DTI funds indium phosphide wafer project

Cardiff-based Wafer Technology, the University of Oxford, and Ipswich’s CIP are to develop wafers and epitaxy for indium phosphide (InP)-based thermophotovoltaic (TPV) devices.

“These are photocells that also absorb heat energy, they can convert waste heat into electrical energy,” IQE marketing head Chris Meadows, told Electronics Weekly.

Wafer Technology, a subsidiary of IQE, will be responsible for developing low-cost InP substrates; CIP (Centre for Integrated Photonics) will grow epitaxial layers, fabricate devices and test them; and the University of Oxford will design the cells and the fabrication of fully-packaged TPV modules.

Funding for the three year project comes from the DTI and EPSRC through the Technology Programme.

The cells will be based on an InGaAs/InP material system. “The materials are likely to be InP and InGaAs with a InGaAsP heterostructure in between,” Dr Michael Robertson, manager for III-V device technology at CIP, told EW.

According to Robertson, the aim is to convert wavelengths from the visible to the near-infra-red as 2µm.

All three hope to come away with TPV intellectual property related to their part of the project.

IQE is already involved in TPV manufacture. “As Europe’s leading manufacturer of InP substrates and the main producer worldwide of GaSb used in existing TPV devices, Wafer Technology has a long standing involvement in TPV technology through other collaborative projects,” said Ray Brunton, the firm’s crystal growth operations manager.

See www.iqep.com

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