The line will increase the quality of the components and simple circuits produced as well as improve the laboratory’s ability to develop stable processes. This will in turn strengthen research at Chalmers and cooperation with industry partners in these areas.
“The new processing line will dramatically increase our ability to produce high-quality components,” says Per-Åke Nilsson, a researcher from the Microwave Electronics Laboratory at MC2 and manager of the microwave and photonic processing line. “We will work on securing the quality of the long series of process steps required for the production of components.” Some examples of components that will be produced on the line are transistors and integrated circuits for microwave applications (MMICs) based on silicon carbide, gallium nitride, and indium phosphide, as well as gallium arsenide based surface emitting lasers (VCSELs).
Jan Stake, the Process Lab Manager at MC2, emphasizes that industry is already benefiting from the processes that will become part of the microwave and photonics line. Some examples are MC2’s collaboration with SAAB and Ericsson Microwave Systems through the Chalmers Centre for High Speed Technology (CHACH) on silicon carbide and gallium nitride components and circuits. Researchers are also working together with Philips Semiconductors on silicon carbide transistors and with the Swedish Department of Defense Research Institute and the European Space Agency on indium phosphide components for THz applications. The processing line will strengthen MC2s ability to collaborate with industry within these areas and more.
“The development of our cleanroom feels incredibly positive,” says Jan Stake. “We currently have 180 active users and the number of booked hours on our machines has increased 25% in the last year.”
“This has been our most productive year ever in terms of research results,” says Prof. Herbert Zirath, head of the Microwave Electronics Laboratory at MC2. “Our researchers have a current world record for mobility in a silicon carbide MOS transistor, and lasers for the next generation of fiber optic links have been developed with record output power, low drive current, and large bandwidth. We presented 21 scientific articles at the major international microwave conferences, the European Microwave Conference and the International Microwave Symposium, which places us among the leading groups in Europe.”
Stefan Bengtsson, Dean of MC2, adds “we have made a strategic decision and are now implementing a more focused approach in our cleanroom. Besides our clear mission to offer a broad platform for the development and testing of new ideas, where processing tools are used in a wide variety of ways, we have defined two focus areas, the microwave and photonics line as well as a nano-processing environment. The first will focus on producing components at the cutting-edge of technology and the second will push the limits of nano-lithography.”