Fiberoptics Industry Report

Cree to buy GaN substrate business from ATM; Fujitsu and Sumitomo form joint venture; Bookham opens European InP wafer fab; MORE...

Cree to buy GaN substrate business from ATM

Cree (Durham, NC) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the gallium nitride (GaN) substrate and epitaxy business of Advanced Technology Materials (Danbury, CT) through an asset purchase transaction. Under terms of the agreement, Cree will purchase the assets of the business, including related intellectual property, fixed assets, and inventory, in exchange for cash. The parties anticipate that the deal will close during the fourth quarter of Cree's fiscal year, which ends in June.

In related news, Cree and Boston University (BU; Boston, MA) reached a settlement with AXT (Fremont, CA) in the patent-infringement lawsuit brought against AXT last June for infringement of U.S. Patent 5,686,738. The patent, which Cree licenses from BU on an exclusive basis, relates to technology developed by Boston University professor Theodore Moustakas directed to GaN-based buffer layers used with sapphire and other substrates. Cree and the University alleged infringement based on light-emitting diodes previously manufactured by AXT, and AXT asserted various counterclaims. The parties have agreed to dismissal of all claims and counterclaims. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Fujitsu and Sumitomo form joint venture

Fujitsu Quantum Devices and the Electron Device Department of Sumitomo Electric Industries have consolidated their compound-semiconductor device businesses into a joint venture company, Eudyna Devices (San Jose, CA). Eudyna Devices will develop, manufacture, and sell a variety of compound-semiconductor devices for use in the data communications and telecommunications industry.

The commercial application of compound-semiconductor devices is still expanding from its traditional telecommunications infrastructure market into more high-growth prospects such as access optical network, mobile handsets and digital home appliances, fiber to the premises, and enterprise applications, including wireless LAN. Specific products will include devices for fiberoptic digital telecommunications applications in the 622-Mbit/s to 40-Gbit/s range (laser diodes, receiver modules, GaAs ICs, LN modulators, XFPs, SFPs, and 300-pin MSA transponders), and analog lasers for CATV applications (broadcast and return path).

The chairman and CEO of Eudyna Devices is Masumi Fukuta (former president of Fujitsu Quantum Devices) and the president and COO is Nobuo Shiga (former Manager of Electron Device Department, Sumitomo Electric Industries). Capitalization is 19,500 million yen (US$188 million) and ownership is 50% Fujitsu, 50% Sumitomo Electric Industries. Eudyna Devices USA (formerly Fujitsu Compound Semiconductor) is headquartered in San Jose, CA, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eudyna Devices, serving as the company's North American sales, service, and design facility.

Bookham opens European InP wafer fab

Bookham Technology has formally opened its expanded wafer fab facility in Caswell, England. The enlarged facility includes what the company says is the only 3-in. indium phosphide (InP) wafer fab in Europe. The facility also houses a 2-in. InP fab line and 6-in. and 3-in. GaAs fab lines. The InP wafer fab was transferred to Caswell from Ottawa, Canada, following Bookham's acquisition of Nortel Networks' Optical Components' business. The Ottawa-Caswell consolidation was planned for completion in the fourth quarter 2003 and was achieved four months ahead of target. All products from the facility are on schedule for full qualification by May 2004. Bookham's major customers have already received and approved products from the U.K. plant.

The Caswell site has a history of 60 years of pioneering research and production. The first laboratories were built by Plessey in 1940 and by 1951 the first pure silicon plant was established on site. Caswell made a breakthrough in 1963 with the invention of an epitaxial growth process for pure GaAs which was soon adopted worldwide. In the same year, Plessey began making simple p-n junction IR emitters with integral immersion optics at Caswell.

Also in the news . . .

Sacher Lasertechnik (Buena Park, CA) and GWU-Lasertechnik (Erftstadt, Germany) have signed an exclusive agreement for the distribution of optical parametric oscillators (OPOs) in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. GWU-Lasertechnik manufactures OPOs, frequency converters, and parts and components for DPSS lasers. . . . Polychromix (Wilmington, MA) has moved into larger headquarters and an expanded manufacturing facility in Wilmington. The new facility is intended to meet the growing demand from optical networking equipment makers and subsystem integrators for the Polychromix Dynamic Channel Orchestrator platform.

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