March 25, 2003--Scotland's role in the global optoelectronics industry has been given a boost with the announcement today of a new £4.2 million ($6.75 million) facility dedicated to the commercialization of research in the growing technology of packaging complex optoelectronic chips.
The new facility, which will be located in Livingston and will commence operation in the summer of this year, will specialize in the development of processes to arrange delicate circuitry in the protective packaging that allows optoelectronic devices to interface and connect to external networks via optical fibers and electronic connections.
The centre is being developed in conjunction with the Scottish Optoelectronics Association and is designed to assist in bridging the gap between design and manufacturing qualification of optoelectronics-based devices. The center has funding from both Scottish Enterprise and the European Regional Development Fund.
Establishing a facility with specialist capability in packaging technologies is critical to the development of a sustainable Scottish optoelectronics industry. It will accelerate the commercialization of university research and help create and support high-growth start-up companies.
The facility will also complement the work of the recently launched Intermediate Technology Institutes that will raise Scotland's international competitiveness by supporting business research and development in key growth sectors of the global economy.
The objectives of the facility are to:
• Assist the commercialization of research and development by speeding up the route to market
• Develop new device packaging technologies for future advances in optoelectronics and other emerging disciplines
• Provide environmental test, reliability and qualification services to address specific challenges of clients.
The project is being managed by Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian from a concept developed by the Microelectronics, Optoelectronics, and Communications Technology (MOCT) cluster.
"Scotland has an excellent reputation in the field of optoelectronics and this project will further strengthen our international standing," contends David Waring, director of MOCT. "The facility will provide very practical assistance to startup and spin-out companies that need to develop the processes and techniques required to package their devices in order to bring them to the market place as quickly as possible."
"We are extremely excited at this announcement as it represents a key action of the industry's strategy," adds Chris Gracie, chief executive of the Scottish Optoelectronics Association. "It will support the design for manufacture stage in the creation chain, which is the chain of events between research and distribution of finished product. We are encouraged by the number of companies being formed from the research base and the increasing investment in their development. We hope this venture will support companies turning their products into a significant share of the large and increasing optoelectronics market."