On 27 October, e2v and The University of Nottingham, UK celebrated five successful years of a major industry and academic collaboration in the field of advanced microwave technology. The partnership has made ground-breaking achievements in research and development and device manufacture, including cutting-edge e2v Gunn and Schottky diodes. These have been launched out of the e2v Semiconductor Technology Centre, a state-of-the-art semiconductor cleanroom in the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy (SPA).

e2v Gunn and Schottky diodes operate as high frequency sources and receivers, well above the 100 GHz level, and are an example of an industry challenge overcome by the joint effort. They are claimed to remain a unique capability – there are no devices similar being made anywhere else in the world.

This joint effort has also spearheaded a wealth of research and development in: Superlattice electron devices (SLED’s) for millimetre-wave components, the manufacture and use of semiconductor PIN diodes for receiver protection – a knowledge transfer partnership and millimetre-wave acousto-electric phenomena in semiconductor nanodevices leading to the integration of TeraHertz acoustics with TeraHertz electromagnetic technologies

e2v delivers a wide technology span, from the atomic level precision of epitaxial wafer design and specification, through the micron scale of semiconductor processing and the miniature scale of millimetre-wave circuits and fabrication, to the real-world scale of working microwave components and sub-systems that simply need to be plugged into an end-user’s system.

Stuart Smith, Vice President e2v Microwave, said: “Five years on, the success of the collaboration has exceeded expectations and reinforced e2v’s position at the forefront of discrete compound semiconductor device manufacture.”

Both parties have enjoyed the successes which continue to bring major benefits; e2v has been awarded a major, long-term contract to supply semiconductor devices into a key millimetre-wave system where the device performance levels are challenging and unrivalled. The SPA has been placed in the top three UK physics departments by the Research Excellence Framework; the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

Nigel Priestley, Chief Engineer of the e2v Semiconductor Technology Centre, said: “When we entered into the partnership five years ago, we knew we had started something with great potential. The result is that we now have a well-established, unique capability in the UK which is viewed by many as a model to deliver products for customers and also to support and foster world-leading complementary research that exploits physics for challenging applications in growing markets.”

Dr Chris Mellor, Principal Investigator of the collaboration for The University of Nottingham, said: “Over the past five years our interaction with e2v has been stimulating and beneficial for both parties. The collaboration has developed and deepened in several directions, some anticipated and some, such as our collaboration in the area of Quantum Technology, have come out of being able to exploit our complementary capabilities. We look forward to the further benefits that both parties will gain over the next five years.’’