Semiconductor Value Chain

Compound Photonics Acquires GaAs Fab from RF Micro Devices to Expand Laser Production

25 July 2013

Compound Photonics has agreed to acquire Europe's largest gallium arsenide (GaAs) manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, England from RF Micro Devices, Inc., headquartered in Greensboro, NC. The facility will be used to manufacture infrared lasers for its miniature 1080p projectors for mobile devices, ultra high definition 4K projectors and automotive head-up displays.

"Compound Photonics will soon release projector products for mobile devices that are three times brighter and smaller than current state of the art. To achieve these next generation levels of performance we need to vertically integrate the design and manufacture of the entire light engine. This acquisition will bring in-house the manufacturing capabilities for the lasers required to power these engines," said Jonathan A. Sachs, president and CEO of Compound Photonics.

“The skilled and experienced people, the fab with its toolset, supply chain, mature processes, and a track record of high volume production are ready made for our laser production," Sachs added.

Compound Photonics will use the 53-acre site with its 50,000-square-foot GaAs wafer fab to produce green, red and infrared lasers. Compound Photonics receives, in addition to the systems, fabrication equipment, and R&D capabilities, the manufacturing team with experience supplying high-volume components to leading mobile phone manufacturers.

The laser diodes will be used as illumination sources in miniature high definition 1080p projectors for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, as well as ultra high definition 4K projectors and automotive head-up displays. Wavelength stabilized infrared lasers for emerging gesture recognition applications will also be manufactured using wafer scale production methods at Newton Aycliffe.

The Newton Aycliffe facility complements Compound Photonics' 40,000 square-foot semiconductor processing facility in Phoenix, AZ where it manufactures liquid crystal-on-silicon displays and optics systems for its laser projection light engines.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

RF Micro Devices, Inc. this month reported impressive financial results for its fiscal 2014 first quarter, ending June 29, 2013. Quarterly revenue increased approximately 4.4 percent sequentially and 45 percent year-over-year to a record $293.0 million, compared to $280.6 million in the prior quarter and $202.7 million in the corresponding period of fiscal 2013. Both sequential and year-over-year increases in revenue reflected broad-based adoption of RFMD's best-in-class RF solutions, according to the company.

Compound Photonics’ claim to success is having control of the end-to-end process simplifying the supply chain. It has design and business centers in Phoenix, AZ, Vancouver, WA, Madison, WI as well as in the United Kingdom.

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