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  1. Technology
November 11, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Washington-based Johnson Matthey Electronics, part of Johnson Matthey Plc, has been appointed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia as the prime contractor in a $8.7m programme to develop defence and commercial applications for a new generation of semiconductor materials. The contract makes Johnson Matthey the prime contractor for more than $28m in Agency-funded research and development involving semiconductor and opto-electronic materials. It will be responsible for principal alloy production and materials research and development. The new programme’s core objective is to develop a cost-effective means of producing production quantities of novel semiconductor materials called bulk single-crystal ternary III-V alloys; compounds composed of three elements from columns III and V of the Periodic Table. Other programme tasks, such as developing new wafer characterisation techniques, fabrication processes and device applications will be delegated by Johnson Matthey among six subcontractors: Texas Instruments Inc, Raytheon Co, Hewlett-Packard Co, EG&G Optoelectronics Inc, American Xtal Technology and Crystar Research, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson Matthey. When available in greater volume, these new materials will enable the mass-market production of commercial and industrial devices with higher data storage capacities and longer wavelength infra-red detection. End products will range from consumer items such as compact disks with four times as much playing time as today’s disks, to defence systems such as covert high-speed communication devices for space applications, to industrial components including high-speed transistors, blue light-emitting diodes and higher efficiency infra-red emitters and detectors for biomedical analysis and pollution control. The Agency’s efforts are all part of a US attempt to establish dominance in this emerging technology. The Agency believes its development programme will provide the US semiconductor industry with a springboard into this emerging materials market and the global market for opto-electronic devices that incorporate these materials.

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