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South Wales semiconductor project secures £1.73m funding boost

A project developing semiconductor process technologies, backed by universities and tech firms, has secured a £1.73m funding boost from the Welsh Government

ASSET (Application Specific Semiconductor Etching Technology) is an industrially driven, collaborative project with partners across South Wales, including: SPTS Technologies, IQE, The Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC), Biovici, BioMEMS, Swansea and Cardiff universities and Integrated Compound Semiconductors Ltd (Manchester).

The ASSET industrial partners provide advanced technologies for almost all the world’s smartphones. By developing a host of new semiconductor process technologies using compound semiconductors and next generation materials, ASSET will service new and emerging applications in automotive sensing, 6G, photonics and healthcare.

Applications include autonomous vehicles, novel devices for clean energy, future mobility, artificial intelligence, advanced packaging, and biosensors and wearable sensors.

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Professor Owen Guy, head of chemistry at Swansea University and lead for the ASSET project, said: “The expanded ASSET project is a timely boost to the UK semiconductor industry, with exciting developments planned with several of our regional industry partners, and the opening of our £90m Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM) – a new state-of-the-art semiconductor facility at Swansea University – in 2022.”

Vaughan Gething, Welsh Government Economy Minister, said: “We are immensely proud of the world-leading compound semiconductor ecosystem we helped foster here in Wales.

It is a high potential network translating state-of-the-art research and innovation capabilities into world-class Welsh manufacturing for new and emerging global technology markets. This “next generation” technology shapes our lives today and will improve our experiences of tomorrow – from electric vehicles, to face recognition in smart phones, and space applications.

“The sector is of huge significance to Wales, providing high value employment and a real magnet for foreign direct investment. It also underpins development in so many other industries, and we believe it can deliver against our programme for government by driving a stronger, greener economy, and contributing to the net-zero, decarbonisation challenge.”

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