 25Gb/s is in development. 

"The photonic technologies developed by Nokia Bell Labs and III-V Lab will now be applied by Almae Technologies in the creation of semiconductor wafers for the telecommunications industry," says Jean-Luc Beylat, president of Nokia Bell Labs France. "Many of these optical technologies are at the core of next-generation networks, including 5G. They will provide the greater speed and processing required to meet the needs of a fully mobile and connected society while consuming less power. Almae Technologies will also provide a reliable industrial supply chain for our innovations going forward," he adds.

The agreement with III-V Lab "will enable Almae Technologies to develop its epitaxial wafer manufacturing business on an industrial scale, along with high-added-value services in collaboration with InPACT, a III-V Lab partner for 10 years, while positioning Almae as a major player in the field of photonic integrated circuits," reckons Almae's founder & CEO Jean-Louis Gentner. "This new R&D and industrial production activity will contribute to the dynamism of the ecosystem of the Saclay plateau technology region by creating value and highly skilled jobs in the growing sector of photonics applied to telecommunications."

Tags: CEA-Leti III-V lab

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