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21 June 2018

Cardiff University opens refurbished £4m cleanroom at Institute for Compound Semiconductors

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

In the presence of Welsh Government’s Economy Secretary Ken Skates and local business leaders, Cardiff University has opened the new refurbished £4m cleanroom at the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS), which assists businesses across South Wales as part of CS Connected – the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster.

Sited in the university’s Queen’s Building, the 225m2 cleanroom has undergone a £600,000 refit to improve room conditioning in preparation for new equipment.

In addition, with support from both the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Welsh Government via European Regional Development Funds totalling £3.3m, ICS has invested in new equipment to bring online a small area dedicated to 6-inch fabrication capability.

ICS will see further improvements, including laboratory space and an increased 8-inch fabrication capability, when it moves into the new Translational Research Facility on Maindy Road (part of Cardiff Innovation Campus).

“The ICS cleanroom is an outstanding example of a leading-edge facility being developed with Welsh Government support,” said Skates. “The project helps to bridge the gap between research and commercial solutions, taking ideas from the lab bench into our boardrooms and on to the shop floors of companies across Wales, so that the economic benefits are felt in communities across Wales. It is encouraging exactly the kind of cutting-edge innovation and technology that Wales needs in order to compete globally and thrive,” he adds.

“The Institute for Compound Semiconductors provides cutting-edge facilities that help researchers and industry work together to translate the science into a commercial production environment, and the cleanroom is a critical part of that,” stated professor Peter Smowton, ICS director. “The EPSRC funding allows ICS and its partner companies to continue to develop technology that enables emerging trends, such as self-drive vehicles and 5G communications.”

ICS turns its laboratory research into products and services by working with commercial partners, along with the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) – a joint business venture founded in 2015 with Cardiff-based epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc that forms part of CS Connected.

“The upgrade and new equipment has transformed the ICS cleanroom into a robust, fit-for-purpose facility that is well placed to meet the requirements of academic-driven research projects and also meet the demands of our commercial customers and project partners,” states cleanroom manager Dr Angela Sobiesierski.

See related items:

Councils in Cardiff Capital Region investing £37.9m to establish compound semiconductor foundry

Cardiff University's Institute for Compound Semiconductors receives £13m EU funding

IQE and Cardiff University to help spearhead £50m UK Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult

CSC formally launched as first compound semiconductor cluster

Tags: Power electronics RF power semiconductors Photonics IQE

Visit: www.cardiff.ac.uk/institute-compound-semiconductors/industry/facilities

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