The EPSRC Manufacturing Hub in Compound Semiconductors addresses the need to integrate CS and silicon (Si) manufacturing, apply the manufacturing advances made in one type of CS across the different families of CSs and combine these different CSs for optimum functionality.
ICS and CSC
The Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS), which essentially has academic functions and fabrication facilities, and Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC), which leads on translation and has growth facilities, are £80M Cardiff University and Welsh Government initiatives supporting a strategy to generate a major UK CS manufacturing cluster in South Wales. These European leading facilities include a full 200mm (8″) CS on Si wafer process line and closely related smaller scale fabrication tools, with common operating principles and maintenance arrangements enabling the most effective translation of the envisaged research to manufacturing.
The Hub remains an active and founding member of the CS Cluster in South Wales. CSconnected is the formal gateway to the Cluster which represents organisations directly associated with research, development, innovation and manufacturing of compound semiconductor related technologies, as well as organisations along the supply chains whose products and services are enabled by compound semiconductors.
Other members of CSconnected include core partners, the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS, Cardiff University), the Compound Semiconductor Centre Ltd (CSC), the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult and the Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM, Swansea University). These are joined by business partners IQE plc, SPTS, Microchip, and Newport Wafer Fab. Together we complete the supply chain for brining new CS discoveries to market. The development of the CSconnected brings us closer to achieving our mission of “establishing the UK as the primary global CS research and manufacturing hub”
CCR City Deal
Significant investment (£37.9m) from the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal has enabled Cluster members, IQE plc to develop a new high-tech facility in Newport. This has generated employment for a number of highly skilled engineers and technicians.
CS Applications Catapult
In 2018, the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult opened an impressive Innovation Centre, which is co-located with IQE in Newport, South Wales. The state-of-the-art building houses a design studio, laboratories and test facilities for power electronics, photonics and RF, supported by simulation and modelling tools and an advanced packaging facility. CSA Catapult currently employs 87 highly qualified staff, with many educated to PhD level. The organisation is focused on bringing compound semiconductor applications to life in three key areas: the road to Net Zero, future telecoms and intelligent sensing, and helps companies develop new products using compound semiconductors.
They are currently working on collaborative projects valued at £224m with 84 academic partners, 180 industrial collaborations and 10 international partners. CS Catapult have created or safeguarded 4770 jobs, including nearly 100 directly employed. Over ten years, the activities of the Catapult are forecast to generate over £500m gross value add to the UK economy, as the companies they are working with grow their businesses.
UKRI Strength In Places
CSconnected led a successful £43m bid to develop a CS powerhouse in South Wales. The 55-month project started in November 2020 with government funding of £25 million provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) and the balance of investments provided by project partners. Led by Cardiff University, it is building on regional strengths in advanced semiconductor materials and manufacturing. It will help South Wales’ compound semiconductor industry to create 3,000 jobs by 2025, increase its direct contribution to the local economy to £265m per year, and improve skills among local people. It will also give the UK a global advantage in technology for sectors such as 5G communications and autonomous vehicles.
The winning consortium connects Cardiff University, Swansea University, a range of key regional industrial partners including IQE, SPTS, Newport Wafer Fab (NWF), Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, Welsh Government and UK Government’s Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult. The Strength in Places funding will help CSconnected bring together combined public and private sector investment to build the CSconnected and wider supply chain, grow new companies and create high value jobs, innovation programmes and investment in skills.
The winning consortium connects Cardiff University, Swansea University, a range of key regional industrial partners including IQE, SPTS, Newport Wafer Fab (NWF), Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, Welsh Government and UK Government’s Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult. Key collaborative research and development (CRD) programmes include:
- Next generation optical communications and sensing
- Large Scale GaAs-based wafer manufacturing
- Novel and efficient CS Wafer Fabrication Tools
- Advanced processes for 5G and EAV systems.
In addition to these four CRD programmes, the Strength in Places funding will help CS bring together combined public and private sector investment to build the CSconnected and wider supply chain, grow new companies and create high value jobs, innovation programmes and investment in skills.