Wafer supplier IQE buys GaN materials firm

October 7, 2009 – IQE plc has agreed to acquire UK compatriot NanoGaN, which offers processes and IP related to gallium nitride (GaN) materials and devices, for approximately £0.4M, but could increase to £3.6M pending performance goals.

The deal widens IQE’s portfolio into high-growth markets such as laser projection, optical storage (e.g., BlueRay), laser printing, and solid-state lighting — high-brightness LEDs and solid-state lighting, for instance, use GaN substrate-based blue and green semiconductor lasers. NanoGaN’s technology also will bolster IQE’s footprint in high-power RF applications.

IQE — already an epitaxial materials supplier to NanoGaN, a Bath University-spinoff — says it will help complete development of commercial products and transfer NanoGaN’s Nanocolumn technology to its own high-volume production facilities, with sales expected to start in 2010. IQE has six manufacturing facilities spanning the UK, US, and Singapore.

"The acquisition of NanoGaN represents a major milestone in our technology roadmap, and reinforces our strategy of being a powerful IP based technology leader in the supply of advanced semiconductor materials to a multitude of high growth markets," said Drew Nelson, IQE CEO, in a statement, adding that NanoGaN "provides a perfect complement to our existing wireless and opto, and emerging solar businesses."

NanoGaN CEO Wang Nang Wan, newly appointed chief scientific advisor to IQE, noted that the deal "represents a unique opportunity for the commercializing of NanoGaN’s world leading technology and cements our long term relationship with IQE."


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