November 14, 2001 – Austin, TX – Motorola Inc. has taken steps to commercialize its compound semiconductor-on-silicon technology by creating a focused business unit and wholly owned subsidiary, Thoughtbeam Inc.
Thoughtbeam launches operations with a management team led by Padmasree Warrior, corporate VP, Motorola Inc., as the general manager. Warrior was previously CTO and director of the 1,100 member central R&D organization for Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector.
“Padmasree has over 17 years experience in all aspects of the semiconductor industry, including manufacturing, technology transfer, new product introduction, and research. She is well recognized in the industry and we are pleased that she will lead Thoughtbeam,” said Edward D. Breen, president of the Networks Sector and president- and COO-elect of Motorola. Warrior reports to Breen.
Motorola also announced that it has signed its first licensing agreement for production of gallium arsenide (GaAs)-on-silicon wafers with IQE Plc., a dedicated manufacturer of outsourced epitaxial wafers and services.
“This is beyond fascinating research,” said Jeremy Donovan of Gartner Group/Dataquest. “The company has already demonstrated in its internal research that chips made with the process work in cell phones and has gotten well down the path of developing the data needed for mass manufacturing.”
“This breakthrough technology has the potential to benefit multiple industries, from semiconductors to communications to optoelectronics, and we plan to license it broadly,” said Warrior. “The next step is to ensure that a supply of GaAs-on -silicon wafers is made available to potential customers for their internal evaluation. So, in addition to the commercial license, we have also now authorized IQE to produce and supply GaAs-on-silicon wafers for our Evaluation Program.”
IQE anticipates that it can begin supplying evaluation wafers in the first half of 2002. The evaluation program is intended to accelerate the learning curve for the industry on this breakthrough technology. It will enable potential customers to assess the technology and gather their own information as a pre-cursor to target new designs, re-map existing products and explore other new options.
In order to support IQE’s efforts to commercialize the technology, Motorola has committed to invest $10 million in connection with IQE’s upcoming equity financing. In connection with the financing, which is subject to customary regulatory and other approvals, IQE will also grant share warrants to Motorola.
The technology, developed by Motorola Labs, successfully combines the best properties of workhorse silicon technology with the speed and optical capabilities of high-performance compound semiconductors that are known as the III-V materials.
The technology is expected to open the door to significantly less expensive optical communications, high-frequency radio devices and high-speed microprocessor-based subsystems by potentially eliminating the current cost barriers holding back many advanced applications. For consumers, the technology should result in smarter electronic products that cost less, perform better and have exciting new features. The technology will change the economics and accelerate the development of new applications, such as broadband “fiber” cable to the home, streaming video to cell phones and automotive collision avoidance systems.
The discovery also specifically impacts the semiconductor industry by its potential for:
* Increasing substrate size, reducing substrate cost and processing costs
* III-V manufacturing
* Integrating the superior electrical and optical performance of III-V semiconductors with mature silicon technology to create a new industry based on Integrated Semiconductor Circuits
* Extending the life of silicon and existing capital investments
* Improving cost effectiveness for higher performance applications such as optical communications
* Enabling larger scales of integration
Motorola has filed more than 280 patent applications on inventions related to this new technology.