WASHINGTON, June 30 -- The Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA) this week released recommendations for the indium phosphide (InP) technology market, including ways to improve conditions in the industry.
The group said InP technology, which is used for lasers and LEDs in communications, should mirror industry foundry models that follow silicon semiconductor infrastructure and that optoelectronics companies should drive a common foundry model like that used in the silicon industry 20 years ago. The communications industry, for example, is shackled with heavy overhead costs of internal indium phosphide fabs that have excess capacity, said Michael Lebby, OIDA's executive director.
"The optoelectronics industry is at a crossroads," said Lebby. "Key device vendors would like to become horizontally integrated, as demanded by their customer base for one-stop shops, higher market share and common manufacturing infrastructure. Unfortunately, they are forced to remain vertically integrated because of the competitive advantage they get in their InP optoelectronic device designs. The roadmap toward a common indium phosphide optoelectronics foundry is clear: Cooperation is necessary among the optoelectronics device manufacturers."
Historically, developers have used the unique properties of InP to create their own device design and to tailor performance specifications and proprietary processing, epitaxial growth and packaging know-how, leading to increases in intellectual property and patents in the field, OIDA said. Using these features as a competitive advantage, the InP industry became vertically integrated, with every optoelectronics device vendor creating its own epitaxial growth, fabrication, test, assembly and packaging facility.
"This in essence means that every device manufacturer has its own foundry to create its own device structure in InP," the OIDA said in a statement. "While the bubble period in the late 1990s and early 2000s saw an aberration in demand that drove supply limitations, this demand has waned. Due to this ramp up and release, today it is possible that every fabrication facility in the communications sector of optoelectronics has a degree of excess capacity, and a foundry with excess capacity is a heavy sink in both capital and operating expenditures."
The OIDA's roadmap for an InP foundry examines the status and the future of this market. It predicts that in 2007, there will be more movement toward a common InP foundry, and that by 2009 vendors will begin to see the foundry model as a solution, as opposed to a threat, in the optoelectronics industry.
For more information, visit: www.oida.org