MOTOROLA, Inc., a global leader in embedded electronic solutions with $ 37.6-billion of annual sales, announced that Motorola Labs scientists have successfully combined the best properties of workhorse silicon technology with the speed and optical capabilities of high-performance compound semiconductors that are known as III-V materials.
The discovery, which
solves a problem that has been vexing the semiconductor industry for
nearly 30 years, opens 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 "fibre" cable to the home,
streaming video to cell phones and automotive collision avoidance
Until now, the industry has been dependent on costly gallium arsenide and indium phosphide wafers for optical and high performance applications. Because of their brittle nature, no one has previously been able to create commercial GaAs wafers larger than 6 inches or InP wafers larger than 4 inches. Scientists have also been unable to combine light-emitting semiconductors with silicon integrated circuits on a single chip.
"More than 90 percent of the existing fiber optic cable is still unused and underutilised," said Bob Merritt, vice president, Semico Research Corporation. "This technology could be the switch that eventually turns on those communications channels."
Motorola has filed more
than 270 patents on inventions related to this new technology and the
company intends to broadly license the technology. William Ooms,
Director of Materials, Device, and Energy Research within Motorola Labs
will present at the Materials Research Society Workshop in Chattanooga,
Tennessee on September 11.