Kaiam buys UK wafer fab to make photonic ICs

Kaiam buys UK wafer fab to make photonic ICs

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The value of the transaction was not disclosed but as part of the deal Compound Photonics, which has said it no longer needs the plant, would become a “significant” shareholder in Kaiam.

Kaiam, founded in 2008, already has a significant manufacturing operation in Livingston, Scotland. Kaiam acquired Gemfire in 2013 and currently operates a 200mm-diameter wafer silica-on-silicon line making integrated optical components there. It also operates 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s optical packaging lines in that facility that are close to capacity due to increased demand.

The 300,000 square foot wafer fab at Newton Aycliffe will allow Kaiam to expand its silica-on-silicon and transceiver manufacturing, and provides the means to add integrated InP photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for advanced transceivers.

The fab was originally constructed as  a DRAM wafer fab by Fujitsu Microelectronics in the 1990s.The fab was converted to compound semiconductor production by new owner Filtronic before being acquired by RF Micro Devices Inc. who sold it to Compound Photonics.

The manufacturing space will enable expansion of Kaiam’s manufacture of datacommunications transceivers as well as processing of III-V devices such as pHEMTs, HBTs, photodetectors and lasers.

“Our optical integration technology is based on MEMS-assisted assembly of different materials and components,” said Bardia Pezeshki, Kaiam’s CEO, in a statement. “We already have advanced integration in silica-on-silicon for manipulating light. In the future, with new modulation formats and increased speed, one also needs integration in the InP for generating, modulating, and detecting light. By using our unique hybrid integrated technology for combining silica-on-silicon PICs and InP PICs, we get the best of all worlds.”

The agreement is subject to final approvals, but is expected to close in the coming quarter.

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