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Apr 25th, 2008
 
InPACT CEO argues on InP market recovery
 
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 > Didier MARSAN, CEO InPACT

InPACT is the primary producer of Indium Phosphide (InP) 2”, 3” and 4” substrates outside of Japan. The company sells the 2” diameter mainly for opto telecom and datacom chips; the 3” and 4” products are used for high speed ICs and PICs. InPACT keeps its technical edge on surface contamination and local flatness performance and grows the longest InP boules (see below a 4” boule standard length of 40mm on the right and new process with length of 80mm on the left) . The company is a 20 year old company with its 15000sq ft manufacturing site.

InPACT is the primary producer of Indium Phosphide (InP) 2”, 3” and 4” substrates outside of Japan. The company sells the 2” diameter mainly for opto telecom and datacom chips; the 3” and 4” products are used for high speed ICs and PICs. InPACT keeps its technical edge on surface contamination and local flatness performance and grows the longest InP boules (see below a 4” boule standard length of 40mm on the right and new process with length of 80mm on the left) . The company is a 20 year old company with its 15000sq ft manufacturing site.
 
> YOLE
InP-based market has strongly suffered since 2001 with the optical telecommunication collapsing. How is the current business today?
> Didier MARSAN
The telecom market increases yearly more or less 10~15%. Even if bandwidth demand increases quicker than capacity, we do not see massive investments back yet but there are a few segments ramping up quickly (meaning with >25% CAGR) such as the tunable lasers, DWDM 40G, 10G ethernet, FFTx programs with significant PON equipment investments and obviously the related InP high speed ICs.
 
> YOLE
Apart of the optical fiber telecom business, what are the other promising applications where InP can gain momentum in a near future?
> Didier MARSAN
There are 4 non-telecom markets quite promising for the InP industry: a- The cell phone market with the opportunity of InP based power amplifier. Although GaAs HBT, SiGe and CMOS technologies are adequate for RF PAs, the InP technology is uniquely positioned to provide performance improvement at lower operating voltages and for a 2G talk-time experience with the necessary linearity. This is a disruptive technology but which can be a reality if we think that in the recent past GaAs ‘took over’ silicon. The same arguments that were waged by the silicon industry against GaAs are now being waged by the GaAs industry against InP. b- The molecular detection and imaging markets using InP based broadly tunable mid-IR lasers (QCLs) is the second promising application. Targeting industrial/ environmental (NOx, Sox, CO2, ammonia…), biomedical diagnostics (breath, blood, fluids..), homeland/ security (explosives, bio-threats..). c- Next is the industry of laser display and projections with the use of InP based lasers (frequency double red 620nm) as the light engine. Potential behind is big with pocket projection, home theater and digital cinema. d- Last segment which is in fact already under an industrial mode is the night vision with InP based InGaAs focal plane arrays (FPAs), the choice of technology yielding the highest performance digital imaging at low light level. Night vision goggle/ tube needs such an enhanced performance. In all cases, there are companies working on such InP products optimizations and InPACT as a InP material producer has been interacting with most of them.
 
> YOLE
With silicon now exhibiting 77 GHz possibility, what are the key market drivers that will make InP the winning solution?
> Didier MARSAN
At 77GHz, one segment of interest remains the collision avoidance with RF module based on InP material. Still at the prototyping stage.
 
> YOLE
InPACT is one of the 3 leading companies in InP bulk crystal growth. What are the next challenge to stay in the race?
> Didier MARSAN
First of all, InPACT has been doing InP material for 20 years, has survived the bubble period and with its today’s ~30% of the global merchant market (outside Japan), the company has dramatically strengthened its position. Some companies have withdrawn from this market, some non-InP crystal growth firms moved to enter the InP market but failed. There are 3 challenges for a company to maintain and even solidify a market share. One is to always have a technical edge on critical epitaxy or processed based new requirements (surface contamination, flat angle accuracy, local flatness are the latest improvements achieved by InPACT over the last years with some breakthroughs). Another one is to guarantee the highest quality consistency from one wafer to another. The third one is to bring the cost down in order to support the industry and create business opportunities especially for the (non-telecom) emerging markets described above. And the latest (big) contribution of InPACT is that we produce the longest InP boules in the world (230mm for 2inch, 100mm for 3inch and 80mm for 4inch). We will have a publication at the world InP conference in May in France.
 

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