IP, Reports & Roadmaps | Apr 29, 2017

IQE Subsidiary NanoGaN Acquired Two Separate Patents for Nanocolumn Technology

IQE plc, the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor epitaxial wafer products and wafer services to the semiconductor industry, is pleased to announce that NanoGaN Limited (“NanoGaN”), a wholly owned subsidiary of IQE, has been granted two separate patents in relation to its nanocolumn technology for the production of advanced blue and green lasers and LEDs.

Patent 2008-549935 has been granted by the Japan Patent Office to NanoGaN. The title of the patent is: “growth method using nanostructure compliant layers and HVPE for producing high quality compound semiconductor materials.”
This patent protects the Group's proprietary nanocolumn technology for producing high quality, free-standing gallium nitride substrates, which are critical for manufacturing high quality blue and green semiconductor lasers and ultra high brightness LEDs for Solid State Lighting (“SSL”).

A second patent No.2446471, titled “production of semiconductor devices” has been granted by the UK patent office to protect the manufacturing of semiconductor devices including laser diodes, LEDs and solar cells, directly onto the nanocolumn platform, thus expanding the number and type of substrates that can be used for epitaxy.
The production of advanced blue and green semiconductor lasers and ultra high brightness LEDs requires stable, high quality substrates with minimal crystalline defects such as threading dislocations to increase yield and therefore reduce manufacturing costs.

IQE acquired NanoGaN in October 2009 with the aim of assisting in completing the development of commercial products and thereafter transferring the technology to its high volume production facilities.

IQE’s acquisition of NanoGaN complemented and enhanced IQE’s product portfolio by accelerating the Group’s strategic plans to develop a leadership position in the emerging high growth markets for advanced laser projection, high definition optical storage (including Blue Ray products), high resolution laser printing and SSL for industrial, commercial and residential lighting. It is envisaged that NanoGaN’s core technology may also be used to further enhance IQE’s leading position in the supply of GaN products for high power RF applications.

Professor Wang Nang Wang, founder of NanoGaN Limited and Chief Scientific Adviser to the IQE Board said:

“The granting of these patents covers all of the essential technologies for producing free-standing gallium nitride using our proprietary Hydride Vapour Phase Epitaxy (HVPE) process and nanocolumn growth technique.

Dr. Drew Nelson, Group CEO and President said:
“Continuous innovation is one of IQE’s key attributes that enables the Group to offer its customers the broadest portfolio of leading edge semiconductor technologies available.
“Adding these new patents to our existing portfolios, combined with strong internal practices to protect intellectual property and know how, play a vital role in ensuring IQE’s position as a global leader in the manufacture and supply of advanced semiconductor wafer products for the wireless, optoelectronic and solar industry sectors.”

About IQE:
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, optical storage (CD, DVD), laser optical mouse, laser printers & photocopiers, thermal imagers, leading-edge medical products, barcode, ultra high brightness LEDs, a variety of advanced silicon based systems 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 comprises seven operating facilities located in Cardiff (two), Milton Keynes and Bath in the UK; in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Somerset, New Jersey in the USA; and Singapore. The Group also has 11 sales offices located in major economic centres worldwide.