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Cluster open for business

3 July 2017

CS wafer

The new brand name for the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster will be introduced at Cardiff University this week.

CS Connected unites international businesses, policymakers and academics who are building next-generation technology that can position Wales as a world-leader.

The event uniquely brings together the core elements of the compound semiconductor cluster under the new CS Connected banner.

Enabling this century’s breakthroughs

Silicon technology has been the driving force behind today’s information society, but increasingly, demands for higher performance are reliant on advanced technologies in the form of compound semiconductors, which offer speeds more than 100 times faster, along with a wide range of photonic capabilities.

The world’s leading manufacturer of advanced semiconductor wafers, IQE plc, is headquartered in Cardiff. They are working in partnership with their supply chain, the University, Welsh and UK Government to bridge the so-called ‘Valley of Death’ between R&D and commercial reality.

Significant economic investments are backing a number of initiatives that can translate compound semiconductor research quickly and effectively into commercial products and services.

Together, these groups are making Wales home of the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster, which could generate up to 5,000 high-value jobs.

Effective collaboration

A cluster is a collection of established businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and academic institutions that work together in a particular sector and/or region. They encourage innovation through versatile and effective collaboration.

The University is hosting representatives of the region’s compound semiconductor expertise to show business and academics what CS Connected has to offer, and how the cluster’s different parts can support innovation from fundamental research through to mass production.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Drew Nelson, CEO, IQE plc
  • Professor Diana Huffaker, Director, Institute for Compound Semiconductors
  • Dr Wyn Meredith, Director, Compound Semiconductor Centre Ltd
  • Professor Peter Smowton, Director, EPSRC Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub
  • Dr Andy Sellars, Chief Business Development Officer, Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult.

International interest

Speaking ahead of the event, Professor Huffaker said: “Everything we do at the Institute has commercial realisation in mind. Our compound semiconductor research is designed to be introduced at pace into the production environment, and we seek more direct industrial collaborations through product development and prototyping.

“The regional cluster of excellence ensures our work has a number of avenues for translation..."

"You can’t make an impact on your own – you need partners. Events like this help encourage that.”

Professor Smowton added: “Compound semiconductors are front and centre of this century’s enabling technology. By solving the scientific challenges in developing new compound semiconductor structures, and combining compound semiconductors with silicon, we will build on silicon’s decades of investment and open up still more exciting applications.”

“The international interest in this event shows the appetite that exists for accelerating the translation of compound semiconductor research.”

Professor Peter Smowton Managing Director Institute for Compound Semiconductors

Dr Sellars: “Catapults promote business-led collaboration, helping to translate new ideas into commercial reality. As an integral member of CS Connected, the Catapult complements the other facilities within the South Wales cluster. Our activity will stand to ensure that the ground-breaking technology designed and developed within the cluster, and across the UK, reaches new markets and applications.”

The evening is organised by Cardiff University’s Innovation Network, which has promoted business-university interactions for over two decades. ‘Compound Semiconductor Cluster - open for business’ starts 18:00 at Cardiff University’s Optometry Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4LU. Registration is from 17:30.