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Motorola's New Semiconductor Aims to Bring Home Next-Generation Electronics Products and Broadband Applications

4 Sep, 2001 By: Hive News

Motorola Labs scientists havecreated new semiconductor materials with the potential to dramatically change the ecomonics of the communications and semiconductor industries, Motorola Inc. announced Tuesday.

According to a Motorola press release, Motorola scientists have "successfully combined the best properties of workhorse silicon technology with the speed and optical capabilities of high-performance compoundsemiconductors that are known as the III-V materials."

For consumers, the technology should result in smarter electronic products that cost less, perform better and have exciting new features. Motorola says the technology will change the economics and accelerate the development of new applications, such as broadband "fiber" cable to the home, streaming video to cell phones and automotive collision avoidance systems.

Motorola has identified other potential markets in data storage, lasers for such consumer products as DVD players, medical equipment, radar, automotiveelectronics, lighting, and photovoltaics.

Until now, according to Motorola, there has been no way to combine light-emitting semiconductors with silicon integrated circuits on a single chip, and the need to use discrete components hascompromised the cost, size, speed and efficiency of high-speed communications equipment and devices.

Motorola states that this development is important because "it 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 barriersholding back many advanced applications."

"This is a tremendous achievement by our scientists and one that has the potential, when fully commercialized, to transform the industry in a way that is similar to the transition from discrete semiconductors to integrated circuits," said Dennis Roberson, senior v.p. and chief technology officer, Motorola Inc.

"Motorola's announcement that they have successfully made GaAs transistors in a thin layer of GaAs grown on a silicon wafer could go down in history as a major turning point for the semiconductorindustry," said Steve Cullen, director & principal analyst,Semiconductor Research, Cahners In-Stat Group.

"More than 90% of the existing fiber optic cable is still unused and underutilized," said Bob Merritt, v.p., Semico ResearchCorporation. "This technology could be the switch that eventually turnson those communications channels."

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