Cardiff University - Leading the world in compound semiconductor development

Cardiff University is lead partner in a consortium which has created the world's first compound semiconductor cluster in Wales. 

Compound semiconductors are at the heart of many devices we use today and are set to play an increasingly important role in next generation technologies. The creation of a new compound semiconductor cluster through the CSconnected project in 2020 followed years of sustained work from Cardiff University and commercial partner IQE plc, a world leading supplier of advanced compound semiconductor wafer products.  

An initial investment from Cardiff University of £75 million pounds in a new Institute for Compound Semiconductors in 2015 was followed by the creation of the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) a £24 million joint venture between IQE and Cardiff University to develop and prototype compound semiconductor materials. 

A consortium of organisations directly associated with research, development, innovation and manufacturing of compound semiconductor related technologies then came together as CSconnected to make a successful formal bid for support from the UK Government's Strength in Places programme.  

The £43 million investment delivered through Strength in Places has enabled CSconnected to bring together researchers, innovation teams and manufacturers to deliver four key collaborative R&D programmes: next generation optical communications and sensing, large-scale semiconductor manufacturing, novel and efficient compound semiconductor fabrication tools, and advanced processes for 5G and EAV data systems.  

In addition to the four R&D programmes, activities also include the formation of a central coordination activity to represent and promote the cluster and to develop regional educational and skills capabilities for the sector. 

The compound semiconductor community currently provides more than 1500 highly skilled, high value jobs in Wales across 12 partner organisations and in the supply chain – a number that economic modelling suggests will double in coming years. The work Cardiff University researchers are supporting will position Wales firmly as a global leader in enabling new and emerging technologies that will boost connectivity, improve healthcare and support the shift towards net zero. 

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